2024 NFL schedule release: Ranking every Week 1 game, including Ravens vs.

The 2024 NFL schedule is finally and officially live. 

All 272 regular season showdowns were announced Wednesday night, and Week 1 is full of top shelf matchups. The Green Bay Packers facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Brazil on a Friday (Sept. 6) will be the NFL’s first international game in South America as well as the league’s first Friday night game in Week 1 since Sept. 18, 1970 — the first season of the AFL/NFL Merger in which the Rams and Cardinals faced off. 

The question of “which of the NFL’s 16 Week 1 games should be prioritized?” shall be answered here by yours truly. Every 2024 season opener is ranked below. Cheers to another year of football. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Longtime New England Patriots head coach/emperor Bill Belichick is gone after 24 seasons, six of which ended with Super Bowl titles, following the worst year of his reign in 2023 in terms of losses (13) and scoring offense (13.9 points per game). In his place is one of his former players in retired linebacker Jerod Mayo, who spent the last five seasons (2019-2023) as a Patriot assistant coach in the roles of inside linebackers coach (2019-2021) and linebackers coach (2022-2023). 

New England also has a new No. 10 at quarterback in 2024 third overall pick Drake Maye, but he might not start this game as Mayo said Maye “has a lot to work on.” If Maye isn’t the starter, then it would be veteran journeyman Jacoby Brissett, whom the team signed to a one-year deal in free agency this offseason.

The Bengals return with much of the same team in 2024 minus offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, who is now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Head coach Zac Taylor returns as the team’s offensive play caller hoping for better health for quarterback Joe Burrow — who suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 11 — and wide receiver Tee Higgins — who missed five games with hamstring and rib injuries. 

This game could get out of hand quickly if a recharged Bengals squad finds its groove early. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 4:05 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Jim Harbaugh returns to the NFL as the Los Angeles Chargers head coach after spending the last nine seasons leading the Michigan Wolverines, a tenure that culminated with a College Football Playoff national championship in 2023. 

The Chargers enter 2024 with a brand new supporting cast around Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert. Five of Los Angeles’ top six pass-catchers since Herbert arrived in 2020 left the team this offseason: wide receiver Keenan Allen (4,125 receiving yards), wide receiver Mike Williams (3,046 receiving yards), running back Austin Ekeler (2,208 receiving yards), wide receiver Jalen Guyton (1,112 receiving yards) and tight end Gerald Everett (966 receiving yards). 

Herbert’s new running backs (JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards) and offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) have been imported from Harbaugh East (John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens), and Jim ensured the team spent the fifth overall pick on the 2024 NFL Draft’s top offensive lineman Joe Alt and not one of the draft’s top receivers in LSU’s Malik Nabers. The Chargers are set to become a team built to run the ball to help keep Herbert upright. 

The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t have a chance to grab one of the draft’s top five quarterback prospects, so they settled for best player available in Georgia tight end Brock Bowers with the 13th overall pick, and entering the first season of head coach Antonio Pierce’s tenure as their full-time leader with a quarterback competition between journeyman Gardner Minshew and 2023 fourth-round draft pick Aidan O’Connell. 

This contest could be a slog early. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 4:05 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Instead of a grudge match between Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll in Broncos versus Seahawks, we will be treated to 12th overall pick quarterback Bo Nix’s NFL debut for Denver against new Seattle head coach Mike Macdonald, who coordinated the NFL’s top scoring defense with the Baltimore Ravens (16.5 points per game allowed) in 2023. 

The intrigue here is to see if Nix can show flashes of promise after Broncos head coach Sean Payton said he felt similarly about Nix as a prospect as he did with Patrick Mahomes back in 2017. Seattle returns one of the better wide receiver trios in the entire league in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Could be an unexpectedly fun contest between a Seahawks defense hoping to make a major improvement in 2024 versus a Broncos offense looking to do the same.

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

The 2-15 Carolina Panthers were abysmal in 2023, and that might be putting it lightly. They became the first team in NFL history to not have a fourth quarter lead at any point in an entire season as both of their wins occurred as time expired. Quarterback Bryce Young struggled mightily — his 5.5 yards per pass attempt were the fourth-lowest in NFL history among those to throw at least 500 passes in a season — while playing behind a patchwork offensive line and throwing to a group of pass-catchers who struggled to separate.

