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10 Must-See NFL Games in 2013

After a tumultuous week for the NFL brass, we take a look at this year's unmissable on-field action.

After a tumultuous week for the NFL brass, BettingSports.com takes a look at this year’s unmissable on-field action.

It’s not been the best of weeks for the NFL.

First Aaron Hernandez added his name to the long list of players finding themselves in trouble with the long arm of the law.

Then there was the bad PR – not to mention potential diplomatic nightmare – that came alongside reports that Russian president Vladimir Putin had allegedly stolen Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring.

And then Commissioner Roger Goodell let it out of the bag that he would consider asking the Jacksonville Jaguars to play two games per season in London, UK, which put owner Shad Khan on the back foot and Jacksonville fans, residents, and season ticket holders in a state of frenzy.

Nope. Not the best of weeks.

Well, BettingSports.com is going to put the focus firmly back on the field with a look at 10 of the must-see games scheduled for the upcoming season. These are 10 high-impact games we think will prove vital going forward.

Now, what better way to start off our list than with the very first game of the season?

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With Ray Lewis retired, the Baltimore Ravens begin their Super Bowl defense in Denver.

With Ray Lewis retired, the Baltimore Ravens begin their Super Bowl defense in Denver.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

Week 1 (Thu, Sep. 5)

Thanks to a scheduling conflict, the Baltimore Ravens will begin their Super Bowl defense with a visit to the Mile High City, where the AFC favorite Denver Broncos await. The Broncos finished last season with the (joint) best home record in the league, dropping just one game. Meanwhile, the consensus viewpoint is that the Ravens won’t be as good this season as last, which spells a tough first outing for Joe Flacco and Co. However, if Baltimore emerges from this one with the victory, you can expect sportsbooks to promptly reevaluate.

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San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Week 2 (Sun, Sep. 15)

Almost out of nowhere, an intense rivalry emerged last season in the NFC West. As the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks both made a run to the playoffs, the two teams began to chip away at each other, splitting a pair of regular season games and coming within two points of a third meeting in the NFC championship game. We don’t have to wait long to see the two rivals take to the field this season. A Sunday Night Football clash in Week 2 will whet the appetite before the teams meet again on December 8. With San Francisco ranked first and Seattle joint-third on the NFL Futures list, this will give us the chance to see who has the early advantage.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 3 (Thu, Sep. 19)

The Kansas City Chiefs were happy to see the back of last season. The Philadelphia Eagles were perhaps even happier. While the Chiefs weren’t expected to achieve much last season, the Eagles were considered one of the top teams heading into the season. A 4-12 record ushered in springtime changes all-around. Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid will return to the city of Brotherly Love in Week 3, leading the retooled and revamped Chiefs into action. Whether his return prompts a brotherly reception from the crowd remains to be seen, but this will certainly provide an early chance to see how improved both teams are this season.

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New England Patriots at New York Jets

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 20)

The New York Jets hate the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots hate the New York Jets. What more incentive do you need to watch this AFC East clash? The two sides actually meet in a Week 2 edition of Thursday Night Football, but this game could see the return of Tim Tebow to MetLife Stadium. That’s a soap opera, tabloid teaser if ever there was one. Even if Tebow isn’t on the Patriots’ sideline – prop bets are available for those wishing to take a guess – this one is still likely to be a gritty affair. And who knows, the Jets may even resemble a football team this year.

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This year's schedule has Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis to take on his former team.

This year’s schedule has Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis to take on his former team.

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 20)

Forget Andy Reid returning to Philly or Tebow heading back to Jersey, the undisputed biggest return of the season will see Peyton Manning revisit Indianapolis. After 13 seasons and one Super Bowl ring, Manning was ushered out of the Indianapolis Colts organization last winter. He proceeded to lead the Broncos to a playoff appearance following arguably his best season ever. The Sunday Night Football cameras will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for this monumental moment, one that you would expect to hear a huge ovation for the former Colt.

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Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Week 9 (Mon, Nov. 4)

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers bruising and battering their way through 60 minutes at Lambeau Field remains one of the NFL’s most enduring sights. The two NFC North rivals will collide on Monday Night Football midway through the season, with bragging rights on the line. The Bears collapsed last season following an excellent start. Can they stay the course this year? While bookmakers have the Packers in the top five this season, there seems to be little chatter about the team. Can the Packers create some noise? This game could go a long way to deciding how the NFC North finishes this season. If the division remains tight, a clash between the two at Soldier Field on the last day of the season could be equally as important.

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New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Week 12 (Thu, Nov. 21)

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints meet during the opening week of the season in a game that should give us some idea of what to expect from both. This late November clash though will be far more important in terms of the NFC South standings though. The Falcons ran away with the division last season, on the way to recording the (tied) best record in the league. The Saints meanwhile were shrouded by the fallout of ‘BountyGate’. With Sean Payton back at the helm, expect New Orleans to be improved and expect this one to be a real barn-burner.

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After injury took a chunk out of his season last year, Ben Roethlisberger will hope to be healthy for a Thnksgiving showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.

After injury took a chunk out of his season last year, Ben Roethlisberger will hope to be healthy for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

Week 13 (Thu, Nov. 28)

Whilst the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day schedule draws millions of viewers to their TV set, you could argue that the games themselves aren’t always the most appealing of attractions. This year’s Cowboys-Raiders game is a prime example. However, the schedule-makers have added a real gem to this year’s schedule; a showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. Arguably the best rivalry in football today, this one is sure to be worth fighting those post-Turkey blues for.

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New England Patriots at Houston Texans

Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 1)

The Houston Texans should have been an obvious contender this season, but after stumbling past the finish line last season and an unimpressive playoff run, it’s hard to get excited by the team. The Texans may well be a contender by the end of the year though. If Gary Kubiak can continue to bring about improvements, the side has the chance to make a solid run, especially in the weak AFC South. Week 13’s meeting with the Patriots will tell us all we need to know about whether this team can go deep into the playoffs.

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Washington Redskins at New York Giants

Week 17 (Sun, Dec. 29)

Finally, this final day meeting between NFC East rivals – as well as and the Eagles’ trip to Dallas – may have huge implications on the postseason. It could also mean nothing. Such is the nature of the NFC East, it’s almost impossible to predict how the division will play out this season. The New York Giants are considered the frontrunner by bookmakers, with Dallas, Philadelphia, and the Washington Redskins all level. Of course, the Cowboys and Giants found ways to lose last season while the Redskins rode Robert Griffin III to a first playoff appearance since 1997. Once again, this will be one of the most interesting divisions in football.


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