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AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Best Game From Each Week Of The 2019 NFL Schedule

The NFL’s 2019 regular season schedule for the league’s 100th anniversary was released last night, and it looks like a good one. The primetime schedule in particular is very exciting, as the Thursday night schedule builds on last year’s step forward with perhaps the most promising slate ever, there’s not one bad Sunday night game on paper, and the Monday night schedule looks pretty good.


The draft is still yet to come, but these are my current picks for the best game each week this season. Before that, some quick thoughts on the schedule overall:


Primetime games


Again, and as we’ll get to while going over the best games for every week of the season, the primetime schedule looks excellent this year. It helps that nearly all 32 teams are looking to seriously compete for the postseason in a league with a lot of parity, but FOX (Thursday Night Football) must be thrilled with their draw, and NBC (Sunday Night Football) might have been dealt the best hand they’ve ever had. Hopefully these games look as good in the fall as they do right now.


Creative releases


Most teams got creative when releasing their schedules, including the Lions using The Office to announce each of their opponents. Some of you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the awesome Game of Thrones parodies by the Falcons and Redskins were easily my favorites.




Raiders schedule


The Raiders have gotten a really tough draw, and if any team should have an issue with this year’s schedule, it’s them.


-They host the Chiefs at home in Week 2 then do not have another home game until Week 9. (They have to play the Bears in London in Week 5, replacing a home game. Then they have a Week 6 bye.)


-As a West Coast team, they have seven early games (1:00 PM ET).


-The early-season schedule in general just looks difficult on paper: v. DEN, v. KC, @ MIN, @ IND, v. CHI (London), BYE, @ GB, @ HOU


Other thoughts


-The Buccaneers are in a similar predicament as the Raiders. Tampa Bay plays Weeks 1 and 3 at home, but then they don’t play at home again until Week 10. Like the Raiders, the Bucs have a London game and a bye in that stretch. However, Tampa’s overall schedule doesn’t look as imposing (at least right now on paper, but it’s April).


-The Lions don’t have to play any teams coming off the bye, which is a solid advantage for Matt Patricia as he enters his second season as the team’s head coach.


-Opening and ending their schedule with a home game, the Cowboys don’t have back-to-back home games this season, as they’ll be alternating home and away every week, except Weeks 11 and 12 when they go to Detroit and New England.


-The NFL released the full schedule in one photo:



Best game Week 1-17


Week 1: Steelers vs. Patriots (Sunday 9/8, 8:20 PM ET)

The season opener at Soldier Field should obviously be great because it’ll mark the return of the NFL season after a long wait, and I also like Falcons vs. Vikings from the early set of games on September 8, but Steelers-Patriots should be really interesting. Both teams have lost future Hall of Fame pass-catchers (Antonio Brown for Pittsburgh and Rob Gronkowski for New England), so they’ll look a bit different than in previous years, making the matchup feel fresher to open the Sunday Night Football schedule.


Week 2: Saints vs. Rams (Sunday 9/15, 4:25 PM ET)

Eagles-Falcons on Sunday should be a lot of fun, but the NFC title game rematch is going to be intense. There’s talk that the Saints are treating the Rams like a bigger rival than division opponents like Atlanta and Carolina, and they’ve made it obvious they feel it should have been them in Super Bowl LIII because of the missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship. Especially so the Saints get over the way last season ended, getting the game out of the way in Week 2 was a good move by the schedule-makers.


Week 3: Falcons vs. Colts (Sunday 9/22, 1:00 PM ET)

The Falcons were in the mix for the best game the first two weeks of the season, and they get the nod here, which shows how difficult their schedule looks on paper as things currently stand. Atlanta and Indy should provide stellar quarterback play with Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck leading the way, which should mean a well-played contest. Ravens vs. Chiefs and Rams vs. Browns (Sunday night) were also in the mix for Week 3’s best matchup.


Week 4: Eagles vs. Packers (Thursday 9/26, 8:30 PM ET)

Just as the first Thursday Night Football game of last season on FOX and Amazon Prime was the game of the week with Vikings vs. Rams, it’s the same case this year, with the Eagles going to Lambeau Field to face the Packers on Thursday, September 26. Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers are two of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football, and both their teams are expected to compete for a playoff spot in the NFC.


Week 5: Colts vs. Chiefs (Sunday 10/6, 8:20 PM ET)

The Rams-Seahawks Thursday night game in Week 5 is strong, but it’s tough to top the reigning league MVP and the runner-up for MVP playing on Sunday night in a playoff rematch. Andrew Luck and Indy’s offense just couldn’t get much going in the Divisional Round last season, but they should be more comfortable in Arrowhead after playing there months earlier. And Patrick Mahomes is considered must-watch for many average fans. This could easily turn into a shootout.


Week 6: Eagles vs. Vikings (Sunday 10/13, 1:00 PM ET)

Things got heated during last year’s Eagles-Vikings game, and this has become one of the bigger non-divisional rivalries in the NFL after the Eagles routed the Vikings in the 2017 postseason then won the Super Bowl on their home field. There was talk of this potentially being the Thanksgiving night matchup, but I like that it falls in early October like last year’s game in Philadelphia.