Carolina massively upgraded Young’s supporting cast for his second season:

The New Orleans Saints enter the second season of the Derek Carr era, but for each drive that fizzles out despite having wide receiver Chris Olave and running back Alvin Kamara, Saints fans will be chanting rookie quarterback Spencer Rattler’s name. The Gamecocks passer was the first quarterback drafted outside of the first round at pick No. 150 in the fifth round. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 10 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: Fox

The Minnesota Vikings have plenty to be excited about regarding their offensive skill position group: they have 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year wide receiver Justin Jefferson, 2023 first-round pick receiver Jordan Addison and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones, who they quickly snapped up after his Green Bay Packers release. Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely return from a season-ending injury at some point in 2024. 

However, there is some mystery about who will be the Vikings quarterback to start the season. Their quarterback competition is between journeyman and third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft Sam Darnold, whom Minnesota signed to a one-year, $10 million deal in free agency, and 2024 NFL Draft 10th overall pick quarterback J.J. McCarthy. 

Those Vikings weapons will square off against one of the best defensive lines in football since the New York Giants have 2023 Second-Team All-Pro Dexter Lawrence at defensive tackle, 2022 fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux as one edge rusher and two-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns, whom they acquired from the Panthers in a trade this offseason, as another edge rusher. 

Seeing what Giants quarterback Daniel Jones can do against Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ unit that led the NFL in blitz rate (50.7% of opposing quarterbacks’ dropbacks) while coming off of a torn ACL will be interesting. At least New York gave him an exciting new wideout with their sixth overall pick in LSU’s Malik Nabers. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 10 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: Fox

The 2023 NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept the band together on offense after re-signing both quarterback Baker Mayfield (three-year deal worth $100 million with $50 million guaranteed) and wide receiver Mike Evans (two-year, $41 million deal with $29 million guaranteed) in the offseason. 

They will square off against a Washington Commanders squad that underwent a complete makeover after hiring a new head coach in Dan Quinn and a new general manager in Adam Peters. Second overall pick quarterback Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner at LSU, is now their quarterback, and the front office brought in a sea of veterans in free agency on both sides of the ball including running back Austin Ekeler, tight end Zach Ertz, center Tyler Biadasz, defensive end Dorance Armstrong, safety Jeremy Chinn and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Continuity versus a new blend will be a fun watch in Week 1. 

10. Steelers at Falcons

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

An immediate revenge game will go down in Week 1 with Arthur Smith, the fired Atlanta Falcons head coach who is now the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator, facing his former employer. After calling plays for Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke in 2023, he will call plays for Russell Wilson and/or 2021 11th overall pick Justin Fields in 2024 — a much improved quarterback room for Smith.

Week 1 will mark Pro Bowl quarterback Kirk Cousins’ Atlanta Falcons debut after he signed a four-year, $180 million contract with $100 million guaranteed back in March. His debut coming off of a torn Achilles in 2023 has even more scrutiny after the Falcons selected 2023 Heisman runner-up quarterback Michael Penix Jr. eighth overall out of Washington in the 2024 draft.  Also, Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts will play with far and away the most talented quarterback of their young careers. 

9. Titans at Bears

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

Both the Tennessee Titans and the Chicago Bears enter 2024 with brand new offenses. The Titans have a new head coach in Brian Callahan, the former Bengals offensive coordinator, along with two new starting wide receivers added in free agency: Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. 

Those two along with DeAndre Hopkins should allow Will Levis to connect deep downfield more often: he averaged the highest air yards per pass attempt in the NFL last season (10.5) but also the lowest completion percentage in the league (58%). Drafting Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham seventh overall should also help a porous offensive line.

The Bears added six-time Pro Bowl wideout Keenan Allen via trade with the Chargers and then selected college football’s 2023 receiving yards leader in Washington’s Rome Odunze ninth overall to provide 2024 first overall pick quarterback Caleb Williams with a strong supporting cast in Year 1. 

A battle between young quarterbacks with talented receivers should be a fun time. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a step back in 2023, missing the playoffs after reaching the AFC Divisional Round in 2022. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence dealt with a litany of injuries, which led to him committing 10 turnovers in the team’s final four games of a 9-7 season, the most in the league in that stretch.

Better health for Lawrence plus the additions of Gabe Davis and 23rd overall pick receiver Brian Thomas Jr., who led college football in receiving touchdowns in 2023, should help get the offense back on track. 

Miami brings their high-flying offense led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who led the NFL in passing yards last season, back with Odell Beckham Jr. joining 2023 First-Team All-Pro Tyreek Hill and speedster Jaylen Waddle. 

A fun battle will go down in the Sunshine State. 

