The 2023 NFL offseason has been one to remember and it comes after one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent history. The free agency period didn’t disappoint in the slightest, the NFL Draft was a huge success for many reasons, and trades were being announced often over the past few months.
We saw Aaron Rodgers bring his 18-year career in Green Bay to an end when he was traded to the New York Jets for a slew of draft picks, while the Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers – who sent a slew of draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago.
Bryce Young (Panthers), C.J. Stroud (Texans), and Anthony Richardson (Colts) highlight the incoming QB draft class – all of whom were taken within the first four picks of the draft – while Jalen Hurts (Eagles) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens) became the two highest-paid QBs in the league with their new contracts.
RELATED: Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson Sign Record-Breaking Contracts and 15 of the Other Highest-Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
15 Most-Anticipated Games of the 2023-24 NFL Regular Season
On May 11, the NFL officially released the regular season schedule as teams and fans got their first look at what lies ahead. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another four months before the start of the season, which is set to kickoff on September 7. Don’t worry, OTAs start soon and training camp begins in June.
The NFL schedule release was kind to the New Orleans Saints, who have the easiest overall schedule, while the New England Patriots were handed the hardest schedule. The Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Chargers were each given a league-high six ‘primetime games.’
Unfortunately for the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, and Indianapolis Colts, they weren’t given any primetime games – don’t worry, there’s always next year. For now, let’s take a gander at some of the marquee matchups we’re looking forward to as the regular season nears closer and closer.
1. Defending Champs Open the Season vs. the Lions in Week 1
The Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Detroit Lions in Week 1 – officially kicking off the 2023-24 regular season. The Chiefs will begin their title defense against one of the teams expected to make a major step forward – a Lions’ team that came one win away from ending their playoff drought last year.
It should be a great way to start the new season. The Chiefs are 9-5-0 against the Lions all-time, but the two sides haven’t met since September 29, 2019 – when the Chiefs defeated the Lions 34-30. While the Chiefs have won their last two matchups against Detroit, the Lions won the two matchups before that.
2. Aaron Rodgers’ Debut Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1
The New York Jets will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 – marking a new chapter for the Jets, who will see Aaron Rodgers make his debut against a divisional opponent. Many people believe the Jets will dethrone the Bills as AFC East Champions, but those people are forgetting how dominant the Bills are.
Historically, the Bills are 68-57-0 against the Jets and have won five of the past six matchups – the Jets defeated the Bills 20-17 last season for the first time since 2019. While the Jets had the Bills’ number between 2016 and 2019 (going 5-3 during that time), the Bills have controlled the series ever since.
3. Any of the Rookie QB Debuts in Week 1
There were a total of 14 quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft, but only three of them have a good chance at starting Week 1 – Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers, C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans, and Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts. If they start, these are must-watch games in Week 1.
The Panthers play the Falcons, the Texans play the Ravens, and the Colts play the Jaguars to start the season. We can also throw Will Levis of the Tennessee Titans in there, but he’s expected to be the team’s third-string quarterback behind Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis. The Titans play Saints Week 1.
4. Jaguars Seek Revenge Against the Chiefs in Week 2
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 – a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Round matchup. The two teams played twice last season, once in November (regular season) and once in January (playoffs). The Chiefs won both games, but only by 10 and 7 points, respectively.
Historically, the Chiefs have a 9-6-0 record against the Jaguars and will be searching for their 10th win against the team in Week 2. While the Jaguars won six of their first eight matchups against the Chiefs, they’ve lost their past seven games against the team and will be looking to end that losing streak soon.
5. All 3 Games in London in Weeks 4-6
For the second straight season, the NFL will be playing three games in London as part of the league’s International Series. The Atlanta Falcons play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Buffalo Bills in Week 5, and the Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans in Week 6.
The Falcons-Jaguars matchup will be played in Wembley Stadium, while the other two matchups will be played in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jaguars have quite the fanbase in London and there have been rumors of a possible move to London in the future, if the NFL ever decides to expand there.
6. Cowboys Seek Revenge Against the 49ers in Week 5
The San Francisco 49ers will be hosting the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5 for an exciting Sunday Night Football matchup. It’s set to be a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Round game, which saw the 49ers defeat the Cowboys 19-12 to advance to the NFC Championship game. Will Dallas get their revenge?
To make the game even more interesting, the two teams have an even historical record against one another – they’re 19-19-1 in their 39 matchups since 1960. The 49ers have won their past two matchups, but the Cowboys have won six of their past nine matchups. Which team will earn their 20th win?
7. Potential C.J. Stroud vs. Bryce Young Game in Week 8
If C.J. Stroud and/or Bryce Young don’t end up starting in Week 1 – which is possible, but unlikely – then they’ll definitely be starting by the time Week 8 comes around. In the event that happens, it’ll make for an exciting matchup between two rookie quarterbacks when the Panthers host the Texans in Week 8.
Young was drafted by the Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, while Stroud was drafted by the Texans with the No. 2 overall pick. A lot of people are excited to see these guys play at the NFL level and will both (potentially) have seven games under their belt by the time they clash in Week 8.
