The NFL released the entirety of its 2023 schedule on Thursday night, as a few announced games which were teased out earlier in the week finally met up with the rest of the season’s games in an over-the-top culmination that only the NFL would dare to pull off.
But the league has their talons in us, and they know it, don’t they? So, for now — long before we know which teams will actually be good this season — here are our picks for one intriguing matchup during each week of the regular season.
Buffalo at NY Jets
The season kicks off in Kansas City as the defending champs host the up-and-coming Detroit Lions, but we’ve got our eye on the Bills going to Jersey to play the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets. Who knows how long the Rodgers-in-New York curiosity will truly last?
One wonders if the Jets will take a step up with Rodgers behind center, or if they’ll resemble last year’s Broncos with Russell Wilson. Considering all the Jets primetime games this season, the NFL is hoping for the former.
Tipico has (very) early lines for all the Week 1 games — the Bills are currently favored (-1.5) in what oddsmakers expect to be a tight game.
Baltimore at Cincinnati
An early season AFC North showdown that could set the pace for the divisional lead early — though the Steelers and Browns, playing Monday night this same week, may have something to say about that. With Lamar Jackson signed long-term, will we get to see the revamped Ravens passing attack take off against the Bengals?
NY Giants at San Francisco
It’s always a bit strange when a Thursday night game is the most interesting contest on the weekly schedule. Lots of questions with San Francisco may not be answered by Week 3 — the QB could be Trey Lance, Sam Darnold, or even Brock Purdy, if his recovery time is quicker than expected.
Kansas City at NY Jets
We promise the list won’t be as NY-centric going forward, but a month in, against the Chiefs, is probably a good time to check in on the Jets, and if they’re living up to their heightened expectations this season.
Jacksonville at Buffalo (in London)
The Jags play the second of back-to-back games across the pond. “London’s team” hosts the Bills — who don’t carry nearly the same hype as they did last season. You can’t be the hot preseason pick two years in a row. It’s just not allowed.
Dallas at LA Chargers
A Monday night game between two prospective contenders in the NFC and AFC, respectively. Will Austin Ekeler still be with the Chargers at this point?
Miami at Philadelphia
This is about the time where we start looking at presumably good teams that haven’t been mentioned yet and throw them on the list. A Sunday night Dolphins-Eagles game does quite nicely, to be honest. Will Philly roll through the NFC again this year?
Houston at Carolina
This is the week to go in a different direction — while no one expects either of these teams to be good this season, we may get a possible first vs. second overall pick battle between Carolina’s Bryce Young and Houston’s C.J. Stroud.
No matter how their quarterbacking careers transpire, the two will be forever linked, and this will be the first time they square off.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh
Checking in on two teams that could surprise this season with this Thursday night game. Both may have relatively easy schedules from the early look of things. The Steelers had a great draft according to virtually everyone, and we’ll see if Kenny Pickett can make another developmental step — if not a jump — in his second season.
The Titans? They simply love to hang around and be a pain to play against. They could also be starting second round pick Will Levis at QB by this point, depending on how the season’s going.
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Indianapolis at New England (in Frankfurt, Germany)
Another morning game from Europe, as the Colts and Patriots square off in Frankfurt. If first round pick Anthony Richardson isn’t at QB for the Colts to start the year, he surely will be by midseason. File under “things you wouldn’t have read for at least a few decades”: the Pats are expected to finish last in the AFC East this season, and according to current odds, it’s not close. We’ll see if they’re overperforming.
Philadelphia at Kansas City
It’s a Super Bowl rematch on Monday Night Football.
Green Bay at Detroit
We could pick several games this week, including the first-ever Black Friday game, which will oddly start at 3 p.m. But instead, we’ll check in on the Jordan Love-led Packers and hot sleeper pick Lions, who will play in Detroit’s traditional early Thanksgiving slot.
San Francisco at Philadelphia
A Championship Game rematch is only secondary to a Super Bowl rematch, and we already got that tussle two weeks prior to this. Maybe the 49ers will get to have a healthy, NFL-ready QB play the whole game this time around.
Buffalo at Kansas City
The annual anticipated Mahomes-Allen tilt has been not-so-subtly pushed aside by the annual Mahomes-Burrow tilt, but don’t tell Josh Allen that. What, you want to tell him that? OK, fine. Tell him. Makes no difference to us.
Baltimore at Jacksonville
We’ll be deep in the playoff race by now. Will these two teams be leading their divisions? Or will they find themselves on the outside looking in? Friends, we can only fancy a guess. (Jacksonville, leading. Baltimore, not.)
Detroit at Minnesota
It’s possible this game could give the winner pole position to capture the NFC North. Or perhaps Green Bay and Chicago will surprise. This could end up being one of the most wide-open divisions in the league.
Cincinnati at Kansas City
An AFC Championship Game rematch, and a possible playoff preview, sitting in the prime 4:25 slot on New Year’s Eve. To us, that’s cinema.
Atlanta at New Orleans
While some playoff slots will surely be settled by the last week of the season, there’s always an opportunity for some great drama. We’re throwing a dart at the board on this one — we haven’t picked either of these teams yet, and this matchup could be for the NFC South title, and a playoff spot.
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