The 2019 National Football League schedule was released on Thursday, April 18. The new season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 5 with Green Bay heading to Chicago. The annual opening week Monday night doubleheader has a pair of gems in Houston at New Orleans and Denver at Oakland. What about the rest of the schedule? Here’s a look at the most anticipated games of the 2019 NFL season.
Week 1: Green Bay @ Chicago
Could there be a better way to kick off the 2019 season than at Soldier Field? Probably not. The NFL’s No.1 scoring defense in 2018 takes on NFC North rival Green Bay and QB Aaron Rodgers. It will be the debut of new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. Can Green Bay, a disappointing 6-9-1 last season, match the speed of DE Khalil Mack and the rest of the Bears defense?
Week 1: Pittsburgh @ New England
There are a number of Week 1 games that could make this list. The Steelers and Patriots have met near the end of the last few seasons. This year, they will see each other right off the bat. It will be a Steelers offense that will be without WR Antonio Brown – now in Oakland – and RB Le’Veon Bell, who is now a New York Jet. The Patriots and their 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady will try and start off another season that leads to a Super Bowl.
Week 2: New Orleans @ L.A. Rams
Remember that pass interference penalty in the NFC Championship game? Oh wait, that’s right. The penalty was never called and it was the Rams that went on to Super Bowl LIII. Two of the NFL’s most explosive offenses will match up once again in early season showdown. Expect both teams to make the postseason again.
Week 2: Cleveland @ NY Jets
There is some serious hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns. They were able to pick up Odell Beckham Jr. to go along with their now second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield. This Week 2 contest pits Mayfield against fellow second-year quarterback Sam Darnold of the Jets. Darnold will now have the services of Le’Veon Bell in the backfield and the Jets defense should be improved. Look for one, if not both of these teams to have a shot at the postseason.
Week 5: Indianapolis @ Kansas City
If there is a team in the AFC that can dethrone the Patriots, it might be one of these two that play each other in Week 5. The Chiefs, of course, were close to winning an AFC title a year ago and QB Patrick Mahomes could go down as one of the best ever at his position. Don’t forget about Colts QB Andrew Luck. He also belongs in that discussion after his return in 2018 from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss all of 2017. Both teams can put up points. The Colts defense was much improved last year. The Chiefs’ Achilles heel last year was defense. That shouldn’t be the case this season under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Week 5: Chicago vs. Oakland @ Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London
This Week 5 game is more notable for its location though it might have a bearing on Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s second season in charge. The Bears and Raiders will play in the very first game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first of its kind to be built outside of the U.S. It is the first true football only stadium built outside of America. The Bears defense will have to slow down a Raiders attack that could be dangerous with new WR Antonio Brown on the outside.
Week 9: Houston vs. Jacksonville @ Wembley Stadium in London
There will be four NFL games played in London this season. The final game played overseas will take place in Week 9 when Houston and Jacksonville tangle in an AFC South showdown. The Jags are coming off a disappointing 5-11 season while Houston went 11-5 and won the division. Head coach Bill O’Brien wants to build upon last year’s success. Jacksonville signed former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to come in and play quarterback. RB Leonard Fournette and the rest of the offense must stay healthy.
Week 12: Kansas City vs. L.A. Chargers in Mexico City
There are some rabid NFL fans in Mexico and the NFL attempted to treat them last season. Unfortunately, the field at Estadio Azteca did not cooperate and the game was moved. This year, fans in Mexico City will be treated to two of the best offenses in the league. The Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes running the show led the NFL in total yards per game (425.6) and scoring offense (35.3 points per game). The Chargers are led by veteran QB Philip Rivers this game could, like last year, go a long way in determining who wins the AFC West.
Week 12: Baltimore @ L.A. Rams
The Ravens won last year’s AFC North Division crown by going 6-1 in their last seven games. This year, they might have to do the same. In Week 12, the Ravens will have to travel out west to L.A. to face last year’s NFC champion. The Ravens are tough defensively – remember they sacked Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota 11 times in a single game last year. For the Rams, they get one of their tougher opponents at home where they went 7-1 last season.
Week 14 Dec. 8 Kansas City at New England
An AFC championship game rematch in Week 14. The Chiefs-Patriots meeting in Week 14 will likely have an effect on seeding for the postseason. The two teams played in the regular season last year. New England won 43-40 and then beat the Chiefs again in the AFC title game in overtime, 37-31. The Patriots have won five of the last seven against Kansas City dating back to the 2008 season. The mind of head coach Bill Belichick and his ageless QB Tom Brady will be pitted against the creativity of K.C. head coach Andy Reid and his young star QB Patrick Mahomes.
2019 NFL Football Playoffs