The 2018 NFL schedule has been released. We know the who, what and wheres for the upcoming season. Now, the next step is, who do we watch?
There are plenty of storylines that have played out over the offseason that will take physical forms on the football when games kickoff.
Teams that suffered close defeats will have their opportunities to earn their revenge. There will be opportunities for teams looking to stake their claim in their respective divisions. Heres your guide to the premier matchups of the 2018 season.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles Sept. 6 8:20 p.m. at Lincoln Finacial Field
This season-opening Thursday night tilt features the Eagles and the Falcons, the team that was the team that came the closest to ending the Eagles’ magical Super Bowl run this past season. They will return to the scene where their season came to an end to attempt to get a leg up in the NFC playoff hunt. Falcons will look to make a statement in what they hope will be a rebound season.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots Sept. 16 4:25 p.m. at EverBank Field
This matchup will be a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game. The Jaguars came up just short of making the franchise’s first appearance in the Super Bowl as the ventured into Foxborough. This time the Jaguars will face the Patriots in the warm, tropical settings of their home confines in which both teams will look to make statements about the direction the AFC’s future.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Dec. 2 8:20 p.m. at CenturyLink Field
One of the Seahawks’ icons, Richard Sherman was released and quickly signed with the division rival 49ers to get the opportunity he will get on when he runs out onto the CenturyLink Field to face his former team, fans and the front office that gave up on him. It will likely be a highly emotional encounter for Sherman and the fans of Seattle. This could also be an important game for positioning in the NFC West as the 49ers look to move out of rebuild mode and into being a competitor in the division.
Philadephia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Oct. 28 9:30 a.m. at Wembley Stadium
This was almost the matchup of last season’s Super Bowl. It will act this season, as a nice treat for the fans abroad as these two team expect to be contenders again this season. For the Eagles, it could be a message to the league that they’re still hungry and with their star signal-caller Carson Wenz back in the fold, they could be even better. The Jaguars look to make a statement that last season wasn’t a fluke and they continue their tour of rubbing elbows with the league’s elite.
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints Nov. 22 8:20 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Both of these game are fun to watch every season. The winner of these games will likely have the upper hand in the NFC South. Both teams will be motivated to right playoff embarrassments in the past two seasons.
Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 11 1 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium
If there was ever a test of health, facing the relentless pass rush of the Jaguars will be a true litmus test for Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. If healthy, this could be Luck and the Colts’ first splash win of the season in which they hope to rekindle some of the good feelings from Luck’s first few seasons with the team.
Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings Sept. 16 1 p.m. at U.S Bank Stadium
The Vikings were a game away from the Super Bowl last season, but with few additions and the return of Aaron Rodgers the feeling is that the Green Bay Packers will be as much of a threat to win the NFC North as the Vikings. With Kirk Cousins under center, the Vikings shouldn’t fear the Packers with or without Rodgers and this game will be there opportunity to shed the Rodgers’ demons once and for all.
New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins Oct. 28 1 p.m. at Metlife Stadium
Odel Beckham lining up across from Josh Norman is always must see.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles Dec. 16 8:20 p.m. at Los Angeles Coliseum
A rematch of one of last season’s better regular season games, this time the Eagles will presumably have a healthy Carson Wenz for the entire game.
Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers Nov.1 8:20 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium
Raiders will travel to face the 49ers in what could potentially the two franchises meet as bay neighbors with the Raiders being rumored to be moved to Los Vegas.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Nov. 11 4:25 p.m. at CenturyLink Field
The Rams got on the map as a contender in 2017 when they went into CenturyLink Field and silenced the 12th man with a 42-7 throttling of the Seahawks. This serves as a similar opportunity. The division torch could be passed, or the Seahawks could wrestle it back from their division rivals.
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chefs Dec. 2 4:05 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium
The AFC West is wide open. The Raiders have the best quarterback in Derek Carr and best player in the division in Khalil Mack. The division should be theirs, but they have to prove they can beat the Chiefs.
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders Sept. 16 4:25 p.m. at Oakland Alameda Coliseum
The league’s most entertaining punter Marquette King was released by the Raiders and he immediately joined AFC West rival Denver Broncos. It will be fun to watch the interactions between King as his former teammates and their first-year head coach Jon Gruden.