NFL fans are going to have to be weaned off football a bit for the next two weeks. There was a stretch where there was a pro or college game every day, but that time dried up as Week 18 arrived.
Week 18 will mark the first time that neither an NFL “Thursday Night Football” game nor a college football contest will be broadcast for viewers. Instead, they’ll have to wait to see any kind of action until Saturday afternoon, when the Chiefs take on the Broncos.
There is always a progressive winnowing of prime time games at the end of the NFL season. The league likes to schedule most of its games — and all of them — on the last day of the season. Why? Because it creates excitement and unpredictability in the playoff picture. This will make Sunday fun, but Thursday can be a drag for those hoping for an exciting game on Thursday at the end of the season.
Here’s everything you need to know about “TNF” in Week 18 and what you can watch with the finished schedule for the season.
Is there a Thursday night football game?
No, there is no “Thursday Night Football” game on Thursday, January 6. The final Thursday night game of the year aired Dec. 23, when the Titans defeated the 49ers 20-17 in a closely contested battle.
The NFL traditionally hosts Thursday night games from weeks 1 through 16. It skips the last two weeks of the season to avoid giving a team a rest advantage before the playoffs. It also prevents teams from having rest disadvantages before a potentially important end-of-season game.
That said, the NFL has two Saturday games in its scheduled primetime window for week 18. This will give football fans a few more options to watch standalone games without “TNF” or “Monday Night Football” in the air. week 18. .
“Thursday Night Football” will return to action in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season as usual. There will be a Thursday night game, the NFL season opener, in Week 1, but it has been a “Sunday Night Football” contest in the past. So technically the program won’t return until week 2 of the 2022 season, but there will be football on Thursday starting in week 1.
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NFL Week 18 Schedule
|Game||Kick off time||TV channel|
|Chiefs at Broncos||4:30 p.m. ET||ESPN, ABC|
|Eagle Cowboys||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN, ABC|
|Game||Kick off time||TV channel|
|Packers at Lions||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Foals at Jaguars||1 p.m. ET||SCS|
|Washington football team at the Giants||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Bears among the Vikings||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Bengals at Browns||1 p.m. ET||SCS|
|Titans at Texans||1 p.m. ET||SCS|
|Steelers at Ravens||1 p.m. ET||SCS|
|Jets to Bills||4:25 p.m. ET||SCS|
|49ers at Rams||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Seahawks to Cardinals||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Panthers at Buccaneers||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Dolphin Patriots||4:25 p.m. ET||SCS|
|Falcon Saints||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|Chargers at Raiders||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
Sports on TV today
Jan. 6 will mark the first non-football Thursday since Aug. 26, following the end of the NFL’s preseason and just days before the start of the college football season. As such, football fans will have to settle for other sports to watch. There’s some headline NBA action on Thursday, with TNT airing a doubleheader between the Knicks and Celtics and the Suns and Clippers, so this will likely be the biggest draw for those looking for additional programming.
Here’s a look at what you can watch during the timeslot normally occupied by ‘Thursday Night Football’.
- NBA: Knicks vs. Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) and Suns vs. Clippers (10 p.m. ET, TNT)
- NHL: Bruins vs. Wild (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- NCAAM: Illinois vs. Maryland (7 p.m., ESPN2) and Stanford vs. UCLA (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)