Tuesday 24 October 2017 / 07:27 AM

Schedule release: Top game for every week

These days we’ve become accustomed to living in an instant gratification society. From credit card shopping sprees to streaming our favorite television shows on-demand we want everything right now – and whether it’s good for us or not, we usually get it.

Which makes waiting for the kickoff of the 2015 NFL campaign all that much more excruciating.

But with the NFL schedule release last Tuesday we can at least now distract ourselves for a few days by poring over each week’s slate in anxious anticipation.

If you’re wondering which games I’ll be looking forward to (and I know you are), here’s the list.

17 weeks, 17 games you won’t want to miss.

Week 1: Colts @ Bills

Say what?

Yes, the 2015 NFL season kicks off Thursday, September 10th when Ben Roethilsberger and the Steelers head to Foxboro to try and send the defending champs to 0-1.

Yes, every other publication is touting Pittsburgh @ New England as the game of the week.

Yes, I will be watching this game and yes, it will undoubtedly be a great one.

But…

I’m getting super excited about watching Rex Ryan and the new look Buffalo Bills. And what better way to gauge their progress than a home opener against Andrew Luck and the Super Bowl hopeful Colts.

Week 2: Seahawks @ Packers

Don’t worry, I won’t be bucking the trend every week like I’m some wide-rimmed glasses wearing hipster.

Even fans who hate the Hawks and the Packers will be tuned in for this one.

Week 3: Chiefs @ Packers

We’re headed to Lambeau Field two weeks in a row. This time for a different sort of rematch. One that goes old school.

In a do-over of Super Bowl I, Jamaal Charles and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs will be out to prove they belong back in the playoff hunt.

Week 4: Ravens @ Steelers

I don’t care that Ray Lewis is long since retired and the Steelers are now known more for their high scoring offense than fielding a nasty defensive unit.

When Baltimore plays Pittsburgh it’s a battle – this one takes place in Prime Time on Thursday Night Football.

Week 5: Patriots @ Cowboys

Tony Romo wasn’t too happy that the ‘Boys let DeMarco Murray walk but losing the league’s top rusher wasn’t enough to put a damper on his bullish predictions.

Beating New England at home would go a long way towards adding a slice of credibility to Romo’s moxie.

Week 6: Patriots @ Colts

Andrew Luck has never beaten Tom Brady. Perhaps the addition of veterans Frank Gore and Andre Johnson to his arsenal will be just enough to allow him to notch his first W against the Greatest of All Time (sorry Peyton, I think it’s etched in stone now).

Honorable mention goes to the Cardinals @ Steelers game. In a rematch of Arizona’s only Super Bowl appearance the Cards hope to prove once again that they are a legitimate threat to the Seahawks in the NFC West.

Week 7: Seahawks @ 49ers

Throw out everything you know about Jim Harbaugh’s departure and the dismantling of the 49ers franchise. When Seattle comes to San Francisco it’s plain to see why this is one of the NFL’s top rivalries.

Week 8: Packers @ Broncos

Hey Jake! Be careful what you post on the internet, mate.

But yes, Peyton Manning is coming back for one more season and just because the Broncos are no longer threatening to go 16-0 doesn’t mean they’re not favorites to win the AFC West and potentially get #18 one more ring.

Week 9: Browns @ Bengals

Just kidding. It’s the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Dallas Cowboys.

For the past few seasons every time these teams have met it’s involved playoff implications.

Plenty of extra story lines running for this one, too.

DeMarco Murray returns to Dallas. Chip Kelly tries to prove he knows what he’s doing up there in the front office.

Week 10: Bills @ Jets

I’m high on these Buffalo Bills and Rex Ryan’s already expressed his desire to kick the shit out of the Jets when he brings his team to town.

Keep an eye on the Texans @ Bengals matchup, too. It could very well be Cincy’s playoff slot that Houston nabs come the end of 2015…with JJ Watt playing QB and passing the ball to himself, I’m sure.

Week 11: Chiefs @ Chargers

Tough to go away from Buffalo-New England and SF-Seattle but as long as Philip Rivers stays put in San Diego this AFC West matchup will have playoff implications.

Week 12: Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning

It’s their 17th all-time head to head meeting.

Fortunately it’s the Sunday Night game, freeing up the late afternoon to watch a rematch of the most poorly officiated Super Bowl in the history of the NFL when Pittsburgh travels to Seattle.

Week 13: Colts @ Steelers

Andrew Luck will need to start winning big games on the road if he wants to truly slide into the role of Elite NFL quarterback.

Even if he blows it in week 13 against the Steelers there’s a good chance he’ll see Big Ben again in the playoffs.

Week 14: Cowboys @ Packers

Expect Twitter to go off in Week 14 with threads just like this one:

There’s nothing quite like sports fans arguing on the internet to make you want to bang your head against a rusty goal post.

Week 15: Lions @ Saints

 

Come Week 15 Detroit and New Orleans should both be hanging on to slim but tangible playoff hopes.

Matthew Stafford sucks on the road against winning teams and Drew Brees historically tends to dominate at the Super Dome.

Somehow I’m still predicting this game to be a good one.

Looking for a safer bet? Try Cardinals @ Eagles or Texans @ Colts.

Week 16: Steelers @ Ravens

Is it cheating to ride the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry twice?

Not when the 2nd matchup of the season could determine the winner of the AFC North, arguably the top division in football.

Week 17: To be determined

The final week of the season always features a handful of games with major postseason consequences.

Every single matchup pits division rivals against one another.

But the beauty of the NFL is that it’s impossible to know who will be fighting for what so far in advance.

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Michael Airhart

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