5 must-watchiest NFL games in 2023

Author: Kate MagdziukPublished: 05/11/23
Chiefs vs Lions 2560x1440
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Happy NFL schedule release day! It’s the 💫 magical 🌟 day when hypothetical NFL matchups become real, live, tangible games you can bet on (yes, you can seriously bet on NFL games taking place 4-6 months from now).

We've got some waiting to do before the 2023 NFL season kicks off Thursday, September 7 with the Chiefs vs. Lions on Thursday Night Football. Still, the NFL schedule is magical because it brings us one step closer to Week 1; we're putting the puzzle pieces together for the season, slowly but surely.

Just in case you're a planner (unlike me), here are five can't-miss NFL games to pencil into your planner, phone calendar, or whatever sort of organizational device you use so you don't forget!

5. Chiefs vs. Lions (Week 1)

When: Thursday, September 7, 8:20 p.m. ET (omg, the season opener!!)

Yes, it is the season opener, so it was obligated to be on the list somewhere. That’s not the only reason to tune in, though. This is genuinely a really, really exciting matchup between two pretty talented teams.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t pay homage to the last time these two quarterbacks met. Remember way back in Week 11 of the 2018 season when the Rams beat the Chiefs in LA 54-51? I sure do. I think about it all the time because it was one of the greatest football games ever played. Why?

  • It was the only game in NFL history where both teams scored 50+ points.

  • Their combined point total (105) was the third highest in NFL history.

  • Goff and Mahomes each threw for 400+ yards and 4+ touchdowns 🤯

Way-too-early “best bet”: Over 53.5 points (Did you know both of these teams ranked top-five in points scored in 2022? 👀)

4. Bills vs. Jets (Week 1)

When: Monday, September 11, 8:15 p.m. ET

No, I didn’t intentionally stack multiple Week 1 games in the top five, but it’s really difficult to leave this one out! How can we pass up Aaron Rodgers’ first appearance as a New York Jet, wearing a slightly different shade of green? That would be irresponsible.

TBD on if we see Aaron Rodgers return to MVP form, but even if we don't, we get to see Josh Allen back on the football field, which is magical enough to make me feel like all is right in the world, even if just for three hours on a Monday night.

Way-too-early “best bet”: Bills to cover the spread (-1.5) — AKA, win by two or more points. Sorry, Aaron.

3. Texans vs. Panthers (Week 8)

When: Sunday, October 29, 1 p.m. ET

Neither the NFC South nor the AFC South has much to boast this season, but this is a matchup all of us can get on board with. After all, it's our first head-to-head matchup of the No. 1 (Bryce Young) and No. 2 (C.J. Stroud) overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

What's even more adorable? They're actually good friends and have been since childhood!

Is it not totally GOALS to go head-to-head against one of your childhood besties once you both realize your dreams of becoming NFL quarterbacks?

Way-too-early "best bet": Texans to win (moneyline)

2. Jaguars vs. Bengals (Week 13)

When: Monday, December 4, 8:15 p.m. ET

This might be the most underrated game on the schedule but I am excited! Joe Burrow (2020) and Trevor Lawrence (2021) went as the NFL Draft's No. 1 overall picks. The more time that passes, the more it becomes clear that a new era of NFL quarterbacks is here, and these two are at the forefront.

Way-too-early "best bet": A point total isn't posted for this game just yet, but whatever it is, I'll probably be betting the over! Let's be real. What makes these two teams so special — the offenses. This feels like a matchup that should be flush with yards, touchdowns and fantasy points as the cherry on top.

1. Eagles vs. Chiefs (Week 11)

When: Monday, November 20, 8:15 p.m. ET

Oh, hey, did someone request a matchup of Super Bowl 57? Coming right up! The Chiefs may have won the Lombardi, but the Eagles put up a darn good fight — perhaps one holding call from knocking the Chiefs off entirely. I cannot wait for the rematch.

There are two small differences I think could swing things for Philly this year — the Chiefs' offseason loss of Orlando Brown Jr. (offensive line) and the Eagles newly reloaded defensive line. Patrick Mahomes might be running for his life!

Way-too-early “best bet”: Eagles to win (AKA, a moneyline bet!) with odds at +156. Bet $10 to win $15.60 in profit if your wager cashes!

Honorable mentions: 49ers @ Eagles in Week 13 ('22 NFC Championship rematch!), Chiefs @ Bills in Week 14, Chiefs @ Bengals (in Week 17 ('22 AFC Championship rematch!)

Hint: the Chiefs will be fun to watch!

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