2024 NFL schedule: Most interesting Week 18 matchups, potential games with

The 2024 NFL schedule was just released Wednesday night after days of leaked matchups and rumors. There were a lot of changes in the NFL this offseason, from blockbuster trades to free agency frenzy and an offense-heavy NFL Draft.

With many rookie starting quarterbacks, veteran signal-callers like Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins returning from injury and coaches in new roles, it can be difficult to predict how the season will go without seeing some regular-season snaps, but we are going to predict it anyway.

For some teams, Week 18 is a time to sit starters and start prepping for the playoffs, but for other teams, that week is do or die. Every season, the final week of the regular season is filled with complicated scenarios of how teams can or cannot clinch their division and/or a playoff spot.

Let’s dive into the games that could end up having significance in the regular-season finale:

The Chargers have consistently failed to live up to expectations, thanks to coaching issues and defensive struggles. Now that they’ve  hired Jim Harbaugh, they should finally take the next step forward with quarterback Justin Herbert, who has the potential to be a winner in this league.

The Raiders finished 8-9 last season, compared to the Chargers’ 5-12 finish. The defending champion Chiefs will likely win the division, but L.A. could still make the playoffs and it could come down to a Week 18 divisional win. We’ll see if Antonio Pierce’s Raiders thwart that plan.

Last season, the Ravens secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC and did not play some of their starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, in the final regular-season game. The Browns are likely not going to be playing for a divisional title but instead a playoff spot, so if the Ravens have their postseason seeding secured, it would work out well for Cleveland.

The Browns were the No. 5 seed last year and I can see a Week 18 win either determining whether they make or miss the playoffs, or determining where they finish in the AFC.

The Jags and Colts both finished 9-8 last season, and both teams missed the playoffs. With a full season of Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis could be a team in the playoff conversation and its Week 18 outcome could be massive. The Texans won the division in 2023, and if C.J. Stroud stays healthy I expect more of the same this coming season, but one of those extra playoff spots up for grabs could go to Indy.

Before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury, Richardson put up 577 yards with three touchdowns in the air, one interception, 136 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He showed promise in his rookie year.

The NFC South is not the most competitive of divisions. Last season, the Bucs and Saints went 9-8, the Falcons finished 7-10 and the Panthers finished an NFC-worst 2-15. The Falcons have a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins, but he’s coming off an injury and will be 36 before the season kicks off.

The Buccaneers surprised most last season with a playoff run that raised expectations heading into this season. Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans are back and have a new offensive coordinator in Liam Coen, who has worked with the quarterback before.

In a division that has gone down to the wire recently, it is not a leap to predict it will come down to the wire again this year.

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