Schedule Release

2023 NFL Schedule Release: 10 Best Games This Season

The NFL schedule release is slated for May 11. However, we already know which teams are going to play each other. Charles Davis and Paul Burmeister break down 10 games they’re the most excited to see this season. Burmeister took the even numbers, and Davis took the odd numbers. 

READ: International Series Schedule | Holiday Schedule

Top 10 Matchups for 2023 Season

10. New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos 

This one is easy. Aaron Rodgers with the New York Jets in green and white needs a home on this list somewhere. There are many good options, including divisional matchups and even a game against the New York Giants

I’m pushing those aside because I’m interested to see what will happen with Sean Payton, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos

For a decade, you knew Wilson would play great for the Seahawks, and Payton had Drew Brees in New Orleans. Well, now, both Wilson and Payton are in new situations. 

How are those two going to be together? How will Rodgers play with the Jets? You combine those things, and it makes for a great game. — Burmeister 

9. Houston Texans vs. Carolina Panthers 

The Houston Texans vs. Carolina Panthers is another low-hanging fruit selection. Why is it low-hanging fruit? The No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft will play quarterback for their respective teams. 

Bryce Young will lead the Panthers, while C.J. Stroud will lead the Texans. Both teams are growing and getting better. But here’s where I find some differences.

Stroud is trying to build a team, program and organization with a new head coach, right? We know that will happen with DeMeco Ryans, but he’s the third head coach in three years for Houston. 

Carolina’s got a new coach in Frank Reich, but with the moves they made in the offseason, plus their draft and a weak NFC South, Young could take over a team that will contend for the division title in Year 1. — Davis

8. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Last season wasn’t fantastic for Kenny Pickett, but there were more reasons to believe he’s going to be a pretty good quarterback than more reasons to doubt he can live up to expectations. 

Can Pickett get the Pittsburgh Steelers back to the playoffs? Beating the Baltimore Ravens would undoubtedly help. 

Coming off of free agency and draft season, the Ravens passing game, of all 32 teams, is probably the most talked about passing game for several reasons. They brought in Odell Beckham Jr., signed Lamar Jackson to a long-term contract and used a first-round pick on a wide receiver in Boston College’s Zay Flowers

I’m intrigued by the Ravens, and then there’s always the history of this rivalry in the AFC North. — Burmeister

7. Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 

The Buffalo Bills will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in London during Week 5 this season. I remember last year when the Green Bay Packers went to London looking for an easy win against the Giants. 

That game signaled where we were going last year. The Packers got upset by the Giants, and New York ended up making the playoffs while the Packers didn’t. 

Any time you go across the pond, it’s a little fraught with disaster. We know the Bills have an elite quarterback in Josh Allen. Sean McDermott is taking over play calling on defense with Leslie Frazier’s sabbatical, and they are a team that’s gotten close but hasn’t found its way over the top. 

Who do they play coming back from London? Are they going to take the week off? How do they play in London? Sometimes people’s hopes can get derailed by these international games. I want to see how Buffalo handles as a team built to contend in the AFC. — Davis

6. Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions 

Every season, there are a few teams that sneak up on you. They weren’t expected to be good, but they end up surprising everyone. Last season, the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions were those teams, and I’m drawn to watching them this year. 

They had journeymen quarterbacks in Geno Smith and Jared Goff, who exceeded expectations with winning records. Most didn’t expect those two teams to have winning records. They found mild success in similar ways, and they did it with likable characters and likable stories.  

If you watched Hard Knocks last year, you probably liked the Lions. If you’re a Bears fan or a Vikings fan, you don’t like the Lions, but otherwise, you pull for the Lions after watching those characters and getting to know them.

With Seattle, everyone was so used to seeing Wilson on offense, but regardless, Pete Carroll will have them playing well. I’ll watch Seattle and Detroit closely throughout the season to see if they can build on their surprise success from last season. — Burmeister

5. Green Bay Packers Opening Game 

I can’t wait to see who the Green Bay Packers play in the opener because we know we’ll lock in on Rodgers being gone. Jordan Love sat around for what seems like 15 years to wait for his chance to play, similar to what Rodgers had to do when Brett Favre was there.  

