Advertisement

NFL schedule buys into Garoppolo hype

By Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
NFL schedule buys into Garoppolo hype
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo drops back to pass in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in December. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

The San Francisco 49ers put their faith in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after his five-win season in 2017 by signing him to a five-year, $137.5 million contract with $41.7 million fully guaranteed and another $32.4 million guaranteed for injury.

With the NFL announcing the 2018 schedule Thursday, it's clear the league has also jumped on the bandwagon by giving the 49ers as many prime-time games during the 2018 season as Garoppolo had victories. Those five evening games all come in a span of eight weeks with the first four in five weeks: Week 5 at Green Bay (Monday), Week 6 vs. Los Angeles Rams (Sunday), Week 8 vs. Oakland (Thursday), Week 9 vs. New York Giants (Monday) and Week 12 at Seattle (Sunday).

Advertisement

Only eight other teams will be on prime time as often: Dallas, Green Bay, Los Angeles Rams, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Those eight teams averaged 10.8 wins in 2017; the 49ers won six overall. San Francisco is also one of only 10 teams that has at least two games on Sunday night. Dallas, Green Bay, New England and Pittsburgh are on Sunday night three times.

Advertisement

Every team in the league is on prime time at least once. There are 25 different teams on Monday Night Football, 18 on Sunday nights and 26 on the FOX/NFL Network Thursday schedule. The first two of those Thursday games after the season opener are only on NFL Network with the remainder on both networks.

RELATED Bill Belichick brings puppy to 'Terriers' lacrosse game

The 2018 season begins with the traditional Thursday night opener on NBC as the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons, one of their playoff opponents from 2017. The first Sunday night game on NBC has Chicago visiting Green Bay, while the Monday night doubleheader on ESPN features the New York Jets at Detroit and the Rams at Oakland.

Three divisional games will be played on Thanksgiving with Detroit hosting Chicago, Dallas at home against Washington and Atlanta at New Orleans on NBC in prime time.

Currently, there are 48 games set to be seen in prime time and 18 are divisional matchups. One additional game will be added on each Saturday night in Weeks 15 and 16.

RELATED 2018 NFL schedules: Philadelphia Eagles to host Atlanta Falcons in opener

In Week 15, Houston at the New York Jets and Cleveland at Denver will be seen on NFL Network on Saturday, with one game at 4:30 ET and the other at 8:20. Which teams play in those slots will be decided no later than Week 8.

Advertisement

More problematic are four games scheduled for Week 16. Also no later than Week 8, two will be placed on NFL Network on Saturday with the other two to be played on Sunday.

Starting times have been moved up slightly for the prime-time games, with Thursday night games now at 8:20 ET instead of 8:25, Sundays at 8:20 instead of 8:30 and Monday night games starting at 8:15 instead of 8:30.

RELATED Dwight Freeney to sign, retire with Indianapolis Colts

--Team schedule notes: Three teams -- Denver, Green Bay and New Orleans -- play their first two games of the season at home, while another three, Houston, Kansas City and Seattle, open the season with two road games. Atlanta, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle have three of their first four games on the road, and the Bengals close the season with three of the last four on the road. ... The league tries to avoid having a team play three consecutive road games, but it can't be totally avoided. Baltimore, the Rams and New Orleans are the unlucky ones this season. The Rams' three-game stretch comes after they play three straight home games. Most notably, the first road game begins a nine-week period (including their bye) where the Rams will be away for seven games. One of those is a designated "home" game against Kansas City in Mexico City for a Week 11 Monday night game.

Advertisement

There are nine teams that play three straight home games: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New England, New York Jets and Tampa Bay. ... The Chargers have a five-week stretch, including their bye, where they won't play at home thanks to one of their "home" games being played in London. After an Oct. 7 home game against Oakland, the Chargers don't play at home again until Nov. 18 against Denver. What will those 25,000 fans do for 42 days? ... The Bears have a scheduling anomaly for the final half of the season: Beginning Nov. 11, they alternate two home games, two road games, two home games and two road games.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement