The Winners and Losers of the N.F.L.’s Schedule Reveal

by Christina S. Brown
0 comment

We’re almost midway between the conclusion of the NFL’s 2023 season and the daybreak of its subsequent season.

And now lastly, groups and their fan bases can appropriately put together for the upcoming slate. Whereas groups have identified their opponents for fairly a while, now they’ll deal with the logistical preparations for the 2024 season.

Not all schedules are created equal, after all. (And no, this has nothing to do with the system to find out opponents with these unbalanced schedules. That course of is simply dandy.)

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Full 2024 NFL schedule launch: Texans on the rise

Look by means of the quirks of every group’s schedule, and anybody can discover a couple of gripes and even some pleasant bounces. That’s the place we are available in, as we run by means of a few of the winners and losers from the 2024 NFL schedule reveal.

WINNERS

Chicago Bears

The Bears are gearing up for his or her most anticipated season in many years with the arrival of quarterback Caleb Williams and broad receiver Rome Odunze to headline their thrilling offseason. These big-ticket personnel strikes got here on the heels of a powerful 5-3 end to the season that drew the eye of entrance places of work across the league.

Extra motive for optimism: The Bears have the third-easiest power of schedule (.467) based mostly on their opponents’ information in 2023.

Of observe, Williams might get an opportunity to sq. off in opposition to fellow top-three picks Jayden Daniels (Commanders, Week 8) and Drake Maye (Patriots, Week 10) in a three-week stretch.

Discover one of the best offers on tickets to see your favourite groups.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons and Saints are tied for the best power of schedule in 2024, based mostly on their opponents’ information from final season (.453). Whereas this might simply be an NFC South factor — the 4 divisional foes rank within the high six in strength-of-schedule ease — the Falcons are the group with the shiny new quarterback(s).

Veteran Kirk Cousins is predicted to spice up a group that’s coming off three consecutive 7-10 information, and the league has backed Atlanta’s pleasure with 4 prime-time video games.

The Falcons have a tricky early schedule, however 4 of their first 5 video games are at residence, which helps mitigate the problem. If Cousins hasn’t recovered from his torn Achilles, rookie quarterback Michael Penix Jr. goes to have a heck of a welcome to the NFL, because the Falcons open with the Steelers, Eagles and Chiefs proper out of the chute.

Dallas Cowboys

It gained’t be exhausting to search out the Cowboys on TV. They’re tied with the 49ers and Jets with a league-high six prime-time video games, as they’re scheduled to face the Giants, Steelers, Niners, Texans, Bengals and Bucs after darkish.

They’ve additionally received 5 video games in that marquee 4:25 p.m. ET time slot that tends to attract a heavy highlight. And let’s throw in a Thanksgiving matinee in opposition to the Giants to high it off.

The Cowboys solely have 4 1 p.m. kickoffs plus the TBD begin time within the finale in opposition to Washington.

It’s going to be a busy 12 months with the Cowboys, because the storyline relating to the warmth on head coach Mike McCarthy coupled with the looming availability of Invoice Belichick doesn’t appear to be going away. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s expiring contract is one other main focus in Dallas, together with the pending negotiations with linebacker Micah Parsons and receiver CeeDee Lamb. All of this after one other early playoff disappointment, and the Cowboys in prime time will probably be a broadcaster’s dream.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Can Jordan Love, Dak Prescott earn $60M a 12 months? Subsequent wave of QB offers set to push market limits

The Week 14 bye week draw

By some means, six groups have the final bye of the season, which is tied with Week 12 for essentially the most byes in a given week. The Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Colts, Broncos and Commanders will get a welcomed likelihood to relaxation in early December.

On the flip facet, it could be smart to keep away from stocking up on fantasy gamers from these groups in case you’ve received a must-win matchup within the regular-season finale.


Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift ought to have loads of motive to have fun this 12 months because the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs appear like they’ve a fairly gentle schedule. (Patrick Smith / Getty Photos)

Taylor Swift’s favourite group

The 2-time defending champs enter the season with 5 prime-time video games, nevertheless it’d hardly be a shock to see the Chiefs get flexed into an additional window earlier than it’s all completed.

Positive, the Chiefs have a tricky opening pair of video games in opposition to the Ravens and Bengals, however they’re each at residence. And after elevating the Tremendous Bowl banner after which shedding to the Lions final season, Chiefs coach Andy Reid shouldn’t have an issue getting his group’s consideration.

The Chiefs additionally tackle the NFC South, so that they caught a break with that one.

Washington Commanders

The Commanders gained’t be racking up many frequent flier miles. They journey a league-low 10,550 miles this season, in line with Bookies.com. Twelve groups are touring at the very least twice that many miles on highway journeys.

LOSERS

New York Jets

The Jets’ Achilles’ heel in 2024 could also be their early-season schedule. (Too quickly?)

Six of their first 11 video games are in prime time, which is able to work to their profit in the event that they get off to a sizzling begin and ship a message to the remainder of the league. But when issues go south, the Jets have seen once they’re overcome with unfavorable consideration. And bear in mind, prime-time video games include wonky scheduling quirks, together with a Monday-Sunday stretch with the Payments and Steelers and a Sunday-Thursday string with the Patriots and Texans from Weeks 6-9.

