Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Apr 2018

2018 NFL Schedule Released

The schedule is out! Rejoice!

Some of the big matchups include:

  • The Philadelphia Eagles will open defense of their Super Bowl championship when they host the Atlanta Falcons in the traditional Thursday night opener. The Week 1 Sunday nighter will see the Bears visit the Packers, while the Monday night doubleheader will pit the Jets against the Lions in Detroit, then the Rams at the Raiders in Oakland.
  • The international games include a trio of contests in London: Seahawks "at" Raiders at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium at 1 p.m. EST in Week 6; Titans "at" Chargers at Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. EST in Week 7; and Eagles "at" Jaguars, also at Wembley at 9:30 a.m., in Week 8.
  • The final international game will be at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, with the Chiefs "at" the Rams on Monday night in Week 11.
  • The Thanksgiving triple-header in Week 12 will see the Bears at the Lions, Washington at the Cowboys, and the Falcons at the Saints.
  • Other notable Sunday night games include the Cowboys at the Texans in a battle for Texas in Week 5, Aaron Rodgers squaring off against Tom Brady when the Packers visit New England in Week 9, and Richard Sherman's return to Seattle when the 49ers play the Seahawks in Week 13.
  • The Monday night game in Week 16 will see Denver visit Oakland on Christmas Eve. This will be Oakland's last regular-season home game this year, and perhaps their last game ever in Oakland -- they could move to Las Vegas as early as 2019.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 19 Apr 2018

30 comments, Last at 05 May 2018, 1:38pm by The Ninjalectual


by justanothersteve :: Thu, 04/19/2018 - 9:33pm

I really like the Packers schedule from a fan perspective. They start the season with two home games against division rivals and finish with 3 of 5 December games at home all against dome teams not used to playing in the cold. Their Thursday night game isn't a dog, at Seattle, but traveling that far for a Thursday game means I'm already mentally counting that as a probable loss. They get to host a Monday game against the improving 49'ers. The 4 tough away games in five weeks after the bye are brutal (@Rams, Pats, Seahawks, Vikes sandwiched around a Dolphins home game), but it will show whether the Packers are contenders or pretenders.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 1:10am

Ugh. NE has 5 night games in 7 weeks. Well, at least they'll get them all over with. When I'm god-emperor all NFL games will be 1pm Sundays local time.

by jtr :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 9:26am

Yeah, late games really suck as an east-coaster. I gotta be at work at 7:30 AM, I can't stay up until 11:30 or midnight on a Sunday or Monday to watch a football game. It screws up my whole week when I get a bad night's sleep to start off the work week.

UGH, I'm only 26, I'm too young to be this much of a curmudgeonly old man.

by TimK :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:12am

From here in the UK they are even later! If I'd been planning ahead I'd have chosen to support an east coast team as I'm far too old these days to stay up much past midnight and still function at all the next day (sadly as the technology has got better my endurance has declined, and there was a certain romance to twiddling the knobs to get armed forces radio back in the day). At least we get a bit more holiday from work, so I have slid the odd Monday or Tuesday off work in after a big night game.

Texans at Patriots could be interesting start to the season, New England have started slow a few times, and if the Texans defence is fit and firing that could test Brady's desire to keep getting hit early. Not sure whether any of the other Sunday/Monday games in week 1 really grab me, but the draft etc could easily bring in some stories before then.

(oh, and jtr, sleep is important, it is worth being curmudgeonly about it ;) )

by rpwong :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 7:49pm

My ideal NFL schedule would include starting one week earlier and holding two bye weeks where everyone gets a break for rest/recovery...maybe after week 6 and before US Thanksgiving...and no Thursday games except on Thanksgiving. SNF and MNF would both start at 7:30pm ET (4:30 PT) so that they'll usually end before 11pm ET, and no double-headers.

Beyond making the bye weeks fair to all teams, I think the on-field product would be better with early and late bye weeks. No one would ever have to play on short weeks, and I think many (not all) fans would appreciate having a couple weekends off from football, too.

It's wishful thinking, though. The owners would never take the revenue hit.

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 04/23/2018 - 2:24pm

The NFL experimented with a double bye week in 1993.


I am old enough to remember this. It was awful and everyone hated it. One bye week per season gives everyone (players and fans alike) a chance to rest, physically and emotionally. Two just left everyone bored.

And it wouldn't be a revenue hit to the league, it would be a revenue boost, because it meant an extra week of football on TV. The fact they have never gone back to double byes despite that should tell you just how unpopular it was.

EDIT: Bill Simmons addressed this in 2010:

"Q: What happened when they expanded to two bye weeks in 1993?

A: One word: disaster. CBS and NBC freaked out because their ratings plummeted thanks to a continually depleted Sunday slate; teams complained that they couldn't maintain momentum when they weren't playing enough games in a row; everyone hated losing the week off between the conference title games and the Super Bowl; and most importantly, fantasy owners couldn't figure out who to bench/waive/pick up since we didn't have the Internet yet.


