The full NFL schedule has been released, and plenty of late-season matchups could have a significant impact on the playoff chase. Maybe these won’t matter as much depending on how the first half of the regular season plays out, but here’s a look at some of the biggest games to watch for down the stretch.
We’ll define “late-season games” from the week after Thanksgiving through the rest of the year.
Week 13: 49ers vs. Eagles
We were cheated out of what could’ve been a fantastic NFC Championship showdown in last year’s playoffs when the San Francisco 49ers simply ran out of healthy quarterbacks in a 31-7 loss. It’s unclear who’s going to line up at QB for the 49ers with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance but if at least one of them is healthy, San Francisco will be in good shape.
Week 14: Bills vs. Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to win the AFC with +330 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Buffalo Bills are in a tie for second at +500. With the elite level of quarterback play on both sides, it feels like we’ll be talking about these two franchises to be in Super Bowl contention heading into every season.
Week 14: Cowboys vs. Eagles
The Eagles are back on this list as the favorites to win the NFC East and the entire conference in general. Their biggest challenger in the division is expected to be the Dallas Cowboys, which aren’t far off from being the favorites in the East at +175 odds to claim that crown. Dallas won four of the last five meetings with Philadelphia.
Week 17: Bengals vs. Chiefs
The Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes storyline should continue to grow as these teams have put together four fantastic matchups since January 2022. All of them were decided by exactly three points, two of which came in the AFC Championship including last year’s 23-20 Kansas City victory.
Week 18: Vikings vs. Lions
Are we ready for a season where the Detroit Lions are the favorites to win the NFC North? They are nearly even money to finish first in the division at +110 odds, and their top challenger may be the Minnesota Vikings. Detroit went into the final week of last season with a chance at a playoff spot and could find itself there again in January.