Coaches often talk about dividing the 16-game NFL schedule into quarters – four-game stretches for each month of the fall season.
If that’s true for broadcasters, ESPN is kicking off its home stretch and arguably most exciting four games of the season tonight when Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (9-2) visit Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (10-1) on Monday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN).
Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call this matchup of the NFC’s top teams with sideline reporter Lisa Salters from CenturyLink Field. The Saints enter the game with a nine-game MNF winning streak while the Seahawks have won seven straight on Mondays.
Seattle is also riding a franchise record 13-game home win streak, and that home-field advantage will be key as Seahawks fans (aka “the 12th Man”) attempt the Guinness record for loudest crowd roar. Considering they literally caused a seismic activity when the two teams last met in the 2010 NFC Wild Card Playoffs, the atmosphere will be deafening.
As the ESPN crew rounds out the final month of the 2013 season, here are the other great matchups fans can look forward to watching on MNF in December:
Dec. 9 – Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears
Tony Romo and the Cowboys – tied for first place in the NFC East – play the Bears on MNF for the second straight year. ESPN’s Mike Ditka will have his No. 89 retired by the Bears at halftime.
Dec. 16 – Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions
Joe Flacco and the Super Bowl champion Ravens – currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoff race – face Calvin Johnson and the NFC North-leading Lions in Detroit.
Dec. 23 – Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers
In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship, Colin Kaepernick and the playoff hopeful 49ers host Matt Ryan and the Falcons. The 36th MNF game at Candlestick Park – most among all NFL stadiums – will also be the final regular season game at the historic venue with the 49ers set to move into Levi’s Stadium in 2014.