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Selecting The NFL’s 2018 NFL Primetime Schedule

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The NFL gave us bad games once again.

New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The primetime ratings are one of the indicators why ‘The NFL is dying’. As a capitalist society we’re obsessed with growth. This is something I’ve never understood. There’s a limit to all things. Nothing continues to propel upwards and upwards forever. And so when primetime ratings stagnated, the league who sold the Brahma, the television networks who spent the GDP size of nations for the broadcast rights, and the media who collects, reports, and compiles into narrative, collectively worried about the state of the game.

Why did the ratings drop? The reasons listed were numerous, players were kneeling and viewers were boycotting, people were turned off by the danger of the game, the lack of practice has ruined the product, injuries had demolished too many teams, and there’s an overall lack of quarterback talent. Some of these things don’t affect ratings, and the rest are problems that have been plaguing the game since its inception. The real answer is simple. Most of the primetime games last year were putrescent and nauseating, bland and banal.

Oakland v. Washington, Dallas v. Arizona, Indianapolis v. Seattle, Minnesota v. Chicago, New York v. Denver, Indianapolis v. Tennessee, and Oakland v. Miami are all examples of many other terrible games. Awful games. Unless you are a fan of these teams, and even then maybe not, no one wants to spend their precious free time sitting for four hours and watching games like this. Our lives soak up enough waste. A nationally televised football game shouldn’t drain even more of our finite time.

This year there are going to be even more disastrous games. It immediately starts with week one. Chicago @ Green Bay and Detroit @ New York (J). Ew. I’m already out. I’ll catch these on the condensed. There are better options out there.

To resuscitate the national broadcasts there are two things that need to be done. KILL Thursday Night Football. Take a big meaty rock and bash away. Remove that horrid game that shortens the length of the schedule week, over saturates the game, and forces too much onto the players at once. And then simply put better games on Sunday and Monday Night Football. That’s it. Ratings problems are solved.

Carrie Underwood needs better games to croon to. John Madden’s ghost needs to haunt more riveting halls. In a Thursday Night Football obliterated world, these selections would solve the latter.

Week One:

Sunday Night Football: Chicago @ Green Bay

Monday Night Football: Detroit @ New York Jets, Oakland @ Los Angeles Rams

Should Be: Denver @ Seattle (SNF), Houston @ New England (MNF) & Oakland @ Los Angeles (MNF)

The Bears have put together a FUN group of skill players this year, and Matt Nagy is going to have a blast, but they’ll probably mediocre this year. It’s week one. That doesn’t cut it. Winter skin has been shed. The shirt is off for the first time. Let’s see those abs sparkle. I really don’t get Detroit-New York. Matt Patricia isn’t that cool. He’s just a guy with a beard and a little pencil. If you want to see that you can go to my ex-wife’s house.

Instead the 2013 Superbowl rematch between Denver and Seattle, and Houston getting trounced by New England would be better games. Case Keenum starting his new career off against an aged and vulture snipped defense is too much fun. A Texans’ team that will be healthy again with the league’s most exciting young quarterback facing that same old devil is awesome, even if the conclusion is already known. And I’m here for Oakland going to Los Angeles for the late game. It has to be a pacific game. John Gruden getting his teeth kicked in for his return is better than that night game usually is.

Week Two:

Sunday Night Football: New York Giants @ Dallas

Monday Night Football: Seattle @ Chicago

Should Be: Jacksonville @ New England (SNF), Kansas City @ Pittsburgh (MNF)

Some traditions need to die. The Giants-Cowboys Sunday Night Football game is one of them. Yeah, AL we get it. These two teams just really don’t like each other. And again, more Chicago.

I really don’t know how Jacksonville and New England didn’t get a primetime game this season. Not only is it an AFC title rematch, a game the Jags should have won, but both these teams are going to be great this year. Watching Tom Brady quietly be scared for his life, and hopefully throwing against a more aggressive defense, is better than the Cowboys running the ball a lot and Eli Manning throwing incomplete passes. I’d rather see Patrick Mahomes against Pittsburgh on primetime than Mitch Trubisky against Seattle.

Week Three:

Sunday Night Football: New England @ Detroit

Monday Night Football: Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay

Should Be: Los Angeles Chargers @ Los Angeles Rams (SNF), Denver @ Baltimore (MNF)

I’m furious. I can’t believe we had a chance to get the Battle of Los Angeles on Sunday night only for a coaching homecoming to get the nod instead. I’m sure they could have paid a little bit of money and got Zach De La Rocha out of the house to do some violent cold open filled with hits and loud wailing guitar. He could be placed in the booth during the game even and talk about renegades or some obscure Latin America issue while Jared Goff dumps it off to Todd Gurley. It should be expected for the Buccaneers to be a wreck until they aren’t any longer. Denver-Baltimore is the next best option. Those consistent AFC brawlers are at it again.

Week Four:

Sunday Night Football: Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

Monday Night Football: Kansas City @ Denver

Good job! even though I’m anti any AFC North game given the national stage. I’m tired of watching Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh splay each other’s skulls. Have these teams play on some empty high school field in Joliet without a camera around. Then like the 1970s we could open up the newspaper and see the Ravens won 17-13 in spite of Joe Flacco’s three interceptions. I would like that.

Week Five:

Sunday Night Football: Dallas @ Houston

Monday Night Football: Washington @ New Orleans

Should Be: Dallas @ Houston (SNF), Minnesota @ Philadelphia (MNF)

I’m fine with Dallas v. Houston. The last time these teams played it was one of the best games of the year. J.J. Watt blew past Tyron Smith off the line of scrimmage, Tony Romo ducked under the sack and landed a deep touchdown. Dez Bryant caught a game winning sideline alleyoop over Jonathan Joseph. Most of the players are gone. NFL rosters are fidget spinner. Ebola never became an epidemic. It’s a fun gimmick of a game.

