The NFL released the entire 2017 schedule on Thursday and it is absolutely loaded with big-time matchups and potential for playoff-impacting results.
From playoff rematches to players returning to their former home, the league's 256 games over four months should give us a little of everything. Though it's impossible to predict which week will deliver the most incredible individual performances or thrilling finishes, here's a guess based upon the amount of delectable matchups.
NFL SCHEDULE:Players Facing Their Old Teams in 2017
Here are the top five weeks of the 2017 NFL schedule, ranked:
5. Week 1
You could say Week 1 as the biggest and most exciting week of the season and no sane football fan could argue against it. When football returns after an eighth-month absence, it's always worthy of the top spot. However, because of mostly good, not great, matchups, Week 1 got bumped down.
The Patriots' Super Bowl celebration against the Chiefs headlines a week that also includes Eddie Lacy's return to Green Bay with Packers-Seahawks and the Cowboys vs. the Giants, the team who handed them two-thirds of their regular-season losses a year ago.
|Thursday, Sept. 7||8:30pm ET||New England Patriots||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Detroit Lions||Arizona Cardinals|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Chicago Bears||Atlanta Falcons|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Tennessee Titans||Oakland Raiders|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Cincinnati Bengals||Baltimore Ravens|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||1:00pm ET||Green Bay Packers||Seattle Seahawks|
|Sunday, Sept. 10||8:30pm ET||Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants|
|Monday, Sept. 11||7:10pm ET||Minnesota Vikings||New Orleans Saints|
|Monday, Sept. 11||10:20pm ET||Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers|
4. Week 2
Week 2 is all about AFC-NFC matchups and the NFC Championship rematch.
The Steelers open their home schedule with a visit from the Vikings; the Patriots visit the Saints in Brandin Cooks' return to New Orleans his offseason trade; and the Chiefs host Andy Reid's former team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
In primetime, the Packers will attempt to extinguish some of remaining stench from their blowout loss to Atlanta last January on Sunday Night Football (first regular-season game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium) and the Giants host the NFC North-contending Lions on Monday Night Football.
|Thursday, Sept. 14||8:25pm ET||Cincinnati Bengals||Houston Texans|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||1:00pm ET||Pittsburgh Steelers||Minnesota Vikings|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||1:00pm ET||New Orleans Saints||New England Patriots|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||1:00pm ET||Kansas City Chiefs||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||1:00pm ET||Indianapolis Colts||Arizona Cardinals|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||4:25pm ET||Denver Broncos||Dallas Cowboys|
|Sunday, Sept. 17||8:30pm ET||Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers|
|Monday, Sept. 18||8:30pm ET||New York Giants||Detroit Lions|
3. Week 15
While Week 15 carries a fraction of the depth of other weeks, two gigantic games push the mid-December week into the top three.
Packers-Panthers, Bengals-Vikings, Eagles-Giants and Falcons-Bucs should be fun, assuming most of those teams are fighting for playoff spots, but real beauty comes with the Patriots' trip to Pittsburgh for a late-afternoon game on Sunday, Dec. 17 and the Cowboys visit Oakland for a monster Sunday Night Football matchup.
|Thursday, Dec. 14||8:25pm ET||Indianapolis Colts||Denver Broncos|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||1:00pm ET||Carolina Panthers||Green Bay Packers|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||1:00pm ET||Minnesota Vikings||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||1:00pm ET||Washington Redskins||Arizona Cardinals|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||1:00pm ET||New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||4:25pm ET||Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots|
|Sunday, Dec. 17||8:30pm ET||Oakland Raiders||Dallas Cowboys|
|Monday, Dec. 18||8:30pm ET||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Atlanta Falcons|
2. Week 7
Like Week 15, Week 7 doesn't have as much widespread firepower, but it does have a few drool-inducing matchups, led by a rematch of Super Bowl LI.
We hope to avoid a Thursday night dud with Chiefs-Raiders in an AFC West showdown that could prove huge in the playoff race. Also, Bengals-Steelers, Seahawks-Giants and Saints-Packers should be entertaining. But none will compete with the Falcons' highly anticipated trip to New England in one of the biggest games of the entire season.
|Thursday, Oct. 19||8:25pm ET||Oakland Raiders||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sunday, Oct. 22||1:00pm ET||Pittsburgh Steelers||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Sunday, Oct. 22||1:00pm ET||Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens|
|Sunday, Oct. 22||1:00pm ET||Green Bay Packers||New Orleans Saints|
|Sunday, Oct. 22||4:25pm ET||New York Giants||Seattle Seahawks|
|Sunday, Oct. 22||4:25pm ET||New England Patriots||Atlanta Falcons|
|Monday, Oct. 23||8:30pm ET||Philadelphia Eagles||Washington Redskins|
1. Week 11
Week 11 has depth, power and excitement.
It starts with the Titans' trip to Pittsburgh in an overlooked game that could be huge as Tennessee competes for their first playoff spot since 2008. Then come Ravens-Packers and Chiefs-Giants in the early-afternoon slot, among others, followed by New England's trip to Oakland at 4:25 p.m. ET and Cowboys-Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
Oh, and it's Atlanta-Seattle on Monday Night Football.
|Thursday, Nov. 16||8:25pm ET||Pittsburgh Steelers||Tennessee Titans|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||1:00pm ET||Green Bay Packers||Baltimore Ravens|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||1:00pm ET||Houston Texans||Arizona Cardinals|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||1:00pm ET||New Orleans Saints||Washington Redskins|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||1:00pm ET||New York Giants||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||4:25pm ET||Denver Broncos||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||4:25pm ET||Oakland Raiders||New England Patriots|
|Sunday, Nov. 19||8:30pm ET||Dallas Cowboys||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Monday, Nov. 20||8:30pm ET||Seattle Seahawks||Atlanta Falcons|