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Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter! 

With the 2024 NFL schedule now out, you might be wondering what we're going to be talking about in this newsletter for the next two months, and although I have no idea, it will be something, because the NFL news cycle never sleeps. Also, I do know what we'll be talking about today and that's the schedule. After breaking down the schedule yesterday, we're going to break it down even more today by ranking the best games and revealing the craziest quirks. 

As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. Actually, you don't even have to tell all of your friends, just tell one and I'll be happy. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here

1. Ranking the top-10 must-see games on the 2024 NFL schedule

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If you read this newsletter regularly, then you probably know that we love to rank things here, so obviously, we had to rank the best games on the schedule.

Cody Benjamin ranked the top-10 games, so let's check out his list: 

1. Week 1: Jets at 49ers (MNF)
2. Week 11: Chiefs at Bills
3. Week 11: Texans at Cowboys (MNF)
4. Week 7: Chiefs at 49ers
5. Week 16: Lions at 49ers
6. Week 9: Texans at Jets (MNF)
7. Week 8: Eagles at Bengals
8. Week 16: 49ers at Dolphins
9. Week 12: Ravens at Chargers (MNF)
10. Week 14: Falcons at Vikings

The Houston Texans getting two games on this list tells you just how far they've come in less than a year. Last season, the NFL scheduling department completely ignored the Texans, but that's not the case this year. They have three prime-time games IN A ROW starting in Week 9, and two of those games made Cody's list. 

If you want to know the thought process behind Cody's ranking, you can check out his full story here

2. Looking at the most bizarre quirks on the 2024 NFL schedule

After the schedule comes out each year, my favorite thing to do is comb through all 32 schedules to see if I can find any quirks. Sure, that means I'm up for 17 straight hours after the schedule release so I can go through every team's slate of games, but the good news is that I found quite a few quirks, so it was time well spent. 

Let's check out the six weirdest quirks on the schedule this year, starting with the Chiefs, who got a quirk that the NFL hasn't seen in 97 years.

  • Chiefs will be playing on six different days of the week. The Chiefs got a schedule that no team has gotten in 97 years. With the Chiefs getting a Friday game and Wednesday game thanks to Black Friday and Christmas, Kansas City will be playing on six different days this year. The only day the Chiefs WON'T be playing on is Tuesday. That makes the Chiefs the first team in 97 years to play on six different days of the week. Back in 1927, the New York Yankees played on every day except for Monday. 
  • Cowboys and Giants to make history. The NFC East rivals will be playing each other two times in 2024, and both games will be held on a Thursday, which is notable, because that's only happened a total of two times over the past 98 years. The Lions and Packers played two Thursday games in 2023, and before that, you have to go all the way back to 1926 to find an instance where two NFL teams played multiple Thursday games against each other in the same season (Back then, it was the Chicago Cardinals and Chicago Bears). 
  • CBS scores NFC East showdown for first time in three decades. The Cowboys and Eagles will be playing in Week 10 in a game that will be televised by CBS. The two teams would normally play on Fox, but the NFL scrapped the conference affiliations for games starting in 2022, which is why CBS is getting a Philly-Dallas game for the first time since 1993. The Cowboys and Eagles will be playing in two Sunday afternoon games this year, which marks the first time since 2003 that the division rivals won't be playing each other in at least one standalone game. 
  • Bears and Steelers set to make history. One of the most bizarre quirks on the 2024 schedule actually happened to two different teams. Both the Bears and Steelers won't play their first divisional opponent until Week 11, which is the latest in NFL history that a team has ever played its first division game. The previous record belonged to the Falcons, who didn't play their first divisional opponent until Week 10 in 2019. 
  • Indoor cats. The Lions will be playing almost zero outdoor games over the first 15 weeks. From Week 1 thru Week 15, the Lions will play be playing 13 of their 14 games indoors. Over that span, their only outdoor game will come in Week 9 against the Packers. 
  • Jets are going prime time. If you turn on your TV at any point this fall, there's a good chance you're going to see the Jets. Aaron Rodgers' team has been given six prime-time games over the first 11 weeks, which marks the first time in NFL history that a team has been given that many night games over the first 11 weeks. The Jets also have a Week 5 game in London, which means they'll be getting seven standalone games before Thanksgiving.

I actually found 16 crazy scheduling quirks and if you want to see to the full list, you can do that here.  

3. Toughest road to the playoffs: Teams that were given a tough schedule

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When it comes to the NFL schedule, some teams definitely got the short end of the stick. Based on how their schedule is set up, some teams now have a much harder road to the playoffs and we decided to rank the five teams that now have the toughest road to the postseason. 

These rankings come from Jeff Kerr, and we're going to check out his top three: 

1. Steelers. "The Steelers don't play an AFC North opponent until Week 11 -- which is where the schedule gets really difficult. Pittsburgh plays six AFC North opponents in its final eight games, with the non-division games sandwiched between them being the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers also play the Saturday-Wednesday slate in Week 16 and 17 by virtue of playing on Christmas. The Steelers also play three of their first four games on the road. Bottom line, Pittsburgh needs a fast start before the gauntlet of the schedule."

2. Bills. "The Bills get three playoff teams in their first four games (three consecutive), all of which are in prime time. ... Buffalo plays four prime-time games in the first six weeks (at Dolphins, Jaguars, Ravens, Jets and they also play the Texans in a 1 p.m. game in that stretch). This is arguably the toughest opening stretch in the NFL."

