Monday Night Football is about to get a lot better. That is, if the league comes to its senses with the matchups down the stretch.
For the first time, the NFL will flex matchups into, and out of, Monday Night Football, beginning with Week 12 of the season. So, subpar matchups won't get the prime time treatment, and fans might not have as many snooze-fests capping their football weekends.
Under the new rules, "the NFL can can flex an unlimited number of times between Weeks 12 and 17, and must give 12 days notice."
With the new rule in mind, we handpicked the best matchups from the upcoming weeks to craft the perfect Monday Night Football schedule to showcase the best games of the stretch run to the NFL Playoffs:
Week 12: Bears vs. Vikings
We would flex to: Jaguars at Texans
This is a no-brainer.
C.J. Stroud is the runaway favorite for rookie of the year, while Trevor Lawrence is one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the sport. There's a very real possibility that this rivalry becomes Brady vs. Manning, in the same division. Not to mention, this game has massive playoff implications, after the Texans went into Jacksonville and beat the Jaguars earlier this season. These two teams are wildly entertaining to watch, and this game would introduce the nation to what has the potential to be one of the most exciting quarterback rivalries for the next decade.
Week 13: Bengals at Jaguars
We would flex to: 49ers at Eagles
One of the biggest games remaining on the entire NFL schedule.
In a rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game, the 49ers have had this game circled on the calendar since their busses departed Lincoln Financial Field for Philadelphia International Airport, back in January. The Eagles have rattled off wins over the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Chiefs in recent weeks, and beating the Niners would solidify their status as the team to beat in the NFC.
Week 14: Titans at Dolphins, Packers at Giants
We would flex to: Bills at Chiefs, Lions at Bears
How did the NFL fall into two terrible games for its December Monday Night Football doubleheader to remember?
Bills at Chiefs is looking more and more like a potential AFC Championship Game preview — unless Lamar Jackson's Ravens have something to say about the matter. Meanwhile, Lions vs. Bears is another chance to showcase one of the most exciting young teams in football, Detroit, to a national audience, this time against a division foe in a historic venue. The NFL really should consider flexing out of both of its original options.
Week 15: Chiefs at Patriots
We would flex to: Cowboys at Bills
The original matchup lost so much luster both with the Patriot Way imploding like a decades old Atlantic City casino that's being replace, and Mac Jones being benched.
However, fortunately for the NFL, Cowboys at Bills offers abundant storylines, two of arguably the top-10 teams in the league, and the intrigue of whether Dak Prescott can beat a playoff caliber opponent in crunch time. Throw in the pre-game shots of BillsMafia throwing themselves off tables in potentially subzero and snowy conditions and you have outstanding theater. Likewise, featuring the Bills on Monday night for two consecutive weeks keeps them on a consistent game-week schedule, late in the season.
Week 16: Ravens at 49ers
No need to flex out of this matchup.
Lamar Jackson is playing the most complete brand of football in his career, the Ravens are the runaway favorite in the AFC North — especially after Joe Burrow's season-ending injury, and these two teams are mirror images of one another in a lot of ways. Meanwhile, San Francisco could be jockeying for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, has a roster that's loaded with elite talent on both sides of the ball. This game has the makings of a classic, and could be a Super Bowl preview.
Week 17: Lions at Cowboys
No need to flex this matchup, either.
Look, these Week 17 games are kind of crapshoots, anyway. Who knows what will be at stake in the penultimate week of the regular season. One of these teams could be vying for the No. 1 seed, another for the division crown, or could potentially both be locked into playoff seeding. But, Monday Night Football in Dallas always feels like an event, and the Lions are an exciting team to watch.
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