June 22, 2024

Ready or not, the 2024 NFL season is fast approaching, with only 100 days until the official start of the regular season. A lot has happened since the Kansas City Chiefs hoisted the last Lombardi Trophy, with all 32 teams shuffling rosters and coaching staffs to prepare for the next race to glory. As clubs fine-tune lineups and preparations for the 2024 campaign, we’ve got you covered with key facts, figures and odds for what’s ahead.

Presenting 100 things to know for the 2024 NFL season:

Key facts and figures


Getty Images

1. The 2024 season, the 105th in NFL history, kicks off Thursday, Sept. 5, with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20 p.m. ET.

2. The Chiefs will be looking to become the first team in NFL history to win three straight Super Bowls after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in February. They have appeared in four of the last five championship games, winning three of them.

3. One day after the Week 1 kickoff, the NFL will host its first-ever South American contest, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers slated to meet on Friday, Sept. 6, in São Paulo, Brazil.

4. The Brazil game will be the first of five different matchups under the International Series label in 2024. The NFL will also host three regular-season games in London, England, and another in Munich, Germany.

5. Besides locations, the NFL is also debuting a new broadcast partner, with Netflix joining CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network and Prime Video as an exclusive provider. More broadcast details can be found below.


Getty Images

According to FanDuel odds:

6. The San Francisco 49ers (+550) have made four NFC title games in the last five years.
7. The Kansas City Chiefs (+600) are the NFL’s reigning dynasty, with two straight titles.
8. The Baltimore Ravens (+950) came within one win of reaching the Super Bowl in 2023.
9. The Cincinnati Bengals (+1300) reached back-to-back AFC title games in 2021-2022.
10. The Buffalo Bills (+1300) have made five straight postseason appearances.
11. The Detroit Lions (+1300) nearly upset the 49ers in the 2023 NFC Championship.
12. The Philadelphia Eagles (+1400) have reached two of the last eight Super Bowls.
13. The Dallas Cowboys (+1500) have won at least 12 games in three straight seasons.
14. The Houston Texans (+1600) exploded to reach the divisional round in 2023.
15. The Green Bay Packers (+1900) nearly upset the 49ers in the 2023 playoffs.

Top 10 MVP candidates


Getty Images

According to FanDuel odds:

16. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (+500) previously won MVP in 2018 and 2022.
17. Bills quarterback Josh Allen (+800) has topped 40 total touchdowns in four straight years.
18. Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (+1000) won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2023.
19. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (+1000) has led two AFC Championship appearances.
20. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (+1400) was the 2022 MVP runner-up.
21. Packers quarterback Jordan Love (+1400) threw 32 touchdowns in his starting debut.
22. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (+1400) previously won MVP in 2019 and 2023.
23. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (+1600) has 125 career touchdowns.
24. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (+1600) threw a career-high 36 scores in 2023.
25. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (+2000) led the NFL in 2023 passing yards.

New faces in new places

I. Head coaches


Getty Images

26. The Atlanta Falcons hired Raheem Morris, former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator, to replace Arthur Smith. Morris, 47, previously served as the Falcons’ interim coach in 2020.

27. The Carolina Panthers hired Dave Canales, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, to replace Frank Reich and interim Chris Tabor. Canales, 43, previously worked for the Seattle Seahawks.

28. The Las Vegas Raiders hired Antonio Pierce, who initially replaced Josh McDaniels as an interim head coach during the 2023 season. Pierce, 45, is best known for his Pro Bowl-playing career as a linebacker.

29. The Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan head coach, to replace Brandon Staley and interim Giff Smith. Harbaugh, 60, went 86-25 with the Wolverines and previously coached the 49ers.

30. The New England Patriots hired Jerod Mayo, their former inside linebackers coach, to replace Bill Belichick. Mayo, 38, spent 13 years under Belichick as both a player and assistant.

31. The Seahawks hired Mike Macdonald, former Ravens defensive coordinator, to replace Pete Carroll. Macdonald, 36, spent nine years in Baltimore, and also worked under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.

32. The Tennessee Titans hired Brian Callahan, former Bengals offensive coordinator, to replace Mike Vrabel. Callahan, 39, is the son of longtime NFL assistant Bill Callahan, who also joined the team.

