NFL Schedule: 10 games to watch in 2014

04/23/2014 10:10 PM

04/23/2014 10:17 PM

The NFL schedule has 256 games, and many of them will have some sort of meaning — quarterback vs. quarterback, a homecoming, maybe home-field advantage.

But some stand above the rest, either because of the cast or the location. Of course, there is the traditional Thursday kickoff featuring the defending Super Bowl champions. But there are more.

Here is a look at 10 games that stood out after the NFL schedule was released Wednesday:

• Green Bay at Seattle, Week 1, Thursday, Sept. 4, 7:30: The Super Bowl champions’ privilege of opening at home on the season’s first Thursday night is nice, but it will be tough. Aaron Rodgers’ arm is going to test the championship-winning defense — and this time, with NFL referees.

• Detroit at Carolina, Week 2, Sunday, Sept. 14, noon: Cam Newton and the Panthers play their first home game since the playoff loss to San Francisco. He will go up against a new-look Lions team with a new head coach but the same gunslinger at quarterback in Matthew Stafford.

•  Washington at Philadelphia, Week 3, Sunday, Sept. 21, noon: The NFC East opener for both teams, but also DeSean Jackson’s return to Philadelphia. He gets a chance to get even against the team that released him.

•  Denver at Seattle, Week 3, Sunday, Sept. 21, 3:25: The rematch of the Super Bowl. The Broncos can earn only a regular-season win, but can restore their manhood against a team that beat them down in February.

•  New England at Kansas City, Week 4, Monday, Sept. 29, 7:30: So Tom Brady is unflappable? Let’s see how he does in a Monday night game at Arrowhead, where the Chiefs are itching to show they weren’t a one-and-done playoff fluke a year ago. It might be a matchup of 3-1 or 4-0 teams.

•  Kansas City at San Francisco, Week 5, Sunday, Oct. 5, 3:25: A week after perhaps beating Tom Brady, Alex Smith takes the Chiefs to face his old team. It’ll be up to Smith not to invest too much meaning into it. But, boy, wouldn’t he like to show the 49ers?

• Denver at New England, Week 9, Sunday, Nov. 2, 3:25: This matchup doesn’t go out of style, thanks to the players at the game’s glamour position. It will be the 16th time quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have gone head-to-head.

•  Tampa Bay at Chicago, Week 12, Sunday, Nov. 23, noon: New Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith returns to Chicago to face the Bears, the team he took to a Super Bowl and that later fired him after a 10-6 season. He will have an idea about how to play defense against Jay Cutler.

•  Seattle at San Francisco, Week 13, Thursday, Nov. 27, 7:30: It takes waiting until Thanksgiving, but it will be worth it. The rematch of the NFC Championship might be for the NFC West lead and the best record. And it repeats 17 days later in Seattle.

• New England at Green Bay, Week 13, Sunday, Nov. 30, 3:25: Ah, Brady vs. Rodgers. At Lambeau. It’s a late-season game, so the conditions could matter. Or they could not. Both are cold-weather quarterbacks who can operate cold-weather offenses.

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