We get a double treat for Monday Night Football, though unless you live in the home markets for the Vikings and Giants, or have DirecTV Sunday Ticket (or can make your way to an establishment that does) you will not see the Giants-Vikings at Ford Field live. The NFL Network will replay that game in its entirety starting at midnight eastern time (after the Ravens-Texans is done), so if you can somehow avoid news of the game during the ESPN Monday Night broadcast, you could actually watch a doubleheader on NFL Network after the ESPN broadcast concludes.
This isn’t the first time the league has had to change a game date or move a game to a different site because of Mother Nature. The Giants were involved back in 2005 when the Saints-Giants game was moved to the Meadowlands because of Hurricane Katrina. Later that year, the Chiefs and Dolphins moved up their scheduled game to Friday because of Hurricane Wilma. In 2003, the Monday Night game between the Chargers and Dolphins was moved to Tempe because of wildfires near San Diego. In 1994, the Seattle Seahawks played a portion of their season at the University of Washington because of water damage that caused falling roof tiles at the King Dome. In 1989, the Bay Area Earthquake resulted in San Francisco playing a home game in Palo Alto.
Both games have an impact on the playoff scenarios (and I’ll have an update once they are finished). In Houston, the Texans are still alive despite the Colts and Jaguars winning on Sunday . . . if they can beat the Ravens tonight. The Texans would need to win out (and still can give Jacksonville a loss) and would also need the Colts to beat the Jaguars next week and someone else to beat the Colts. The Ravens can move to the top wildcard spot with the Jets’ loss, and stay within range of the Steelers. A loss by Baltimore will bring all the teams sitting at 7-6 back into the wildcard hunt with more realistic hopes.
The Texans are a team with a pretty good offense, including the most productive rushing offense in the league, but massive issues at stopping the pass. Joe Flacco will have his opportunity to make plays down the field. The only thing that I think makes this a more reasonable matchup is that the Ravens don’t have the deep threats that some other teams that have chewed up the Texans’ defense have possessed.
In Detroit, the media is abuzz over the news that the league’s 3rd lowest rated passer is inactive because of a shoulder injury. Some day, after we’ve confirmed that he is comfortably retired, we’ll look back at 297 and his entire career, and try to forget all the nonsense. For now, though, it’s a streak that took on a life of its own, and a player who has been banged up and played poorly. If it were any other quarterback without the streak and with the same injury (which is likely to keep him out longer than this game), I’m pretty sure we would have gotten official confirmation of the player being out more than two hours before game time.
As for those who are playing (and I had to search for this through the Favre news) the fact that both Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith got an extra day and are active for tonight’s game is probably a bigger deal as far as game impact, because Eli will be throwing to his full complement of weapons again after about a month since Smith went out. The Vikings, meanwhile, will be without Steve Hutchinson and Percy Harvin. The Giants have little margin in the NFC playoff hunt, and need to stay even with Philadelphia. A loss drops them to a three way tie for a wildcard spot.
[photo via Getty]