Personally, if I was going to pick just one game to be broadcast locally or nationally in the Philadelphia region, I would have done better than the Detroit Lions at the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.
I, however, am not the schedule maker for the NFL or the NBA or NHL, which both should know by now that Monday night is no longer the unchallenged domain of the NFL.
Still, this is what we have and if you believe that November is when NFL teams shift into playoff mode and start contemplating things like seeding and home-field, this matchup does have some intrigue.
The Packers were tied with the Eagles for the best record in the NFC when quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lost for the season with a broken collarbone in Week 6 at Minnesota.
Take the starting quarterback on any team and the results are going to catastrophic.
Take away the best quarterback in the game and it affects the entire playoff picture.
Green Bay (4-3) has lost two straight and is hoping a bye week has provided the time to slow things down and adjust the game plan to fit quarterback Brett Hundley, a fifth-round pick in 2015 who had thrown 10 passes in the NFL before replacing Rodgers.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has the Lions at 3-4 after signing the largest contract (five years, $135 million) in NFL history.
A loss by the Lions would drop them three games behind Minnesota (6-2) in the NFC North. Considering the records of the top teams in the conference, they would be in a deep hole for a Wild Card berth.
What I’m reading
I know it’s all about making sure that Joel Embiid has a long and healthy career. Staff writer Mark Narducci reports Embiid will miss Tuesday’s game in Utah for “load management” reasons.
It’s always best to make a good first impression, particularly if you’re Jay Ajayi and you’re going to wear the number of Eagles great Brian Westbrook. Columnist Mike Sielski writes that’s just what the new Eagles running back did.
Doug Pederson took a lot of grief from the fans and media when he was named Eagles head coach last year. Things doubled-down when Pederson said he would also handle play-calling duties. Staff writer Jeff McLane says Pederson has grown into both roles.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz brought in a new system which took some time for his players to adjust to. Columnist Bob Ford writes the Birds defense is in strong form now.
Across the nation, Philadelphia has a notorious reputation for having hyper-critical media and fans. First-year Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph has been in charge for eight games but Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla writes he should be fired.
Dwyane Wade was presumably brought to Cleveland to be a veteran steadying force next to LeBron James. With the Cav struggling out of the gate, Wade took the unifying action of blaming the starters.
On Saturday night UFC legend Georges St-Pierre came out of retirement after four years and won the middleweight championship by choking out Michael Bisping.
On the same card, Rose Namajunas forced heavily-favored champion Joanna Jedrzejcyzk to tap out and won the strawweight title.
Who knew at the time at those two sanctioned combat-sport matches would only be preliminary bouts to the fighting that would happen this weekend in professional sports.
The Sunday NFL schedule was blemished by two nasty fights that occurred during games.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was in full apology mode after he was ejected for fighting with Jacksonville Jaguar defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
“That’s not who I am,” Green said after he reacted to a shove from Ramsey by putting him a choke hold from behind and slamming him to the turf
In New Orleans, Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans started a brawl by violently spearing Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore from behind during a break in play. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had instigated things by poking Lattimore in the back of the helmet.
In a Major League Soccer playoff match, USA National Team teammates Jose Altidore of Toronto F.C. and Sasha Kljestan of the New York Red Bulls were issued red cards after their chippy play on the field exploded at halftime with the teams fighting in a tunnel under the stadium.
Toronto coach Greg Varney claimed Altidore had been “basically ambushed” by Kljestan and other Red Bull players in the tunnel as the teams went to their locker rooms.
Football and, yes even soccer, are contact sports and sometimes things can get heated, but fighting is not within the rules as a way to iron things out.
Both the NFL and MLS coffers should get some extra money from fines this week.
Any of the punished parties who complain about being fined for fighting should do like former NFL defensive lineman Greg Hardy did this weekend and make his professional debut as a mixed martial arts combatant – a sport where fighting is the only purpose.
Lions at Packers, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Coyotes at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NBCSP+)
Melbourne Cup, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)