LOS ANGELES. The holiest week of the American calendar just got a whole lot holier for NFL fans. Easter and Passover are upon us. But leatherheads have already been given a beautiful, unwrapped gift. As Holy Thursday commenced at the stroke of Midnight ET (9:00 p.m. Wednesday on the West Coast), major league football released its 2019 NFL Schedule.
This is the 100th year of the National Football League, so the the league is going all out.
The NFL 2019 schedule release quickly rendered all other global news irrelevant. Thursday, some guy named Bob Barr released a competing report from someone named Bob Mueller, something about President Trump and Russia. When asked about Mueller, leatherheads replied, “What team is he on? What position does he play? Can he help us go 12-4?”
So forget politics. Forget art and music. And forget world events. Those can wait. This is football. The NFL Draft is one week away. The 2019 NFL regular season is only five months away. Start planning those vacations now.
And now, our CDN list of the top matchups incoming on the NFL 2019 schedule.
Our top games are listed in chronological order.
1.) Week 1, Thursday, September 5 — Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears.
The Packers came into existence in 1919, the Bears in 1920. Aaron Rodgers will bring a new coach and a new offense against Khalil Mack and a ferocious Chicago defense. This Week 1 NFL 2019 game is everything that is right about football. It’s also a perfect way to start the NFL’s 100th season.
2.) Week 2, Sunday, September 15 — New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams.
The rematch of the 2018 NFC Title Game has the Saints burning for revenge. They maintain the officials cheated them out of a trip to the Super Bowl. This is the day they have to put up or shut up. Could be one of the more emotional games in the 2019 NFL schedule.
3.) Week 3, Sunday, September 22 — New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks.
Drew Brees and Russell Wilson face off for perhaps the last time in the regular season. Sean Payton is a brilliant offensive innovator, and Pete Carroll is as good as it gets coaching defense.
4.) Week 5, Thursday, October 3 — Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks.
While the chess match between offensive stud Sean McVay and Carroll is compelling, this game comes down to Michelin Man Wade Phillips. If his defense can corral Wilson, the Rams will get a tough road win.
5.) Week 5, Sunday, October 6 — Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys.
These teams met in some of the greatest playoff games in NFL history, including the “Ice Bowl,” that cemented Vince Lombardi’s legacy. If the Packers truly want to show they are back, they have to go on the road and deal with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
6.) Week 6, Sunday, October 13 — Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers.
Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers are getting long in the tooth, but they both played well last year. With a certain receiver and running back no longer in Pittsburgh, we will see how potent Pittsburgh’s offense still is.
7.) Week 7, Sunday, October 20 — New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears.
Brees is the pinball wizard. Mack is the wrecking ball. Something has to give. Can Mitchell Trubisky be more than Rex Grossman? To win games like this during the NFL 2019 season, he may need to be more than a game manager.
8.) Week 7, Sunday, October 20 — Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys.
Nick Foles is gone, and Carson Wentz has to return to form for the 2017 NFL champions to go on the road and beat their hated rival.
9.) Week 9, Sunday, November 3 — Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles.
Cody Parkey will not be around for this revenge game. The Eagles survived last year’s playoff game by getting one tiny finger on his field goal attempt, leading to the doink off the upright heard around the world. The questions will center around the quarterbacks. Is Wentz back? Can Trubisky step up?
10.) Week 9, Sunday, November 3 — New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens.
This is always a brutal game for these teams. The defending champions will still have Tom Brady but not the retired Rob Gronkowski. The Ravens always seem to have a good defense. But the question mark will be if Lamar Jackson can avoid the sophomore jinx. Joe Flacco is gone, so Jackson has to for Baltimore to win.
11.) Week 10, Monday, November 11 — Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers.
This bitter rivalry took a hit when Jim Harbaugh returned to college and the 49ers fell apart. Jimmy Garoppollo is supposed to be the next rock star, but he needs to stay healthy first. This game will test if the 49ers really are for real.
12.) Week 11, Thursday, November 14 — Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns.
The ultimate winners go on the road to take on the ultimate losers in this NFL 2019 grudge match. Yet this is the year we are told that the Cleveland Browns are for real. Baker Mayfield and O’Dell Beckham will either send a message to their fiercest rival or remind the NFL that the Brownies will be awful for another 100 years.
13.) Week 11, Sunday, November 17 — Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams.
Last year the high-octane Rams offense ran into a Chicago buzzsaw in a brutal 15-6 Bears win. The rematch is in Los Angeles. Points could be even fewer.
14.) Week 13, Thursday, November 28 — New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons.
On paper, the Falcons have talent, especially on offense. The results last year were awful. Matt Ryan and Drew Brees have had some epic matchups. And a revitalized Atlanta offense would make this a thriller.
15.) Week 14, Sunday, December 8 — Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots.
This is December football. This is when the big dogs come out. This AFC Title Game rematch could shatter the scoreboard. These were both AFL teams, and their last two games saw Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes combine for 83 and 68 points, respectively. Could be a major NFL 2019 highlight.
16.) Week 15, Sunday December 15 — Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers.
Pete Carroll and Ron Rivera both know defense, and they both know how to get the most out of their rosters. These former NFC Champions will both need this game desperately to make the playoffs.
17.) Week 15, Sunday, December 15 — Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders.
This will be the final game ever in the true Black Hole. Call it the Mausoleum. The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum hosted some of the NFL’s greatest classics, from the “Heidi Game” to the “Sea of Hands.” In 2020, the Raiders move into their Las Vegas metropolis. Expect a lot of emotion and plenty of tears.
18.) Week 16. Sunday, December 22 — Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns.
The Dawg Pound lives for this game. If the Browns are for real, this can finally be more than a rivalry in name only. Both teams have the quarterbacks and the defense. In Cleveland’s brutally cold weather, this will come down to who can play smashmouth in the running game.
19.) Week 17, Sunday, December 29 — Everything.
The best decision the NFL 2019 schedule makers ever made was to make all Week 17 games division matchups.
NFL 2019: It’s a wrap
Several of these NFL 2019 games will be brutal slugfests. The AFC North has the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens. The NFC North offers the Chicago Bears at the Minnesota Vikings. For those who love offense, the NFC South has the New Orleans Saints at the Carolina Panthers. The always-crazy AFC South has the Tennessee Titans at the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Indianapolis Colts. The AFC West sees the Raiders open their final season in Oakland on Monday Night Football hosting the Denver Broncos. The rematch closes their regular seasons in Denver and ends Oakland football as we know it.
Super Bowl LIV (54) takes place in Miami, Florida on February 2, 2020. That is less than 10 months away. Miami was the city where Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl ring in the rain. To quote Manning, “God bless you all, and God bless football.”
Happy 100th, NFL. Let’s play some football!
—Headline image: Screen capture, official NFL logo.