The 2017 NFL schedule has been released, and while it’s still really early, I want to take a look at some games that have the potential to be great watches. I’ll update it as the preseason gets going (draft, OTAs, training camps), but I want to take a preliminary look and take an educated guess on what could be the best match-ups of the year. I’ll go week-by-week and try to choose at least one game that will be must-watch TV.
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers: 4:25 p.m.
- The week 1 slate looks upsettingly weak, but this one is sure to be fire. Both the Packers and Seahawks will be popular picks to win the Super Bowl, and both teams are fun to watch on a weekly basis. Aaron Rodgers vs. the Seahawks defense on the opening Sunday. Sign me up.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys: Sunday Night Football
- This was an obvious choice. This game never disappoints, and there’s a reason it’s now regularly the first Sunday Night Football game of the year. Dak Prescott is 0-2 against the Giants to start his career. I’m excited to see him get his first win against Eli.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons: Sunday Night Football
- The week 2 slate kind of looks weak, too, but it offers another must-watch Sunday nighter. In a rematch from the 2016 NFC Championship game, it’ll be fun to see who scores 40 points first.
- The week 3 slate offers two fun divisional match-ups: Saints @ Panthers and Giants @ Eagles. The Saints/Panthers game is almost sure to feature 50+ points scored, while the Giants/Eagles game is essentially guaranteed to come down to the last four minutes of the game.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
- With the emergence of the Raiders and their high-scoring offense, this division game should be good both times this season. The first one, in Denver, should especially be good because it favors the Broncos’ defense.
Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys
- This game is sure to jack up the NFL ratings. Everyone loves watching both teams, and it’ll be advertised as the game of the week despite not being in a typical primetime slot.
- The week 6 slate is a tough one to break down, but two games stick out to me: Steelers @ Chiefs and Chargers @ Raiders. The Steelers/Chiefs is promising because it’s a top offense against a top defense; the Chiefs are especially good at home. Chargers/Raiders is enticing because it’s essentially guaranteed to come down to a last-second field goal attempt that the Chargers somehow botch. I’m in.
- Week 7 is promising. There’s a few games that stick out. To start, the Thursday night game should be fun between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. Then, Sunday features a flurry of entertaining games like Saints/Packers, Bengals/Steelers, and Seahawks/Giants. To cap Sunday off, the Patriots face the Falcons on SNF, and then the Redskins play the Eagles on Monday night. Week 7 should be a doozy.
- Not much pops out in week 8 besides the Cowboys/Redskins and Bucs/Panthers divisional games. It’s already tough to project games later in the season when the draft hasn’t even occurred, but you can always bank on in-division games being watch-worthy.
- Falcons/Panthers should be a good 1 p.m. game, and Lions/Packers on Monday night could be fun. More divisional match-ups, I know. Dallas/Chiefs is an interesting game as well.
- Cowboys/Falcons is the game of the week, but Patriots/Broncos on Sunday Night Football will be great, too. Thursday night will be Seahawks/Cardinals which is usually a good watch.
- Week 11’s slate looks weak, but the last three games are promising. The late afternoon game is Patriots/Raiders, Sunday night is Cowboys/Eagles, and Monday night is Falcons/Seahawks. All three should be great.
Thanksgiving: Vikings/Packers, Chargers/Cowboys, Giants/Redskins.
- Thanksgiving football is always great, and the Sunday slate isn’t bad neither. The best of the bunch: SNF – Steelers/Packers.
- Redskins/Cowboys kicks us off on Thursday night, with Panthers/Saints, Bucs/Packers, and Giants/Raiders filling out Sunday.
- Three big divisional games shape up week 14. Raiders/Chiefs and Cowboys/Giants are the obvious calls, while Ravens/Steelers on Sunday night could be a very meaningful showdown. I feel bad leaving out Patriots/Dolphins on Monday night considering I put almost every other divisional game in here, but… Can’t say I’m confident it will be a meaningful game, but I’ll give the Dolphins the benefit out of the doubt after a big first year under Adam Gase.
- Saturday night games! Two in-division ones, at that. Chargers/Chiefs and Bears/Lions. Hopefully at least one is meaningful for the playoff race.
- Sunday slate: Panthers/Packers, Steelers/Patriots, Eagles/Giants and Cowboys/Raiders on SNF. Great week.
- The Christmas Eve slate is kind of disappointing, but has a few promising games, including Giants/Cardinals, Falcons/Saints, and Cowboys/Seahawks on SNF.
- The entire week 17 slate is in-division games; I’ll point out the ones that I think will be most meaningful. Cardinals/Seahawks (SNF), Colts/Texans, Panthers/Falcons, and Bengals/Ravens.