The real problem: With only 28 teams and a top-heavy league, that left eight or nine Sunday afternoon games per bye week … and only two or three of those games were good. We didn't have DirecTV's season package back then, or the Red Zone Channel, so if you were stuck with a crappy local game (or even worse, a crappy local team that wiped out the quality national game you could have been watching), your whole day was ruined. Trust me, my Patriots overachieved that season by going 5-11. (Double bye weeks) + (no DirecTV) X (crummy local team) = bitter. And that's why double bye weeks went the way of New Coke, "Cop Rock," Planet Hollywood, Rick Mirer and "The Pat Sajak Show.""


by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:31am

While you provide good insight I think you misunderstood (or I misunderstood and you were spot on) what was being proposed. You'd have an 18 week season that started one week earlier so you don't lose the week off between conference championship week and super bowl. You also have EVERY TEAM off in week 6 and and week 13. So every team plays 5 games gets a week off, plays 6 games, gets a week off, plays 5 games. That would be a revenue loss. The proposal also drops all Thursday games except the Thanksgiving games. So another revenue loss. It's completely different than what the double bye weeks were in 93. Well it might not be the 5-6-5 pattern either if you want to not screw with rest as was mentioned the 2nd bye would be before Thanksgiving, so those teams would have a slightly shorter time off, but still longer than a normal week. So however that works out.

I don't know how well that would work as a fan, but I do think it could help the on field product some.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 2:55pm

Ah. Yes, I did understand.

I don't think you would get a lot of support for the idea of the entire league just taking a weekend off once, let alone twice.

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 04/26/2018 - 4:58pm

MISunderstand. I did MISunderstand.

by Richie :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 3:23pm

Having every team off for a week during the season would be no good.

But what if instead half the league was off in week 6, and then the other half was off in week 7? Then do the same thing in week 13-14.

This way there are only 4 weeks with byes. The schedule would be really light those weeks, but we only have to deal with it 4 times per year. This way, the teams all get their byes around the same time.

An added bonus, is fantasy football leagues could change their matchups so that week 6-7 is a single matchup and 13-14 is a single matchup. And now fantasy teams never have trouble with players being on bye.

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 04/26/2018 - 5:01pm

You've just torpedo'd the odds of getting good football games in Weeks 6, 7, 13, and 14. That's 22.2% of your 18-week schedule turfed.

by Richie :: Thu, 04/26/2018 - 6:27pm

I think you've only torpedoed two of the weeks. If week 6-7 is essentially one full of week of games scheduled, then you will have the same number of good matchups, but spread over 2 weeks instead of one.

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 04/27/2018 - 3:57pm

Right. So, if there are 3 or 4 good games in a typical week of NFL football, now there will be 1 or 2. "Spread over two weeks" means the same thing as "cutting in half" in this case.

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:48am

As someone who no longer lives in NE - this is awesome. I'll actually get to watch them over a stable feed.

by Richie :: Tue, 04/24/2018 - 2:02pm

Would you even have the Central and Mountain time zone teams playing at 1:00?

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 3:31am

And pacific…

As an MST guy I could actually get behind this. There are plenty of Sundays where that 11 am kickoff is too damn early.

by Richie :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 3:16pm

Pacific and Eastern both already play (most of) their games at 1:00pm local time.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 5:24pm

I'm not sure what you're thinking of, but you're wrong. In the MST, early games kick off at 11am, afternoon games at 2:30pm, and SNF at 6:30pm.

by Richie :: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 5:38pm

Right. And in Eastern Time, the Sunday games start at 1pm/4pm. Pacific Time it's 10am/1pm. Not sure what I'm wrong about.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 05/05/2018 - 1:38pm

Most games are in the early slot.

I guess you meant most of the local team's home games (?), but what you said was ambiguous. I took "their games" to mean the games fans can watch on tv generally, and didn't even see that there was a different way until you insisted you were right.

by Rocco :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:08pm

Going to go ahead and predict that MNF game against Tampa will be the traditional "dumb loss to a bad team" that happens at least once a year for the Steelers under Tomlin.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:15pm

I hope so; the Bucs; first three games are at New Orleans, then Eagles at home, then Steelers at home that Monday night. That is a brutal start to the season.

by Rocco :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 2:42pm

Oh God, it's almost certain to happen. Tampa will be 0-2 after looking dreadful and will play with urgency and desperation. There's almost no chance of the Steelers taking them seriously. That has "unwatchable 24-22 loss" written all over it.

by Theo :: Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:22pm

Good call.
We have the Ravens in week 4, so everyone will be looking forward to that game.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:27pm

Conference champs should be exempted from the punishment of an international game.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 3:41pm

The matchups were announced on 13-Jan.

The Eagles could have taken the Jags route and lost the CC if they really didn't want to go as Conference Champs ...

by PatsFan :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 6:37pm

Interesting. I thought the Detroit T-day game might have been their NE game, given the hook of Sith lord vs. apprentice.

But I guess they felt using that hook for a SNF game would be better.

by drillz :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:10pm

I'm not usually shocked or surprised, yet not seeing DALLAS vs NYG week-1 prime time, is a shift from the norm of the last few seasons.

by drillz :: Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:34pm

I wonder if the NFL will consider scheduling thursday night games with teams coming off their bye week. Teams would be off for ten days, play thursday night and then have another ten days off. It could at least address the short week issue, and allow teams to rest and prepare.

by Theo :: Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:46pm

I don't know what would be against that.
I also wouldn't mind two bye weeks.
More game weeks (can't watch all of the games anyway) and more rest means more practice, healthier players which results in better play.
Rugby has the rule that one can play max 1 game per 7 days; it would be a good rule for the NFL to implement.