For the second straight year, the NFL will be holding a Saturday doubleheader during the final week of the regular season and for the second straight year, the NFL waited until the Sunday games ended in Week 17 to reveal who would be playing in that doubleheader.
The league has announced that the Saturday schedule will look like this in Week 18:
- Chiefs (13-3) at Raiders (6-10), 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
- Titans (7-9) at Jaguars (8-8), 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC)
The biggest surprise is that Titans-Jaguars game. With the AFC South title on the line, there had been some speculation that the NFL might move that matchup to Sunday night in Week 18, but instead, the league has decided to put it on Saturday night.
The Jaguars probably won't be thrilled to hear that the game is being moved to Saturday and that's because the Titans will be getting a lot more rest than them. Not only are the Jaguars playing on a short week, but Tennessee played on Thursday in Week 17, which will give them three full days of extra rest for the showdown.
Although the winner of the Titans-Jaguars game will clinch the AFC South, the loser won't necessarily be eliminated. If the Titans win on Saturday, the Jags could still get a wild card berth if the Steelers lose to the Browns, the Patriots lose to the Bills and the Dolphins lose to the Jets in Week 18. On the other hand, if the Jaguars win, then Tennessee's season will be over.
As for the early game, the Chiefs were likely picked because they're still in the running for the top seed in the AFC. No matter what happens on Monday night between the Bengals and Bills, the Chiefs will go into Saturday's game knowing they need to win if they want to have any shot at getting the top seed. If the Raiders pull off an upset, then the Bills-Bengals winner will be in the driver's seat for landing the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
If you're wondering why there's a doubleheader this week, it's now a permanent part of the schedule going forward as it's part of ESPN's media deal.
As for the Sunday night game, the NFL has decided to give the spotlight to Lions-Packers, which means we'll be getting Aaron Rodgers playing in prime time with the Packers' season on the line. The only issue with putting this game in prime time is that the Lions' playoff chances could be dead by the time the game kicks off. If the Seahawks beat the Rams at 4:25 p.m. ET, then the Lions will be eliminated from playoff contention.
For the full Week 18 schedule, be sure to click here.