2024 NFL schedule release: Winners and losers as Caleb Williams, Jets fans draw

The 2024 NFL schedule is officially here, with the league announcing Wednesday all 272 of its upcoming regular-season matchups. There are lots of premium showdowns to be found, from the Week 1 opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, to the Christmas Day doubleheader pitting the reigning champions against the revamped Pittsburgh Steelers. In short, good games await.

With that in mind, it’s not too early to crown some winners from the 2024 schedule release. But when there are winners, of course, there are also losers. So here are our initial assessments:

You could just as easily put them in the “Losers” category, if they’re concerned about Aaron Rodgers staying upright following a lost 2023 season. But six prime-time games in the first 11 weeks? Talk about getting a real spotlight! If Gang Green actually lives up to its potential, they will justify the must-see-TV approach by the NFL.

Getting the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day, on four days rest, is a sack of coal by itself, but consider also that it will fall in between a stretch featuring back-to-back road games against the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. And then there’s the Week 18 finale against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Good luck!

Pressure is on the No. 1 overall pick to deliver immediate results as the Chicago Bears’ next face of the franchise, but the early season slate should help him just as much as the Bears’ upgraded supporting cast. Chicago’s first 10 games are some of the easiest in the entire NFL in strength of schedule, with matchups against rebuilding squads like the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

Loser: Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers may have a tough road (see above), but they can at least rest a bit easier knowing their bitter AFC North rivals also have a daunting path back to a potential conference title game. Lamar Jackson and Co. draw the Bengals, Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys in the first five weeks alone, and their bye doesn’t come until the all way in Week 14, the middle of December.

Not only will Jordan Love and Co. avoid playing even a single team that’s coming off its bye week, but the Packers will also avoid a typical road contest by playing on a neutral site to open the year, with Sept. 6’s Friday night matchup with the Eagles in Brazil. The strength of schedule had already positioned Green Bay well, but a return to the playoffs seems even more feasible now.

Loser: Weekday breaks

This isn’t an issue for the whole schedule, but it’s hard to overstate just how intrusive the NFL schedule has become. We all love football, no doubt. But the Chiefs are a prime example: They will end up playing on almost every day of the week thanks to this year’s Wednesday Christmas games, also occupying Monday, Thursday and Saturday appearances. Sometimes less is actually more!

Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

A year after enduring a gauntlet of title contenders, the Eagles will finish with four of their final five games at home, and even the road matchups in those cases aren’t going to require a massive trek. There are still tough slots on the schedule, including a holiday stretch featuring the Bengals, Cowboys, Rams and Ravens in a span of a month, but closing with an NFC East-heavy script should work in their favor.

Maybe the NFL really wants Trevor Lawrence and Co. to prove they’re for real. Because their opening four-game stretch is tough: at Miami Dolphins, vs. Cleveland Browns, at Bills, at Houston Texans. It’s not unreasonable to think Jacksonville could start 1-3, putting the club in an early hole in an AFC South division now touting the Texans as a potential title contender.

Winner: NFL fans

Football is back, baby. Get those calendars. Mark those dates. It’ll be here before you know it.

Loser: Consistent broadcasts

If there’s one thing plenty of people are already griping about, it’s the sheer volume of exclusive carriers of this year’s NFL games, from traditional networks to streaming giants. Christmas games on Netflix? International games on Peacock? Be sure to check out our watch guide for all the details.

Leave a Comment