The anticipation for the NFL season is building. It is, of course, silly that the NFL makes a big deal out of their schedule announcement. But it works — a look at the calendar has definitely re-injected the NFL into the national conversation.
And it will be interesting to see how our perception of this calendar will evolve. Right now, the Washington Redskins matchup against the New York Giants in Week 16 looks like a total snoozer. But what if that game features Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock battling for a spot in playoffs? The NFL is so unpredictable, and that’s what makes it great.
Working off what we know about teams from last season and this offseason, here’s a week-by-week look at the NFL season, ranking those weeks in order of worst to first.
Best games: Packers at Chiefs (SNF), Browns at Patriots, Chargers at Bears, Cardinals at Saints.
Analysis: If the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray, he will probably be starting by Week 8, which could make that matchup fun. Otherwise, the Packers-Chiefs and Browns-Patriots matchups carry this week — and not very far.
Best games: Steelers at Chargers (SNF), Seahawks at Browns, 49ers at Rams, Giants at Patriots (TNF).
Analysis: The weeks starts with a classic Super Bowl rematch between the Patriots and Giants. San Francisco, which should be up-and-coming with Jimmy Garoppolo back, gets a test in Los Angeles. Beyond that, the storylines might be lacking this week.
Best games: Saints at Falcons (TNF, Thanksgiving), Broncos at Steelers, Patriots at Texans (SNF), Vikings at Seahawks (MNF).
Analysis: Unfortunately, Thanksgiving will be a bit of a snoozer. And the weekend afterward doesn’t feature any obviously awesome matchups.
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Best games: Rams at Steelers, Vikings at Cowboys (SNF), Giants at Jets, Seahawks at 49ers (MNF).
Analysis: A little New York rivalry makes this week fun, along with a potentially interesting conference crossover between L.A. and Pittsburgh. (The last time these two teams played, it featured Nick Foles and Michael Vick.)
Best games: Patriots at Ravens (SNF), Packers at Chargers, Colts at Steelers, Browns at Broncos, Titans at Panthers.
Analysis: The matchup between New England and Baltimore could be a preview of the AFC title game. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers gets a chance to test himself against what will likely be one of the AFC’s best defenses. And the Colts and Steelers, two teams who might be on opposite trajectories, should be a fun matchup.
Best games: Cowboys at Patriots, Seahawks at Eagles (SNF), Ravens at Rams, Jaguars at Titans.
Analysis: Who is more nationally deplored, the Patriots or the Cowboys? (Probably the Patriots.) Beyond that game this is a ho-hum week.
Best games: Eagles at Packers (TNF), Cowboys at Saints (SNF), Browns at Ravens, Vikings at Bears.
Analysis: The Cowboys figured out how to beat the Saints in 2018. Can they do it again?
Best games: Eagles at Cowboys (MNF), Saints at Bears, Rams at Falcons, Texans at Colts, Chiefs at Broncos (TNF).
Analysis: A week of excellent NFC matchups.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Best games: Saints at Rams, Eagles at Falcons (SNF), Seahawks at Steelers, Bears at Broncos.
Analysis: We get a rematch of last year’s NFC championship. Philly and Atlanta can begin to prove they’re good again. The Bears get an interesting cross-conference matchup at altitude in Denver — and Joe Flacco (or whoever is starting for the Broncos) will get an equally challenging test against Khalil Mack and the Bears defense.
Best games: Chiefs at Bears (SNF), Ravens at Browns, Saints at Titans, Packers at Vikings.
Analysis: Andy Reid’s disciple, Matt Nagy, may get a chance to impact the AFC playoff picture. Meanwhile, Baltimore and Cleveland could be fighting for the top spot in the AFC North.
Best games: Rams at Browns (SNF), Saints at Seahawks, Titans at Jaguars (TNF), Ravens at Chiefs, Steelers at 49ers.
Analysis: This is Cleveland’s first significant test of the season. Can Odell Beckham and Baker Mayfield upset the Rams, who are fresh off a Super Bowl appearance?
Best games: Bears at Packers, Jaguars at Raiders, Colts at Saints, Falcons at 49ers
Analysis: Jacksonville or Oakland may be playoff relevant. That could be a sneaky good matchup by Week 15.
Best games: Steelers at Ravens, 49ers at Seahawks, Chargers at Chiefs, Colts at Jaguars, Dolphins at Patriots.
Analysis: By the looks of it, these could be battles of the best teams in their divisions. The Dolphins, meanwhile, may not be playoff relevant, but Brian Flores, a former Patriot, could get a chance to mess with the Patriots’ likely playoff seeding. The only problem with this week is that half the games could be totally irrelevant.
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Best games: Packers at Bears (TNF), Steelers at Patriots (SNF), Texans at Saints (MNF), Colts at Chargers.
Analysis: This is generally one of the most fun weeks of the season, regardless of who is playing. This week boasts strong primetime games which should bring a fun return to football.
Best games: Chiefs at Patriots, 49ers at Saints, Seahawks at Rams (SNF), Panthers at Falcons, Cowboys at Bears (TNF)
Analysis: With a handful of divisional matchups, this could prove a truly fun week of competition which could hugely impact the playoff race.
Best games: Rams at Seahawks (TNF), Ravens at Steelers, Browns at 49ers (MNF), Colts at Chiefs (SNF), Bears at Raiders, Packers at Cowboys,
Analysis: All the primetime games look very fun. Plus, how do Antonio Brown and Derek Carr look against Chicago’s vaunted secondary?
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Best games: Chargers at Chiefs (MNF), Steelers at Browns (TNF), Patriots at Eagles, Bears at Rams (SNF), Texans at Ravens.
Analysis: This week could have enormous playoff implications, with division rivals likely fighting for seeding.
NFL strength of schedule: Every team’s 2019 schedule, ranked
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