8. Bills Seek Revenge Against the Bengals in Week 9
The Cincinnati Bengals will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in Week 9 – a rematch of last year’s Divisional Round matchup that saw the Bengals advance to the AFC Championship with a 27-10 win over the Bills. It was a tough loss for Buffalo, who were outmatched the entire game – bringing their season to an end.
Historically, the two teams have met 33 times and the Bills lead the series 17-16-0. The Bills won 10 straight games against the Bengals between November 26, 1989 and November 21, 2010, but Cincinnati has gotten the better of Buffalo in five of their past seven matchups. Will that continue in Week 9?
9. Both Games in Germany in Weeks 9 and 10
Last year, the NFL made its debut in Germany when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks matched up in Week 10. The Bucs got off to a hot start and held a 21-3 lead with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks started to make a comeback. The Bucs ended up winning 21-16.
The 2023-24 regular season will see the NFL return to Germany for the second year in a row, this time with two games – the Miami Dolphins will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 and the Indianapolis Colts will play the New England Patriots in Week 1. Both games will be played in Frankfurt, Germany.
10. Potential Justin Fields vs. Bryce Young Game in Week 10
The Chicago Bears will be hosting the Carolina Panthers in Week 10 for Thursday Night Football. At first glance, the game doesn’t look that appealing – neither team is expected to be a contender this season – but there’s a pretty big storyline attached to these two teams and it originated at the 2023 NFL Draft.
About six weeks before the draft started, the Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers – who used the pick to draft their franchise quarterback, Bryce Young. The Bears had their chance at him, but decided to stick with Justin Fields. These two young and talented QBs will now square off in Week 10.
11. Super Bowl Rematch in Week 11
The Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11 for a Monday Night Football game – a Super Bowl rematch that we can’t wait to see. The Chiefs ended up defeating the Eagles 38-35 in a Super Bowl thriller, ending the Eagles’ breakthrough season. Will Philadelphia get their revenge?
The Chiefs and Eagles have only played one another 10 times over the past 50 years. While the Chiefs only won two of their first six matchups against the Eagles, they’re currently on a four-game winning streak against the team – dating back to 2013. The Eagles would love to put an end to that streak.
12. NFL’s First Ever Black Friday Game in Week 12
NFL fans are used to watching three games on Thanksgiving Day and things won’t be any different this season – the Packers play the Lions, the Commanders play the Cowboys, and the 49ers play the Seahawks on Thanksgiving this season. With that said, Week 12 will look a little different than usual.
That’s because the NFL will be playing its first ever game on Black Friday this year – a divisional matchup between Tua Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins and Aaron Rodgers’ New York Jets. It’ll be weird watching football on a Friday, but that means we’ll have Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday of that week.
13. NFC Championship Rematch in Week 13
The Philadelphia Eagles will be hosting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 – a rematch of the NFC Championship game from last year. The 49ers would love to get their revenge after getting clobbered by the Eagles 31-7 in that game – a win that landed the Eagles in the Super Bowl against Kansas City.
The Eagles have won three of their past four matchups and nine of their past 13 matchups against the 49ers, which only adds to San Francisco’s motivation to win. Despite their recent struggles against the team, the 49ers still hold a 20-15-1 series lead over Philly – dating back to their first matchup in 1951.
14. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Host Josh Allen and the Bills in Week 14
The Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in Week 14 – a rematch of the 2021 Divisional Round playoff game and 2020 AFC Championship game. While the Buffalo Bills are 0-2 against the Chiefs in the playoffs since 2021, they’re 2-0 against the Chiefs in the regular season since then.
With this game being so late in the season, there will likely be playoff positioning at stake with this one – adding to the excitement behind this matchup. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen know how to put on a show when they share the field, so don’t expect anything other than that when they square up this year.
15. AFC Championship Rematch in Week 17
The Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 – a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game, which saw the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 to advance to the Super Bowl. It’s also a rematch of the 2021 AFC Championship game that saw the Bengals advance to the Super Bowl.
While the Chiefs are the more established team, the Bengals have defeated the Chiefs in three of their past four matchups – the only loss coming in last year’s AFC Championship game. Historically, the Bengals hold an 18-15-0 series lead over the Chiefs and have beaten them in seven of the past nine.
Other NFL Storylines to Keep an Eye On This Season
Considering all the shocking moves that were made this offseason, NFL fans are in for quite an exciting and unpredictable regular season ahead. And while a lot of the attention will go to Aaron Rodgers in his first season with the New York Jets, there are plenty of other NFL storylines to appreciate this year.
For example, let’s not forget about Derek Carr moving on from the Las Vegas Raiders and joining the New Orleans Saints – who were gifted the easiest schedule this season. We also can’t forget about the return of former Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, who’s now in his first year with the Denver Broncos.
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And the Broncos aren’t the only team with a new head coach – the Panthers hired Frank Reich, the Colts hired Shane Steichen, the Texans hired DeMeco Ryans, and the Arizona Cardinals hired Jonathan Gannon. Will any of these new coaches help turn their franchises around? We’ll have to wait and see!
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