Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/19/13
Last night almost felt like Christmas morning for football fans as the highly-anticipated 2013 NFL regular season schedule was released.While every team already knew who their opponents would be in 2013, fans now got to see when and where each game would take place.I am sure fans of each team have specific matchups they are looking forward to; there are some games that are anticipated by fans of all teams.This article will highlight the top 10 games that fans will be looking forward to this upcoming season. Let me know what you think and make sure to connect up with me on Twitter: @danielfblnation.Week 1: Baltimore @ Denver The Denver Broncos’ and Peyton Manning’s hope of making a title run last season were dashed when the Ravens beat the Broncos by a field goal in double overtime of the divisional round of the playoffs. Now both teams will return to Denver to kick off the 2013 season as Denver tries to start their season off on the right foot while avenging their disappointing loss from last season.This game will also be worth watching because it will be the first game of the 2013 NFL season and will be the debut of receiver Wes Welker with the Broncos and the newly made-over Baltimore Ravens.  Baltimore is leading the overall series against Denver, 7-4, and has won three of the last four match-ups including last season’s playoff win.Week 1: Green Bay @ San FranciscoThis is a must-see game because every time these two teams get together fans can expect tough, gritty, classic football. The two teams have met 63 times since 1950 with Green Bay having won 34 of those match-ups; however, San Francisco has won the last two match-ups including a 45-31 win in the divisional round of the 2012 playoffs.This game will also feature a great quarterback match-up between Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick as both tries to start the new season with a win.Week 1: Buffalo @ New England It is fitting that the NFL franchise based in the New England area are known as the Patriots because in the days and months to come Boston and their sports teams will represent more than just themselves, in a way they will represent America.New England’s regular season home opener is months away but as the events that are the aftermath of the Boston Marathon attack continues to unfold and as people continue to heal, a majority of football fans will continue to lean to the Patriots and football as a source of inspiration and as a distraction from the worries of the world.While some may not consider this one of the best matchups of the 2013 season, it will feature two division rivals and a new head coach.Week 4: New England @ Atlanta These two teams have only met 12 times, with New England winning the past three match-ups by a score of 81-48.What made people take notice of the Falcons last season was their win streak to start the season and their ability to beat great teams like the Denver. This season’s match-up will one of two early tests for the Falcons who are trying to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season, in what is shaping up to be a Super Bowl or bust season for the Falcons.New England is another team hoping to make a return trip to the playoffs this season and the Atlanta Falcons will be the first of five games against teams that made the playoffs in 2012.Week 7: Denver @ Indianapolis In 1998, the Indianapolis Colts used their first overall draft pick on quarterback Peyton Manning, who led the team for 13 seasons, leading the team to the playoffs 11 times, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl victory. Then the story became the public “divorce” of Manning from the Colts following Manning’s missing the 2011 season with a neck injury.Now after not playing a down in Indianapolis in two years, Manning will make a return to Indianapolis in Week 7 has his Broncos take on his former Colts team. It will be interesting to see whether Manning or new Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will win this great quarterback match-up.Week 9: Green Bay @ Chicago The best game of Week 9 will be a Monday night game and another game in the historic rivalry between Green Bay at Chicago.The two teams have met 186 times since 1921 with Chicago leading the overall series 92-88-6; however, Green Bay has won the last six match-ups.Chicago has a new head coach and has new personnel this off-season on both sides of the ball, and a threat again this season in the NFC North.This game will mark the Bears' third divisional match-up of the season; however, this matchup against the Packers will be their biggest and will set the tone for the rest of the season, as it will be their first game after their bye week.This will be a tough game for the Packers as it will be third divisional game of the season, and their sixth game out of eight against a team that made the playoffs in 2012, with the team having a bye week in Week 4. It will be interesting to see how the Packers are playing under the strain of a tough schedule.Week 10: Seattle @ Atlanta One of the biggest and surprising stories of the 2012 season was the outstanding play of the Seattle Seahawks and their rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle won seven of their last eight games of the season including a 42-13 win over the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.Seattle made the playoffs as a wild-card team and won in the first round against the Washington Redskins, and despite a one point lead late in the divisional game against the Falcons, Seattle lost to the Falcons 30-28.Now Seattle will get a chance to avenge that loss when the two teams meet in Week 10. Seattle has a tough schedule in 2013, and this game could prove to be a make or break game for the Seahawks season.Week 12: Denver @ New England One of the most anticipated games of the season is the match-up between two of the AFC’s biggest powerhouses, the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, and two of the league’s best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.Although Manning had a successful return to the NFL last season leading the Broncos to the playoffs, one of Denver’s low points of the season was a crushing loss to the New England Patriots. In last season’s match-up New England led Denver, 31-7, late into the third quarter, and despite a late comeback attempt by Denver was able to win the game 31-21.Besides this being a great second half match-up, this definitely will be a game that will have a big impact on playoff seedings and home field advantage.Week 16: Washington @ Dallas The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are bitter division rivals and have played against each other 106 times with Dallas leading the series 62-42-2. Last season Washington won both match-ups against Dallas including a week 17 game in which the winner made the playoffs, while the loser went home.These two teams will meet in week six but the Week 16 match-up will be the one to watch because with the way the NFC East has been played over the past few seasons, this game could again determine the division winner.Week 16: Atlanta @ San Francisco Atlanta and San Francisco used to be part of the same division when they were both in the NFC West, and have met a total of 76 times, with San Francisco leading the series 45-30-1.After an Atlanta win over San Francisco in October of 2010, the two teams did not play each other until they met in this past season’s NFC Championship game. Atlanta had a 24-14 lead going into halftime; however the Falcons were outscored 14-0 in the second half and lost to the 49ers 28-24.This is going to be another great match-up between two teams and each team will be looking for a key victory heading into the end of the season and the postseason.
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