NFL releases 2014 storyline schedule

NFL releases 2014 schedule of storylines

The NFL keeps pushing back the release of the 2014 game schedule, but they’ve gone ahead and let us know what we will be discussing during each week.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1: Tom Brady tears his ACL on a QB sneak. NFL responds by banning defense.

Week 2: The Oakland Raiders are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Week 3: Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss all insist they “could still play in the NFL,” during various “Take your daddy to school” days.

Week 4: The Browns fire Mike Pettine.

Week 5: Phillip Rivers’ wife gives birth to twins Josidiah and Jobibedah.

Week 6: Colin Kaepernick wears a baseball hat or some bullshit.

Week 7: Drunk fan runs onto field in Chicago, Jared Allen grabs him, drinks his beer, is fined $50,000 by Goodell. Allen requests fine to be raised to $69,000 which he pays in venison.

Week 8:Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson defect from Detroit during the Lions‘ road trip to London.

Week 9: Phillip Rivers’ wife is pregnant again.

Week 10: Major questions about Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic surface when he fails to notch a single sack-fumble during the bye week.

Week 11: Merril Hoge says that Johnny Manziel should be benched, then Ed Werder asks Manziel about Hoge’s comments during a press conference, then ESPN brings Hoge back to address Manziel’s response, then Chris Mortensen reports that Manziel will no longer take questions from Werder, then Werder and Hoge go on on the SEC Network’s version of “First Take” and they’re asked about Manziel by Tim Tebow. Tebow’s comments are broadcast into outer space and lead directly to intergalactic war and annihilation.

Week 12: TheRyan twins appear on “Wife Swap,” get divorces after the second day, and marry their brothers’ former spouses. Both seem happy.

Week 13: Thursday Night Football still sucks.

Week 14: Something crazy happened in your fantasy league because your friend started one player who didn’t have a very good game, and he benched another player who played very well or “shat the bed” as you remind him several dozen times at work. Your friend doesn’t know anything about football!

Week 15: Aldon Smith reinstated to 49ers after Jim Harbaugh realizes that the past two years of his life were all being filmed for MTV’s “Boiling Points.”

Week 16: In major replay snafu, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino drastically misinterprets the Calvin Johnson rule and overturns Marbury vs. Madison.

Week 17: The Browns fire their coach.

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NFL tweaks flex scheduling procedures

2014 NFL schedule: Sunday night games can be flexed beginning Week 5

In previous years, the NFL did not have the option to flex games to Sunday night until Week 11.

Justin Edmonds

As we await Wednesday night’s reveal of the 2014 NFL schedule, reports that tweaks are coming to the league’s flex procedure for Sunday night games. Kickoffs scheduled for Sunday afternoon can now be bumped up to the coveted prime time slot beginning Week 5. In previous seasons, the league did not have have the flex option until Week 11.

The new flexibility comes with a minor caveat: Games can’t be flexed every week from Weeks 5 to 10. The NFL can only flex two games total over that six-week span, so it will have to choose wisely if it hopes to maximize ratings. Beginning Week 11, every Sunday afternoon game of every week can potentially be bumped into prime time.

The process of flexing a Sunday game remains the same. An announcement can come no later than 12 days prior to the kickoff of the Sunday night game, and can only be made after consultation among the NFL and the television networks. Week 17 gets special consideration, with only a six-day window needed before announcing the final Sunday schedule of the regular season.

Flex scheduling is great for the NFL and NBC, which holds the contract for Sunday night games. Plucking a lucrative game from the early- and late-afternoon slates hurts Fox and CBS, however, hence the two games only mandate prior to Week 11. Note that Thursday, Saturday and Monday games are not eligible to be flexed into the Sunday night timeslot.

Last year, a Sunday afternoon game with significant playoff implications replaced a previously scheduled Sunday night game in Weeks 11 (BroncosChiefs), 14 (SaintsPanthers) and 16 (EaglesBears).

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2014 NFL schedule announced

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2014 NFL schedule: NFL’s upcoming slate announced

We already know who each NFL team will face in 2014 and where they will play. Now we know when they’ll play, too.
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Apr 22, 2014, 5:09pm EDT

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NFL season will open with Packers at Seahawks

2014 NFL Schedule: Seattle will open the season against Green Bay

The NFL season will kick off in Seattle and the defending champs will host a familiar foe, but maybe not the one most expected.


