2023-05-12 · 6 min read · NFL/Football
Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts

Cooper Neill/Getty Images | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The suspense of the NFL schedule is over and now fans can circle their calendars for games to watch, and tickets to buy, while also following their favourite team throughout 2023.
From battles between contending teams to division rivalries and young quarterbacks going mono-e-mono, there are plenty of fascinating matchups to look for when the regular season kicks off in September.
Here are the top 10 games I think will be worth watching this season.
10. Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers- Week 8
There’s an apparent reason to keep an eye on this encounter, and it’s got nothing to do with the calibre of these teams on paper but rather a look into the future.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and Week 8, but a battle of the top two overall picks in 2023, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, could be a compelling affair two days before Halloween.
We should know by the time this matchup happens how quickly these two franchises, who between them racked up 10 wins last season, have developed and how long a process it may be for them to rebuild.
Time will tell if these two promising QBs live up to expectations, but they will forever be linked by where they were taken in the draft.
9. New England Patriots at New York Jets- Week 3
These two franchises have a heated rivalry that goes back decades, from Bill Belichick resigning from the Jets to come to New England, then a disastrous Sam Darnold performance in a 33-0 loss among other things.
The Pats and New York always seem to leave us with something memorable everytime they face each other.
With Aaron Rodgers now a member of the J-E-T-S, New York will probably feel a lot better about their chances as the former Packers QB has a 2-1 record against the Pats, throwing six touchdowns and just one interception.
A victory by the Jets in this one would get an albatross off their back, as they have not beaten New England since 2015 in what appears to be a psychological block for them.
In what promises to be a pretty tight divisional race, you never know how valuable a victory on September 24th might be.
8. Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos- Week 1
What NFL fan would forget Russell Wilson being yanked off the field by Nathaniel Hackett in favour of an insanely long field goal in the Broncos’ season opener last year?
The Sean Payton era in Denver will begin on September 10th in an interesting matchup of two former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo, who are out to prove they can lift the Lombardi Trophy once again.
This year there are no excuses for Wilson as he is under the tutelage of a proven winner and an offensive master, while Jimmy G has a lot to prove but might adapt easier to his new surroundings with a familiar face in Josh McDaniels, his longtime offensive coordinator with the Patriots when he backed up Tom Brady.
Payton is not going anywhere, but this game between AFC West rivals, who were mainly underwhelming in 2022, could go a long way to determining whether or not either pivot still has some magic left.
7. New York Jets at New York Giants- Week 8
Even though they share the same stadium, only every few years do we see the Jets and Giants lock horns in the regular season, with this October 29th game one to watch out for.
The Giants took a big leap forward in 2022, and the addition of Aaron Rodgers behind center has significantly increased the Jets’ odds of doing the same this season.
Aside from the matchup of two high-priced QBs in Rodgers and Daniel Jones, this has some promising defensive battles to look forward to.
For the Jets, their secondary, led by Sauce Gardner, was a force in 2022, while the Giants’ defensive line was pretty good at getting to the quarterback, so it should be a fascinating game to watch.
6. Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions- Week 12
It’s a Thanksgiving tradition to see Detroit play on the third Thursday of November, but this one on the 23rd of that month might feature the best Lions team we’ve seen in years.
The Lions were one of the great turnaround stories in 2022, and while their postseason quest came up short, they will forever get to say they ended Aaron Rodgers’ tenure with the Packers.
Both of these teams were in the playoff hunt heading into their final week of the regular season, and there is potential for each to rise up the NFC North in 2023.
5. Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars- Week 2
Even though these teams faced other in the AFC Divisional Round last season, there is not exactly a heated rivalry between these franchises; however, I believe this is still a game worth watching.
For me, the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL is Patrick Mahomes and no stats, or insider numbers will tell me otherwise, while Trevor Lawrence could very well be the heir apparent to the Chiefs #15 in the coming years.
Given what these two teams achieved in 2022, it would not be surprising to see this Week 2 game be a dress rehearsal for the AFC Championship.
For Doug Pederson and the Jags, this will serve as a measuring stick to see if they can make the leap from pretenders to contenders, while for Andy Reid’s Chiefs, they are out to prove that they are still the kings of the AFC.
4. San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles- Week 13
In an NFC title rematch between two clubs projected to be Super Bowl contenders this season, the Niners and Eagles could have plenty to play for on December 3rd.
While the Eagles got the better of San Fran to go to the Super Bowl in February, for many, that victory will be marked with an asterisk because of the injury to Brock Purdy.
Given the what-if from the NFC title game, the Eagles will have something to prove, while San Fran will be out to show they would’ve won with a healthy squad.
There’s a plethora of things to look for in this encounter as Philly and San Francisco had probably the two best defensive lines in the NFL last year; they both have a solid running attack and great pass catchers, plus the mystery of whether Purdy will be back or if Trey Lance can get his job back all adds to the fascination.
3. Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals- Week 9
This game will generate plenty of interest for emotional reasons and the fact that the Bills and Bengals have been among the top teams in the AFC over the past couple of seasons.
The Damar Hamlin collapse on Monday Night Football was shocking to watch, and one can only imagine what it was like for players and coaches seeing that up close and personal in scenes that may never be erased from their memories.
Then Cincy blew out the Bills in a blistery encounter at Orchard Park during the AFC Divisional Round, while two gunslingers in, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, going toe-to-toe once again promises to be exciting.
2. Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs- Week 17
These teams have met for the AFC Championship in back-to-back campaigns, and I would not write off the possibility of lightning striking three times.
Patrick Mahomes answered the critics who said he couldn’t beat Joe Burrow, winning essentially on one leg, while Travis Kelce’s postgame trash talk to the Cincy mayor likely adds more fuel to this fiery rivalry.
These two QBs are in their prime and showing no signs of slowing down, and in an era where we rarely see hyped matchups live up to their billing, this one of late always has.
1. Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs- Week 11
These two put on quite the show in Super Bowl LVII in what was the most watched game in Super Bowl history.
That will be a tough act to follow come Week 11 in 2023, but with two stud QBs in Jalen Hurts and Mahomes, plus Andy Reid facing his ex-team, the Kelce brothers squaring off, the controversial holding penalty and more, there will not be a shortage of storylines in this rematch.
These two teams are tipped to potentially meet again in the big game next season with lots of talent and two offenses who can put their share of points on the board.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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