They open with three video games in 11 days, together with highway journeys in opposition to the 49ers and Titans earlier than opening at residence in opposition to the Patriots. Though once more, since many groups have daunting stretches in a brief spurt, it’s a bonus to get it out of the way in which in the beginning of the season once they’re theoretically more healthy and higher rested.

However for these obstacles to show into benefits, the Jets are going to need to reply some early-season exams.

On the highway … once more

The Payments, Browns, Bears and Vikings every have the unenviable process of enjoying three highway video games in three weeks.

The Payments’ stretch occurs from Weeks 4-6 in opposition to the Ravens, Texans and Jets. Compounding the difficulty, in addition they go to the Dolphins in Week 2. That’s a date that at all times attracts a watch roll from the Dolphins’ AFC East foes as a result of warmth.

The Browns’ stretch additionally goes from Weeks 4-6 in opposition to the Raiders, Commanders and Eagles.

The Bears can have a pivotal swing from Weeks 13-15 once they go to the Lions, 49ers and Vikings. For a group with actual playoff hopes, the Bears are going to wish to outlive that sequence of hurdles.

The Vikings head out to fulfill the Jaguars, Titans and Bears from Weeks 10-12.

One other bye-week quirk

As if the 49ers’ schedule wasn’t difficult sufficient, they’ll play the Payments, Chiefs, Cowboys and Seahawks all coming off their byes.

The Colts will play three groups coming off their byes (Dolphins, Titans, Broncos), however Indy will probably be coming off its personal bye for the Denver sport.

4 groups will play two opponents coming off their byes, with out the good thing about coming off a bye week themselves. These are the Dolphins (Texans, Raiders), Commanders (Steelers, Bears), Saints (Browns, Commanders) and Seahawks (Jets, Cardinals).

Twelve groups gained’t play anybody coming off a bye: Payments, Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Titans, Eagles, Vikings, Packers, Panthers and Falcons. So, hey, good for them.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are the one group within the league with no prime-time sport, which isn’t a shock contemplating they only had the worst document within the NFL.

Not simply that, however they’ve received to go to Chicago in Week 5 to get a firsthand take a look at the QB whom the Bears drafted with the Panthers’ high choose in April. In order the Panthers proceed to reel after the Bryce Younger–C.J. Stroud choice, they’ve received to hope for a bounce again in 2024 that features Younger outdueling Caleb Williams.

Drake Maye’s highlight

As if the No. 3 choose doesn’t have sufficient strain on him — the continued seek for Tom Brady’s substitute extending into the primary season of the post-Invoice Belichick period, in case you’ve forgotten — the Patriots is likely to be taking over essentially the most loaded schedule of quarterbacks within the NFL in 2024.

Perhaps the Patriots will simply go together with Jacoby Brissett. Or perhaps Maye will play effectively, and the Patriots will exceed expectations.

If Maye and the Patriots wrestle, nevertheless? Yeah, they’ll get a glimpse of how far he’s received to go. And absolutely, little or no of this could be honest to Maye for leaping into the fray with a roster that has main holes on offense.

However the reality is that this. They’re scheduled for 2 tilts every in opposition to Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa. They’ll go to Caleb Williams and the Bears. They’ll host 2023 first-rounders C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson. They’ll additionally greet Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence, Brock Purdy and Kyler Murray.

Accidents will seemingly erase a few of these matchups, however these QBs at the moment are the Patriots’ adversaries in 15 of their 17 video games.

The Patriots’ major aim in 2024 will probably be to develop Maye to create optimism and momentum for 2025. All the pieces else takes a again seat. However within the NFL the place each storyline is hyper-magnified, Maye gained’t get a lot of a reprieve from his opposing quarterbacks.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

2024 NFL schedule: Week-by-week matchups, TV broadcasts and instances

Previous-school distant controls

The NFL has extra streamers than a Dunder Mifflin social gathering.

With video games now streaming on each platform in need of your nephew’s YouTube channel, viewers of a sure age will certainly roll their eyes when it’s time to find out which platform is carrying any given nationwide sport. And even if you happen to’re technologically savvy, you’ll nonetheless want a second to mentally put together if you happen to’re planning to flip between channels throughout commercials.

The longer term is right here, and we’ll embrace it appropriately, nevertheless it’s a slower crawl for some.

The Christmas slate

The Chiefs-Steelers and Ravens-Texans video games have an opportunity to hold a ton of significance, so viewership will probably be sturdy. However all 4 groups will probably be required to make severe scheduling changes to deal with a Wednesday sport in Week 17.

It primarily quantities to 2 consecutive brief weeks, as every group will play Saturday in Week 16 earlier than the Wednesday sport in Week 17. That’ll result in three video games in 11 days for all 4 groups, which isn’t an unprecedented stretch however is definitely an inconvenient one at that stage of the calendar.

(Picture illustration: Sean Reilly / The Athletic; pictures of Aaron Rodgers, Caleb Williams and Dak Prescott: Cooper Neill, Michael Reaves and Nick Cammett / Getty Photos)

You may also like