3. Browns. "The Browns have the toughest opponent strength of schedule in 2024 at .547, so they were likely going to end up on this list regardless. ... The daunting part of the schedule comes after the Week 10 bye week, as five of the final eight games are on the road. Two of those games are on a short week (Thursday Night Football) and are division games against the Steelers (home) and Bengals (road). It will be impressive if Cleveland gets to double-digit wins."

If you want to see Jeff's full ranking of five teams, you can do that here

4. Ranking the best schedule release videos

The NFL schedule release is basically the Super Bowl for the social media teams around the league, and they came through on Wednesday with some wild videos. Shanna McCarriston watched every single schedule release video so that she could rank the top 10.

Let's check out her top four:  

1. Chargers. "The Chargers crush it every year, and definitely had one of the more in-depth videos this offseason. Their reveal is based on the Sims game and was loaded with Easter eggs. From the Taylor Swift appearance, to a reference of "ChiefsAHolic" on trial, the references were savage."

2. Titans. "Last season, their video was asking people on the streets of Nashville to name NFL teams based on their logos and the results were hilarious. They took a similar approach this season, bringing back someone from last year's video and having her ask people to describe the NFL teams the Titans are set to face."

3. Patriots. "'Good Will Hunting' is a fan favorite in Boston, so it only made sense to make a schedule release video in the theme of the movie. It stared Julian Edelman as "Jules Hunting" as he miraculously decodes the schedule and impresses those in the facility."

4. Rams. "Rams head coach Sean McVay is known for his impressive memory when it comes to the NFL. Los Angeles used his special skill to reveal its schedule, giving him trivia on each team. To no surprise, he completely crushed it."

The McVay video blows my mind. I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but McVay can remember a play he called six years ago in a random game.  

Anyway, you can check out Shanna's full rankings here

5. CBS Sports interviews the NFL's scheduling guru

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If there's one thankless job in the NFL, it's definitely the one that Mike North has. As the league's vice president of broadcast planning, his team is in charge of putting the schedule together. Every year, they have to sit down and create a schedule of 272 games that will make every team happy even though it's impossible to make every team happy. 

North sat down with CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones to answer some key questions about this year's schedule. 

Q: The Chiefs play on every day of the week except for Tuesday. How did that come together?
North: "They're obviously one of the biggest brands we have. Defending Super Bowl champions, and we've used them historically. We've used them to prop up some of these national television windows that maybe are kind of shifting viewer behavior and trying to remind people that, hey, there's other ways to access NFL content, whether it was the wild game on Peacock last year, obviously using them on Black Friday this year to continue to try to build that brand, and certainly the, uh, the Wednesday afternoon Christmas game."

Q: The AFC title game rematch is in Week 1. The NFL title game rematch between the Lions and 49ers is Week 17. Why is that? 
North: "It's really kind of bookending a historic NFL opening weekend for us. When you think about playing Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday, that Thursday kickoff game obviously stands on its own. ... We're going to have Dallas-Cleveland as the first Fox doubleheader. Tom Brady calling his first game in the booth for Fox. Rams-Lions with Matthew Stafford back to Detroit again for 'Sunday Night Football' for NBC. And then kind of bookend that weekend with Jets-49ers on 'Monday Night Football.'' And Aaron Rodgers going back to his Northern California roots just felt like a really fun way to bookend the entire opening weekend, starting off with Baltimore, Kansas City for kickoff. And that allows you to take the Detroit-San Fran game and really deploy it elsewhere, and having it be the anchor for the backend of the ESPN schedule. It felt like a real good place to put that game. It's an NFC Championship rematch, but maybe it's an NFC Championship game preview for this year."

North also offered an explanation for why the Jets got so many prime-time games this year:

North: We were all in on the Jets last year. Most of our broadcast partners were. Many of our fans were. So I think as our broadcast partners kind of queued up this year [to get the Jets]. Every one of them was kind of hoping to have an early season Aaron Rodgers return storyline game to talk about, so you'll see them early in the season. On ESPN, on Amazon, in London, on 'Sunday Night Football.' There's going to be a healthy diet of New York Jets games."

North answered several other questions and you can read his entire interview here.

6. Extra points: Dolphins might have a Tua problem

It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.

  • Tua Tagovailoa has been skipping most of Miami's voluntary workouts. The Dolphins quarterback has been skipping voluntary workouts and it's because he wants a new contract, CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones has reported. Tua is currently set to play the 2024 season under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, but he's looking to get a lucrative extension before the start of the season. Jones has the full details on the story, and you can check those out here
  • Ravens hate their schedule. It seems that the Ravens aren't very thrilled with their schedule. They got an interesting slate that not only includes a Christmas game for the second straight year, but both of their Monday night games are on the road. You can read more about the Ravens' situation here
  • NFL responds to Harrison Butker's polarizing commencement speech. Butker made headlines this week for a commencement speech that he gave at Benedictine College in Kansas. His speech was divisive with some people agreeing with this message and some people disagreeing. The NFL responded to the controversy on Thursday with a statement that distanced the league from Butker's speech. "His views are not those of the NFL as an organization," the league said. You can check out the full statement here
  • NFL will have two Christmas games in 2025. With Christmas on a Thursday in 2025, we knew there would definitely be at least one game on the schedule, and now, we know there's going to be two. NFL executive vice president Hans Schroeder revealed this week that Amazon and Netflix will each get one Christmas game next year. 
  • Hall of Fame game will be on ABC/ESPN. The first preseason game of the year has regularly been on NBC over the past few years, but with NBC airing the Olympics this summer, the Hall of Fame game will now be moving to ESPN/ABC for 2024. The game in Canton, Ohio will feature the Bears and Texans and will kick off on Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. ET.