The full 2023 regular season schedule has been unveiled, and NFL fans all across the world are in for quite a ride this fall. As you dig a bit deeper into what is a tidal wave of information with this schedule release, we get to see all the primetime matchups that will have us at the edge of our seats, including "Monday Night Football."
This year, we'll be treated to 23 (!) "Monday Night Football" games over the span of 18 weeks, with three of them being doubleheaders. That said, it should be noted that a few of these games will not technically be played on Monday, but merely have the branding of the marquee event. That includes the Jaguars-Falcons Week 4 showdown in London and the still-to-be-determined Week 18 doubleheader that will be played on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024.
There are a couple of heavy-hitting matchups that we have in store including the debut of Aaron Rodgers and multiple Super Bowl rematches. Where do they all stack up against one another? Let's rank 'em!
Note: Only 21 of the 23 games will be ranked with Week 18 still TBD.
No. 21: Falcons at Jaguars (Week 4 in London)
While this game will technically have the "Monday Night Football" branding, it's going to be played on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET in London. Those facts alone relegate this game to the bottom of the list. One thing that is interesting about this game is Calvin Ridley playing against his former team. Sure, Bijan Robinson will be a player to watch on the Falcons side of things, but Atlanta is still among the bottom-dwellers in the NFL at the moment. While the Jaguars are slated to be a team on the rise in 2023, they are still not a true marquee draw yet, despite the presence of Trevor Lawrence.
No. 20: Eagles at Buccaneers (Week 3)
Philly is a Super Bowl threat and should be one of the best teams in the NFL wire-to-wire. The same can't be said for Tampa Bay. It is going to either be trotting out Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask as it transitions into the post-Tom Brady era, so there could be the potential for this game to get ugly in a hurry.
Titans vs. Dolphins could end up being one of the better "Monday Night Football" matchups we get if both of these teams live up to their highest ceiling. Miami has some electric pass-catchers and the fastest offense in the NFL, while Tennessee still has a barreling offense headlined by Derrick Henry. That said, the quarterbacks give me some pause from putting this game higher. Given Tua Tagovailoa's injury history, it's no guarantee he'll be playing in this game. As for the Titans, there's the possibility that Will Levis could be under center if Ryan Tannehill bottoms out. While that may bring more intrigue, I'm not sure that'll make it a competitive game.
No. 18: Raiders at Lions (Week 8)
Not a lot of flash, but this is a really solid game that kind of reflects both of these quarterbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff are not among the NFL's elite but are more than capable of getting their team a win. They each have solid pass-catching weapons and strong pass-rushers on the other side of the ball. Could make for a fun head-to-head.
No. 17: Packers at Giants (Week 14)
If Jordan Love can play at a serviceable level in his first season as the full-time starter, Green Bay could find itself pushing for a playoff spot. That would create a fascinating showdown with the Giants in Week 14 as these two NFC teams begin their run down the home stretch.
No. 16: Chiefs at Patriots (Week 15)
Just a few years ago, this could rival to be No. 1, but the Patriots have experienced a fall from grace post-Tom Brady. That said, the addition of offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien may just be the medicine Mac Jones needs to get back on track. If that proves to be the case, New England could sneak into playoff contention and make this game against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs one of the more underrated "Monday Night Football" games of the year.
No. 15: 49ers at Vikings (Week 7)
This game might be lower if San Francisco's quarterback situation isn't cleared up by this point, but we'll assume the Niners have Brock Purdy under center for this one. Minnesota was a little bit of fool's gold in 2022, but it was still able to win the NFC North and have arguably the No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL in Justin Jefferson, so this game won't lack star power on either sideline.
No. 14: Packers at Raiders (Week 5)
This would have easily been No. 1 had Aaron Rodgers found his way to Las Vegas instead of New York. Still, we do have Davante Adams going up against his former Packers team for the first time since the blockbuster trade in 2022 that sent him to the Raiders. On top of that, we get a look at Jimmy Garoppolo, who reunited with Josh McDaniels, and Jordan Love as he ascends to QB1 post-Rodgers.
This could end up being a sneaky fun game. Both of these teams have new quarterbacks this season but found them in different ways. New Orleans inked Derek Carr to a contract after his release from the Raiders, while the Panthers traded up to the No. 1 overall pick to select Bryce Young. The NFC South wasn't competitive in 2022, but these quarterbacks could change that beginning in Week 2.
No. 12: Lions at Cowboys (Week 17)
This could end up being a playoff preview. The Lions have been an offseason darling, as many are picking them to be one of the dark horses in the NFC. Meanwhile, you have a Dallas team that made several savvy additions this offseason that should have it in the thick of the NFC playoff picture at this point in the year. Given that this game will be played in Week 17, these teams could very well be jockeying for seeding.
Geno Smith and Daniel Jones were two of the quarterbacks to make the biggest headlines this offseason, as they each inked contract extensions with their respective clubs. Now, they get to battle it out on the field in Week 4 at MetLife Stadium. Both of these teams were in the playoffs a season ago, and there's reason to think they'll be in the hunt again in 2023.
