There are 256 games in an NFL regular season, but not every game is created equal. The Cardinals-Bengals contest in Week 5, for example, won’t move the needle as much as games involving teams like the Cowboys or Patriots. With that in mind, here’s your guide to 10 of the top NFL games to look out for during the 2019 season, in chronological order. (Note: Due to flex scheduling, Sunday games from Week 5 on are subject to changes in game time and/or network. All times Eastern).
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
- Week 1: Thursday, September 5, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
With seven months between the Super Bowl and the start of the regular season, the Thursday night kickoff game is always anticipated. In celebration of the NFL’s 100th season, the league is forgoing its recent tradition of having the Super Bowl champion open the season and instead is going with one of the league’s oldest and most prolific rivalries. Some of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers’ best games have come against the Bears, and we won’t have to wait long to see if the trend continues.
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams
- Week 2: Sunday, September 15, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
Surprisingly, this NFC Championship rematch doesn’t get a primetime showcase, but it is the featured doubleheader game. The conference championship game in January had a controversial ending with a missed pass interference call. The teams don’t have to wait long to face each other again in this matchup of one of the all-time great quarterbacks against a young star with Drew Brees and Jared Goff.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints
- Week 4: Sunday, September 29, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Two of the more prolific offenses in the NFC battle each other in a rematch from last season, when the Cowboys ended the Saints’ 10-game winning streak in a surprisingly low-scoring 13-10 game. Brees again faces a good young quarterback, with Dak Prescott the opposition this time.
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
- Week 8: Sunday, October 27, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
This pick is a bit of a wild card, and it could turn into a blowout. Or it could be one of the best NFL games this season. It features an up-and-coming team with a good young quarterback in Baker Mayfield and a team that has won six Super Bowls since 2001 and has claimed its stake as the best team of the last 20 years.
New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 11: Sunday, November 17, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
This game is a rematch of Super Bowl LII, when the Eagles beat the Patriots, and a battle of the last two Super Bowl champions. The two teams look a little bit different this time around. Unlike Super Bowl LII, Carson Wentz (if he remains healthy) will be under center for the Eagles, not Nick Foles, as he tries to outduel Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, which will be without the retired Rob Gronkowski.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
- Week 12: Sunday, November 24, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
The team that calls itself America’s Team heads to Massachusetts to take on the most successful franchise of the 21st century as the Cowboys visit the Patriots in another conference crossover game that only takes place once every four years.
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears
- Week 14: Thursday, December 5, 8:20 p.m. (Fox/NFL Network)
Week 14 gets underway with two of the league’s most storied franchises meeting in Chicago. The Cowboys and Bears are both coming off playoff appearances last season and are expected to be in the NFC postseason picture again in 2019. This could be an important game for playoff positioning in the NFC.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
- Week 14: Sunday, December 8, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
A rematch of last season’s AFC championship game pits Patrick Mahomes, who may be the league’s best young quarterback, taking on Brady, who is perhaps the best of all time. At this point in the season, these teams could be battling for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, which is why it should be one of the best NFL games of 2019, and one of the most crucial.
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
- Week 15: Sunday, December 15, 4:25 p.m. (Fox)
This is another playoff rematch that could have implications on the seeding for this season’s playoffs. The Rams beat the Cowboys 30-22 in the divisional round in 2018, and Los Angeles eventually made it to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys look to avenge that loss when they host their opponent from the Golden State.
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears
- Week 16: Sunday, December 22, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Mahomes faces a tough challenge against a good Bears defense as both teams will likely be looking to solidify their playoff seeding in the penultimate week of the regular season.