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Who Plays On What Days?
There are 17 games on Thursdays this year, which matches the number of weeks of the season. There is one game each week of the season most weeks, but there are no Thursday games in weeks 16 and 17, and three on Thanksgiving (week 12). The three Thanksgiving games: Vikings at Lions, Chargers at Cowboys, and Giants at Redskins. The Browns and Jaguars do not get one, but the other 30 teams get at least one Thursday game. That means four teams play twice on Thursday: the Chiefs (week 1 at New England, week 7 at Oakland) and Patriots (week 5 at Tampa Bay) play in both the NFL Kickoff Game and during the regular Thursday night schedule. And Washington and Dallas — who play different opponents on Thanksgiving — play against each other on Thursday the following week.
Once the college regular season ends, the NFL does take over two Saturdays: December 15th and December 23rd. Those games are all rivalry games: Bears/Lions and Chiefs/Chargers in week 15, and the Colts going back to Baltimore and the Vikings and Packers the following week.
There are 17 games on Monday night football, and 18 games on Monday: one each week for 16 weeks, with no week 17 game, but two in weeks 1 and 16. The Saints travel to Minnesota in the early MNF game in week 1, while the Chargers visit Denver in the last game. At the end of the year, the Steelers head to Houston on Christmas Day, which falls on a Monday, to play in the 4:30 time slot. That night, the traditional MNF game is Raiders/Eagles, which is sure to feature a pair of merry fanbases.
Neutral Site Games
There are five special site games: the Patriots play “at” Oakland at 4:25 on the east coast in week 11 in a game in Mexico City, to go along with the four London games. The Jaguars, Dolphins, Rams, and Browns all lose home games, too, to face the Ravens, Saints, Cardinals, and Vikings respectively. Those London games take place in weeks 3, 4, 7 and 8: all but the Rams-Cardinals game in week 7 kick off at 9:30 on the east coast, while the NFL thankfully isn’t making west coast fans wake up at 6:30 to see the Rams/Cardinals, which kicks off at 1:00 on the east coast.