NFL Prime-Time Schedule 2017: List of Monday, Thursday and Sunday Night Games

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speak after the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 27-20.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As far as regular seasons, few things in sports can match NFL night games.

The lights are on, the eyes of the football-watching nation are all tuned in to the same game and two of the top teams in the league typically take the field. Fans can plan accordingly because this year's NFL schedule was released Thursday, and it features plenty of head-turning prime-time contests.

Here is a look at the full schedule of night games, per NFL.com, as well as a couple of intriguing showdowns that stand out.

               

2017 NFL Prime-Time Schedule

Week 1MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Sept. 7Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots8:30 p.m.NBC
Sunday, Sept 10New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Sept. 11New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings7:10 p.m.ESPN
Monday, Sept. 11Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos10:20 p.m.ESPN
Week 2MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Sept. 14Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Sunday, Sept. 17Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Sept. 18Detroit Lions at New York Giants8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 3MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Sept. 21Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Sunday, Sept. 24Oakland Raiders at Washington8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Sept. 25Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 4MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Sept. 28Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers8:25 p.m.CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 1Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 2Washington at Kansas City Chiefs8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 5MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Oct. 5New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers8:25 p.m.CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 8Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 9Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 6MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Oct. 12Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers8:25 p.m.CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 15New York Giants at Denver Broncos8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 16Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 7MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Oct. 19Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders8:25 p.m.CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 22Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 23Washington at Philadelphia Eagles8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 8MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Oct. 26Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens8:25 p.m.CBS/NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 29Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Oct. 30Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 9MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Nov. 2Buffalo Bills at New York Jets8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Sunday, Nov. 5Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Nov. 6Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 10MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Nov. 9Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals8:25 p.m.NBC/NFL Network
Sunday, Nov. 12New England Patriots at Denver Broncos8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Nov. 13Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 11MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Nov. 16Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers8:25 p.m.NBC/NFL Network
Sunday, Nov. 19Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Nov. 20Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 12MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Nov. 23New York Giants at Washington8:30 p.m.NBC
Sunday, Nov. 26Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Nov. 27Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 13MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Nov. 30Washington at Dallas Cowboys8:25 p.m.NBC/NFL Network
Sunday, Dec. 3Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Dec. 4Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 14MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Dec. 7New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons8:25 p.m.NBC/NFL Network
Sunday, Dec. 10Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Dec. 11New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 15MatchupTime (ET)TV
Thursday, Dec. 14Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts8:25 p.m.NBC/NFL Network
Saturday, Dec. 16Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs8:25 p.m.NFL Network
Sunday, Dec. 17Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Dec. 18Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers8:30 p.m.ESPN
Week 16MatchupTime (ET)TV
Saturday, Dec. 23Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers8:30 p.m.NBC
Monday, Dec. 25Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles8:30 p.m.ESPN
Source: NFL.com

                 

Intriguing Prime-Time Showdowns

Week 1: Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

The fact that this is the first game for the defending-champion New England Patriots instantly makes this an intriguing contest. There figures to be plenty of pomp and circumstance, as Shalise Manza Young of Yahoo Sports noted:

As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Patriots will have the chance to host the first official game of the 2017 season; like many other things, the league and teams have made these games an event, with concerts, fireworks and the unveiling of championship banners.

We would expect nothing less from New England.

Some may not want to bask in New England's glory, but this is also the first regular-season game for football-starved fans across the country, and it features the Patriots against a Kansas City Chiefs team that made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.

Kansas City handed New England a 41-14 loss in 2014 the last time these two teams played in the regular season.

There is plenty of direct impact on this campaign as well. The Patriots' division dominance (eight straight AFC East crowns and 13 of the last 14) means they're really competing with the rest of the AFC for home-field advantage and first-round byes.

Kansas City figures to be one of those teams after a 12-4 campaign and AFC West title, especially with wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce surrounding quarterback Alex Smith. The Chiefs also boasted the league's seventh-best scoring defense in 2016, which figures to challenge quarterback Tom Brady.

The last time the Patriots lost a playoff contest was when they went on the road to face the Denver Broncos in the 2015 season's AFC Championship Game, which came right after they beat the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round by just seven points.

Forcing New England to travel during the postseason like it did in the Denver loss could be one of the few formulas to stopping it, and Kansas City hopes to force a similar situation this year.

Winning this head-to-head showdown with the champs would give it an early advantage.

            

Week 12: New York Giants at Washington

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

There may be other games with better teams on the prime-time slate, but this one stands out because of its date.

The New York Giants travel to Washington on Thanksgiving night in what promises to be a highly rated broadcast with families and friends gathering around post-turkey to watch some football.

It will also be a historic occasion, as Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post noted Washington will host a Thanksgiving game for the first time in franchise history.

Washington and the Giants may not be the Patriots or Dallas Cowboys, but this will still likely be a critical game for more than just the Thanksgiving factor. New York made the playoffs last season at 11-5 and figures to challenge the Cowboys in the NFC East with quarterback Eli Manning and wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

If Washington, which missed the playoffs at 8-7-1 in 2016 a year after winning the division at 9-7, is going to reclaim its spot atop the NFC East, it will have to get through the Giants as well as the Cowboys.

Football Outsiders' Aaron Schultz (h/t James Kratch of NJ.com) underscored the importance of each NFC East game, writing, "This is the strongest division in the NFL, where last season all four teams finished in the DVOA top 10, but an arduous schedule might leave three of the four teams out of the postseason."

Between the quarterback matchup of Kirk Cousins and Manning, the likely playoff implications in the NFC East and the tradition of Thanksgiving, this is one of the most intriguing prime-time games on the 2017 schedule.