We already knew who’s playing whom, and soon the rest of the regular season picture will fall into place in the NFL.
The NFL is set to officially unveil its schedule for the 2018 season tonight, at 8 pm ET, and while matchups have already been set, the public will find out more about the whens and wheres of each game, which has fans speculating wildly about opponents, potential playoff rematches, TV coverage, network streaming, and other inevitable leaks in the hours leading up to the release.
One such guess that has changed is who will face the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles in their Thursday Night Football season opener. Many reports had been assuming the Minnesota Vikings, for a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship, but now the chattering class is saying the game will be against the Atlanta Falcons.
One big wrinkle for 2018 is that all the primetime games will kickoff a little bit earlier this year.
The timing shift for all night games are sure to cause cheers from those on the east coast who want the games to end a little earlier so that they can get to bed at a reasonable hour. However, it may not be as popular for those in the west who will have to hurry home from work in time for kickoff.
The change means no NFL game will start later than 8:20 pm ET, aside from the first Monday Night Football game of the season, which has been a doubleheader for several years.
The rest of the Monday Night Football schedule is subject to the biggest change, with kickoff moving up 15 minutes, from 8:30 pm to 8:15 pm.
Sunday Night Football will be bumped up 10 minutes to 8:20 from its traditional time slot of 8:30.
Thursday Night Football will also be affected, though not as much as the other slates. Kickoff for TNF, which will be broadcast by the FOX Network starting this season, will start at 8:20, five minutes earlier than it did previously.
Kickoff times have come a long way. Primetime games used to start at 9:30 ET in the1960s, before they moved to 9:00 when Monday Night Football began in the 1970s.
Worldwide Football Audience
While you’ll have to wait until tonight to get the particulars on all the games, details of several of the marquee matchups have already begun to leak out.
The league itself revealed early specifics about games taking place in Mexico and England.
The NFL announced earlier that Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City. It will take place on a Monday night, Nov. 19, at Estadio Azetca — kickoff at 8:15 pm.
And though they announced their intent back in January, the NFL on Thursday morning provided more information about its 2018 international series in London:
The Seattle Seahawks will play the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Stadium, Oct. 14, at 1 pm ET.
The Tennessee Titans meet the Los Angeles Chargers at Wembley stadium for a 9:30 am ET kickoff.
The Philadelphia Eagles will wrap up the London series against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 28 with a 9:30 am kickoff at Wembley.