The release of the full NFL schedule on Thursday night revealed that the league is planning to have three editions of Monday Night Football that will feature two games being played simultaneously in primetime. It’s an interesting strategy and will force fans to choose between Saints-Panthers and Browns-Steelers in Week 2, Eagles-Buccaneers and Rams-Bengals in Week 3 and Titans-Dolphins and Packers-Giants in Week 14.
The Texans, Cardinals, Colts and Falcons won’t be involved in any of the Monday night doubleheaders or any MNF action at all. They also won’t be playing any other primetime game during the upcoming season unless they are flexed into them. The NFL schedule reveals that the league predicts Houston, Arizona, Indianapolis and Atlanta are going to stink.
A big reason why the league likely feels this way, or has at least designed the schedule as if it does, is that none of those four teams, aside from the Cardinals, has a proven quarterback; and Arizona signal-caller Kyler Murray is hurt and not expected back until the middle of the season at the earliest. With Murray hurt, the Cardinals may turn to veteran Colt McCoy as their quarterback, the Falcons will use second-year player Desmond Ridder, and the Colts and Texans will use rookies Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud, respectively. In addition to relying on new quarterbacks, the Cardinals, Texans and Colts all have first-year head coaches.
One MLB Division Is Not Like the OthersThe AL East does not have a single team that is below .500
Last season, the only team that did not have a primetime game on the NFL schedule to start the year was the Detroit Lions. The Lions ended up getting a primetime slot when their final game of the season was flexed into Sunday Night Football. One of the biggest surprises of last season, Detroit won that game and knocked the Packers out of the playoff picture and kickstarted Green Bay jettisoning Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets.
Will the Texans, Cardinals, Colts or Falcons be able to follow in Detroit’s footsteps and exceed expectations? That remains to be seen, but most pundits seem to think not, as Houston, Arizona and Indianapolis are all generally predicted to have sub-.500 records with the Cardinals almost universally being projected to be the worst team in the league and have the first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Of the four, only Atlanta is getting some love, thanks in large part to having the league’s easiest schedule. The 33rd team predicts the Falcons to finish at 9-8 based on the team having an elite group of skill position players (RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts) and an improved defensive unit. “This team should finish middle of the pack on offense and defense, which is enough to compete for the NFC South crown,” per the site.