6 Biggest NFL Games to Watch This Season
Football preseason is over, and hopefully your team made it through without losing half its starters to injury. Now come the main events, as football’s regular season begins Thursday, September 6, with the Atlanta Falcons versus defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Just as Cleveland Browns standout Baker Mayfield and other rookies are looking for gridiron glory, expect some fresh coverage onscreen. Thursday Night Football heads to Fox, which has a five-year deal to simulcast the games with NFL Network starting in Week 4. Joe Buck handles play-by-play alongside analyst Troy Aikman and reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football debuts a new broadcast team as Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland, and Lisa Salters make their regular-season debuts Week 1 in Oakland. And to once again ensure the national games are worth watching late in the season, the NFL has applied a flex schedule to Saturday matchups on NFL Network in Weeks 15–16.
Here are six games not to miss.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Thursday, September 6, 8:20/ 7:20c, NBC
Nick Foles? Carson Wentz? No matter who starts at quarterback, the Eagles hope this rematch of last season’s hard-fought NFC divisional playoff game (won by the Eagles 15–10) will put their "destiny" 2017 season on repeat.
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders
Monday, September 10, 10:20/9:20c, ESPN
In Game 2 of ESPN’s Week 1 doubleheader, network ex-analyst Jon Gruden returns as Raiders head coach. Now, "Chucky" must engineer a Silver and Black resurrection after a 6–10 season. This game against quarterback Jared Goff and the surging Rams may prove to be an early test.
Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 28, 9:30am/8:30c, NFL Network
You’ll have to wake up early to catch this face-off, which is taking place at London’s Wembley Stadium. The Brits finally get to see a good one, with Jacksonville coming off an AFC championship game appearance to face the defending champs.
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, October 28, 8:20/7:20c, NBC
The Saints will have the "Minneapolis Miracle" on their minds as they return to the scene of their January NFC divisional playoff loss to the Vikings 29–24 when a last-second whiffed tackle snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Expect a scorcher.
Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Sunday, November 4, 8:20/7:20c, NBC
If the Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers are both healthy at this point in the season, a duel between two of the game’s best — on teams with Super Bowl potential — may be a high-scoring nail-biter where turnovers spell the difference.
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles
Rams Sunday, December 16, 8:20/7:20c, NBC
The Week 15 matchup between two of the NFC’s elites could have "first round bye" implications for playoff seeding — and it might be a preview of a contest we’ll see in January.
This article also appeared in the Sept 3 - 16 issue of TV Guide Magazine.