The beginning of the new 18-game NFL season is right around the corner thanks to a shortened preseason, and it’s wild to think we’re beginning all this already.
If you’re a glorious degenerate like I am, and plan to watch numerous games in Week 1, here’s every game in the slate ranked so you know what to circle on the schedule, and what to avoid.
No. 16: Eagles vs. Falcons, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — Fox
Outside of these fanbases I have no idea who wants to see this. The Eagles are clearly not convinced in Jalen Hurts as their starter, or they wouldn’t be sniffing around potential trades — and the Falcons, well, they’ll probably win in unconvincing fashion.
No. 15: Jaguars vs. Texans, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — CBS
Oooof this game is going to be a stinker. You couldn’t pay me to watch the Texans play professional football this season. However, this narrowly avoids being worst game of the week because I’m curious to see Trevor Lawrence play.
No. 14: Packers vs. Saints, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET — Fox
A team full of offseason drama vs. one moving on from the end of an era. It’ll be interesting to see the new-look Jameis Winston, who can reportedly actually see now, but other than that I don’t think this is super compelling.
No. 13: 49ers vs. Lions, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — Fox
This is an oddly interesting game. I’m curious to find out whether the 49ers defense can return the team to prominence while they wait for Trey Lance to take over, and see what the hell Dan Campbell’s Lions look like with Jared Goff.
No. 12: Broncos vs. Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET — Fox
The thing to really watch here is Daniel Jones, and whether he can basically start to save his own career because the writing is really on the wall.
No. 11: Vikings vs. Bengals, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — Fox
Joe Burrow has barely appeared this preseason, but hopefully for all concerned he’ll bounce back and return to pre-injury form. The Vikings will likely win this, and are better than they’re being given credit for.
No. 10: Bears vs. Rams, Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET — NBC
Ugh Andy Dalton starting, woof. At least we should see some interest on the other side of the ball with the Bears defense taking on Matthew Stafford.
No. 9: Seahawks vs. Colts, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — Fox
I am kind of interested to see Carson Wentz take over the Colts, but now he’s on the Covid list — making this all a big shrug.
No. 8: Jets vs. Panthers, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — CBS
This game has no business being ranked this highly, but it makes it just because of the drama and possibility of a Sam Darnold revenge game.
No. 7: Dolphins vs. Patriots, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS
The Bills control the AFC East at this point, but it’s going to be interesting to see if the Dolphins 2020 wasn’t a fluke, and how Mac Jones fairs as full time starter.
No. 6: Chargers vs. Washington, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — CBS
An underrated game that would be higher if Washington had a more compelling QB than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Justin Herbert is poised to become one of the best QBs in the league if his development continues, and this might be the year the Chargers aren’t completely forgettable.
No. 5: Cardinals vs. Titans, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — CBS
I don’t think the Titans can stop Kyler Murray and co. in the air. I also don’t think the Cardinals can stop Derrick Henry on the ground. What can I say? I love offense.
No. 4: Ravens vs. Raiders, Monday 8:15 p.m. ET — ESPN
The Raiders are decidedly better on paper than their 8-8 record a year ago, and the Ravens are the Ravens … they’re great. This will be fun.
No. 3: Cowboys vs. Buccaneers, Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET — NBC
A major statement game in the NFC to kick off the season with two teams who SHOULD make the playoffs when the dust settles.
No. 2: Browns vs. Chiefs, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET — CBS
I can’t believe the Browns are in one of my most anticipated games of the week, but here we are. Obviously the Chiefs are looking to rebound after their crushing Super Bowl loss, while Cleveland is wanting to make a point that they can challenge in the AFC North.
No. 1: Steelers vs. Bills, Sunday 1 p.m. ET — CBS
If Dallas vs. Tampa Bay is the NFC’s statement game, this is the AFC’s. The Bills are looking to make a Super Bowl run this season and build off their success, while the Steelers are seeing if they can keep the ship afloat for one more season with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. This is the game to watch this week for sure.