Highlighting AFC East blockbuster games of 2024 season

May 16, 2024

The Redemption of Tua Tagovailoa | The New Yorker

The NFL released its complete schedule for the 2024 season on Wednesday. Here is the blockbuster game (and another intriguing matchup) for every team in the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills | Complete schedule

BLOCKBUSTER | vs. Kansas City, Nov. 17:  Sometimes, it just feels right to play the hits, and unlike the 2010 remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” the latest installment of Bills-Chiefs promises to be a thriller. Last season marked the third time in four years Buffalo got bounced out of the playoffs by Kansas City. While it might not have been as gut-wrenching as the infamous “13 seconds” game, it was still heartbreaking, as kicker Tyler Bass missed a potential game-tying field goal with under two minutes remaining.

Buffalo is seen as a team that could regress in 2024, considering it cut ties with several notable starters due to salary cap constraints. Even so, the roster has received a nice injection of youth this offseason, so perhaps the changes could be what the team needs to finally take down the Chiefs.

ALSO INTRIGUING | at Houston, Oct. 6: One of the biggest revenge games the NFL has scheduled for this season, Buffalo will take on four-time Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs during its Week 5 trip to Houston. The Bills traded Diggs to the Texans earlier this offseason after the All-Pro wideout spent the last four seasons in Buffalo, several of which were filled with drama. Given Houston’s rapid ascension up the NFL ranks last season, this already would’ve been an exciting matchup, but the Diggs storyline makes it even more compelling.

Miami Dolphins | Complete schedule

BLOCKBUSTER | vs. Buffalo, Sept. 12: Miami aims to avenge itself in the first Prime Video game of 2024 after coughing up the AFC East crown to the Bills in Week 18 last season. The Dolphins’ Week 1 opponent, Jacksonville, is no pushover, but Buffalo will be their toughest test during the pre-bye week stretch. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa must rise to the occasion, as he’s entering a pivotal contract year.

It’s also worth noting that Buffalo has proven to be Tagovailoa’s Achilles heel. The 26-year-old is 12-6 against AFC East teams as a starter, with every loss coming against the Bills.

ALSO INTRIGUING | at Green Bay, Nov. 28: After participating in last season’s inaugural Black Friday game, the Dolphins are finally getting the chance to play on Thanksgiving Day. Miami hasn’t played on Thanksgiving since 2011, when it suffered a 20-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but the team has played well on the holiday overall, posting a 5-2 record across seven appearances.

Green Bay, the NFL’s youngest team in 2023, was one of the biggest surprises last season, becoming the first No. 7 seed to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. If Packers QB Jordan Love’s Thanksgiving debut is any indication (268 yards with three touchdowns), Green Bay will be a formidable opponent for Miami’s explosive roster. Don’t be surprised if this turns out to be the most exciting matchup of the Thanksgiving Day slate.

New England Patriots | Complete schedule

BLOCKBUSTER | at Chicago, Nov. 10: Any showdown between first-round rookie signal-callers is a must-watch, but even more so in this case. The 2024 rookie quarterback class is the most highly touted group to enter the NFL in recent memory, and this Week 10 encounter will feature two of its biggest names in Chicago’s Caleb Williams and New England’s Drake Maye. Of course, that’s assuming Maye earns the starting job over Jacoby Brissett, though given how rookie quarterbacks see the field sooner than later nowadays, the former Tar Heel will likely be the starter by then.

Maye’s development will be the most important aspect of New England’s season, as he offers tremendous upside but is seen as more of a project. Even if he struggles as a rookie, outdueling Williams would be an encouraging sign for the future.

ALSO INTRIGUING | at Arizona, Dec. 15: The Patriots aren’t expected to win many games this season, so while matchups against powerhouses like Buffalo, San Francisco and Cincinnati are intriguing in their own right, they might not be tightly contested affairs.

Arizona, on the other hand, is the perfect opponent to serve as a measuring stick for the Patriots, as it is entering the second season of a rebuilding process. Maye could also be subjected to increased pressure to perform well in this game considering the Patriots selected him over Cardinals WR Marvin Harrison Jr., arguably the top prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft.

New York Jets | Complete schedule

BLOCKBUSTER | at San Francisco, Sept. 9: The Jets will be featured in the season’s first “Monday Night Football” matchup for the second year in a row. While New York defeated the Bills in its 2023 season opener, the team hopes to get a complete game out of QB Aaron Rodgers this time around.

The Jets made strides to help keep Rodgers, who tore his Achilles four snaps into last season, healthy by bolstering their offensive line and wide receiver rooms this offseason. Despite missing the playoffs for the past 13 seasons, New York believes it can be a Super Bowl contender thanks to its upgrades. San Francisco will be an excellent first test to see where the Jets stack up against the NFL’s upper echelon of teams, as the reigning NFC champion ranked third in scoring and points allowed in 2023.

ALSO INTRIGUING | at Minnesota, Oct. 6: Although Minnesota is technically the home team, this game will be played in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, New York’s first trip overseas since 2021. Rodgers has had his fair share of success against the Vikings (17-11-1 in his career) dating back to their NFC North divisional clashes when the four-time MVP was in Green Bay.

However, the Jets could end up squaring off against a familiar face of their own. Sam Darnold, New York’s first-round pick in 2018, signed with the Vikings this offseason and will be their starting quarterback in London if J.J. McCarthy, the 10th overall selection in last month’s draft, doesn’t supplant him by then.