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The NFL’s big waves of offseason player movement have come and gone, and now the league is set to officially turn the page to the 2023 season, with the release of the full regular-season schedule on Thursday, May 11.
In total, the schedule release will account for 272 different matchups. Here, in anticipation of the unveiling, we decided to predict the games that will be featured on some of the NFL’s most anticipated calendar dates:
Date: Thursday, Sept. 7
The only thing guaranteed about the Week 1 kickoff right now is Kansas City as the host. There are other intriguing possibilities, such as high-octane playoff rematches with the Bengals and Bills. But fresh off a start-to-finish shootout with the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, the Chiefs would draw a sure audience by welcoming a motivated Jalen Hurts to Arrowhead.
Date: Sunday, Sept. 10
Now that Aaron Rodgers is in New York, the NFL will be looking to throw Gang Green squarely into the spotlight. Rodgers is no stranger to “Sunday Night Football,” and what better way for him to make his Jets debut than against a scrappy Patriots team that’s beaten its divisional rivals in 14 consecutive matchups?
Date: Monday, Sept. 11
If the Bengals and Bills, chief foes of the Chiefs in the AFC, don’t get top billing in the season opener, they stand to see prime-time lights elsewhere. The NFL would probably like nothing more than to open its “Monday Night Football” doubleheader by allowing the divisional round enemies to play the regular-season matchup they never finished in 2022, with a rightful Damar Hamlin tribute baked in for good measure. As for the late game, San Francisco will enter with some kind of quarterback intrigue, regardless of whether Brock Purdy or Trey Lance is active, and the Cowboys are always a prime-time draw.
Date: Thursday, Nov. 23
Rivalries always do well on holidays, and Lamar Jackson will likely be trying to earn his late-season keep as the newly paid face of the Ravens, while the Steelers always provide an underrated late-year fight. Detroit is a given to host on Thanksgiving, but now the Lions are also playoff-caliber, and the Packers will be looking to remain relevant in a post-Aaron Rodgers world. Speaking of Rodgers, how fitting would it be for him to follow up his old team by guiding the Jets in the nightcap with a visit to Dallas?
Date: Friday, Nov. 24
The NFL’s first-ever Black Friday special will debut this year, and NBC Sports’ Peter King has dubbed this NFC East rivalry the “leader in the clubhouse” for the late-afternoon matchup. We’ll roll with that, because it makes all the sense in the world: Philly destroyed New York on multiple occasions during its run to the Super Bowl in 2022, and the Giants should remain challengers in the East. Provided they’re not playing on Thanksgiving, they could essentially extend the holiday marquee to Friday.
Date: Monday, Dec. 25
Unlike last year, when the NFL seized on a Sunday Christmas to unveil its first-ever Dec. 25 tripleheader, the holiday falls on a Monday this year. But no one ever turns away from a matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, making this AFC playoff rematch an ideal candidate for the end of the holiday weekend. Playoff implications could abound.
The Chiefs and Patriots have already been reported as overseas hosts, while the Bears and Saints have been rumored as their respective foes. Chicago may be a growing team, but it’s still a historic franchise the NFL would like to expose internationally.
Like in Germany, the London hosts have already been leaked. Their opponents, however, have not. The Panthers would make a nice pairing with the Jags, pitting one No. 1 overall pick (Bryce Young) against another (Trevor Lawrence). The Raiders would allow the Las Vegas market to expand overseas. And the Seahawks are an appropriate smashmouth matchup for the rugged Titans.
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