Ranking NFL’s Week 1 Prime-Time Schedule: Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts Under Spotlight

With the NFL Week 1 schedule starting to trickle in, let's take a look and rank the most intriguing games that have been announced thus far.

With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, we as a nation turn our heads to the next hurdle of the NFL offseason, and that is learning, digesting, and overanalyzing the release of the official schedule.

It will be released in all of its glory on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, but as is custom, many of the top games get announced ahead of time. In that vein, we have three marquee matchups already lined up on the NFL Week 1 schedule, so let’s take a look at how they stack up against one another in terms of intrigue.

NFL Week 1 Schedule

Best Game of Week 1: Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

The reigning MVP against the two-time Super Bowl champions on a day with no other games? What more could we really ask for?

The Thursday nighter pits two of the top three teams in terms of implied win probability by sportsbooks (we’ll get to the other team in that mix in a minute) and the two quarterbacks that have, together, earned three of the past five regular season and Super Bowl MVP awards.

Sportsbooks have set the over/under for this game at 47.5, and it’s possible that we have more storylines for this AFC Championship Game rematch than points scored.

Repeat Super Bowl champions are rare, but do you know what’s even more rare? One of those teams making it back to The Big Game — more rare, as in it has never happened.

The Chiefs are built to make history this season (Super Bowl favorites at +550), but it won’t come easy against a Ravens team that has championship aspirations of their own.

Kansas City lost in this spot a year ago to an upstart Lions team and will want to avoid a similar fate this year, as we already know that they draw the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. In 2023, the Chiefs were able to rebound from the Week 1 defeat with six straight victories, but this time around, there’s much less room for error.

Runner-Up: New York Jets vs. San Francisco 49ers

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 9
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

If it weren’t for two of the faces of the NFL dueling on Thursday night, Aaron Rodgers’ return to face arguably the best roster in the league on Monday Night Football would earn top billing.

The 49ers are looking for a fourth straight double-digit win season, something they haven’t done this millennium, while the Jets are looking to make good on the now two offseasons of hype.

Rodgers’ injury four snaps into the opener last year derailed what most thought would be the snapping of a 12-year playoff drought. Yet, the Jets have now posted eight straight losing seasons, finishing dead last in the AFC East six times in the process.

New York already owns one of the best defensive units in the sport, and by adding offensive firepower in free agency (WR Mike Williams) and with their first five selections of the draft, the Jets are clearly trying to add upside to a solid foundation.

Can they knock off the bully of the NFC? Prior to last season (5-0 start), San Francisco has been a little slow out of the gate (3-4 in 2022 and 2-4 in 2021), making this a hyper-interesting spot for a Jets fan base starving for a winner.

Brazil’s Gem: Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 6
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

Brazil not only gets in on the Week 1 action, but they also get a great game that features two NFC teams looking to make runs late into January.

The Eagles have won 25 regular-season games over the past two seasons (22 in the previous three seasons) and have made the playoffs in six of seven years, a run that included winning the Super Bowl in 2017.

Philadelphia owns a loaded roster that got even better this offseason after bringing in Saquon Barkley, giving the Eagles a strong fantasy football roster in real life. They’re the known quantity looking to live up to expectations that have been hovering around the City of Brotherly Love ever since it was clear they had a difference-maker in Jalen Hurts.

KEEP READING: NFL’s Latest Schedule Leaks

Meanwhile, the Packers have emerged as the nation’s favorite to take a big step forward in 2024. Jordan Love showed well for himself last year, and given Green Bay’s success in finding quarterbacks over the past 30 years, it makes sense as to why the Packers’ bandwagon has been a popular one to jump on.

The Packers also brought in a new running back in Josh Jacobs and will be looking to develop their receivers on the offensive end. Green Bay addressed offensive line in the first round (Jordan Morgan) and then shifted its focus to the defensive backfield.

Have the Packers really done it again? Have they landed three straight franchise quarterbacks?

Week 1 won’t tell the whole story. But an impressive performance against the Eagles, in an island game with the world watching, would go a long way for the confidence of the 25-year-old Love and Green Bay’s ability to challenge the Lions for the NFC North crown.

America’s Game of the Week: Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 8
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

In America’s Game of the Week, we get “America’s Team” in a game being broadcast by the liver of the American Dream. Tom Brady makes his debut in the booth and gets to sink his teeth into a matchup of teams that each won 11+ games last season but failed to advance in the postseason.

The Cowboys have been installed as co-favorites to win the NFC East and are on the short-list of teams expected to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. And while the Browns enter this season with less in the way of expectations (a distance third in odds to win the AFC North), they aren’t low on upside or potential.

Deshaun Watson remains dynamic on the field, and Cleveland added Jerry Jeudy this offseason in an effort to support its well-compensated QB. As polarizing as he can be, it’s the return of Nick Chubb from a devastating injury right as he was gaining steam in the “best running back in the NFL discussion.”

It wouldn’t surprise anyone if both teams were labeled as true threats come December. It also wouldn’t surprise anyone if these fan bases got unruly following a Week 1 loss.

The Brady factor only adds to the intrigue, as it’s rare that the public has a rooting interest in terms of the quality of color commentary.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles