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Caleb Williams has opportunity to shine in NFL schedule 2024; Jets to tackle tough competition

We’re nearly halfway between the conclusion of the NFL’s 2023 season and the dawn of its next season.

And now finally, teams and their fan bases can appropriately prepare for the upcoming slate. While teams have known their opponents for quite some time, now they can handle the logistical preparations for the 2024 season.

Not all schedules are created equal, of course. (And no, this has nothing to do with the formula to determine opponents with these unbalanced schedules. That process is just dandy.)

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Glance through the quirks of each team’s schedule, and anyone can find a few gripes and even some friendly bounces. That’s where we come in, as we run through some of the winners and losers from the 2024 NFL schedule reveal.

WINNERS

Chicago Bears

The Bears are gearing up for their most anticipated season in decades with the arrival of quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Rome Odunze to headline their exciting offseason. Those big-ticket personnel moves came on the heels of an impressive 5-3 finish to the season that drew the attention of front offices around the league.

More reason for optimism: The Bears have the third-easiest strength of schedule (.467) based on their opponents’ records in 2023.

Of note, Williams may get a chance to square off against fellow top-three picks Jayden Daniels (Commanders, Week 8) and Drake Maye (Patriots, Week 10) in a three-week stretch.

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Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons and Saints are tied for the easiest strength of schedule in 2024, based on their opponents’ records from last season (.453). While this could just be an NFC South thing — the four divisional foes rank in the top six in strength-of-schedule ease — the Falcons are the team with the shiny new quarterback(s).

Veteran Kirk Cousins is expected to boost a team that is coming off three consecutive 7-10 records, and the league has backed Atlanta’s excitement with four prime-time games.

The Falcons have a tough early schedule, but four of their first five games are at home, which helps mitigate the challenge. If Cousins hasn’t recovered from his torn Achilles, rookie quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is going to have a heck of a welcome to the NFL, as the Falcons open with the Steelers, Eagles and Chiefs right out of the chute.

Dallas Cowboys

It won’t be hard to find the Cowboys on TV. They’re tied with the 49ers and Jets with a league-high six prime-time games, as they’re scheduled to face the Giants, Steelers, Niners, Texans, Bengals and Bucs after dark.

They’ve also got five games in that marquee 4:25 p.m. ET time slot that tends to draw a heavy spotlight. And let’s throw in a Thanksgiving matinee against the Giants to top it off.

The Cowboys only have four 1 p.m. kickoffs plus the TBD start time in the finale against Washington.

It’s going to be a busy year with the Cowboys, as the storyline regarding the heat on head coach Mike McCarthy coupled with the looming availability of Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to be going away. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s expiring contract is another major focus in Dallas, along with the pending negotiations with linebacker Micah Parsons and receiver CeeDee Lamb. All of this after another early playoff disappointment, and the Cowboys in prime time will be a broadcaster’s dream.

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The Week 14 bye week draw

Somehow, six teams have the last bye of the season, which is tied with Week 12 for the most byes in a given week. The Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Colts, Broncos and Commanders will get a welcomed chance to rest in early December.

On the flip side, it may be wise to avoid stocking up on fantasy players from those teams in case you’ve got a must-win matchup in the regular-season finale.


Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift should have plenty of reason to celebrate this year as the Kansas City Chiefs look like they have a pretty light schedule. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

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The two-time defending champs enter the season with five prime-time games, but it’d hardly be a shock to see the Chiefs get flexed into an extra window before it’s all done.

Sure, the Chiefs have a tough opening pair of games against the Ravens and Bengals, but they’re both at home. And after raising the Super Bowl banner and then losing to the Lions last season, Chiefs coach Andy Reid shouldn’t have a problem getting his team’s attention.

The Chiefs also take on the NFC South, so they caught a break with that one.

Washington Commanders

The Commanders won’t be racking up many frequent flier miles. They travel a league-low 10,550 miles this season, according to Bookies.com. Twelve teams are traveling at least twice that many miles on road trips.

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