The NFL Schedule Release for 2023 is out, and it’s time to look ahead to the exciting matchups, primetime games, and project how teams will perform. Despite the excitement over watching any kind of football, there are often dud games in contrast to the highlight-reel games.
Some weeks have you saying “meh…” to the primetime slate as teams combust. Other weeks have you screaming “what did I just watch!??!” in offensive shootouts with splash plays. In this piece, I identify some of the best and worst weeks of the NFL season.
Key Matchups for Week 9 include:
- Dolphins at Chiefs (Germany)
- Cowboys at Eagles
- Bills at Bengals (Sunday Night Football)
One of the best matchups to eye this week is Tyreek Hill‘s first game against his former Chiefs…in Germany. While having the matchup outside of the states may be a blow to fans, having it as the Germany matchup will put an extra eye on the game. The Dolphins are a team filled with speedy offensive weapons facing off against the reigning Super Bowl champions with the always-jaw-dropping Patrick Mahomes. This game has the chance to be a classic offensive shootout.
Pack your bags, we’re going to Germany! 🇩🇪
Dolphins vs. Chiefs coming at you live from Frankfurt this November! ✈️ pic.twitter.com/EQubZk1yZZ
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 10, 2023
One of the highlights of the non-primetime slate is Dallas at Philadelphia. The rivalry between the two NFC East teams is strong, with both teams being playoff contenders this season. Dak Prescott and Tony Pollard headline an offense that added Brandin Cooks and Luke Schoonmaker. Jalen Hurts and the reigning NFC champions will host in an exciting rivalry matchup.
The Sunday Night Football game for Week 9 is a rematch of the AFC Divisional game. The Bills head to Cincinnati in a battle of high-octane offenses. Josh Allen will lead the Buffalo offense to try and avenge the AFC Divisional loss, while Joe Burrow will throw to Cincy’s daunting receiving corps to continue his AFC success. Both teams are atop the AFC, right below Kansas City, so a matchup between the two will bring some splash. This is a matchup that will have fantasy football players drooling and fans tuning in on SNF.
Key Matchups for Week 11 include:
- Bengals at Ravens (Thursday Night Football)
- Bears at Lions
- Eagles at Chiefs (Monday Night Football)
Kicking off the Week 11 festivities is Bengals-Ravens on Thursday Night Football. A rematch of the AFC Wild Card game, the division rivalry features the two teams most likely to win the AFC North. Lamar Jackson in Year 1 of his new contract extension will be throwing to the best WR corps of his career. The Bengals’ offense is expected to continue to hum throughout this season. With all the subpar TNF matchups over the last couple years, what can be better than division rivals and two of the best QBs in the league?
During the Sunday afternoon slate of games, Bears at Lions stands out. Previous Bears-Lions matchups featured anemic football, but this year, both teams have exciting young cores to compete in the NFC North. Justin Fields and D.J. Moore will look to build rapport in their first year together while Chicago rises from its rebuild. The Lions have an exciting offense with an RB duo of rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and former Bear David Montgomery who will be facing Chicago for the first time since leaving. Circle this one as a matchup of up-and-coming NFC rivals.
Finally, we come to the Super Bowl rematch. Week 11 Monday Night Football features the Eagles going to Kansas City as the two powerhouses face off. Neither team has fallen far from where they were last year, so expect a game that will live up to the hype it will be billed for. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are out for revenge with their Georgia Bulldogs defense, while the Chiefs look to continue their Mahomes-driven excellence. This game is the crown jewel of Week 11.
There are very few matchups that jump off the page as “must-see” in Week 2. Looking for a fantasy-explosive game? No obvious answers here. Games like Bears-Buccaneers, Packers-Falcons, and Giants-Cardinals look to be those painstaking matchups between teams projected to be mediocre-at-best. Lopsided matchups like 49ers-Rams and Bills-Raiders also take some excitement out of the week.
If you are looking for good play and competitive football in Week 2, your best bet is Ravens-Bengals on Sunday afternoon. The primetime matchups feature Vikings-Eagles, Dolphins-Patriots, and a couple of MNF games in Saints-Panthers and Browns-Steelers. Out of those teams, Philly is the only team that is a clear-cut top contender in its conference. There are a few rivalry games in there, but the competitive levels will be low or lopsided for the whole week.
Once again, the Eagles are the most interesting team in primetime this week. The 49ers are on MNF in what should be a decently competitive matchup with the Vikings, but no games stick out as must-sees in Week 7. A few intra-division rivalries occur this week.
Bills-Patriots and Chargers-Chiefs highlight those, but neither are primetime. There are more matchups that are likely to leave a bad taste in your mouth, like Steelers-Rams and Packers-Broncos, than the “wow” matchups.