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A closeup of a football on a football field in this image from Shutterstock.
Some view the fall season as pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween, but a lot of folks are seated for the NFL games. (Image: Shutterstock)

If we could have it our way, we’d watch every game of the NFL season — missing even a single play is out of the question. But we can’t always get what we want, including unlimited time off from now until the Super Bowl in February to watch everything this upcoming NFL season has to offer. That doesn’t mean we can’t prioritize a few highlights though. Below are some must-watch games ahead of us, even for those without a cable connection. Don’t forget that games air on different networks and services, like “Thursday Night Football” is now exclusively on Prime Video.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Sept. 17)

All eyes will be on the Jacksonville Jaguars as they try to redeem themselves after their mixed performance last year. We think their game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second week of the season will be a good bellwether test for how the team will do this season. On the flip side, we’ll also get to see what the Chiefs are bringing to the table this time around. You can catch the game on CBS without cable.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (Sept. 18)

The Carolina Panthers are taking the limelight this season. They’ll play their first home game at PrimeTime, headlining “Monday Night Football” for the first time since 2018. They’ll be back on PrimeTime for a second time during Week 10, making up for some of the less desirable schedules they’ve been given in years past. This year also marks the first time their quarterback, Andy Dalton, plays against one of his former teams since coming to Charlotte. He faces quite the challenge, as the New Orleans Saints are eyeing the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Jets (Oct. 1)

October will be a mixed bag for the Jets. They’re in good shape to beat both the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants. And, if they pull off a victory against the Chiefs, then we’ll know they’re in good shape for the season. You can find this Sunday night game on NBC Sports without a cable subscription.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants (Oct. 2)

While neither the Seattle Seahawks nor the Giants got to play in the Super Bowl last year, both teams were the breakout stars of the season, giving us surprising performances that reminded us of the thrill of the game. We’re excited to see them compete against each other during Week Four in what should be a competitive but, above all, fun and interesting game. We’ll be keeping an eye on Seahawks’ QB, Geno Smith, after the great season he had in 2022. The question in everyone’s minds is whether he’ll continue his lucky streak and keep the ball rolling — or kicking, we should say.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 3)

One of the most exciting rematches of the season, this game will see the San Francisco 49ers facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles after their stunning 7-31 loss at the NFC Championship game earlier this year. As if that weren’t reason enough to tune in, this game also features the 49ers’ newest star, defensive lineman Javon Hargrave, playing against his former team for the first time since making the switch. Part of what makes each NFL season so invigorating is seeing how teams and players alike respond to trades and reshuffling. Watch it on Fox without needing a cable plan; you can watch this “Sunday Night Football” game on Paramount+ with no cable.

Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Dec. 10)

The rivalry between these two teams is epic and well known, and it primarily has to do with the fact that both the Buffalo Bills and Chiefs share the AFC East with each other. This year, these historic opponents face off during Week 14, late enough in the season to heat up their tension even more. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bills fare this year, given the tough schedule they were handed this season and whether they’ll rise to the occasion of defeating the reigning champions.

Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans (Dec. 24)

The night before Christmas is full of football festivities. This year, we have the Houston Texans playing against the Cleveland Browns in a game that has already generated plenty of chatter, especially because the Texans are debuting their new coach, DeMeco Myers. He might give us a Christmas present early this year, depending on who you’re rooting for.

New York Jets vs. New England Patriots (Jan. 7)

While not quite at the same level as the tension between the Bills and the Chiefs, there’s now a big question mark as to how the Jets will play against the Patriots now that Aaron Rodgers is out due to an injury. It's an unfortunate incident to start off on a new team, but that won't stop the Jets from going all out during this game.