An in-depth look at the countless different variables that are factored into the NFL’s creation of its 256-game regular-season schedule.
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The NFL schedule is out, and it contained more than a few wrinkles worth noting.
We took a deeper dive at some of the oddities and key games. Here’s what grabbed our attention.
Attention Ravens: You sure?
The Ravens wanted to buck the NFL tradition of getting a bye after an overseas trip. Done. Positive: The Ravens will not have to spend their bye early in the season (coaches and players don’t like that). They will indeed play the week after facing the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 24. Negative: They come home to host the rival Steelers the following week. That’s a tough assignment after the London trip.
Sunday night game, Week 1: A re-run
OK, we’re a bit sick of Giants at Cowboys in this spot. But we learn to live with the league’s lack of imagination. So that with in mind, we look for the storyline: Besides this being the third year in a row that the Giants open at Dallas, it is a team Dak Prescott has yet to beat. Dallas was 13-3 last season, 0-2 against the Giants.
The Browns: We get no respect
Look at the Cleveland schedule. All 1 p.m. ET kickoffs (except the game in London), which means no national television audience. Not even a Thursday night game. And get this: the game in London is being shown on NFL Network, so it’s a stretch to call that a “national TV” game.
Prime-time in L.A.: Not yet
No prime time games home games for Chargers in their itty-bitty stadium in Carson and same for the Rams, who are still sharing the Coliseum with USC. On the other hand, the Rams and Chargers do have games on the same day three times. Good luck with that traffic.
Patriots high and getting higher: (By that, we mean the altitude)
The Patriots come off their bye to play at Denver in Week 10, then play the Raiders at Mexico City – which has an altitude even higher than Denver’s — in Week 11. Expect they’ll spend the week working in some high-altitude location. By the way, Denver altitude: 5,280 feet; Mexico City altitude: 7,382 feet.
(Non-NFL flashback: Bob Beamon’s soaring, then-world-record long jump at Mexico City Olympics in 1968. His mark of 29 feet, 2 ¼ inches is still the Olympic record, and stood as the world record until Mike Powell leaped 29 feet, 4 ¼ inches in 1981.)
Don’t tweet this: First game on Amazon set
The first Thursday night game Amazon will stream will be the Bears at Packers in Week 4. Last season, Twitter did the streaming.
Falcons’ new stadium: An extra week to get ready
As is becoming a tradition it seems, the NFL will hold off debuting a new stadium until Week 2. That gives owner Arthur Blank an extra week to make sure the lights – and roof – work. Opponent: Green Bay. The Packers’ last visit to Atlanta was in the NFC Championship Game. Didn’t end well for them.
Romo and Dak: Together again
It looks like retired Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, now a broadcaster for CBS, will get two chances to talk about his replacement, Dak Prescott, on the air. Cowboys at Chiefs on Nov. 5 is scheduled to go national as a late afternoon contest, and the Chargers visit Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, another CBS game.
Lions’ roar: Wish for home games granted
Detroit president Rod Wood lobbied the league to give his team more home games early in the season. The past two seasons and four of the past 10, the Lions played three of their first four games on the road. This time, they play three of the first four at home, including the home opener against Arizona.
Can’t wait for this: National TV home games for Raiders
The Raiders are on national TV five times, but the two we look most forward to: Oct. 19 vs. the Chiefs and Dec. 17 vs. the Cowboys. Under the lights. In Oakland. The fans who are having their team taken from them in the pursuit of greener – money – pastures get to show the nation how they feel about it.
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