We have been in a little bit of a lull as NFL fans between free agency and the draft, which is the perfect time to release the NFL schedule. My favorite part of the NFL schedule release is seeing the big-time match-ups for the upcoming season. Who’s playing on Thanksgiving? Which NFC and AFC powerhouses are facing off? Well no need to fret loyal reader, I have compiled a nice list of the most compelling match-ups to look forward to for the 2018 NFL season.
Week 1: Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
Please God, let Deshaun Watson be ready for week 1. Watson set the league on fire before a devastating ACL injury during a practice (of all things) during last season. A match-up with Tom Brady and the defending AFC Champions to start the 2018 season is simply succulent (succulent?). This is a Sunday Night quality game to start off your afternoon at 1 PM and it is glorious.
Week 6: San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
A fall primetime game at Lambeau Field exemplifies what we all fell in love with about football. This just so happens to be the first primetime game of the Jimmy Garoppolo era, and it comes against Aaron Rodgers. This has shootout potential in Lambeau, and the popular pick for the surprise team of the year could make a huge statement on Monday Night Football against the NFL’s premier franchise.
Week 5: Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles
This is big for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this is a rematch of the debacle we called the NFC Championship this past season with the addition of Kirk Cousins. Secondly, this very well could be the season debut of Carson Wentz. He tore his ACL AND his LCL on December 10th, and Nick Foles is more than a capable backup, so he can afford to take a couple extra weeks to make sure he is 100% fine.
Week 9: Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints should have been in the NFC Championship game, and very well could have been playing in the Super Bowl. That stinging feeling of being so close should have them fired up for the 2018 campaign. On the other side, you have the team that has made the most noise in the off-season, acquiring Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh, and Aqib Talib. Watching Sean Payton‘s offense face off against Wade Phillips’ defense could be a potential playoff preview at the beginning of November, and should have a big impact on playoff seeding.
Week 6: Jacksonville Jaguars @ Dallas Cowboys
Can’t wait until Monday night for a good NFL game week 6? Well, this late-afternoon match-up could have the makings of NFL Game of the Year. You have the elite defense of Jacksonville going up against a distraction-less Cowboys offense inside of Jerry’s World. The Cowboys are poised for a bounce-back season and could show that they can challenge for the NFC East crown with a win over the Jags. Jacksonville has the chance to build off of their last season and show that they weren’t a flash in the pan. Putting a beat down on Ezekiel Elliott would certainly show that. And what would a list of intriguing games be without the most controversial team in pro sports!
These are the 5 match-ups that I am most looking forward to this coming season. Can’t wait to see what the NFL Draft has in store for us next.