Winners and losers from 2024 NFL schedule release, plus ranking the best revenge

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

I’m guessing you’ve probably heard by now, but in case you haven’t: THE NFL SCHEDULE WAS RELEASED LAST NIGHT.

If you’re wondering why I’m writing in all caps, it’s because I’ve had 12 cups of coffee since yesterday morning and my brain is so fried that I’m not even sure I believe in the existence of sounds anymore.

Anyway, I’m guessing you already know what we’re going to be covering today and if you guessed the NFL schedule, then you are correct. We’re going to cover the schedule release, the schedule release and more schedule release. If you missed the schedule release, you can see a list of all 272 games here.

As always, here’s your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. Actually, you don’t even have to tell all of your friends; just tell two of your friends and I’ll be happy. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here.

1. Today’s show: Instant reaction from the schedule

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I wasn’t the host of today’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast, which was probably for the best, because if I had been hosting, I would have demanded that we individually cover all 272 games on the 2024 NFL schedule. However, I was told that wasn’t a practical idea because it would take 37 hours, so we didn’t do that. Instead of me as host, Will Brinson was in charge of things today and we were joined by Tyler Sullivan, and the three of us gave our instant reaction to the schedule.

One of the things talked about was the slate of holiday games for 2024, and that conversation included each of us picking our favorite Thanksgiving game.

  • Breech: Dolphins at Packers. Sure, the Dolphins have lost 11 straight games when the weather is under 40 degrees, but I still feel like this will turn out to be a good game. Win or lose, the Dolphins are almost always fun to watch and I don’t think this will be an exception.
  • Sullivan: Bears at Lions. Sulley is excited about this game because it will give us all a chance to see Caleb Williams on the national stage. By the time Week 13 rolls around with the Thanksgiving games, we’ll have a good idea of what Williams can do and if he’s starting to look like a star, then this game will become must-see TV.
  • Brinson: Giants at Cowboys. Brinson was mostly excited about this game because it could end up being the beginning of the end for Mike McCarthy. The Cowboys coach is going to have a lot of pressure on him this year and if he loses to the Giants on Thanksgiving, Jerry Jones might not let him stick around much longer after that.

You can hear the rest of our schedule reaction by listening to today’s show here. You can also watch the entire thing on YouTube by clicking here.

2. Ranking the top revenge games on 2024 schedule

If there’s one thing we love to do around here, it’s ranking things, so we decided to rank the best revenge games on the 2024 schedule.

As the CBS Sports expert on revenge, we let Will Brinson handle the rankings, and here’s the top three games on his list:

1. Chiefs at 49ers (Week 7). “There is absolutely no revenge quite like “Super Bowl Revenge” and the 49ers will get their shot at redemption.”

2. Steelers at Broncos (Week 2). “Russell Wilson versus Sean Payton? Shoot it into my veins. Russ got cut by the Broncos this offseason and eventually signed with the Steelers on a dirt-cheap, one-year contract. He has all the spite in the world for being publicly embarrassed, even though the Broncos are still paying him roughly $85 million not to play for their team.”

3. Ravens at Chargers (Week 12). “It’s the Harbaugh Bowl. If you want to argue this isn’t “revenge” because Jim and John are brothers and ultimately love each other, that’s fine. But Jim has never beaten his brother and despite winning a college football championship at his alma mater Michigan this past year, he doesn’t have the Super Bowl ring that John owns. Worse news for Jim: John won his Super Bowl against his brother in Super Bowl XLVII.”

If you want to check out Brinson’s full rankings, be sure to click here.

3. NFL schedule breakdown: One good thing and one bad thing on each team’s schedule

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The NFL spends a lot of time every year putting the schedule together, and although the league does its best to make sure every team is happy, the fact of the matter is that making everyone happy is impossible when you’re putting together a schedule that consists of 272 games.

With that in mind, I went through all 32 schedules to find one thing that should make each team happy about their schedule and one thing they’re probably irate about. Let’s check out three teams:

Steelers

  • One good thing for the Steelers: The Steelers get to start off the season by playing three straight games against teams that all finished under .500 last year (Falcons, Broncos, Chargers) and they’re going to need to take advantage of that by getting off to a quick start because the second half of their schedule is ugly.
  • One bad thing for the Steelers: The backend of the Steelers’ schedule is almost unfair. From Week 11 thru Week 18, the Steelers will play eight straight games against teams that finished last season with a winning record (Ravens, at Browns, at Bengals, Browns, at Eagles, at Ravens, Chiefs, Bengals). This stretch includes a span of three games in 10 days where they’ll face the Eagles, Ravens, Chiefs from Dec. 15 thru Dec. 25.

