2024 NFL schedule release: Ranking 10 must-see games, including Jets-49ers opener, Harbaugh Bowl

Written by on May 17, 2024

The 2024 NFL schedule is here, with the league on Wednesday unveiling every single contest of the upcoming regular season. There is, of course, no shortage of dramatic storylines littered from September into January. But which of the newly announced games stand out as must-see TV?

Here are 10 of our favorite matchups, each of which warrants ample anticipation:

10. Falcons at Vikings

Date: Sunday, Dec. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | TV: Fox

Kirk Cousins left Minnesota for Atlanta, only to find himself in an unexpected, albeit mild, quarterback controversy, with the Falcons quickly spending a top-10 pick on Michael Penix Jr. Presuming Cousins is still under center in Week 14, he’ll be returning to his old stomping grounds, where the Vikings may or may not have rookie J.J. McCarthy guiding their own playoff aspirations.

9. Ravens at Chargers

Date: Monday, Nov. 25 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN  

More than a decade after their two teams met in the Super Bowl, Jim and John Harbaugh will clash on the NFL stage once again, with Jim’s Chargers likely resembling more of an old-school, run-first contender around Justin Herbert, and John’s Ravens looking to get over the hump after an AFC title-game bid.

8. 49ers at Dolphins

Date: Sunday, Dec. 22 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

San Francisco is well-positioned for another Super Bowl bid thanks to a complete roster and the steady strategy of Kyle Shanahan. Here, days before Christmas, Shanahan will meet his old pupil, Mike McDaniel, and what figures to be another high-octane Dolphins offense littered with elite speed.

7. Eagles at Bengals

Date: Sunday, Oct. 27 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

Hijinks tend to unfold when these two teams meet; they’ve tied twice (!) in their last four matchups. Besides, we’ve yet to see Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts go head to head since their arrival as part of the 2020 quarterback class. It’s very possible this could end up being a Super Bowl preview.

6. Texans at Jets

Date: Thursday, Oct. 31 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: Prime Video

Few teams are drawing more hype going into 2024 than the Texans and Jets. One club has maybe the top up-and-coming gunslinger in C.J. Stroud. The other has maybe the most mysterious all-time great in Aaron Rodgers, who’s looking to make up for lost time after an injury-marred New York debut. Throwing these two together on Halloween Night feels like a recipe for prime-time drama.

5. Lions at 49ers

Date: Monday, Dec. 30 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN, ABC

Rematches may be boring to some, but almost a full year after they met in the NFC title game, both these squads figure to remain near the top of the conference. Detroit locked up many of its core play-makers this offseason, so the pressure is on Dan Campbell’s ultra-aggressive contender to take the next big leap.

4. Chiefs at 49ers

Date: Sunday, Oct. 20 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: Fox

Super Bowl LVIII had these two neck and neck until the final buzzer, giving us just the second Super Bowl overtime in NFL history. We should all be anticipating the encore. Kansas City remains an inevitable force in the AFC, and with more speed added out wide, Patrick Mahomes‘ offense might even take a step forward. Brock Purdy, meanwhile, may just be getting started as the figurehead of San Francisco’s attack.

3. Texans at Cowboys

Date: Monday, Nov. 18 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN

Dallas is always a big draw due to the perennially lofty expectations set by owner Jerry Jones, and now the pressure could be even more intense with Dak Prescott’s future up in the air. This feels like a true statement game: Can C.J. Stroud and Co. claim Texas as their own, right on Jerry’s turf?

2. Chiefs at Bills

Date: Sunday, Nov. 17 | Time: 4:25 p.m. ET | TV: CBS

This matchup gets hype every year, and yet, when has it failed to deliver? Whether in the regular season or the playoffs, these two bring out the best in each other. Patrick Mahomes. Josh Allen. It doesn’t get much better in terms of big-time play-making. Everyone will be watching, as they should.

1. Jets at 49ers

Date: Monday, Sept. 9 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN, ABC

What a perfect way to round out the opening week of NFL action. There are other must-see Week 1 matchups, to be sure: The Green Bay Packers will take the South American stage with all kinds of juice against the Eagles. The Lions will get a chance to edge old friend Matthew Stafford once again. But Jets-49ers is Hollywood-esque, giving Aaron Rodgers a chance to make his long-anticipated return under the Monday night lights against his childhood team, which just might happen to have the best roster in football.

The post 2024 NFL schedule release: Ranking 10 must-see games, including Jets-49ers opener, Harbaugh Bowl first appeared on CBS Sports.


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