This is an AFC North rivalry matchup with plenty of quarterback intrigue. On one side, you have the Browns entering their first full season with Deshaun Watson as their starter. On the other, Pittsburgh is trotting out 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett in Year 2. While each of these quarterbacks are at different stages of their careers, their play out of the gate will be under the microscope. As it relates to Watson, he needs to show Cleveland that he is worth that $230 fully guaranteed contract. If not, this could end up being one of the bigger blunders in NFL history. However, it he turns back into the quarterback we saw in Houston, he could send the Browns to the postseason. As for Pickett, he'll look to make a Year 2 leap and inch Pittsburgh back to the playoffs.
Who doesn't love an NFC North showdown? The Vikings could end up being a fascinating story to follow this season as Kirk Cousins is in the final year of his deal. Meanwhile, Chicago has one of the more exciting young quarterbacks in the league in Justin Fields. Last season, Fields had a breakout performance on "Monday Night Football," rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 179 yards and another score. With another year under his belt and new weapons like D.J. Moore, his encore could be even better. While Detroit is getting a lot of offseason love in the NFC North, both of these teams could rival for the division crown, making this a high-stakes matchup to wrap up Thanksgiving weekend.
No. 8: Bengals at Jaguars (Week 13)
We have two former No. 1 quarterbacks going toe-to-toe in Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Cincinnati has been a perennial contender in the AFC under Burrow, and it seems like Jacksonville is on a similar trajectory with Lawrence. The Jags are coming off a 2022 season where they were able to reach the postseason and advance to the divisional round. Now, many are expecting them to take another leap in 2023, so this matchup against Cincy could be a fantastic measuring stick moment for them.
No. 7: Broncos at Bills (Week 10)
If Sean Payton can get the Broncos on track with Russell Wilson, they have the talent to be a dangerous football team. And if that's the case, this midseason matchup with the Bills should be awesome. Josh Allen and company are worth the price of admission on their own, but Denver could make this a must-see spectacle if it turns things around. There's also the Von Miller vs. Broncos storyline that brings another level to this matchup.
Because of Los Angeles' injury-filled season in 2022, this game may be glossed over by the general public. That said, this was the Super Bowl matchup just a couple of years ago, and many of the key pillars on both sides are still around. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald have all returned to the Rams this season and will be healthy by the start of the year, making them a dangerous team under head coach Sean McVay. Meanwhile, you get Joe Burrow and the Bengals on the other side, and they continue to look like a legit threat in the AFC.
No. 5: Chargers at Jets (Week 9)
This quarterback matchup is too good to ignore any longer. Justin Herbert vs. Aaron Rodgers? Sign me up! This game has the potential to have one of the NFL's all-time greats duking it out with an up-and-coming superstar. If that doesn't get you running to your TV to catch this game, I don't know what will.
No. 4: Ravens at 49ers (Week 16)
This may be a bit too high for this game, but I think it might get a bit underrated, so we'll give it some shine here. Now that Lamar Jackson's contract situation is all cleared up, Baltimore can focus on preparing for the 2023 season, and it looks like it is about to form a lethal offense under new OC Todd Monken. The Ravens have revamped the wide receiver room with Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, so Jackson could be in for one of the most prolific passing seasons of his career. On the other side, you have a 49ers team that is among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year and quarterback Brock Purdy should be fully healthy at this point in the year, meaning we'll get a full-powered San Francisco team in this tilt. Don't sleep on this game as a sneaky Super Bowl preview.
The side story to this game is where this head-to-head gets juicy. Kellen Moore was with the Cowboys as a player for three seasons and then as a coach for five years before the two sides split this past offseason. And it wasn't exactly a fond farewell, either, as Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy threw some jabs at Moore following his departure. Now, Moore is the offensive coordinator for a Chargers team that boasts star quarterback Justin Herbert, which could help him get some revenge on his old squad. Both Dallas and Los Angeles have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, so the on-field duel will also be just as intriguing as the Moore vs. McCarthy narrative.
The NFL pulled out the red carpet for Aaron Rodgers, as he'll make his Jets debut in the first "Monday Night Football" game of the year in Week 1 at MetLife Stadium. Not only that, but it'll be against New York's main competitor in the AFC East in the Buffalo Bills. This game brings with it a lot of pomp and circumstance with Rodgers, but this is also a heck of a quarterback duel when factoring in Josh Allen, who is among the betting favorites to win the MVP award this season. This is also an early statement game for these division rivals to try and establish dominance right out of the gate.
We have ourselves a rematch of last year's Super Bowl when the Eagles swoop into Arrowhead Stadium to take on Kansas City in Week 11. That prior history already gives us enough cause to put this game up against any other "Monday Night Football" matchup this season, but it stands above the rest due to both of these teams remaining in Super Bowl contention in 2023. The Chiefs currently are the favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII, and the Eagles are not far behind -- tied with the 49ers for the second-best odds. In reality, this should be looked at as a possible Super Bowl preview rather than a rematch.