NFL schedule 2019: Five must-see prime-time games
The NFL announced its schedule for the upcoming season on Wednesday, and there is plenty of prime-time action to indulge in.
Rather than opening action on Thursday like past championship defenders, the New England Patriots will kick off their regular season and raise their Super Bowl LIII banner in the league's first Sunday Night Football showdown on September 8 against AFC rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As for the opener, the league will kick off its 100th season by pitting the Packers against the Bears on September 5 to honour its oldest rivalry. Chicago and Green Bay first played in 1921 and have faced each other 198 times since, with the Packers holding a 97-95-6 edge.
Five must-see prime-time games in 2019
Browns at Jets – Monday, September 16
Odell Beckham Jr. will return to New York for the first time since being traded to Cleveland and while it will not be against his former team, it is still a notable homecoming.
The Browns were one of the surprise teams last season, finishing 7-8-1 after going 1-31 the previous two seasons. Meanwhile, the Jets went 4-12 after going 10-22 the previous two years, though the addition of Le'Veon Bell is sure to give Sam Darnold the boost he needs after a lacklustre rookie campaign.
Rams at Browns – Sunday, September 22
For the first time since 2008, Sunday Night Football is heading to Cleveland.
And what better way to celebrate than having two former first overall picks square off? Browns second-year signal-caller Baker Mayfield will have his work cut out for him when Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff rolls into town with Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.
Packers at Chiefs – Sunday, October 27
It is hard to believe Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers have yet to face off under center.
In another first, the Kansas City Chiefs young gun will square off against the Packers veteran as MVP past and future collide. Mahomes went head to head with Tom Brady in the conference championship last season in a memorable matchup, and this one will be no different.
Chiefs at Chargers – Monday, November 18
The NFL's lone meeting in Mexico turned out to be a disaster last season, but the league hopes to make up for it this year.
The 2018 game between the Chiefs and Rams was moved to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum over concerns about the state of the playing surface at Estadio Azteca. For 2019, the Chiefs will head south of the border to take on a different Los Angeles team led by veteran Philip Rivers.
Chiefs at Bears – Sunday, December 22
Christmas is sure to come early with this intriguing matchup.
Mahomes will lead his unstoppable offense against Khalil Mack and his immovable defense. The 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year made quite an impression in Chicago after being traded from Oakland, though slowing Mahomes will not be an easy task for Mack.