As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks have long been slotted for one of the two spots in the 2014 NFL season opener and now, after much speculation, comes the news they’ll host the Green Bay Packers, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Barring scheduling conflicts like last season in Baltimore, it’s customary for the defending Super Bowl champion to host the first game of the season. Seattle has a loaded home schedule, which led many to speculate about possible opponents for the kickoff game. Some thought the NFL might send Denver to Seattle in Week 1 for a Super Bowl rematch. Others thought the the season would begin with a bang with Seattle hosting rival San Francisco. The Dallas Cowboys were another popular choice, but in the end, the Packers will be the ones tasked with visiting the defending champs first.

The trip to Seattle will be Green Bay’s first regular season appearance since the famed “Fail Mary” game in 2012. While the final play of that game will certainly be replayed a time or two, the season opener will be a great matchup of two of the best teams in the NFC. Green Bay was a legitimate NFC contender last season before Aaron Rodgers got injured and the Packers fell out of the race for home-field advantage. With Rodgers back, Green Bay should once again be a contender and could challenge Seattle for the NFC. While it’s the first game of the year and the attention will be on the Fail Mary, the Super Bowl banner, pregame concert and all the other hype, the game itself could be significant factor in the playoff standings come Week 17.

It all begins Sept. 4 in Seattle with the Seahawks vs. the Packers.

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2014 Monday Night Football schedule

2014 Monday Night Football schedule

Monday Night Football is often one of the most-anticipated games of the week. The 2014 schedule doesn’t include a few noteworthy games, but does have more than a few intriguing matchups.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has released the official Monday Night Football schedule for the 2014 season. ESPN will be televising these games for the ninth year in a row.

The Monday Night Football matchup used to be the most anticipated game of the week. Flex scheduling has led to Sunday Night Football overtaking it as the game of the week in some regards, but the 2014 Monday night schedule will surely garner attention. The defending Super Bowl champions will make only one appearance on Monday Night Football. Seattle will travel to face the Washington Redskins in Week 5. The game of the year on Monday Night Football may come in Week 10 when the Panthers travel to face the Eagles. Carolina and Philadelphia are rising teams in the NFL and watching the Panthers defense take on the Eagles offense should be a treat.

Those hoping to watch Peyton Manning on Monday Night Football will have to wait until the final MNF game of the year when the Broncos travel to Cincinnati in Week 16.

The Monday Night Football schedule will begin in Detroit with the Lions hosting the New York Giants in Week 1. Here’s the complete schedule for the year. All games except for the two Week 1 games will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Week 1, Sept. 8

New York Giants at Detroit Lions — 7:10 p.m.

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals — 10:20 p.m.

Week 2, Sept. 15

Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts

Week 3, Sept. 22

Chicago Bears at New York Jets

Week 4, Sept. 29

New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 5, Oct. 6

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins

Week 6, Oct. 13

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams

Week 7, Oct. 20

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 8, Oct. 27

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

Week 9, Nov. 3

Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants

Week 10, Nov. 10

Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 11, Nov. 17

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Week 12, Nov. 24

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints

Week 13, Dec. 1

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Week 14, Dec. 8

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers

Week 15, Dec. 15

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

Week 16, Dec. 22

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals

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2014 NFL schedule released

2014 NFL schedule released

Following a few months of anticipation, the 2014 NFL schedule is officially out. Things will begin in Seattle with a potential playoff preview.

Otto Greule Jr

Even when there’s no football being played, the NFL still dominates the headlines throughout the offseason. Things were no different on Wednesday, when the league released its 2014 season schedule to much fanfare.

The Seattle Seahawks kick off the season on Sept. 4, when the Green Bay Packers come to town to face the defending champions. Unlike last season, there are no scheduling conflicts with other sports teams, so Seahawks fans get to see the championship banner raised and rings handed out in person at CenturyLink Field.

Three games will take place in London this season, including the first international game to be played in the morning in America. In Week 8, the Falcons and Lions will play at 1:30 p.m. in the U.K., translating to 9:30 a.m. on the East Coast. The Raiders and Dolphins will play in London in Week 4 with the Cowboys and Jaguars traveling over for a Week 10 matchup.

Like any NFL season, the 2014 schedule is loaded with must-see games. Seattle and San Francisco have developed the best rivalry in the NFL. They’ll resume the head-to-head battle on Thanksgiving in San Francisco before playing in Seattle in Week 15. The Seahawks and Broncos will meet in Seattle for a Super Bowl rematch in Week 3 while the Broncos will host San Francisco in Week 7.

Other notable games include Denver traveling to New England in Week 9, Lovie Smith returning to Chicago in Week 12, the Colts traveling to Dallas in Week 16 and Philadelphia hosting DeSean Jackson and the Redskins in Week 3.

The Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers are arguably the three best teams in the NFL, so it should be no surprise that they will be featured heavily in primetime games. As things stand the Broncos and 49ers will each play in five primetime games while Seattle will be featured four times.

The primetime slate is subject to change, now much sooner than usual. reported Wednesday that the NFL is tweaking its Sunday night flex procedures so that Sunday afternoon games can now be bumped up to prime time beginning Week 5. Previously, games were not subject to be flexed until Week 11. The tweaks come with the stipulation that only two games can be flexed over the six-week span from Weeks 5-10. Starting Week 11, every game already scheduled for a Sunday can possibly be given the NBC treatment. Thursday, Saturday and Monday games are still off limits.

You can find the entire week-by-week schedule at

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Breaking down 2014 strength of schedules

2014 NFL schedule: Which teams have the easiest and hardest schedules?

One of the worst teams having to play one of the toughest schedules doesn’t seem very fair, but that’s life for the Oakland Raiders. The Colts have much better fortune and on paper have the easiest road back to the playoffs. Here’s a full look at the hardest and easiest NFL schedules.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2014 NFL Guide

The drastic year-to-year change in the NFL makes it nearly impossible to determine the difficulty of a schedule until a few weeks into the season. Last year at this time, the Chiefs were coming off a 2-14 season and looked like a cupcake game for opponents in 2013. Kansas City was just the opposite, finishing 11-5 and making the playoffs.

What may look like an easy game now could be anything but when it actually arrives. The opposite is true, too. Playing the Falcons in 2013 appeared to be a tough challenge. They’d won at least 9 games in five straight seasons and were coming off a 13-3 season. Atlanta dropped to 4-12 last season and wasn’t nearly as big of a challenge for opponents as many thought they’d be.

Strength of schedules can change drastically from April to January, or remain relatively accurate. The Lions and Rams were tied for the second-hardest schedule last offseason. Detroit finished with the 29th hardest while the Rams played the fourth-hardest schedule. We won’t know how the 2014 strength of schedule will play out for another nine months, but here is how things stand on schedule release day.

A tough road ahead?

Oakland Raiders

After a dismal season that saw them finish at the bottom of the AFC West, the journey out of the cellar won’t be easy.

That’s because Oakland has been cursed with the most difficult schedule as its opponents combined for a .578 winning percentage in 2013. While not an absolute in terms of how it will play out on the field, the schedule-makers didn’t do the Raiders any favors by giving them non-conference road games against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

Most of their misfortune, however, has to do with the fact Oakland will face three playoff teams two times each within the AFC West. That will include brutal road games in Kansas City and Denver, in two of their last three games. The good news for the Raiders? Carolina had the hardest strength of schedule last offseason and the Panthers went on to win 12 games.

New York Jets

With a new-look roster featuring fancy big names such as Eric Decker, Michael Vick and Chris Johnson, the New York Jets will be put to the test often with a schedule ranking just inside the top-10 most difficult at No. 9.

New York’s opponents combined for a .520 win percentage in 2013. Taking on an AFC West which boasted three playoff teams will prove to be a challenge as the division remains largely intact in terms of key players. With the exception of taking on the Patriots and the Green Bay Packers on the road, the rest of the away schedule looks manageable. Three of their last four games of the season are road matches against the Vikings, Titans and Dolphins.

Denver Broncos

Despite facing the Oakland Raiders twice, the defending AFC Champions are faced with the second-most difficult schedule. In addition to squaring off against two playoff teams in the AFC West twice apiece, the Broncos will face the toughest road test in the NFL, traveling to Seattle for a Super Bowl 48 rematch. If that weren’t enough to test the mettle of Peyton Manning & Co., the Broncos will travel to Foxborough to take on the perennially tough New England Patriots in Week 9. They finish the year at home against the Raiders at least.

Peyton Manning

Photo credit: Stephen Dunn

Easier paths to the playoffs?

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ cakewalk to improve upon their advancement to the AFC Divisional round is due largely to the fact they play in the abysmal AFC South, which went a combined 24-40 in 2013.

They’ll also face the NFC East, which only boasted one team above .500 last season in the Philadelphia Eagles. Indy will get Chip Kelly’s squad at home and face the likes of the Cleveland Browns on the road. Its toughest test away from Lucas Oil Stadium will be when it takes on the Denver Broncos in the Mile High City for the season opener.

Luck and Co. get the Browns, Texans, Cowboys and Titans to finish the year.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers will face opponents with a combined .473 win percentage from a season ago. The Atlanta Falcons’ and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 4-12 records have a lot to do with that low number.

