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5 best weeks on the NFL's 2024 schedule

Julian Catalfo / theScore

Mark your calendars, football fans.

The NFL announced its full schedule for the 2024 regular season Thursday. Featuring nine 2023 playoff rematches, this year's slate starts with a bang and includes several high-profile matchups in the second-last week of the year.

Here are the season's five best weeks.

- Prime-time game
🍿 - 2023 playoff rematch
🎄 - Christmas Day
🇧🇷🇬🇧 - International games

5. Week 14

Notable games Date Time (ET)
Vikings vs. Falcons Dec. 8 1 p.m.
Lions vs. Packers ⭐ Dec. 5 8:15 p.m.
Rams vs. Bills Dec. 8 4:25 p.m.
Chiefs vs. Chargers ⭐ Dec. 8 8:20 p.m.
Cowboys vs. Bengals ⭐ Dec. 9 8:15 p.m.

With great individual matchups and a major potential revenge game, Week 14 is about the quarterbacks.

The week's most interesting bout might actually be a 1 p.m. contest, as Kirk Cousins is scheduled to go back to Minnesota to face the Vikings as a member of the Falcons. Cousins - the top free-agent QB this offseason - signed with Atlanta after spending his last six seasons with Minnesota.

Week 14 also features important divisional matchups, including the Lions versus the Packers on Thursday Night Football and the Chiefs against the Chargers on Sunday night. The game between Green Bay and Detroit could have major implications with both teams expected to fight for the NFC North crown.

A pair of QB battles will likely steal the show, with Josh Allen and the Bills visiting the Matthew Stafford-led Rams, and Dak Prescott's Cowboys hosting Joe Burrow and the Bengals on Monday.

4. Week 2

Notable games Date Time (ET)
Chiefs vs. Bengals Sept. 15 4:25 p.m.
Dolphins vs. Bills ⭐ Sept. 12 8:15 p.m.
Texans vs. Bears ⭐ Sept. 15 8:20 p.m.
Eagles vs. Falcons ⭐ Sept. 16 8:15 p.m.
Lions vs. Buccaneers 🍿 Sept. 15 1 p.m.
Broncos vs. Steelers Sept. 15 4:25 p.m.

The week begins with a battle of high-powered offenses in the Dolphins and Bills. Buffalo has won four straight versus Miami, including the playoffs.

We won't have to wait long to watch one of the NFL's best rivalries, as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs host Burrow and the Bengals. The two teams faced each other in back-to-back postseasons prior to last year, and Burrow owns a career record of 3-1 against Mahomes, including the playoffs. Kansas City beat Cincinnati in 2023, but Burrow was out injured.

A tantalizing matchup takes place in Houston, with the Bears - led by 2024 No. 1 pick Caleb Williams - visiting C.J. Stroud and the Texans. Stroud is the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year after going second overall in 2023.

The Broncos versus Steelers - scheduled at the same time as the Chiefs versus Bengals - also deserves attention, as it marks Russell Wilson's return to Denver. Wilson was released in March following a disappointing two-year stint with the Broncos and then signed with Pittsburgh.

3. Week 7

Notable games Date Time (ET)
49ers vs. Chiefs 🍿 Oct. 20 4:25 p.m.
Packers vs. Texans Oct. 20 1 p.m.
Steelers vs. Jets ⭐ Oct. 20 8:20 p.m.
Giants vs. Eagles Oct. 20 1 p.m.
Buccaneers vs. Ravens ⭐ Oct. 21 8:15 p.m.
Saints vs. Broncos ⭐ Oct. 17 8:15 p.m.
Cardinals vs. Chargers ⭐ Oct. 21 9 p.m.
Patriots vs. Jaguars 🇬🇧 Oct. 20 9:30 a.m.

This is a must-watch week, with the slate offering great storylines, a London game, a Super Bowl rematch between the league's best teams, a Monday night doubleheader, and much more. It starts with a Thursday matchup that will mark Sean Payton's return to New Orleans to face the Saints, whom he coached for 15 seasons and helped win a Super Bowl. Payton joined Denver last year and went only 8-9. The Broncos and Saints missed the playoffs, but their meeting will be relatively early in the season, so both fan bases should be optimistic about their chances.

Excitement will also be high at MetLife Stadium, with the Giants hosting the Eagles in Saquon Barkley's return to New York. Barkley, who spent six seasons with the Giants and ranks fourth in rushing yards in franchise history, signed with Philly this offseason.