33. The Washington Commanders hired Dan Quinn, former Cowboys defensive coordinator, to replace Ron Rivera. Quinn, 53, spent six years as the Falcons head coach from 2015-2020.

II. Notable veteran signings


Getty Images

34. The Falcons signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, marking their most lucrative investment at the position since employing former NFL MVP Matt Ryan.

35. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent just two seasons with the Denver Broncos after a 10-year, Super Bowl-winning run with the Seahawks.

36. The Eagles signed former New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, the former No. 2 overall draft pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year.

37. Several other big-name running backs changed teams in free agency: Josh Jacobs (Raiders to Packers), Derrick Henry (Titans to Ravens), Aaron Jones (Packers to Vikings), Austin Ekeler (Chargers to Commanders), Tony Pollard (Cowboys to Titans) and D’Andre Swift (Eagles to Chicago Bears).

38. The Chiefs signed former Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, giving Mahomes a potential new top target alongside All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

39. The Titans signed former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley, making the ex-Falcons standout roughly one of the top 10 highest-paid players at his position. The Jags, meanwhile, signed former Bills speedster Gabe Davis to help replace Ridley.

40. The New York Jets signed two veteran starters — wide receiver Mike Williams and offensive tackle Tyron Smith — to support returning quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

41. Notable defensive moves occurred at pass rusher (Danielle Hunter to the Texans, Bryce Huff to the Eagles, Jonathan Greenard to the Vikings), linebacker (Patrick Queen to the Steelers, Bobby Wagner to the Commanders, Azeez Al-Shaair to the Texans) and safety (Xavier McKinney to the Packers, C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles).

III. Notable veteran trades


Getty Images

42. Five different quarterbacks drafted in the last four years changed teams: Justin Fields (Bears to Steelers), Mac Jones (Patriots to Jaguars), Kenny Pickett (Steelers to Eagles), Desmond Ridder (Falcons to Arizona Cardinals) and Sam Howell (Commanders to Seahawks).

43. The Titans acquired two-time Pro Bowl cornerback L’Jarius Sneed from the Chiefs, who initially used the franchise tag on the free agent cover man.

44. The Giants acquired two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Burns from the Panthers, who had unsuccessfully tried to sign the defender to a long-term contract.

45. The Bears acquired six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen from the Chargers, pairing the 32-year-old pass catcher with D.J. Moore and rookie Rome Odunze in the Windy City.

46. The Texans acquired four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Bills, marking the second time in five years the ex-Vikings star has been traded.

47. The Jets acquired two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Haason Reddick from the Eagles, who had signed Bryce Huff, Reddick’s projected successor, away from New York in free agency.

48. The Texans acquired Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon from the Bengals, who signed former Indianapolis Colts ball carrier Zack Moss in free agency.

49. The Panthers acquired Pro Bowl wide receiver Diontae Johnson from the Steelers, sending cornerback Donte Jackson to Pittsburgh in the deal.

IV. Notable rookies


Getty Images

50. The Bears spent the No. 1 overall draft pick on USC quarterback Caleb Williams, replacing Fields with the consensus top signal-caller of the 2024 class — a big-play gunslinger already cemented as the starter.

51. A record six quarterbacks became first-round picks, tying the famous 1983 class, which went on to produce three Hall of Famers. After Williams, the selections went as follows:

52. The Commanders took LSU’s Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall.

53. The Patriots took North Carolina’s Drake Maye at No. 3 overall, despite whispers that other teams, including the Giants and Vikings, sought to trade up for the Tar Heels product.

54. The Falcons took Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall, stunning the rest of the NFL due to the club’s recent big-money investment in Kirk Cousins. While the choice invited immediate controversy, it also signaled an applaudably serious commitment to upgrading the position.

55. The Vikings took Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 overall, just under four months after the former Wolverines quarterback hoisted the national championship trophy.

56. The Broncos took Oregon’s Bo Nix at No. 12 overall, marking easily the highest quarterback selection of head coach Sean Payton’s career.

57. Notable non-quarterback picks featured big-name wide receivers (Marvin Harrison Jr. to the Cardinals, Malik Nabers to the Giants, Rome Odunze to the Bears), offensive tackles (Joe Alt to the Chargers, JC Latham to the Titans) and cornerbacks (Quinyon Mitchell to the Eagles, Terrion Arnold to the Lions).

