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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Updated: April 20, 11:19 AM ET
Here are the 20 NFL games you can't miss in 2009

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

Tom Brady
Don't worry, no photographers were injured while taking this photo of Tom Brady.

There are 256 games in the 2009 regular-season schedule. You can't watch them all. So here are 20 to circle on your schedule. (Right now! Get a marker and print out a copy of the NFL schedule. I'll wait.)

Titans at Steelers, Week 1: Last year the Titans stomped all over some yellow towels and then were quickly dismissed in the postseason. Will they continue to have bad karma? Or just really clean shoes?

Kansas City at Baltimore, Week 1: It's Matt Cassel's first game as the unquestioned starter of a team since high school. Somewhere, Josh McDaniels will be quietly weeping and rocking back and forth on the floor as he watches the game, a television clutched gently to his chest.

Bills at Patriots, Week 1: Terrell Owens, Tom Brady. Everyone expects this game to be a media circus. But I don't see it. What photographer will risk pointing his camera at Brady when he could be shot at by one of Mr. and Mrs. Brady's security henchmen?

Giants at Cowboys, Week 2: It's only Week 2, but a rivalry game and the opening of Dallas' new stadium will make it a playoff atmosphere. So bet big on the Giants.

Saints at Bills, Week 3: Usually Terrell Owens is the butt of jokes. But if Reggie Bush brings his girlfriend to the game, T.O. will have to cede the butt title.

Colts at Cardinals, Week 3: Keep a close eye on this game. When there's a touchdown or a big play that grabs everyone's attention, Edgerrin James might try to quietly slip over to the Colts sideline.

Patriots at Broncos, Week 5: How long will Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels shake hands after the game? Hey, media, let's agree that if their handshake lasts less than two seconds, they hate each other. And if it lasts two seconds or longer that they have some sort of creepy infatuation with each other. Then either way we have a story. Cool? Cool.

Steelers at Lions, Week 5: The over-under on this game will be about 40. (And that's Jerome Bettis references, not points.)

Panthers at Cardinals, Week 8: The Cardinals exposed Carolina's biggest weakness last year in the playoffs: Jake Delhomme. Well, at least we thought they did. It turns out their biggest weakness is actually management's inability to find anyone to replace Jake Delhomme.

Browns at Bears, Week 8: It's World Series time, and baseball purists love the sound of the crack of the bat. But I'll take the sound of the crack of the ball off Braylon Edwards' hands in a cold-weather game any time.

Rams at Lions, Week 8: This is definitely a game to circle on your schedule. (That is, if your method is to circle the games you definitely do not want to watch.)

Chargers at Giants, Week 9: With Jay Cutler off his schedule, Philip Rivers might have to focus all his juvenile taunting energy on this game. The good money says Eli Manning is crying with his jockstrap band pulled up over his shoulder by halftime.

Patriots at Colts, Week 10: The Colts have had New England's number in recent years. Gisele Bundchen would probably say that Peyton Manning feels like Tom Brady is 100 percent his.

Bears at 49ers, Week 10: Chicago will always love Mike Singletary. Wait, no! I didn't mean it that way. Pull your pants back up, please, Mike.

Chargers at Broncos, Week 11: While the NFL regular-season schedule is set, the officials assigned to each game are not. Come on, Goodell, do it. Do it! Hoch-u-li! Hoch-u-li! Hoch-u-li!

Raiders at Cowboys, Week 12: Yes, you're playing on Thanksgiving again, Tony Romo. But don't expect your girlfriend to skip the meal to watch you play.

Steelers at Ravens, Week 12: This rivalry is as hard-hitting, physical and entertaining as they come. And because of that, the NFL will suspend offending players on each team indefinitely.

Broncos at Chiefs, Week 13: Josh McDaniels to Chiefs head coach Todd Haley before the game: "So, umm … has Matt been talking about me at all? Tell him that I miss him. I miss the way he manages a game. I miss the way he studies film. I miss his musk."

Broncos at Eagles, Week 16: Eagles fans still wish Brian Dawkins was on the team. But if by Week 16 he's showing his age, perhaps they will change their Facebook status to "[Name] is happy about Dawkins going to Denver. Dam Eagles R Not Retarted!"

Bears at Lions, Week 17: Chicago's schedule is graded as the easiest of 2009. But that's a projection. Here's what I know: This game would make their schedule one of the toughest of 1957.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.