Winners and Losers of the 2024 NFL Schedule: Caleb Williams Has a Chance to Thrive; Jets face treacherous slate

We're almost halfway between the conclusion of the 2023 NFL season and the dawn of next season.

And now, teams and their fanbases can finally properly prepare for the upcoming series. While teams have known their opponents for quite some time, they can now handle the logistical preparations for the 2024 season.

Of course, not all schemes are equal. (And no, this has nothing to do with the formula for determining opponents with these unbalanced schedules. That process is just dandy.)

GO DEEPER

Complete 2024 NFL Schedule Release: Texans on the Rise

Take a look at the quirks of each team's schedule and everyone can find a few hiccups and even a few friendly bounces. That's where we come in, as we run through some of the winners and losers from the 2024 NFL schedule reveal.

WINNERS

Chicago Bears

The Bears are gearing up for their most anticipated season in decades with the signings of quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze headlining their exciting offseason. These major personnel moves followed an impressive 5-3 finish to the season, which caught the attention of front offices across the league.

Even more reason for optimism: the Bears have the third-easiest strength of schedule (.467), based on their opponents' 2023 records.

Of note, Williams may get the chance to face fellow top three picks Jayden Daniels (Commanders, Week 8) and Drake Maye (Patriots, Week 10) in three weeks.

Find the best deals on tickets to see your favorite teams.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons and Saints are tied for easiest strength of schedule in 2024, based on their opponents' records from last season (.453). While this could just be an NFC South thing — the four division foes are in the top six in terms of strength of schedule — the Falcons are the team with the shiny new quarterback(s).

Veteran Kirk Cousins ​​is expected to boost a team that is posting three consecutive 7-10 records, and the league has backed up Atlanta's excitement with four primetime games.

The Falcons have a tough early schedule, but four of their first five games are at home, which helps ease the challenge. If Cousins ​​has not yet recovered from his torn Achilles tendon, rookie quarterback Michael Penix Jr. getting a great reception in the NFL, as the Falcons open with the Steelers, Eagles and Chiefs coming right out.

Dallas Cowboys

It won't be hard to find the Cowboys on TV. They are tied with the 49ers and Jets with six primetime games in the league, as they will face the Giants, Steelers, Niners, Texans, Bengals and Bucs after dark.

They also have five games in that 4:25 PM ET timeslot, which tends to draw a lot of attention. And let's throw a Thanksgiving matinee against the Giants to top it all off.

The Cowboys have just four kickoffs at 1 p.m. plus the start time of the final against Washington.

It's going to be a busy year for the Cowboys, as the storyline about the tension with head coach Mike McCarthy combined with the impending availability of Bill Belichick doesn't seem to be going away. Quarterback Dak Prescott's expiring contract is another major focus in Dallas, along with ongoing negotiations with linebacker Micah Parsons and receiver CeeDee Lamb. All this after another early playoff disappointment, and the Cowboys in prime time will be any broadcaster's dream.

go deeper

GO DEEPER

Can Jordan Love, Dak Prescott make $60 million a year? The next wave of QB deals will push the boundaries of the market

The farewell week draw of week 14

Somehow, six teams have the final bye of the season, which is tied with Week 12 for the most byes in a given week. The Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Colts, Broncos and Commanders will get a welcome chance to rest in early December.

On the other hand, it may be wise to avoid stocking fantasy players from those teams in case you have a must-win game in the regular season finale.

GettyImages 1968530700 scaled e1715827139659


Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift should have plenty of reason to celebrate this year as the Kansas City Chiefs look like they have a pretty light schedule. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift's favorite team

The two-time defending champions will start the season with five primetime games, but it would hardly be a shock if the Chiefs are forced into an extra period before it's all over.

Sure, the Chiefs have a tough opening pair against the Ravens and Bengals, but they're both at home. And after raising the Super Bowl flag last season and then losing to the Lions, Chiefs coach Andy Reid should have no problem getting his team's attention.