7. Cardinals at Bills

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is phenomenal: his 174 touchdowns (passing pus rushing) are the most in a four-season span in NFL history, breaking the previous record of 167 from 2011-2014 set by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. The 2024 season will test his greatness as Buffalo lost Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs after trading him to the Houston Texans and Gabe Davis in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane signed the following wide receivers this offseason: Curtis Samuel, Mack Hollins, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Chase Claypool. He also drafted Florida State standout Keon Coleman with the first pick of the second round, 33rd overall, in April. Can Allen achieve similar heights with a brand new cast of receivers?

On the other side, the wide receiver prospect NFL scouts have been drooling over for years, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., will make his NFL debut catching passes from Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray after the Cardinals selected him fourth overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

This could be a fun fireworks show between Allen and Murray. 

6. Texans at Colts

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Another revenge game early. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts battled in Week 18 with a postseason spot on the line, and the Texans left Indy with a win and an AFC South title. 

The Texans have gone all-in in supporting 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback C.J. Stroud by adding Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon and Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs via trade this offseason. Houston aided 2023 Defensive Rookie of the Year defensive end Will Anderson Jr. by trading for Pro Bowl edge rusher Danielle Hunter. 

The Colts enter 2024 with Anthony Richardson, the fourth overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, back after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5. His presence should make a difference as he is one of four players in NFL history with three or more passing touchdowns and three or more rushing touchdowns in his first four career games. The others are Daunte Culpepper (2000), Cam Newton (2011) and Robert Griffin III (2012). 

Stroud vs. Richardson could define the AFC South for the next decade. 

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: FOX

The Dallas Cowboys return with the 2023 season leaders in passing touchdowns (Dak Prescott, who had 36) and receptions (CeeDee Lamb, who had 135). However, they are replacing eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith with rookie and 29th overall pick offensive tackle Tyler Guyton, who was predominantly a right tackle at Oklahoma. Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz has been replaced by third round rookie Cooper Beebe, who did not line up at center once in a game at Kansas State. He spent time at guard and tackle.

The Cowboys’ retooled offensive line will go up against 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year defensive end Myles Garrett in his house in Cleveland. What will Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson look like coming off season-ending shoulder surgery against three-time All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons and two of the best ballhawking cornerbacks in the NFL in the Cowboys’ DaRon Bland and Trevon Diggs? 

Plus, Tom Brady makes his announcing debut. A fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

4. Packers at Eagles (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Date: Friday, Sept. 6 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: Peacock

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love showed he is capable of taking over for Aaron Rodgers, throwing the second-most touchdowns in the NFL in 2023 (32) despite throwing to the youngest group of pass-catchers in the NFL. The Packers retooled their defense with the addition of safety Xavier McKinney, who led all players who lined up at safety and had at least 20 passes thrown their way in forcing tight window throws with an NFL-best 30.8% tight window throw percentage.

The young Packers, who had the NFC champion 49ers on the ropes in the divisional round last postseason, square off against the uber-talented Philadelphia Eagles, who are relying on new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to get Jalen Hurts and their passing game back on track. 

Two NFC contenders going head-to-head in Brazil on Friday night stands as one of the league’s best matchups early. 

3. Rams at Lions

Date: Sunday, Sept. 8 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET | TV: NBC

A deep cut revenge game is here! There’s the layer of Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff being traded for each other and Stafford then winning the Super Bowl with the Rams, something Goff was unable to do. Then, there’s the additional layer of Goff and the Lions ending Stafford and the Rams’ season in the wild card round in 2023. 

This spite-filled playoff rematch is a great way to end the first full Sunday of NFL action. 

2. Jets at 49ers

Date: Monday, Sept. 9 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN/ABC

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers starts his second season with Gang Green on “Monday Night Football,” and he will face his longtime NFC nemesis in the San Francisco 49ers, the reigning NFC champions. 

Will his Achilles hold up for more than four snaps this time around against 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers ferocious front seven? Can the Jets, plagued by injuries all around in 2023, pack an early-season punch against San Francisco’s loaded offense and show they are worthy of all their primetime attention — six primetime games in the first 11 weeks in 2024? 

This is a fantastic way to end Week 1. 

1. Ravens at Chiefs

Date: Thursday, Sept. 5 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET | TV: NBC

An AFC Championship rematch between two-time NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens, last season’s AFC top seed and the NFL’s top defense, against back-to-back Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to kickoff the 2024 season? Enough said. 

There is no question this is the perfect matchup to kickoff the new season and the best game of Week 1. 

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