NFL Schedule Predictions: Chiefs Draw Jim Harbaugh in Opener, Caleb Williams Plays on Thanksgiving, and More

With the NFL finally set to reveal the 2024 regular-season schedule, let's have some fun and come up with a few schedule predictions.

The NFL reportedly will release the 2024 regular-season schedule next Wednesday night. We’ll learn where and when teams will face off and which franchises will land tentpole dates on the NFL calendar. But why wait until next week when we already know each team’s full opponents list?

Let’s throw some darts, have a little fun, and make a few NFL schedule predictions.

2024 NFL Schedule Predictions

Who Will Face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Season Opener?

Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers

Honestly, the Houston Texans probably make the most sense here. The Texans are better than the Chargers, and a Patrick Mahomes-C.J. Stroud battle would market itself. But we’re going with the Chargers for one reason: Jim Harbaugh.

A true sideline star, cameras are on Harbaugh during games as much as they are his players. And his arrival in Los Angeles should make the Chargers better on the field and more interesting off of it.

What better way to punctuate your NFL return than by knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions?

Plus, let’s not sleep on Justin Herbert. He’s a better quarterback than Stroud and typically plays well against the Chiefs.

Which Teams Will Play on Thanksgiving?

Prediction: Bears at Lions; Bengals at Cowboys; Dolphins at Jets

The Cowboys and Lions always host Thanksgiving games, so those parts were easy. We also eliminated the four other teams that played on Thanksgiving last year: Packers, 49ers, Seahawks, and Commanders.

The Cincinnati-Dallas matchup would be must-see TV. The Bengals should be formidable with Joe Burrow back under center, and who knows what kind of drama will surround the Cowboys by late November?

The Chicago-Detroit game would put Bears quarterback Caleb Williams, the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, under the national spotlight. Chicago also has a young, ascending roster, which should hold its own against the Lions, who suddenly have become an NFC powerhouse.

As for Dolphins-Jets, it would pit Aaron Rodgers against one of the NFL’s most entertaining teams. What’s not to like?

What About Black Friday?

Prediction: Commanders at Eagles

The Dolphins and Jets played the inaugural Black Friday game last season, so we removed that matchup and moved it to Thanksgiving. In its place is a Philadelphia-Washington game that will allow fans to see Jayden Daniels, the No. 2 pick in the draft, playing against one of the NFL’s elite teams.

The Commanders probably won’t be any good, and there’s a chance the Eagles’ late-2023 struggles carry over to 2024. But these are two division rivals with interesting players on both sides of the ball. It’s not an amazing prime-time matchup, but we could get into it.

What Will Be the 2 Christmas Games?

Prediction: Browns at Ravens; Falcons at Vikings

The Cleveland-Baltimore game could have major playoff ramifications, as the AFC North rivals should be among the conference’s top teams. The Browns have one of the best rosters in football, and the Ravens, you know, have Lamar Jackson. Plus, prime-time games in Baltimore always seem to carry extra juice.

KEEP READING: 2024 Strength of Schedule Rankings

For the nightcap, Kirk Cousins would travel to Minnesota for a good old-fashioned revenge game. That’s the only selling point this game needs, although there’s a (slight) possibility the Falcons will be starting first-rounder Michael Penix Jr. by late December.

When’s the Harbaugh Bowl?

Prediction: Week 9 Monday Night Football

A Super Bowl rematch 11 years in the making. Brothers Jim and John Harbaugh last coached against each other on Feb. 3, 2013, when John’s Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

Baltimore will visit the Chargers sometime next season, so we’ll finally get the long-awaited sequel.

But why the Week 9 “MNF” slot, you ask? No reason. Totally random.

5 Prime-Time Games We Don’t Want To See

  • Patriots at 49ers
    This probably seems random, but hear us out. In 2022, the Patriots played against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football, then practiced in Tuscon, Ariz., for a few days before heading to Vegas to face the Raiders. Bill Belichick regularly asked the NFL to pair West Coast games so New England could stay out West and avoid rough travel. The Patriots reportedly have asked the league to pair next season’s road games against Arizona and San Francisco, so an MNF game against the 49ers feels possible. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen, as the Patriots probably will stink, and Jacoby Brissett — not Drake Maye — probably will be the starter. No thanks.
  • Any Raiders-Broncos game
    We might change our tune if rookie quarterback Bo Nix proves Sean Payton right and looks like Mahomes, but we all know that isn’t happening. From an intrigue standpoint, the best-case scenario for this game would be Nix facing off against a version of Gardner Minshew that’s become a Sin City icon for sleeping in a van on the Vegas strip.
  • The Carolina Panthers
    Is there a less interesting team in football? Even if Bryce Young rebounds and looks great next season, the Panthers probably would still be terrible. And they definitely would be boring.
  • A Saints-Buccaneers game
    Tampa Bay and New Orleans played on Sunday Night Football in both 2020 and 2021, and squared off on Monday Night Football in 2022. They didn’t meet for a prime-time matchup in 2023, and, ideally, nothing will change in 2024, as this rivalry doesn’t interest anyone not living near the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Giants at Seahawks
    Doesn’t this just feel like something the NFL would force on you for a midseason Thursday Night Football game? It sure does, but here’s hoping that cooler heads prevail. Sure, Malik Nabers might be Odell Beckham Jr. 2.0 by this point, but nobody wants to stay up late for Geno Smith vs. Daniel Jones — or Drew Lock, or whatever.

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