Now, Love gets to go out and play, and we know the moves the Packers have made to support him in the draft. But to me, this is bigger than Love playing. This game is also about the Packers’ defense. They put a lot of draft capital into this defense during the past few years.

Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry has eight first-rounders, including this year’s first-rounder, Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. They should be a top-five or top-10 defense to help Love acclimate and get the Packers back into the NFC North race. The defense has to do its part this season. — Davis

UPDATE: Love faces the Chicago Bears in the Packers’ season opener on Sept. 10.

4. Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Chargers 

I’m going with some nostalgia here because when I was a kid, I loved when the AFC and the NFC got together in big games. I’m picturing that when I think about the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Chargers getting together in Los Angeles this year. 

Can Justin Herbert and the Chargers improve from a pretty good playoff team? They can’t get out of their way. Are they going to take that next step and be one of the best teams in the league instead of just that exciting team that throws it pretty well? 

If I had to list the top five quarterback storylines this year, maybe even the top three, Justin Fields is going to find a home there for me because he was such a dichotomy last year. He was the only quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards. 

He flashed in the passing game and had some good moments, but look at the numbers. The Bears were last in many passing game stats. Can Fields combine the potential with more efficiency and production? I can’t wait to see that play out. — Burmeister

3. Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers

What more can we ask for with this matchup? The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers met in the playoffs the last two years. The Cowboys were favored in the first game at home, and many people thought they could win in San Francisco last year. 

The Cowboys ended up losing both ball games. Dallas has big hopes and dreams this season. Can Dak Prescott continue to pump up the offense? Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is focused on taking the ball away, and the Cowboys traded for CB Stephon Gilmore. So, it seems they want to continue moving in that direction.

For the 49ers, we’re not sure who will play quarterback yet, but it doesn’t seem to matter with as much talent as they have. Whoever jumps in there tends to do a pretty good job under Kyle Shanahan’s tutelage.

This is the kind of game I love. — Davis

2. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

The Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs have played each other in the last two AFC Championship Games. They’ve been at Arrowhead, and these two teams will play there again this season. 

The NFL is a star-driven league. When Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes are on the field at the same time, whether it’s during the fall or in the winter to go to the Super Bowl, it is must-see TV.

Mahomes got the best of the Bengals last time. Burrow has beaten him in the past, but those are my two best quarterbacks in the league. With all due respect to Allen, Herbert and Jalen Hurts, this game features No. 1 vs. No. 2. I can’t wait to watch it. — Burmeister

>> READ: Rich Gannon’s Top 5 QB Matchups

1. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs 

These teams last played in the Super Bowl and will play again in the regular season. We may want to talk about other games, but we aren’t ignoring this one. 

Hurts had a game for the ages in the Super Bowl. If Philadelphia wins, he was clearly the MVP. Hurts confirmed what we saw the entire season and handled the big stage like we’d expect someone who played in Alabama and Oklahoma and has handled everything that’s come his way to handle it.

On the flip side, Mahomes was injured but found a way to get it done and even win MVP. We’re going to get to see them again this season. 

Both teams got better this offseason. The Eagles kept a lot of players we didn’t expect them to keep. Then, they added a great draft class with some big-time talent from the University of Georgia in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith

Kansas City adding Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round as a pass rusher was a big target for them. SMU WR Rashee Rice can jump right into the role Juju Smith-Schuster vacated and become a big-time player for Mahomes early in his career.

This game will be a fun match-up, no matter when it takes place on the NFL calendar. — Davis

Charles Davis is an NFL analyst for CBS and NFL Network. He joined the sports media world after playing safety at the University of Tennessee.

Paul Burmeister, a former starting quarterback at Iowa, is a studio host with NBC Sports and the radio voice of Notre Dame Football. For a decade he worked as a studio host at NFL Network. Follow him on Twitter at @PaulWBurmeister.

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