The NFL unveiled the 2017 regular-season schedule on Thursday night, to much (manufactured) fanfare.
While the allure of spending much of Sunday noshing snacks in front of your big screen and gorging on the afternoon games is still strong, the prime-time games are almost always events. But which games are the most appealing?
Keeping in mind that it’s April and teams that might look like contenders now could be duds come November, here are the top 10 prime-time games we’re looking forward to watching this season:
10. Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Week 4 (Thursday night): Bears quarterback Mike Glennon makes his prime-time debut as the face of his new franchise, against the rival Packers to boot.
9. Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers, Week 3 (Thursday night): The Rams’ first season back in Los Angeles was one to forget. This is an early chance to see if young new head coach Sean McVay can get last year’s No. 1 pick, quarterback Jared Goff, on the right track.
8. Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, Week 6 (Monday night): The Titans’ young franchise quarterback, Marcus Mariota, finished last season on injured reserve after suffering a broken leg on Christmas Eve, an injury that effectively ended Tennessee’s hopes of winning the AFC South. Now healthy, he makes his Monday night debut.
7. Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, Week 10 (Thursday night): These NFC West rivals are almost guaranteed to play a close, hard-fought game. But, please, no more 6-6 ties like last season…
6. Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, Week 11 (Sunday night): Two of the NFL’s young guns, Philly’s Carson Wentz and Dallas’ Dak Prescott, show off how they’ve grown from Year 1 to Year 2.
5. Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins, Week 9 (Sunday night): Two teams with hopes of becoming AFC contenders. Both were in the playoffs last season but made quick exits after each lost its top quarterback late in the regular season – Oakland’s Derek Carr suffered a broken leg, while Miami’s Ryan Tannehill suffered an ACL injury.
4. Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, Week 1 (Thursday night): It’s not a sexy rivalry, but it’s the first game of the season, and that’s enough for us. Mark your calendars, folks: real NFL football returns in 140 nights!
3. Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, Week 2 (Sunday night): An early opportunity to see if the Falcons are suffering from a Super Bowl LI hangover, against the team they beat in the NFC championship game.
2. New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Week 1 (Sunday night): It’s pretty much a given now that these NFC East rivals will meet in the first week of the season, and they always put on a show.
1. Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots, Week 7 (Sunday night): It’s the rematch of Super Bowl LI, one of the greatest games in NFL history. Need we say more?