For the second year in a row, the NFL will host a Saturday doubleheader in the last week of the regular season, and for the second year in a row, the NFL waited until Sunday games ended in week 17 to announce who would play in that doubleheader .
The league has announced that the week 18 Saturday schedule will be as follows:
The biggest surprise is the Titans Jaguars game. With the AFC South title at stake, there was some speculation that the NFL might move that matchup to Sunday night in Week 18, but instead the league decided to move it to Saturday night.
The Jaguars are unlikely to be thrilled to hear the game is being moved to Saturday and that’s because the Titans will get a lot more rest than they will. Not only are the Jaguars playing in a short week, Tennessee also played Thursday in Week 17, giving them three full days of extra showdown rest.
Although the winner of the Titans-Jaguars game will win the AFC South, the loser will not necessarily be eliminated. If the Titans win Saturday, the Jags could still get a wildcard spot if the Steelers lose to the Browns, the Patriots to the Bills and the Dolphins to the Jets in Week 18. On the other hand, if the Jaguars win, then the Tennessee season is over.
As for the early game, the Chiefs were likely picked because they’re still in contention for the top seed in the AFC. No matter what happens between the Bengals and Bills on Monday night, the Chiefs will go into Saturday’s game knowing they have to win if they’re going to have any chance of getting the top seed. If the Raiders cause an upset, the Bills Bengals winner will be in the driver’s seat to land the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
If you’re wondering why there’s a doubleheader this week, it’s now a staple of the future schedule as it’s part of ESPN’s media deal.
As for Sunday night’s game, the NFL has decided to put the spotlight on the Lions-Packers, which means we’re letting Aaron Rodgers play prime time when the Packers’ season comes around. The only issue with placing this game in prime time is that the Lions’ playoff chances could be dead early in the game. If the Seahawks beat the Rams at 4:25 p.m. ET, the Lions are eliminated from playoff contention.
See the full week 18 schedule here.