But playing those teams twice each will do wonders toward making the Panthers’ bid for a second consecutive playoff appearance a possibility. Standing in their way will be tough visits to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers and another to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Those two playoff teams from 2013 figure to maintain their strong play on their home field and prove a difficult test for Carolina.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens failed to make the playoffs in their Super Bowl defense. The target is now off their backs and they have the fifth-easiest schedule on paper. Baltimore will have the benefit of playing the AFC South, which means games against Jacksonville and Houston. It will also play the NFC South and just six of its 16 games will come against playoff teams.

Baltimore will have a couple of difficult road games to manage, including trips to New Orleans to face the Saints and Indianapolis to face the Colts. Travel, however, should be fairly easy with no long trips to the west coast.


How does your team compare? Here is a full breakdown of the 2014 strength of schedules:



2014 Opponent winning percentage


Oakland Raiders



Denver Broncos



St. Louis Rams



San Diego Chargers



San Francisco 49ers



Seattle Seahawks



Kansas City Chiefs



Arizona Cardinals



New York Jets



New England Patriots



Atlanta Falcons



Miami Dolphins



Green Bay Packers



Buffalo Bills



Chicago Bears



Detroit Lions



Washington Redskins



Dallas Cowboys



Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Philadelphia Eagles



Minnesota Vikings



Carolina Panthers



Cincinnati Bengals



New Orleans Saints



Pittsburgh Steelers



Cleveland Browns



New York Giants



Baltimore Ravens



Jacksonville Jaguars



Houston Texans



Tennessee Titans



Indianapolis Colts


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2014 Sunday Night Football schedule

2014 NFL Sunday Night Football schedule

The Sunday Night Football schedule kicks off in Seattle and is loaded with marquee matchups.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Sunday Night Football schedule has been officially released for the 2014 NFL season and once again the schedule features some of the best matchups the NFL has to offer.

The schedule consists of 18 games, including special broadcast of Sunday Night Football on Thursday Sept. 4 for the season opener between Seattle and Green Bay. That could be a tough game to top, but it is only one of several games that on paper, will have major playoff implications. Andrew Luck and the Colts will travel to Denver in Week 1. The Saints and Cowboys will square off in Week 4. The Broncos will host San Francisco in Week 7 while the 49ers will host Seattle in the Thanksgiving edition of Sunday Night Football. Nine of the 18 matchups are battles of two 2013 playoff teams.

Of note, it was revealed Wednesday that the NFL can now flex games into the Sunday night timeslot beginning in Week 5. In previous seasons, Sunday afternoon games could not be moved to prime time until Week 11. The additional flexibility for Weeks 5-10 comes with the stipulation that only two games total over that span can be flexed. Per usual, Thursday, Saturday and Monday games are off limits.

Here’s the complete schedule for the season. All games start at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBC.

Week 1, Sept. 4 (Thursday season opener)

Green Bay at Seattle

Week 1, Sept. 7

Indianapolis at Denver

Week 2, Sept. 14

Chicago at San Francisco

Week 3, Sept. 21

Pittsburgh at Carolina

Week 4, Sept. 28

New Orleans at Dallas

NBC’s flex scheduling takes effect in Week 5. All games after this point are tentative.

Week 5, Oct. 5

Cincinnati at New England

Week 6, Oct. 12

New York Giants at Philadelphia

Week 7, Oct. 19

San Francisco at Denver

Week 8, Oct. 26

Green Bay at New Orleans

Week 9, Nov. 2

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Week 10, Nov. 9

Chicago at Green Bay

Week 11, Nov. 16

New England at Indianapolis

Week 12, Nov. 23

Dallas at New York Giants

Week 13, Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving)

Seattle at San Francisco

Week 13, Nov. 30

Denver at Kansas City

Week 14, Dec. 7

New England at San Diego

Week 15, Dec. 14

Dallas at Philadelphia

Week 16, Dec. 21

Seattle at Arizona

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2014 Thursday Night schedule

2014 Thursday Night Football schedule: 16-game slate full of division matchups

The Thursday Night Football lineup is expanded this year and for the first time, there will be simulcasts on CBS and NFL Network.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has released its official Thursday Night Football schedule for the 2014 season. The schedule features 16 games, including a pair of special Saturday editions of Thursday Night Football in Week 16.

The NFL regular season will begin on Thursday, Sept. 4, in Seattle, but technically that game is a special edition of Sunday Night Football, so the Thursday Night Football schedule won’t begin until Week 2 when the Steelers travel to face the Ravens in a classic AFC North matchup. The vast majority of Thursday Night Football games will feature division rivals, with only two of the 16 games not being division matchups.

