The NFL released its schedule for the 2018 regular season on Sunday, and there are certainly a handful of games that certainly trump the rest when it comes to intrigue, excitement and anticipation.
It all begins on Sept. 6, when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons. There will be three games played in London this season, while the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams will play in Mexico City.
This year's schedule rotation will see the NFC North vs. the AFC East, AFC North vs. NFC South, NFC East vs. AFC South and AFC West vs. NFC West. That means we'll get a handful of epic clashes that only happen once every four years.
That's enough talking. Let's dive into the five biggest games of the 2018 NFL season that you must circle calendar on. But first, let's take a look at a few honorable mentions that are also worthy of attention.
Week 2: Patriots at Jaguars: The Jaguars' defense nearly shocked Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Jacksonville won't need long to exact revenge at home.
Week 12: Packers at Vikings: Minnesota ran away with the NFC North as Aaron Rodgers missed most of the season with a collarbone injury. Is there a new sheriff in town, or will the Packers reclaim the division that's been theirs for most of the decade?
Week 7: Rams at 49ers: The 49ers handed Jimmy Garoppolo a five year, $137.5 million deal - the biggest in NFL history. Now, he'll be featured in prime time against the superteam that is the rival L.A. Rams.
Week 5: Vikings at Eagles: Minnesota was no challenge for Nick Foles and co. in the NFC Championship Game. The backup QB torched the NFL's top-ranked defense on home field. Will the Vikings find a way to at least slow down Carson Wentz?
Week 16: Steelers at Saints: Probably the last time we see Ben Roethlisberger vs. Drew Brees. Two of the most prolific passers of their era, and we only see it once every four seasons. It's also a late season matchup that happens two days before Christmas!
5. Week 15: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
What can be said about this rivalry that hasn't already been said? The Steelers and Patriots have been the two biggest heavyweights in the AFC throughout the 21st century. They've met in three AFC Championship Games - all won by the Patriots. The two squads have combined for 11 trips to the Super Bowl since 2001. Brady has five rings in eight tries, while Big Ben has two in three.
Nobody can forget last year's epic finish in Week 15, with home field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line. The Pats scored a go-ahead touchdown in the last minute, but Roethlisberger found Jesse James in the end zone in the waning seconds.
But the NFL catch rule came into play and said James didn't survive the ground. Two plays later, Roethlisberger threw a pick in the end zone, and Brady moved his record to 8-2 vs. the Steelers.
Can Pittsburgh finally beat their Kryptonite in a crucial late-season game, or will the Patriots conquer the Steelers on their own field once again?
4. Week 8: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Just when the Vikings looked destined for another unbelievable heartbreaking playoff loss, Case Keenum delivered in crunch time. He found Stefon Diggs down the sideline for a walk-off touchdown, sending Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game.
Of course, Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams took most of the blame as he ducked underneath Diggs, when he just had to tackle the star receiver in bounds. Nonetheless, the Minneapolis Miracle is already one of the greatest plays in NFL history, and the Saints will want it erased from their minds as soon as possible.
It's always a treat to see Brees go up against the NFL's top-ranked defense from 2017 - both in yards and scoring. Can the Saints exact revenge, this time against Kirk Cousins and co.? Or will Minny escape with a third home win against the Saints in two seasons?
3. Week 8: Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
There's nothing in football like an offense vs. defense matchup, and we'll see Carson Wentz get battle-tested against the Jaguars, who were the best defense in the AFC during the 2017 season.
The Jaguars were able to beat the high-powered Steelers twice on the road last season, and they kept Brady and the Pats in check for the first three quarters of the AFC Championship Game. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are football's best cornerback duo, but can they handle the Eagles?
Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace will be quite a challenge for Doug Marrone's squad. He and Doug Pederson are two of the NFL's best up-and-coming coaches, and we get to see the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object in London. What more can you ask for?
2. Week 9: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
With Peyton Manning long retired, there's no doubt that Rodgers and Brady are the two best active quarterbacks of this generation. And we'll see these two legends face off for just the second time, and probably the last time, on Sunday Night Football in Week 9.
Rodgers had a concussion and had to miss his first bout with Brady back in Week 15, 2010. But the two superstars clashed in Week 13 at Lambeau Field in the 2014 season, with Rodgers and the Pack winning 26-21.
There's just nothing more that can be said about these two men that hasn't already been said. You're looking at two once-in-a-lifetime quarterbacks who are easily the two best players in the NFL. This matchup only happens once every four years, and it's very likely the last time it happens.
Rodgers vs. Brady is must-watch TV, and we're sure NBC will be breaking football ratings records when this bout happens.
1. Week 15: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams
Take the defending Super Bowl champions and put them against the ultimate superteam, and you have yourself what is the most hyped-up, must-watch game of the 2018 NFL season.
The Eagles are going for a repeat, and the Rams are perhaps their biggest threat. Winning 11 games and the NFC West wasn't enough for L.A. GM Les Snead, who traded for star cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. The Rams also traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandin Cooks and signed perennial Pro Bowl defensive lineman, Ndamukong Suh.
When the Rams and Eagles met in Week 14 of last season, Carson Wentz tore his ACL and lost his season, one that would have surely resulted in an MVP Award. But watching Nick Foles lead your team to a Super Bowl 52 championship was a fine consolation prize for Went.
Right now, you have to think the Rams and Eagles are the best teams in the NFL. And they meet in Week 15 with home advantage possibly on the line. That's why this was an easy pick for the number one spot on our list.
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