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    HomeSportsNFL schedule release preview: Story lines include Aaron Rodgers' Jets and Black...

    NFL schedule release preview: Story lines include Aaron Rodgers’ Jets and Black Friday games


    If the suspense of not knowing the 2023 NFL schedule is keeping you up at night — figurately, we hope — just hang tight a tad longer. Thursday night — in prime time, of course – the league will let us in on everything from who’s facing the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs at Kansas City in the Sept. 7 opener to who’s playing on Black Friday to the three Monday night doubleheader matchups to everything you’ll want to know about Aaron Rodgers’ first slate of games with a Jets team that’s hoping to end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought at 12 seasons.

    Since the Chiefs play the Eagles at home this season, the first game could be a rematch of the last game, Super Bowl LVII. Two other tantalizing possibilities are Cincinnati or Buffalo in a rematch of the Chiefs’ past two AFC Championship Games.

    The Black Friday game, a new experiment by a league that’s never quite satisfied with its current massive level of exposure, will pair two teams for a 2 p.m. game the day after Thanksgiving. It will be only the 13th NFL Friday game since the 1970 merger. NBC’s Peter King believes the Eagles and Giants will be the participants this year.

    Monday Night Football will add more bleary eyes to Tuesday mornings when it expands from one doubleheader to three this season. Another change for Monday nights this year – a flexing schedule option that can move a better game into the Monday slot beginning in Week 12 — could cause some logistical headaches for the most loyal of you fans who travel to see your favorite team.

    Five international games already have their “home” participant. The Chiefs’ and Patriots’ opponents for games in Germany will be announced. Ditto for the London games in which the Bills, Titans and, of course, Jaguars are the “home” teams.

    As for Rodgers and his new squad in New York, they figure to be quite busy on prime time this year. Last year, the Jets played the league minimum one prime-time game while finishing 7-10, their seventh straight losing season.

    The intriguing matchups for the Jets and their soon-to-be-40-year-old four-time MVP are bountiful. There are two AFC East battles with Josh Allen’s Bills as well as games against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Justin Herbert and the Chargers, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, Deshaun Watson and the Browns, and C.J. Stroud, this year’s No. 2 overall draft, and the Houston Texans.

    For what it’s worth, which probably isn’t much, the teams with the five easiest schedules based on last year’s results are the Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Colts and Bears. The teams with the five hardest schedules are the Patriots, Bills, Chiefs, Raiders and Dolphins.

    Besides the Bears, the rest of the NFC North features the Lions with the eighth-hardest schedule followed by the Packers (12th) and Vikings (24th).

    We already know who and where each team will play this season. Just a few more sleepless nights and you too will learn the date and time of every game this season.



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