The Chiefs are also competing in the NFC South, so they've taken a break with that.

Washington commanders

The Commanders won't rack up many frequent flyer miles. They will travel a record 10,550 miles this season, according to Bookies.com. Twelve teams will travel at least twice as many kilometers on road trips.

LOSERS

Jets from New York

The Jets' Achilles heel in 2024 could be their early season schedule. (Too early?)

Six of their first eleven games will be in prime time, which will work in their favor if they get off to a good start and send a message to the rest of the league. But when things go wrong, the Jets have seen when they've been overwhelmed by negative attention. And don't forget, primetime games come with strange scheduling issues, including a Monday-through-Sunday stretch with the Bills and Steelers and a Sunday-through-Thursday bracket with the Patriots and Texans from Weeks 6 through 9.

They start with three games in eleven days, including road trips against the 49ers and Titans, before starting at home against the Patriots. Although, with many teams having a huge task ahead of them in a short space of time, it is an advantage to get this out of the way at the start of the season when they are theoretically healthier and better rested.

But to turn these obstacles into advantages, the Jets will have to pass a series of early-season tests.

On the road… again

The Bills, Browns, Bears and Vikings each have the unenviable task of playing three road games in three weeks.

The Bills' stretch takes place from Weeks 4 through 6 against the Ravens, Texans and Jets. To add to the problem, they also visit the Dolphins in Week 2. That's a date that always draws the attention of the Dolphins' AFC East foes due to the heat.

The Browns' stretch also goes from Weeks 4 through 6 against the Raiders, Commanders and Eagles.

The Bears will have a crucial swing from Weeks 13 through 15 when they visit the Lions, 49ers and Vikings. For a team with real playoff hopes, the Bears will have to overcome that series of hurdles.

The Vikings will hit the road to face the Jaguars, Titans and Bears from weeks 10 through 12.

Another bye week

As if the 49ers' schedule wasn't challenging enough, they'll play the Bills, Chiefs, Cowboys and Seahawks who are all coming off their byes.

The Colts will play three teams coming off their byes (Dolphins, Titans, Broncos), but Indy will have their own bye for the Denver game.

Four teams play against two opponents coming off their bye, without the advantage of having a bye week themselves. They are the Dolphins (Texans, Raiders), Commanders (Steelers, Bears), Saints (Browns, Commanders) and Seahawks (Jets, Cardinals).

Twelve teams will not play anyone with a bye: Bills, Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Titans, Eagles, Vikings, Packers, Panthers and Falcons. So, hey, good for them.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are the only team in the league without a primetime game, which is no surprise considering they just had the worst record in the NFL.

Not only that, but they have to visit Chicago in Week 5 to see firsthand the QB the Bears drafted with the Panthers' top pick in April. So while the Panthers continue to reel from the Bryce Young vs. CJ Stroud decision, they must hope for a rebound in 2024 with Young needing to beat Caleb Williams.

Drake Maye's Spotlight

As if the No. 3 pick doesn't put enough pressure on him — the ongoing search for Tom Brady's replacement stretching into the first season of the post-Bill Belichick era, in case you've forgotten — The Patriots may face the most loaded schedule of quarterbacks in the NFL in 2024.

Maybe the Patriots will just go with Jacoby Brissett. Or maybe Maye will play well and the Patriots will exceed expectations.

But what if Maye and the Patriots are struggling? Yes, they will get a glimpse of how far he still has to go. And very little of this would certainly be fair to Maye if she were to jump into the fray with a roster that has major holes in attack.

But the fact is this. They are each scheduled for two games against Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa. They visit Caleb Williams and the Bears. They will host 2023 first-rounders CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson. They will also welcome Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence, Brock Purdy and Kyler Murray.

Injuries will likely wipe out some of those matchups, but those QBs are currently the Patriots' opponents in 15 of their 17 games.