Chargers

  • One good thing for the Chargers: The Raiders won’t be leaving Las Vegas a single time between Nov. 20 and Dec. 24. That 34-day stretch is the longest span that any team will go without playing a road game this year.
  • One bad thing for the Chargers: Starting in Week 11, the Chargers have a four-week span where three of their games are against the Bengals, Ravens and Chiefs. Those three teams are the only three that have made the AFC title game over the past three seasons, which makes that qualify as a rough stretch.

Lions

  • One good thing for the Lions: From Week 1 thru Week 15, the Lions will only play ONE outdoor game, which means they won’t have to worry about the possibility of bad weather slowing down their speedy offense. Over the first 15 weeks, the Lions have eight games at home and five road games in a dome plus a bye (Their only outdoor game is at Green Bay).
  • One bad thing for the Lions: Coming out of their Week 5 bye, the Lions have to play four of their next five games on the road and the worst part is that three of those four road games are against teams that made the playoffs last season (Cowboys, Packers, Texans). If the Lions are going to struggle in 2024, that could be the stretch where it happens.

You can see one good thing and one bad thing from each team’s schedule by clicking here.

4. Winners and losers from the schedule release

Like everything in life, there were winners and there were losers during the NFL’s schedule release on Wednesday. Cody Benjamin sifted through all 272 games on the schedule to try and figure out who came out of the schedule release as a winner and who came out as a loser and here’s what he came up with:

WINNERS

  • Jets fans. “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.”
  • Caleb Williams. “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.”
  • 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.”

LOSERS

  • Ravens. “Lamar Jackson and Co. drew the Bengals, Chiefs, Bills and Cowboys in the first five weeks alone, and their bye doesn’t come until the all way in Week 14, the middle of December.”
  • Jaguars. “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.”
  • 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.”

If you want to see Cody’s full list of winners and losers, be sure to click here.

5. Netflix is taking over the NFL: Streaming company lands Christmas games

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The biggest winner of the NFL schedule release might have been Netflix. The streaming company made some major headlines on Wednesday, and here’s why:

  • Netflix wins rights to two key games. The NFL decided to put its two Christmas games up for bid and Netflix ended up winning that bid by offering to pay a reported $75 million PER game. This now means that Chiefs-Steelers and Ravens-Texans will both be streaming exclusively on Netflix this year.
  • Netflix signs three-year deal with the NFL. Not only will Netflix be getting two Christmas games this year, but the streaming company will also get at least one Christmas game over each of the next two seasons (2025 and 2026).
  • There will also be a Jerry Jones documentary. Getting two Christmas games wasn’t quite enough for Netflix. The company also announced that it will be releasing a 10-episode documentary on Jerry Jones that will explore his early years of owning the Cowboys. You can read the full details on the series here.

In other Netflix news, the company also has a series coming called “Receiver,” which is a follow-up to “Quarterback,” which starred Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins and Marcus Mariota. The new series will star Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Amon-Ra St. Brown.

6. Extra points: Giants unveil wild throwback uniforms

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.

  • Giants have a new alternate uniform and you have to see it. The Giants are celebrating their 100th anniversary this season and as part of the celebration, they have a new throwback uniform that combines multiple eras: It’s a modernized version of a 1933 jersey combined with pants from 1925 and a helmet from 1938. Personally, I give the jerseys a “B” and the new helmet an “A.” You can check out the full look here.
  • Giants set to be on new version of ‘Hard Knocks.’ The NFL revealed that the Giants will be featured on an OFFSEASON version of “Hard Knocks.” The new version of the show will take place and show things that happen between January and July, which means we’ll get an inner look at what teams do during free agency and the NFL Draft. The new show kicks off a five-episode run starting on July 2. You can read more about it here.
  • Cam Heyward sitting out OTAs. Steelers star Cam Heyward is looking for a contract extension and since he hasn’t gotten it, he’s decided he’s going to sit out OTAs. Heyward’s current contract expires at the end of the 2024 season, so it’s understandable that he wants an extension, but he’s also 35, so it’s also easy to see why the Steelers haven’t given him a new deal just yet.
  • JJ Watt reveals what players look for on NFL schedule. Have you ever wondered what players look for when the schedule comes out? Well, Watt answered that question yesterday and he said most players look at who the opponent is going to be in the first game along with when the bye week will come. He also said he personally looks at the the dates of any Thursday games (because the players get a weekend off after that). You can see his full answer here.

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