2024 NFL schedule release: Which games could feature two rookie quarterbacks

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and this was very apparent during the 2024 draft, when three QBs were selected to kick off the event. Six quarterbacks went in the top 15, which means we may see a lot of rookies running offenses this year.

As we have seen in the past, just because a player is one of the top picks, does not mean they will see immediate success, or success at all, in the NFL. While these rookie QBs may need some time to adjust out of college, there will no doubt be way-too-soon overreactions and comparisons between all the first-year passers.

Here is a look at the rookie quarterbacks who were taken early in the draft:

The NFL has a history of must-see matchups between established quarterbacks and this season’s matchups between rookie quarterbacks could be the start of what ends up being some classic rivalries. It is not a guarantee that these rookies will be the team’s starter and in one case (the Falcons), we know they will not be.

Here is a look at the potential rookie QB vs. rookie QB matchups that we could see next season:

Bears vs. Commanders

When: Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. ET

Potenial quarterback matchup: Caleb Williams vs Jayden Daniels

Williams, barring injury, will be the Bears quarterback and there is a good chance in Week 8 he will be facing the quarterback who was selected right after him. Commanders’ No. 2 pick Daniels will compete with Marcus Mariota, who is also in the Commanders quarterback room, for the starting job.

If Daniels wins the starting job, it will be the last two defending Heisman Trophy winners going head to head.

Last season, the first two picks, also quarterbacks, faced each other. Carolina Panthers’ Bryce Young ended up defeating Houston Texans’ C.J. Stroud, but the rest of the season was a different tale, with Stroud winning Offensive Rookie of the Year and Young’s team ending the year 2-15.

Bears vs. Patriots

When: Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. ET

Potential quarterback matchup: Caleb Williams vs. Drake Maye

Williams has unsurprisingly already been named the starter in Chicago, but Maye still has to earn his starting job during training camp. Even if Maye does not end up the Week 1 starter, the team could transition to the rookie to that role during the season. Williams will have the home-field advantage against whichever quarterback he faces.

After parting ways with Mac Jones following a rough year at quarterback, the Patriots brought in veteran Jacoby Brissett for his second stint with the team. The team is hoping he will provide some leadership for Maye, who is expected to eventually become the team’s starter, whether that is this season or next.

Bears vs. Vikings

When: Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. ET and Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET

Potential quarterback matchup: Caleb Williams vs. J.J. McCarthy

The Vikings lost veteran Kirk Cousins this offseason, leaving a big hole to fill. They drafted McCarthy, adding to their group that also includes Sam Darnold, Jaren Hall and Nick Mullens. Williams and McCarthy will face each other twice if the No. 10 pick wins the starting job, once on “Monday Night Football.”

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell commented on his new QB and explained their goals moving forward.

“This guy is a process-driven guy and understands that there’s a long road ahead of him,” O’Connell said. “We’re just trying to make incremental gains that will be solidified as part of how he plays quarterback for a long time. So I’ve been really impressed with him so far …”

Both teams missed the playoffs last season, but have a chance this year with promising rookies leading the way.

Broncos vs. Falcons

When: Nov. 17 at 4:05 p.m. ET

Potential quarterback matchup: Michael Penix Jr. vs. Bo Nix

Cousins is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury, so his health is a major talking point this offseason. He has progressed significantly and the belief is that he will be ready and at full capacity for the 2024 NFL season. If that is true, he would be the one potentially facing a rookie, though Nix has not won the job yet.

While Cousins continues to recover, Penix Jr. is able to get more reps in.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton has not given too much away about the quarterback competition in Denver. When asked about the competition, he said“We’ll figure it out, we’ll figure it out. … We’ll have a rotation and we’ll go from there.”

Falcons vs. Vikings

When: Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. ET

Potential quarterback matchup: Michael Penix Jr. vs. J.J. McCarthy

This is another game that probably won’t end up being rookie vs. rookie, though there is still a chance. The Falcons’ No. 8 pick shocked most NFL fans, considering the four-year, $180 million dollar deal they gave Cousins. Atlanta has stuck by their selection, saying it was to ensure they have stability at the position in the future. If Penix Jr. ends up being a Hall of Famer, wins a Super Bowl or even needs to step in if Cousins gets injured, the Falcons will have the last laugh in a situation that initially left everyone scratching their heads.

McCarthy says in his short time he has spent with the team, he has not felt overwhelmed and noted that his first day didn’t feel like one. He added that he has gone over their offense for a while, so he is already feeling comfortable on his new team.

Commanders vs. Falcons

When: Week 17 TBD

Potential quarterback matchup: Michael Penix Jr. vs. Jayden Daniels

The Falcons just paid Cousins a lot of money this offseason, so there is no question that he is their first choice to run the offense. If Cousins ends up injured, Penix Jr. may see the field, but after the paycheck they wrote for the former Viking, that feels like the only scenario where the rookie would play in 2024.

Daniels has been seen working with the team’s new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury during rookie minicamp and right now is still expected to be the Week 1 starter.

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