NFL Schedule Predictions: Network Schedules Signal Thanksgiving, Black Friday, MNF Announcements

    With the major networks' upfront schedules set for this week, NFL fans will soon find out about some of the notable prime-time matchups this season.

    The NFL announced Monday morning that the 2024 season would begin with the Kansas City Chiefs opening up their two-time title defense at home against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 5.

    While many fans will have to wait until Wednesday to see the full schedule release, major networks and streaming platforms have begun to tease some of the biggest games of the year. Today, we’ll exhibit why that’s possible and predict what some of the network’s upfront scheduling could mean for certain NFL teams.

    What Is Upfront Scheduling?

    Upfront scheduling is a way for the major networks to announce major events going on for specific advertisers to begin their overall bidding process. Among those top networks include NBC, FOX, Disney (ABC/ESPN), and multiple streaming services.

    With the NFL a major cash cow for these networks and advertisers, we’re expected to see more games outside of just the season opening day leaked to the public in the coming hours and days.

    Here is the current upfront schedule.

    NBCUniversal: 10:30 a.m. (Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens – Season Opener)
    Fox Corp.: 4 p.m.

    Amazon: 9:30 a.m.
    Disney: 4 p.m.

    Netflix: 2:30 p.m.

    No event

    It’s important to note that CBS is the lone NFL network or streaming platform that won’t be teasing any of their upcoming matchups. Outside of Paramount, other top networks are expected to join in the celebration and begin the bidding way with their latest announcements.

    Predicting Upfront Matchups

    The NFL won’t unveil all of their upcoming games this season before Wednesday, but we could get a nice little tease of how some of the biggest games of the year could look early for some contending teams.

    Here are some of our predictions of what to expect over the next few days with the schedule announcements.

    Black Friday (Amazon): Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets

    Last year, Amazon kicked off its NFL coverage with the first-ever Black Friday game. This year, the streaming service could stay where they were last season with an AFC East clash between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

    New York has an improved team and will be itching to get plenty of prime-time games with Aaron Rodgers healthy. Buffalo, meanwhile, is in a transition period and could be the weakest they’ve been since Josh Allen was drafted.

    Thanksgiving Day Game (FOX): Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys

    While the Thanksgiving game in Texas has consistently been an NFC East clash in recent years, wouldn’t it be awesome to have the battle of the state happen then?

    Houston is a franchise on the rise with C.J. Stroud developing into a top quarterback. We may not know what the Cowboys will look like this season, but we could venture a guess to say that they will still be competitive.

    Monday Night Football (ESPN): Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 23)

    FOX, CBS, and NBC will be clamoring for the Super Bowl rematch, but (as was the case last season) ESPN will end up victorious here.

    A mid-season battle could be interesting, but the NFL should want the 49ers and Chiefs playing their best football when they collide. Both teams have shown December is the perfect game for both.

    Christmas Day Game (Netflix): Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    As part of the upfront schedule, teams that play on Christmas Day will need to have played the previous week on Saturday. Perhaps no division will be more competitive than the AFC North this season, so reinvigorating the Steelers-Ravens rivalry could be a perfect Christmas Day special for Netflix as it begins its streaming partnership of NFL games.

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