Week 7: Rams vs. Falcons (Sunday 10/20, 1:00 PM ET)

An offense vs. defense showdown between the Saints and Bears will be fun in Week 7, but I’m high on the Falcons in 2019. This matchup will be between two of the last three NFC champions, and the Falcons were the team to knock Sean McVay’s squad out of the NFC playoffs two years ago when the Eagles ultimately went to the Super Bowl out of the NFC. Atlanta also demolished the LA during Jared Goff’s rookie year, so there’ll be some history entering the game.


Week 8: Packers vs. Chiefs (Sunday 10/27, 8:20 PM ET)

Kirk Cousins facing his old Redskins team (and Case Keenum potentially facing his old Vikings team if he’s the starter) is another appealing Thursday nighter, but a couple of Sunday games highlight Week 8. Browns-Patriots is highly-anticipated right now, but we’ll see where Cleveland is in middle of the season—and winning in Foxboro is not easy. Instead of that matchup, Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes in primetime is an easy sell, and the Packers against the Chiefs in Arrowhead should get sky-high ratings for NBC.


Week 9: 49ers vs. Cardinals (Thursday 10/31, 8:20 PM ET)

All things being equal, I don’t really think Niners vs. Cardinals will be the best game of Week 9, but I’m a big fan of holiday games, and this falls on Halloween. Kyler Murray at quarterback for Arizona (if he is indeed the first pick) against Jimmy Garoppolo for San Francisco with two young offensive-minded coaches should at least be somewhat entertaining. It’s a missed opportunity to not have the Ravens play on the spookiest night of the year, though.


Week 10: Rams vs. Steelers (Sunday 11/10, 4:25 PM ET)

I am intrigued by Chiefs vs. Titans (you might remember Tennessee’s epic playoff comeback in January 2018) and a few other matchups including the Giants-Jets in Week 10. But the Rams facing the Steelers in Heinz Field for “America’s Game of the Week” at 4:25 PM ET on FOX feels like it’ll go down to the wire. There’s star power on both sides, and it could be one of the most critical inter-conference matchups of the season.


Week 11: Patriots vs. Eagles (Sunday 11/17, 4:25 PM ET)

The Patriots we almost know for certain are going to be really good in 2019, and if the Eagles are one of the better teams in the league, this could be the game of the year. Both teams will look different than Super Bowl LII a couple of seasons ago, but the biggest change will be Carson Wentz under-center for Philadelphia instead of former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Depending on how the season is going entering Week 11, defending homefield with a win over the Pats could be huge for Wentz specifically.


Week 12: Ravens vs. Rams (Monday 11/25, 8:15 PM ET)

A Monday Night Football game hasn’t been chosen as a game of the week yet, but Ravens vs. Rams has a chance to be one of ESPN’s best in 2019. It’ll be a surprise if Los Angeles isn’t good, so this will probably come down to where the Ravens stand after losing a few starters on defense, including safety Eric Weddle, who is now with the Rams.


Week 13: Saints vs. Falcons (Thursday 11/28, 8:20 PM ET)

Again, I like holiday games, so this Thanksgiving nightcap is an easy choice for my favorite game of Week 13. The Saints and Falcons played on Thanksgiving Night last year in a game that easily could’ve looked different if a couple things just bounced Atlanta’s way, and this year it’ll be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta instead of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The NFC South rivals have been involved in battles that have gone down to the wire in recent years.


Week 14: Chiefs vs. Patriots (Sunday 12/8. 4:25 PM ET)

The second week of December feels like a good spot for Chiefs vs. Patriots, as aside from their playoff matchup in January, the two played in October last season after playing in the season opener the season before. And AFC playoff seeding could be on the line with a few weeks to go before the postseason.


Week 15: Colts vs. Saints (Monday 12/16, 8:15 PM ET)

Jets vs. Ravens (Thursday night), Rams vs. Cowboys, Vikings vs. Chargers (Sunday night), and a few division matchups are all among a promising Week 15 schedule, but the final game of the week might be the best. Going into the Superdome and winning is not easy, but Andrew Luck and company have the mindset to get it done. I expect Indy to run the ball well this season, which could keep Drew Brees off the field.


Week 16: Chiefs vs. Bears (Sunday 12/22, 8:20 PM ET)

We’ll see what happens, but because I enjoy Saturday games, my favorite game for Week 16 will likely change to one of the three games on what’ll be a Saturday tripleheader on December 21: Lions vs. Broncos, Raiders vs. Chargers, Bills vs. Patriots, Rams vs. Niners, or Texans vs. Buccaneers. For the Sunday schedule, Chiefs-Bears on Sunday night will be a big test for Kansas City’s offense and Chicago’s defense.


Week 17: Steelers vs. Ravens (Sunday 12/29, 1:00 PM ET)

Chances are whatever game is flexed into Sunday Night Football will be the game of Week 17. With all the talk about the Browns being ready to take the AFC North crown, maybe we’ll get a classic Steelers vs. Ravens matchup in Baltimore with the division title on the line.


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