The Patriots' primary goal in 2024 will be to develop Maye to create optimism and momentum for 2025. Everything else takes a back seat. But in the NFL, where every storyline is hyper-magnified, Maye won't get much reprieve from his opponents.

go deeper

GO DEEPER

2024 NFL schedule: week-by-week matchups, TV broadcasts and times

Old fashioned remote controls

The NFL has more streamers than a Dunder Mifflin party.

With games being streamed on every platform except your nephew's YouTube channel, viewers of a certain age are sure to roll their eyes when it comes time to determine which platform offers a particular national game. Or even if you're tech-savvy, you still need a moment to mentally prepare if you plan to change channels during commercials.

The future is here and we will embrace it appropriately, but for some it will be slower.

The Christmas slate

The Chiefs-Steelers and Ravens-Texans games have the chance to be meaningful, so viewership will be high. But all four teams will have to make serious scheduling adjustments to accommodate a Wednesday game in Week 17.

It essentially amounts to two consecutive short weeks, as each team plays Saturday in Week 16 before Wednesday's game in Week 17. That will lead to three games in eleven days for all four teams, which isn't unprecedented, but it is Certainly a difficult one at this stage of the calendar.

(Photo illustration: Sean Reilly / The athletic; photos of Aaron Rodgers, Caleb Williams and Dak Prescott: Cooper Neill, Michael Reaves and Nick Cammett / Getty Images)

Related Posts

  • Sports
  • June 15, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 6 minutes Read
Where to watch Italy vs. Watch Albania: Euro 2024 live stream online, prediction, odds, how to watch, TV channel

Getty Images Title holders Italy kick off their UEFA Euro 2024 Group B campaign at the Signal Iduna Park against an Albania they have beaten in all four previous matches.…

  • Sports
  • June 15, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 11 minutes Read
Euro 2024 predictions: Best player, dark horses, biggest disappointment? Our writers’ picks

Follow live coverage of Germany vs Scotland at Euro 2024 today Sign up for The Athletic today with our limited-time Tournament Sale offer. We are just a day away from…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's strategy to blame his wife in a bribery trial could have pitfalls

  • June 15, 2024
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's strategy to blame his wife in a bribery trial could have pitfalls

FTC Chair Lina Khan on Startups, Scaling and 'Innovations in the Field of Possible Law Violations'

  • June 15, 2024
FTC Chair Lina Khan on Startups, Scaling and 'Innovations in the Field of Possible Law Violations'

Following a routine makes it easier to build wealth. Here's how

  • June 15, 2024
Following a routine makes it easier to build wealth.  Here's how

Investors are wondering whether technology can continue to lift the S&P 500 to new records this summer

  • June 15, 2024
Investors are wondering whether technology can continue to lift the S&P 500 to new records this summer

New research approach: investigating the mouthfeel of food with a microscope

  • June 15, 2024
New research approach: investigating the mouthfeel of food with a microscope

Salesforce (CRM) Q1 2025 Earnings Report

  • June 15, 2024
Salesforce (CRM) Q1 2025 Earnings Report

Quantum entanglement measures the rotation of the Earth

  • June 15, 2024
Quantum entanglement measures the rotation of the Earth

DOJ Destroys GOP Conspiracy That Controlled New York Trial

  • June 15, 2024
DOJ Destroys GOP Conspiracy That Controlled New York Trial

Nvidia's 'Nemotron-4 340B' model redefines synthetic data generation and competes with GPT-4

  • June 15, 2024
Nvidia's 'Nemotron-4 340B' model redefines synthetic data generation and competes with GPT-4

China needs bond market reforms to rein in rising debt, S&P Global says

  • June 15, 2024
China needs bond market reforms to rein in rising debt, S&P Global says

The tasty flavors of chocolate can pose a risk in other desserts

  • June 15, 2024
The tasty flavors of chocolate can pose a risk in other desserts