Dominant NFL Isn’t Waiting to Bust Out Big Guns to Start Season

A pair of two-time MVPs will kick things off on September 5

The Baltimore Ravens line up agains the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Ravens and Chiefs last played in the AFC Championship Game.
Perry Knotts/Getty

If you’re going to be a bear, as it was once said in The Cannonball Run, be a Grizzly.

Already the most dominant sport (and debatably source of entertainment) in America, the NFL is taking no prisoners. It will have the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Baltimore Ravens in a rematch of the AFC Championship Game as the season opener for the 2024-25 campaign. Airing on Thursday, September 5 on NBC and Peacock, the playoff rematch will take place the day before the Eagles take on a yet-to-be-revealed opponent in São Paulo, Brazil. When Philly (allegedly against the Packers) takes the field in South America, it’ll be the first time the NFL has played a game on Friday night of Week 1 in over 50 years (Cardinals at Rams, Sept. 18, 1970).

“This landmark first international game in South America demonstrates the ongoing expansion of our global footprint,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press release. “Playing on Friday night of Week 1 is a unique way to highlight our international growth and ambitions.”

Choosing to have the Chiefs host the Ravens to start the season is also a clear example of the league’s ambitions as putting superstars and two-time MVPs, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, against one another in Week 1 at Arrowhead Stadium is clearly a swing for the fences. Given how things have been trending for the NFL, it’s bound to be a grand slam in the ratings department.

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At least on paper, it should also be a great game, as the Chiefs were barely able to squeak by Baltimore (17-10) in the AFC Championship Game before going on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. That being said, perhaps it is somewhat of a mismatch as Mahomes is 4-1 against Jackson, including the postseason, and the Ravens haven’t won at Arrowhead Stadium since 2012. As of now, the Chiefs are a 2.5-point favorite and the season opener has an over/under of 47.5.

Though nothing has been confirmed about the rest of the league’s schedule, including two games being played on Netflix on Christmas Day, the NFL will unveil every matchup in the upcoming season on Wednesday night. When the full schedule is revealed, it’s safe to expect the Chiefs and Ravens will be set for several more primetime games aside from the season opener. As will the Jets, Bears, Eagles and certainly the Cowboys.

Get your popcorn ready.

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