Key storylines


USATSI

58. Who can challenge the Chiefs and 49ers?

It’s common for the most recent Super Bowl contenders to open the following year atop most peoples’ power rankings, but in the case of K.C. and San Francisco, these heavyweights remain the cream of the crop, at least on paper and in the intangibles department. As long as Mahomes and Andy Reid are standing in Arrowhead, the Chiefs feel inevitable out of the AFC, much like the New England Patriots once did. The 49ers, meanwhile, have a seamless offense under Kyle Shanahan’s direction, and their point guard, Brock Purdy, is just getting started after back-to-back MVP-level showings since his famous entry as Mr. Irrelevant.

59. But seriously, who poses a threat to the reigning conference champions?

Pulling from our recent rundown of total-package contenders, consider these clubs some of the top candidates to challenge the throne in 2024:

  • Bengals: If the defensive front hits its ceiling, they can be a true contender. But Joe Burrow’s health is the ultimate key. If he’s upright and dealing from the pocket, that’s their bread and butter.  
  • Eagles: They’ve certainly added talent to help the defense, but Kellen Moore’s entry as a play-caller for the all-star collective of Jalen Hurts, Saquon Barkley, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith could do wonders for their bid to return to title contention. There may not be a bigger boom-or-bust setup.
  • Jets: So much hinges on Aaron Rodgers, who’s coming off a major injury under center. We’ve seen that crumble before. But there are countless all-star playmakers by his side, and the tenacious Robert Saleh-led defense remains. It’s now or never in New Jersey.
  • Lions: Their retooled secondary could take a big leap. Until then, it’s Ben Johnson’s ultra-balanced offense that really powers them. The combo of a resilient Jared Goff, steady front, dynamic backfield and explosive Amon-Ra St. Brown is lethal.
  • Ravens: Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson now has Derrick Henry to bolster a thunder-and-lightning rushing attack, and the defense still has imposing difference-makers at every level.
  • Texans: Fresh off his star debut, C.J. Stroud has even more help with Stefon Diggs aboard, and DeMeco Ryans’ front seven looks even nastier with Danielle Hunter and Azeez Al-Shaair.

60. Which quarterback bets will pay off?

This is an annual point of discussion, but this year in particular, we’ve got a slew of both rookie and veteran signal-callers under pressure to perform. The Jets are once again putting all their chips on Rodgers, the former Packers great, despite the 40-year-old coming off a torn Achilles. The Cowboys are on track to let longtime starter Dak Prescott play out his current contract, perhaps growing impatient over a lack of postseason stardom. The Bears and Vikings are both set to ask first-year signal-callers to capitalize on their savvy skill weapons in a wide-open NFC North. The Falcons are banking on Kirk Cousins overcoming the surprise addition of Michael Penix Jr. to live up to his big-money deal. The Steelers are hoping one of either Russell Wilson or Justin Fields will take them back to the playoffs. Win, lose or tie, quarterbacks drive the headlines!

Top 10 must-see games


USATSI

All times Eastern

61. Falcons at Vikings (Dec. 8, 1 p.m., Fox): Kirk Cousins comes home to Minnesota.

62. Ravens at Chargers (Nov. 25, 8:15 p.m., ESPN): The Harbaugh Bowl, pitting brothers John against Jim in a coaching duel.

63. 49ers at Dolphins (Dec. 22, 4:25 p.m., CBS): Kyle Shanahan faces his former pupil, Mike McDaniel.

64. Eagles at Bengals (Oct. 27, 4:25 p.m., CBS): Joe Burrow hosting Jalen Hurts: a Super Bowl preview?

65. Texans at Jets (Oct. 31, 8:15 p.m., Prime Video): Two AFC contenders on Halloween Night.

66. Lions at 49ers (Dec. 30, 8:15 p.m., ESPN, ABC): A rematch of the 2023 NFC title clash.

67. Chiefs at 49ers (Oct. 20, 4:25 p.m., Fox): Purdy and Co. get another shot to unseat the champions.

68. Texans at Cowboys (Nov. 18, 8:15 p.m., ESPN): Can Houston claim Texas as its own?

69. Chiefs at Bills (Nov. 17, 4:25 p.m., CBS): An annual tradition unlike any other. Fireworks await.

70. Jets at 49ers (Sept. 9, 8:20 p.m., ESPN, ABC): The first Monday night matchup of the season.

Rule changes


USATSI

Major rule changes for 2024 include:

71. “Hip-drop tackles,” or tackles in which the defender wraps a ball carrier and drops his full weight upon the opponent’s legs, thus trapping the legs below the knee, are now illegal and will be penalized with 15-yard, automatic-first-down calls.