The Washington-New Orleans selection is horrendous though. Washington is going to be mediocre. Let’s give the NFC title rematch its own night. Kirk Cousins trying to get revenge for a fanbase and team he recently joined, while running around from the best defensive line in the NFL is going to the best game this week.

Week Six:

Sunday Night Football: Kansas City @ New England

Monday Night Football: Green Bay @ San Francisco

Should Be: Kansas City @ New England (SNF), Green Bay @ San Francisco (MNF)

Both of these are excellent selections. Cool. Let’s move on.

Week Seven:

Sunday Night Football: Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco

Monday Night Football: New York Giants @ Atlanta

Should Be: Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco (SNF), Philadelphia @ Carolina (MNF)

Rams-49ers will be fun as long as the 49ers renaissance wasn’t just a short stretch that came while most teams have already given up. Spoiler, it probably was. Regardless, Jimmy Garoppolo scrambling around the Rams’ defense, good or bad, will be a blast. Again, I don’t get the Giants thing. They maybe ok this season. I guess the number of people from New York will keep the lights on. Eagles-Panthers is the better game though. Those two teams played the best Thursday Night Football game we got last year.

Week Eight:

Sunday Night Football: New Orleans @ Minnesota

Monday Night Football: New England @ Buffalo

Should Be: New Orleans @ Minnesota (SNF), New England @ Buffalo (MNF)

This is a pretty bland week of football. Saints-Vikings is awesome. The Bills play the Pats tough usually, for whatever reason.

Week Nine:

Sunday Night Football: Green Bay @ New England

Monday Night Football: Tennessee @ Dallas

Should be: Green Bay @ New England (SNF), Los Angeles (R) @ New Orleans or Los Angeles (C) @ Seattle (MNF)

Sunday Night rocks. Monday night is fine, but we can do better. Mark a ‘R’ and mark a ‘C’ on both sides of a galleon. Flip it and see what we get.

Week Ten:

Sunday Night Football: Dallas @ Philadelphia

Monday Night Football: New York Giants @ San Francisco

Should Be: Dallas @ Philadelphia (SNF), Carolina @ Pittsburgh (MNF)

Monday Night is the trap the NFL falls into. It’s why the primetime games are usually dull. They bet on two teams to be better than they are and when they arent, they are forced to spin the bland into gold. The 49ers were a hot streak. Put them on at night early in the year not in the middle. Again, the Giants are whatever. Carolina-Pittsburgh is a strange game, and strange is fun.

Week Eleven:

Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville

Monday Night Football: Kansas City v. Los Angeles Rams (Mexico City)

Should Be: Green Bay @ Seattle (SNF), Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville (MNF)

Steelers-Jaguars rocks. The hatin’ Jaguars were disrespected by the Steelers throughout last season, only to beat them twice, including a playoff victory that was filled with haymakers. This is the best game this week. Put it on Monday Night, give it a national holiday, and shove the Mexico City game to Sunday afternoon. Then give us Packers-Seattle on Sunday night.

Week Twelve:

Sunday Night Football: Green Bay @ Minnesota

Monday Night Football: Tennessee @ Houston

Should Be: Green Bay @ Minnesota (SNF), Chicago @ Detroit (MNF)

Kirk Cousins seeing what elite looks like in real time in a rivalry game is primetime football. Houston-Tennessee is fine. These two teams should only play on Sunday afternoon solely for the pleasure of AFC sychophants though. Watching these two play in primetime just doesn’t seem right. There’s enough here for both Chicago and Detroit to get a singular primetime game. I’m sure The Ringer can have a NFC North week to celebrate the occasion.

Week Thirteen:

Sunday Night Football: San Francisco @ Seattle

Monday Night Football: Washington @ Philadelphia

Should Be: San Francisco @ Seattle (SNF), Los Angeles Chargers @ Pittsburgh (MNF)

The league should have put Richard Sherman’s homecoming earlier in the year, but here we are. This game has to be played under the lights. The Chargers should be realy good this year. Old and hollering Phillip Rivers and big and stupid Ben Roethlisbether in a battle of the old quarterbacks is one of my favorite games this year.

Week Fourteen:

Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh @ Oakland

Monday Night Football: Minnesota @ Seattle

Should Be: Jacksonville @ Tennessee (SNF), New York Jets @ Buffalo (MNF)

As the new and improved primetime schedule goes on, people will grow used to it, and as everything does, it too will lose its luster. You have to remind everyone how miserable the past was so they can truly cherish the present. Instead of two great games, Pittsburgh-Oakland and Minnesota-Seattle, let’s put the terrible on as a reminder of the sad and vicious past. Jacksonville-Tennessee, and New York (J)-Buffalo are the perfect call backs to some truly disgusting Thursday Night Football that is no longer here.

Week Fifteen:

Sunday Night Football: Philadelphia @ Los Angeles Rams

Monday Night Football: New Orleans @ Carolina

Should Be: Philadelphia @ Los Angeles Rams (SNF), New Orleans @ Carolina (MNF)

Hell yes. Great weekend. I always love when Carolina and New Orleans play at the end of the year, especially like last season when both games were shoved in at the last moment.

Week Sixteen:

Sunday Night Football: Kansas City @ Seattle

Monday Night Football: Denver @ Oakland

Should Be: Atlanta @ Carolina (SNF), Denver @ Oakland (MNF)

I’m expecting for the NFC South to go a lot like last year, competitive between the same three teams, except with the Falcons being better. This one should matter for the playoffs. Denver and Oakland might, I’m not expecting it to, but it’s the best we got.