Some of the notable games include San Diego traveling to Denver in Week 8, the Panthers hosting the Saints in Week 9 and the Cowboys heading to Chicago to face the Bears in Week 13. The Redskins will host the Eagles and the 49ers will host the Chargers in Saturday editions of Thursday Night Football in Week 16. Both games will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET.

NFL Network has carried the Thursday games since its inception, but there is a big television shakeup this year. CBS won the bidding war to broadcast TNF and will be airing the first eight games on its flagship channel, adding another plum primetime to broadcast television. NFL Network will continue to simulcast the games, and airs the rest of the schedule starting in Week 9. CBS and NFL Network will each air a special Saturday edition in Week 16.

Here’s the complete Thursday schedule for 2014 (all times ET).

Week 2, Sept. 11

Steelers at Ravens, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 3, Sept. 18

Buccaneers at Falcons, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 4, Sept. 25

Giants at Redskins, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 5, Oct. 2

Vikings at Packers, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 6, Oct. 9

Colts at Texans, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 7, Oct. 16

Jets at Patriots, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 8, Oct. 23

Chargers at Broncos, 8:25 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

Week 9, Oct. 30

Saints at Panthers, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 10, Nov. 6

Browns at Bengals, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 11, Nov. 13

Bills at Dolphins, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 12, Nov. 20

Chiefs at Raiders, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 13, Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving)

Bears at Lions, 12:30 p.m., CBS

Eagles at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m., FOX

Seahawks at 49ers, 8:30 p.m., NBC

(Under a new rule, the Lions and Cowboys games are subject to flex scheduling and can be moved to NBC as needed)

Week 14, Dec. 4

Cowboys at Bears, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 15, Dec. 11

Cardinals at Rams, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 16, Dec. 18

Titans at Jaguars, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Week 16, Dec. 20

Eagles at Redskins, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network/CBS

Chargers at 49ers, 4:30 p.m., CBS/NFL Network

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Which is the most important game on the schedule?

The NFL schedule is out, which week is most important?

The NFL season is a week-by-week process with a win in Week 3 counting as much as a win in Week 16. As true as that is, history still tells us wins in certain weeks might be more valuable. Which key games does your team need to win?

Harry How

When the NFL schedule is released, the first reaction of many is to immediately look for the most high-profile games. The games on national television, the games against division opponents or other rivals, the games against the best teams. Seemingly, the list of opponents, and not the week they are slotted to, is the most important. While that is probably right, winning certain weeks has led to season success.

Take Week 1 for example. There is a saying around the NFL that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and that winning the season opener doesn’t guarantee success and losing doesn’t spell doom. Although that is true, teams that open the season 1-0 go on to have success far more often than teams that begin the year with a loss. In the last decade, only 43 of the 160 teams who lost in Week 1 went on to finish the regular season with a winning record. Of the 160 teams who started 1-0, 96 finished with a winning record. It carries over to the playoffs too. Of the 120 teams to make the playoffs since 2003, 72 percent of them opened the season with a win. Eight of the last 10 Super Bowl winners opened 1-0 while just eight teams in history went on to win the Super Bowl after dropping to 0-1.

Winning in Week 1 might be important, but it’s not the only week that has been a predictor of success or failure since 2003. Here’s a look at the percentage of teams that went on to have a winning record, based on winning or losing in each of the 17 weeks.

Week Win Loss
1 60.0 percent 26.9 percent
2 57.9 percent 28.9 percent
3 58.4 percent 27.3 percent
4 58.0 percent 25.2 percent
5 61.9 percent 29.5 percent
6 58.7 percent 33.3 percent
7 54.7 percent 29.2 percent
8 62.2 percent 25.2 percent
9 65.0 percent 24.1 percent
10 56.3 percent 28.5 percent
11 60.4 percent 25.3 percent
12 61.8 percent 24.2 percent
13 57.5 percent 29.4 percent
14 61.3 percent 25.6 percent
15 56.9 percent 30.0 percent
16 59.4 percent 27.5 percent
17 57.5 percent 29.4 percent

So, there you have it. Want to win a Super Bowl? You better win in Week 1. Hoping your team has a winning season? Check out their Week 9 opponent. A win that week bodes well going forward while not many have lost in Week 9 and gone on to have a successful season.

Is any of this particularly noteworthy? Maybe not, but what would NFL schedule release day be without a gross over-examination of a list of dates? Welcome to 2014.

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