The NFL announced today its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2018, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 6 in Philadelphia and concludes on Sunday, December 30 with 16 division games.
The season begins with the NFL’s annual primetime kickoff game, as the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6 (8:20 PM ET, NBC).
Week 1 is a FOX national weekend with key games on Sunday, September 9 featuring the Dallas Cowboys at the Carolina Panthers (4:25 PM ET) and the Seattle Seahawks visiting the Denver Broncos (4:25 PM ET). Week 1 matchups on CBS include the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots (1:00 PM ET) and the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (4:05 PM ET). Week 2 represents the first CBS national weekend with doubleheader games showcasing the Oakland Raiders at the Denver Broncos (4:25 PM ET) and the Patriots visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars (4:25 PM ET).
NBC’s Sunday Night Football gets underway on September 9 when the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears (8:20 PM ET) at Lambeau Field in the 195th regular-season meeting between the storied franchises.
Kickoff Weekend concludes on Monday, September 10 with an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Detroit Lions will host the New York Jets (7:10 PM ET) in the first game followed by the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Oakland Raiders in the nightcap (10:20 PM ET).
ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16. There will be no Monday night game on the final regularseason weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.
Primetime games will all kick off earlier this season – Thursday night at 8:20 PM ET (from 8:25 PM ET), Sunday night at 8:20 PM ET (8:30 PM) and Monday night at 8:15 PM ET (8:30 PM) – and all 32 clubs are scheduled for at least one Thursday, Sunday or Monday night game.
FOX will kick off their Thursday Night Football package in Week 4 with a showdown of NFC playoff teams, as the Minnesota Vikings visit the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN). FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night), with those games also being simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes. In addition, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games this season, with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.
A select number of games will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced today and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.
The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 30. For the ninth consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.
Other highlights of the schedule include:
Nine games in the 2018 regular season will feature a rematch from the 2017 postseason. In Week 2, Jacksonville will host New England at EverBank Field in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game (4:25 PM ET, CBS). Minnesota travels to Philadelphia in Week 5 in a rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship Game (4:25 PM ET, FOX).
Thanksgiving will feature a trio of divisional matchups on Thursday, November 22. 2018 marks only the second time since 1970 (2014) that the holiday has featured exclusively divisional matchups. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions (12:30 PM ET, CBS). The late afternoon game will feature the Washington Redskins visiting the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET, FOX). The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as the Falcons travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on NBC (8:20 PM ET).
The NFL’s international slate includes three games in London – occurring in three consecutive weeks (Week 6-8) – and one in Mexico City. English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London Series schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks (1:00 PM ET, FOX). The following week, action returns to Wembley Stadium as the Los Angeles Chargers host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, October 21 (9:30 AM ET, CBS). The 2018 London Series concludes in Week 8 with the Jaguars hosting the Eagles at Wembley on Sunday, October 28 (9:30 AM ET, NFLN).
For the third consecutive season, the NFL will return to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. On Monday, November 19, the Los Angeles Rams host the Kansas City Chiefs in the historic venue on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN).
The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12.
“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game.
Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at the New York Jets and Cleveland at Denver, with the game times of 4:30 PM ET and 8:20 PM ET to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday: Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville at Miami, the New York Giants at Indianapolis or Washington at Tennessee. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.
For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 30. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday or Monday nights.
The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 5-6. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.
Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 12-13. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20. The winners meet two weeks later on Sunday, February 3 in Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium (CBS).
The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets. All postseason games are televised nationally.
Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL primetime games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.