Another wild year of Thursday Night Football is upon us.
For the second season in a row, TNF's slate of games will be made available to fans across multiple networks and platforms in 2017.
CBS and NBC will each air five Thursday Night Football games, while all TNF broadcasts will continue to be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will also exclusively televise a six-game schedule of Thursday showdowns and three late-season games on Saturday. In addition, the NFL will live-stream 10 Thursday night affairs on Amazon.
Now that we've got the details out of the way, let's take a week-by-week look at what's ahead:
After the Patriots host Kansas City in the Kickoff Game, Thursday Night Football gets under way with a showdown between a pair of conference foes. The Texans and Bengals, today, would give us Andy Dalton vs. Tom Savage -- not exactly a barnburner -- but the draft could change what Houston can offer at the quarterback position. How about Dalton squaring off against rookie Patrick Mahomes, who said of Texans coach Bill O'Brien: "I feel like a lot of coaches like me, but especially coach O'Brien."
Last year's Thursday night slate took plenty of heat for offering up a rash of early season stinkers. No longer ordered to put every club in prime time, it's fair to ask what either of these teams are doing here. Still, the matchup gives us an out-of-the-gate look at Kyle Shanahan's new-look Niners against a Jared Goff-led Rams offense under the watch of first-year coach Sean McVay.
We get a good one in Week 5, pitting the world champions against an upstart squad of playoff hopefuls from Tampa Bay. It helps that New England must go on the road to face Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and a Tampa offense that will pair wideout Mike Evans with newly acquired deep threat DeSean Jackson.
Another juicy showdown. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz guides his Eagles into the fray against Carolina's nasty front seven. I'm expecting a bounce-back campaign from Carolina, but don't sleep on Philadelphia: With Alshon Jeffery added to the receiving corps, Wentz has a bona fide weapon to test the field with. Looking forward, both of these teams are candidates to draft first-round running backs, which would add another element of intrigue to an already solid matchup.
The Chiefs have no less than six prime-time games in 2017. What could go wrong? With a massive dose of Alex Smith on tap, viewers can only hope Kansas City lives up to the billing. This Week 7 showdown with Oakland will serve as an acid test. These teams hate each other and Raiders fans haven't forgotten about the crushing blow the Chiefs delivered in a 21-13 Thursday night win a year ago in Week 14.
If Miami hopes to continue its progress from 2016, winning conference battles like this are a must. Dolphins coach Adam Gase will test wits with one of the best in the business in Baltimore's John Harbaugh. I'm not going to mention players here because we have no idea who will be healthy deep into October. If we're lucky, though, this tilt will provide another shot to see those semi-insane, all-orange Color Rush unis the 'Fins unveiled last autumn.
From where we stand today, a solid game. The Cardinals, though, come packed with plenty of questions: Will Carson Palmer still be standing by Week 10? Will their depleted defense overachieve to keep this team afloat? Will anyone in the NFC West put the Seahawks to the test? Arizona: You're our only hope.
This fascinating showdown would have been chuckled at last offseason. A team on the rise, the Titans roll into Pittsburgh with one of the game's more intriguing young arms in Marcus Mariota and ex-Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Fingers crossed that this AFC battle comes armed with playoff implications for both squads.
If the Football Gods are smiling on the Colts, Andrew Luck will still be in one piece by the time this game goes down. Indy's star quarterback has dealt with a laundry list of injuries over the past two seasons. For any chance of the Colts returning to the postseason, Luck must play from wire-to-wire in 2017.