The 2023 NFL schedule is set to be released later this week, though when it actually drops is currently up for debate. That, according to Peter King of Football Morning in America.
The annual release of the NFL schedule has turned into a major TV event, with primetime hours devoted to the reveal and discussion of key matchups for nearly every team — especially those juicy enough to be considered pivotal battles involving and between playoff favorites.
The NFL is slated to release this season’s schedule during primetime on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. EDT. King has heard that the important finishing touches may not be in place later this week. Per King:
“The 2023 mega-games—opening Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, Thanksgiving Day, the new Black Friday tilt, the Sunday night game on Christmas Eve and the Monday tripleheader on Christmas—are not set in stone yet. The mega-games are usually solid by early May. The schedule crew is slated to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell this afternoon in New York, at which time more clarity on the tentpole games is expected.”
Considering that these so-called “tentpole” games remain unsettled, it stands to reason why the league may prefer waiting to celebrate the upcoming season until the biggest games are made available.
While the Bills will play overseas this year in the United Kingdom, don’t expect them to also play in Germany. Despite the Kansas City Chiefs appearing in Germany in the 2023 and 2024 NFL seasons, King believes its unlikely a marquee matchup between the Bills and Chiefs disembarks in Deutschland. The reason? games in Germany air at 9:30 a.m. Eastern in the United States — which is hardly an ideal ratings-draw for one of the league’s best current rivalries.
Per King, It’s possible the Jets are going to be primetime darlings — thanks to Aaron Rodgers discovering that his path out of darkness led to New Jersey. Everyone’s so happy for Rodgers and the Jets, and the greater metropolitan NY area is set to capitalize on its new-found sports celebrity — at least for one season. All that aside, it stands to reason that the Bills and Jets will square off in primetime at least once this season.
At one point in time, Buffalo vs. NY was a decent Monday Night Football matchup. With the Jets the latest preseason Super Bowl darlings and the Bills the current powerhouse in the AFC East (and playoff veterans with Super Bowl aspirations), I believe it’s a done deal the two teams face off on MNF. I’d go so far as to say they won’t play each other at 1 p.m. Eastern this coming season.
King believes the Jets will find themselves in “five or six primetime games and at least four or five doubleheader games.” It’s also possible that the Bills and Jets play each other in Week 18, when any team can play on Sunday Night Football regardless of the number of primetime games they receive in-season. If the Bills and Jets both flex their muscles in 2023, expect the league to flex their games into more favorable time slots.
Peter King also pointed to the possibility that not every NFL team will appear on the Amazon broadcast in 2023. King believes:
“(s)tronger teams could find two Amazon games on the schedule, which would serve two purposes—strengthening a streaming schedule the NFL badly wants to work for Amazon, and giving good but not great teams with major national followings (Pittsburgh or Green Bay or New England, perhaps, this year) another primetime appearance.”
What that means for the Buffalo Bills, of course remains unclear. Thursday Night Football is a notoriously challenging prospect for NFL teams, given the short week or prep involved most of the time. The Bills have found themselves participants in multiple Thursday games in the past, most recently playing a pair of back-to-back Thursday contests during the 2022 NFL season (at Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day 11/24, at New England Patriots 12/01).
Playing consecutive Thursday games is far better for conditioning and preparation. It’s widely viewed as a detriment to team success when forced to play multiple Thursday games spread out over a season. In a matter of days, we should find out all there is to know about the Buffalo Bills’ 2023 NFL schedule.