72. Kick returns will feature a totally revised set of rules as part of a one-year trial. The rules prohibit everyone on the kicking team (except the kicker) from moving until the ball contacts or is fielded within a designated “landing zone,” between the receiving team’s 20-yard line and goal line. Receiving teams are permitted to place up to two returners in the zone, and returners are unable to utilize a fair catch, as they could’ve in 2023. If a kick doesn’t reach the zone, the ball will be placed at the 40-yard line. If it goes out of — or is downed inside — the end zone, the ball will go to the 35. And if it hits the zone, rolls into the end zone and is downed, it’ll go to the 20. Any ball fielded in the zone, meanwhile, has to be returned.

73. The trade deadline now falls on the Tuesday following Week 9, as opposed to the Tuesday after Week 8.

74. Coaches will receive the option of a third challenge if they successfully challenge a single play. Previously, coaches only received a third challenge if both of their allotted two challenges were upheld.

Things we learned this offseason


Getty Images

All 32 teams hinted at what’s ahead by their actions in the draft, free agency and coaching cycle. Here’s a refresh on some underrated, overlooked or rebuilding squads that may or may not be in the playoff race:

75. The Panthers are committed to making Bryce Young work. Which isn’t crazy, considering we’re just a year removed from them drafting him No. 1 overall. But new coach Dave Canales, a noted quarterback mentor, has been upfront about rightly wanting to better establish the run behind a beefed-up interior.

76. The Browns are still fully dependent on a Deshaun Watson emergence. Yes, they shuffled the deck behind him, adding two new veteran backups. But by retaining Nick Chubb, paying decent money to Jerry Jeudy, etc., Cleveland remains indebted to its expensive (and so far mostly dysfunctional) QB1 bet.

77. The Packers are believers in Jordan Love and his young receiving group. Extending the signal-caller after his flashy finish to 2023 would really confirm this, but spending big on a new ball carrier in Josh Jacobs, plus a top-of-the-market safety in Xavier McKinney, suggests Green Bay is comfortable with its passing arsenal.

78. The Jaguars are set to lean more on Doug Pederson’s offense. Paying edge rusher Josh Allen, and pairing him with Arik Armstead, isn’t nothing. But they did even more shuffling around Trevor Lawrence, who’s looking to steady himself under center, with new pieces up front and two-thirds of the receiving corps replaced.

79. The Dolphins are essentially running it back. Christian Wilkins was a big free-agent loss, but this team was always going to boom or bust depending on Mike McDaniel’s offense. Tua Tagovailoa has an even deeper receiving corps with Odell Beckham Jr. as WR3 and the addition of tight end Jonnu Smith, but his O-line and off-script resume are still iffy.

80. The Giants are banking on a Brian Daboll redemption story. Hailed for maximizing talent in 2022, the head man couldn’t stop the Giants’ bleeding in 2023, and now, divorced from big-name defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, it’s all on him to rejuvenate Daniel Jones (again) in a work-in-progress lineup.

81. The Buccaneers are hoping for a carryover from 2023’s feisty finish. There’s no other way to put general manager Jason Licht’s overt commitment to last year’s heroes, from the rejuvenated Baker Mayfield to the ageless Mike Evans. Will it be enough in the NFC South? Perhaps. They’re at least a scrappy bunch.

Early predictions


Getty Images

82. The Titans, not the Texans, make the biggest leap in the AFC South. That’s not to say Houston won’t be a force. But Tennessee really prioritized surrounding the young Will Levis with proven pass catchers and improved blockers, and with the defense also bolstered up front, they should join the wild-card race.

