Storyline creation at its best. Two weeks ago, the Saints played the Colts and the Steelers battled the Cardinals. Even earlier this year, Pittsburgh faced Seattle. And this week, the Patriots host the Giants, giving us our fourth Super Bowl rematch from the last six championship games. We’ll make it five out of seven when Philly hosts New England later this month.
Obviously, Giants-Pats makes our list of the top five games to watch in Week 9…
(Team rankings are based on our latest power rankings.)
1. No. 8 Ravens at No. 3 Steelers (Sunday, 8:20 ET on NBC)
The best rivalry in the NFL today? Baltimore has struggled lately, while the Steelers have won four in a row to take over the top spot in the AFC. But Pittsburgh’s dealing with a slew of injuries on defense and the Ravens have always risen to the occasion against the Steelers. In addition to crushing Pittsburgh in Week 1, Baltimore beat the Steelers at Heinz Field last October (and nearly did it again in the playoffs).
2. No. 1 Packers at No. 18 Chargers (Sunday, 4:15 ET on Fox)
Coming off back-to-back losses, the mistake-prone and embarrassed Chargers are desperate. While being back at home is advantageous, San Diego is coming off of a short week against the league’s undisputed top team. To boot, the Packers have had two weeks to prepare. Green Bay has won 13 straight overall, but the Chargers, who are 3-0 at home this year, need this more. This could be the Pack’s biggest challenge yet.
3. No. 16 Jets at No. 6 Bills (Sunday, 1:00 ET on CBS)
The Jets are 2-0 in Buffalo under Rex Ryan, but the Bills are perfect this season at home. It’s also interesting that the Jets are 0-2 following the bye week in the Ryan era. Last year, they were shut out 9-0 at home despite having two weeks to prepare for Green Bay. This is quite an even matchup, with the winner earning an edge in the battle to challenge New England for AFC East supremacy.
4. No. 19 Giants at No. 4 Patriots (Sunday, 4:15 ET on Fox)
Here we go again. A rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl, complete with the same broadcast team (Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the game on Fox). No Plaxico Burress, David Tyree or Michael Strahan, though, and this time they aren’t playing at a neutral site in Glendale, Arizona. Nope, the Giants are struck in Foxboro, where Tom Brady hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2006 (30 in a row). The Pats are also 26-2 in games following losses since the 2003 season. The chips are stacked against the G-Men.
5. No. 13 Bears at No. 12 Eagles (Monday, 8:30 ET on ESPN)
Another prime-time game for the Eagles to prove that their bad start was a fluke. This time, though, it’s against a Bears team that beat them last season and is coming off of two quality performances. Plus, Chicago has had two weeks to prepare. Compelling and rich.