Kansas City travels to San Francisco months after their Super Bowl LVIII meeting. It was their second Big Game in the last five years. Like the first time, Mahomes and Co. claimed a comeback victory. Mahomes is 4-0 in his career versus San Francisco, including the playoffs.

It'll also be interesting to see Stroud and Jordan Love - two of football's best young quarterbacks - square off as the Texans go to Lambeau Field. Week 7 concludes with two Monday night games featuring a meeting between playoff teams in the Bucs and Ravens plus an interesting QB battle between the Kyler Murray-led Cardinals and the Justin Herbert-led Chargers.

2. Week 17

Notable games Date Time (ET)
Texans vs. Ravens 🍿🎄 Dec. 25 4:30 p.m.
49ers vs. Lions ⭐🍿 Dec. 30 8:15 p.m.
Chiefs vs. Steelers 🎄 Dec. 25 1 p.m.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Dec. 29 4:25 p.m.
Bills vs. Jets Dec. 29 1 p.m.
Bears vs. Seahawks ⭐ Dec. 26 8:15 p.m.
Browns vs. Dolphins ⭐ Dec. 29 8:20 p.m.
Saints vs. Raiders Dec. 29 1 p.m.

Two blockbuster playoff rematches, a heavyweight battle between playoff teams on Christmas Day, division rivals going head to head with possible postseason implications, and the No. 1 pick playing in prime time. It's safe to say football fans will have a blast in Week 17, which is also championship week for most fantasy football leagues.

Baltimore took down Houston in the divisional round in January, but expectations are high for the Texans after an active offseason and with Stroud entering Year 2. Stroud and Lamar Jackson are MVP candidates. Houston and Baltimore enter the season as big AFC threats to the Chiefs, who host the Steelers on Dec. 25.

The 49ers and Lions played a thrilling NFC title game in January. San Francisco topped Detroit 34-31, and we shouldn't be surprised if they meet in the playoffs again soon.

Finally, Buffalo meets New York and Dallas faces Philadephia, divisional bouts that could have major playoff implications. The Saints and Derek Carr will also host the Raiders in the QB's first game against this former team, and the Williams-led Bears face the Seahawks on Thursday. Will Chicago be in playoff contention in the season's second-last week?

1. Week 1

Notable games Date Time (ET)
Chiefs vs. Ravens ⭐🍿 Sept. 5 8:20 p.m.
49ers vs. Jets ⭐ Sept. 9 8:15 p.m.
Lions vs. Rams ⭐🍿 Sept. 8 8:20 p.m.
Eagles vs. Packers ⭐🇧🇷 Sept. 6 8:15 p.m.
Browns vs. Cowboys Sept. 8 4:25 p.m.
Colts vs. Texans Sept. 8 1 p.m.

Week 1 of the NFL season is among the most exciting sports events every year, but multiple can't-miss contests make this slate extra special. Fans will watch the always-exciting battle between Mahomes and Jackson in the campaign's first game on Thursday and then enjoy a historic Friday night matchup between NFC playoff teams before even entering the first Sunday and Monday of the season.

The league scheduled an AFC title game rematch between the Chiefs and Ravens to kick things off. It'll mark the first NFL season-opening game between two teams that employ a player who has won multiple MVP awards. Can Jackson get the last laugh at Arrowhead Stadium this time as K.C. and Mahomes begin their quest for a historic Super Bowl three-peat?

How about a Friday night NFL game? Philadelphia begins its campaign as the home team in Brazil versus Green Bay. It'll be the league's first-ever regular-season game in South America.

On Sunday, the early slate includes the Colts' Anthony Richardson returning from injury in a battle of 2023 top-five picks against Stroud and the Texans. Then there's a meeting between playoff teams in Browns-Cowboys - which will air on Fox Sports with Tom Brady making his NFL broadcasting debut. That Sunday ends with a great matchup between Stafford's Rams and Jared Goff's Lions. Detroit - where Stafford called home for 12 seasons before being traded to L.A. for Goff in 2021 - eliminated Los Angeles in the wild-card round in January.

Finally, Aaron Rodgers returns from an Achilles injury on the first Monday of the campaign versus San Francisco. The four-time NFL MVP, who grew up a 49ers fan, went down four snaps into his Jets debut in last season's Monday Night Football opener. Week 1 can't come soon enough.

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