83. Russell Wilson opens as the Steelers’ quarterback, and holds the job longer than expected. It feels much likelier that Pittsburgh will turn to Justin Fields rather than away from him to open 2024. Wilson was identified as a seamless fit well before Fields was acquired, and his resume will speak to Mike Tomlin.

84. Both the Packers and the Vikings challenge the Lions for the NFC North crown. Yes, Detroit is a potential powerhouse. But this quartet is loaded, not so unlike the AFC North. Jordan Love’s arm talent should carry Green Bay far, and Minnesota’s setup for any post-Kirk Cousins signal-caller is borderline elite.

85. The Cowboys fail to reach the 12-win mark for the first time in four years. Dak Prescott still has some splashy playmakers, as does Dallas’ defense, but after a surprisingly quiet offseason, Jerry Jones is betting a lot on the Prescott-Mike McCarthy contingent to simply defy expectations and usurp superior NFC foes on their own.

Odds and ends


Getty Images

86. Four different teams revealed new uniforms for this year: the Broncos, who revamped to a minimalistic look while reintroducing “Orange Crush” throwbacks, the Jets, who reverted to their classic “Sack Exchange” look of the 1980s, the Lions, who brightened their “Honolulu Blue” display while adding an all-black alternate, and the Texans, whose new wardrobe includes plenty of candy-paint colors.

87. Notable players who will be absent from the field this year after retiring: Eagles center Jason Kelce, Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox and Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater.

88. Five different teams welcomed new general managers/executive personnel directors this offseason: the Chargers (Joe Hortiz), Commanders (Adam Peters), Panthers (Dan Morgan), Patriots (Eliot Wolf) and Raiders (Tom Telesco).

89. The NFL’s 2024 holiday slate includes a Thanksgiving Day tripleheader (Bears at Lions, Giants at Cowboys, Dolphins at Packers), plus two Christmas Day games, which will be the first-ever Dec. 25 contests held on a Wednesday: Chiefs at Steelers, and Ravens at Texans.

90. Wondering where games will actually be available to watch? All of CBS’ broadcasts will also be streamed on Paramount+. Netflix will exclusively stream both Christmas games this year. Prime Video will exclusively stream regular “Thursday Night Football” games. NBC will broadcast “Sunday Night Football.” Its streaming service, Peacock, will air the Eagles-Packers contest in Brazil. ESPN (and sometimes ABC) will have “Monday Night Football.”

91. Other notable odds involving 2024 difference-makers, per FanDuel, include the Chiefs, 49ers and Ravens owning the highest projected win total (11.5), with the Bengals, Bills, Cowboys, Eagles and Lions (10.5) just behind. Other odds:

92. Lowest projected win total: Patriots (4.5), who could be heavily dependent on Jerod Mayo’s defense, even after spending a top-three pick on a top quarterback prospect in Drake Maye.

93. Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite: Caleb Williams (+210) is the obvious top choice as the Bears’ No. 1 pick, but Cardinals wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. (+600) and Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels (+900) should also see prominent roles out of the gate. A sleeper: Chiefs speedster Xavier Worthy (+1600), who could have big-stage opportunities.

94. Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite: Dallas Turner (+500), the Alabama product, could quickly become the Vikings’ top edge rusher, even after the team added Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel in free agency.

95. Offensive Player of the Year favorite: Tyreek Hill (+700) is 30, but the Dolphins wideout remains one of the fastest in the game. Cowboys star CeeDee Lamb (+900) is a close second along with 49ers do-it-all back Christian McCaffrey (+900).

96. Defensive Player of the Year favorite: Micah Parsons (+600) is probably the most talented defensive player without this award on their resume. The Cowboys pass rusher is the heartbeat of Dallas’ defense.

97. Coach of the Year favorite: Jim Harbaugh (+800) has lots of fans amid his anticipated return to the NFL, but he’ll have a potentially tall task overcoming the Chiefs as the Chargers’ head man out west.

98. Legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who’s still angling to become part owner of the Raiders, will begin his broadcasting career as part of the Fox crew, debuting with a Week 1 call of the Browns-Cowboys game.

99. Recently retired NFL greats Matt Ryan and JJ Watt will debut as regular studio members of “The NFL Today” panel on CBS.

100. The 2024 season will culminate with Super Bowl LIX on Feb. 9, 2025, at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

Source link