The NFL’s schedule was released Wednesday night, and for a second consecutive year, Thursday Night Football games seem not so poopfest-y anymore. That’s great!
However, we still need to rank them. Thursday Night Football games in the NFL are more difficult to commit to at times. They’re essentially at the beginning of the weekend, you’re feeling loose and free, and you don’t quite need the break from life that Monday Night Football provides.
I’m going to lay this out in the simplest of terms as possible, so you know where to spend your time on Thursdays this football season.
Like the 1999 St. Louis Rams, we’re going from worst to first on this here list.
15. Buccaneers vs. Panthers, Week 2
Cam Newton’s dealing with a lingering shoulder injury, and the Buccaneers just aren’t interesting. I guess if you want to see what the Bucs are going to look like under Bruce Arians, that’s cool. But I’ll be participating in my local Mexican restaurant’s trivia night, and not watching this game.
And I’ll be sure to use a napkin while eating, unlike some others:
Jameis Winston with an ... interesting pump up speech. pic.twitter.com/z0tESHAA6k— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 5, 2017
You gotta hope that Marcus Mariota is healthy going into this one, and that Nick Foles is playing like Super Bowl Nick Foles. However, who knows what Jalen Ramsey will do in primetime! I’m just always mehhh on most AFC South games.
13. Washington vs. Vikings, Week 8
Case Keenum will very likely be quarterbacking Washington here, going up against the team he led to an NFC Championship — the Vikings. That’s also not super intriguing. It wouldn’t hurt to get your Halloween costume and candy shopping done here, I’m just saying.
I’ll watch any NFL game that’s got Lamar Jackson in it. The Jets were a weird team last year, looking good at times and downright awful during others.
Hopefully they’re on the better side of the spectrum for this one.
Yep, we’re assuming Kyler Murray’s going to Arizona.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Murray kicks this one up a few notches, because none of us would have cared about this particular matchup after Garoppolo went down with his torn ACL. Hopefully we get one of these:
The Giants no longer have Odell Beckham Jr., making this a much less intriguing game. Unless Eli Manning’s been replaced by this time, you’re watching this because you want to watch the Patriots make easy work of the Giants.
Sure, most of us don’t like to see the Patriots win, but there’s potential for this to be pretty funny.
If the Cowboys’ offense is playing at peak levels, and the Bears’ defense the same, this could be a great game late in the year.
Make room for this one, because we’ll be deep into the football season, and you don’t care about anything else at this point since you’ve come to the realization that football will be over before you know it.
The Chargers should be good again in 2019, and we’ll get to see them go up against an improved Raiders team with the self-proclaimed “Mr. Big Chest” Antonio Brown.
At this point in the season, we’ll know if the Raiders are any good, and if they’re going to have any issues with Brown. No matter how all that goes in Oakland, it’s going to make this one worth your time.
Carson Wentz vs. Aaron Rodgers should be a grand ol’ time, especially if both teams are playing to the best of their abilities.
Plus, Rodgers has been known to do good things on Thursday Night Football:
Please stay healthy, Wentz.
6. Packers vs. Bears, Week 1
This technically doesn’t count for Thursday Night Football since it’s the season opener and not on NFL Network. But guess what? It’s on Thursday, and it’s at night, so I’m counting it.
These two opened up Sunday Night Football for us last year and it was a delight. Khalil Mack had a first half for the ages with Rodgers out temporarily due to injury. Mack snagged the football from Kizer, created a sack for Roquan Smith, and this versatile pick-six:
And, ARodgers is playing. We don’t need to rehash why you should watch him.
Patrick Mahomes — next.
These two teams played twice last year in the regular, and both were close contests. Take the combined score of those games, and it’s a 61-61 deadlock.
However, the Texans will be hoping to get revenge after their Wild Card Round loss to the Colts. Both teams should be better this season, giving us a rare AFC South game that I’ll vouch for.
3. Rams vs. Seahawks, Week 5
The Rams had the Seahawks’ number last year in some highly-contested games, and we should expect to see more of the same this year. Hopefully you don’t get sick of hearing about Russell Wilson’s new contract by halftime.
Here’s that weird video of his again:
This should be a good game in general, but the Browns are must-watch football this season. Baker Mayfield was already exciting and talking hella shit in 2018, and now he’s going to be throwing to not only Jarvis Landry, but Odell Beckham Jr. too.
This still kind of doesn’t seem real:
A full year of Nick Chubb in the backfield and an improved defense is going to make for the most fun football in Cleveland in quite some time. OR, one of the biggest and most epic disappointments if things somehow go sour.
There was no other choice for No. 1 on this list. This is the NFL’s best rivalry, and both teams should be stacked again in 2019. Somebody’s Thanksgiving is going to be ruined.
In case you missed it, the Falcons threw some solid shade in their schedule release video. Game of Thrones fans will appreciate this work of art:
Yep, there’s an “aints” reference in there, and they trolled the Saints over their NFC Championship no-call against the Rams. Simply phenomenal work. This will further stir the pot until their eventual Thanksgiving Day rematch in Atlanta.
[In my most Falcons fan voice] Hopefully it goes better for the Falcons this time.