NFL Schedule Predictions: Prime-Time Letdown Candidates Include Cowboys, Jets, and Giants

Which teams are poised to disappoint on next season's prime-time schedule? PFN's NFL schedule predictions have the Cowboys, Jets, and Giants on notice.

The NFL will officially release its 2024 schedule on Wednesday, May 15. While the league will attempt to make every prime-time matchup as enticing as possible, a few duds will undoubtedly make their way onto the Sunday/Monday/Thursday night and holiday listing.

Which teams might be the cause of those prime-time letdown games? Let’s run through the top five candidates to give us a lackluster prime-time contest in 2024.

NFL Schedule Predictions: Letdown Candidates in Prime Time

5) New England Patriots

2023 prime-time games: 4

Although Bill Belichick will be on television instead of the Patriots’ sidelines in 2024, New England still has a good chance at being assigned several prime-time games next season. Jerod Mayo’s club is the second-most valuable franchise in the NFL and remains among the most popular teams in the sport.

The Pats weren’t necessarily expected to compete in 2023 but still received four prime-time slots. But New England could have a hard time under the lights next year.

Regardless of whether veteran Jacoby Brissett or rookie Drake Maye is under center, the Patriots don’t have much of an offensive infrastructure to speak of. Meanwhile, New England won’t get many breaks in 2024, as it projects to face the NFL’s most difficult schedule.

4) Los Angeles Chargers

2023 prime-time games: 6

The Chargers were among the NFL’s most disappointing teams last season, but we were still forced to watch them on six prime-time occasions. That included the 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night in Week 15 that cost HC Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco their jobs.

Jim Harbaugh might be enough to get Los Angeles back on our screens in 2024, even if the Chargers aren’t projected to win many games. With few weapons for Justin Herbert to work with and holes all over the defense, L.A. could be on the wrong side of a few routs.

Still, Harbaugh’s appeal could be enough for the Chargers to land tantalizing games like the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

3) New York Giants

2023 prime-time games: 5

While teams from New York will always prominently figure into the NFL’s prime-time schedule, the Giants could be one of the worst clubs in the league in 2024. Big Blue’s 6.5-win total is tied for second-lowest in the league, while they finished 31st in PFN’s most recent power rankings.

Sure, there’s room for improvement, but New York outperformed its underlying metrics in 2023, winning six games while playing more like a four-win team. The victim of several massive blowouts last season, the Giants could embarrass themselves on prime time in 2024, regardless of whether Daniel Jones or Drew Lock is playing quarterback.

2) New York Jets

2023 prime-time games: 5

It’s playoffs or bust for almost everyone involved with the Jets, who prioritized depth and insurance policies this offseason following their 2024 debacle. With Tyrod Taylor backing up Aaron Rodgers (instead of Zach Wilson) and more options at WR and OL, New York can withstand a few injuries next season.

However, there’s still a chance that Gang Green faceplants. Rodgers is 40 years old, coming off a torn Achilles, and finished 26th in QBR in his last full season (2022). Offensive tackles Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses are 33. Free agent WR addition Mike Williams rarely makes it through a full season.

Expectations are high in New York, but the Jets have a lot of downside. They’re almost assured of landing a bevy of prime-time games, so the networks hope Rodgers and Co. can stay healthy.

1) Dallas Cowboys

2023 prime-time games: 6

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will be heavily featured in prime time. Dallas has received at least five prime-time games each season since 2016. Rest assured, America’s Team will be on the tube.

But have the Cowboys already peaked? Three straight 12-win campaigns haven’t resulted in much playoff success, and Dallas is bringing back most of the same roster after sitting out free agency.

With so much pressure on lame-duck head coach Mike McCarthy and stars like Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parsons waiting on contract extensions, everything could fall apart for the Cowboys in 2024.

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