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Five things to know about Washington's 2024 schedule


We've waited, we've wondered, but finally, the Washington Commanders' 2024 schedule has been revealed to the masses. Celebrate accordingly.

Here are five things to know about the upcoming slate of games.

1. A road opener.

The Commanders were due for a road opener. They had opened at home every year of the Ron Rivera era, playing the Eagles, Chargers, Jaguars and Cardinals.

This year, however, they're heading down south to begin the first season of the Dan Quinn era against a playoff team.

The Buccaneers were one of the more surprising teams in 2023. Not much was expected from them in the second year of Todd Bowles' regime, and naming Baker Mayfield as the starter did little to create excitement.

But thanks to a career year from Mayfield, who completed 64.3% of his passes for 4,044 yads with 28 touchdowns, the Buccaneers won three of their first four games and four out of five of the last six to win the NFC South with a 9-8 record. They even managed to take down the Philadelphia Eagles in convincing fashion, as Mayfield threw three touchdowns in a 32-9 victory.

The Commanders have bought into Quinn's philosophies, but it'll be an early test to see where they stack up with the rest of the league.

2. Two primetime games.

After seeing who their team is playing in Week 1, the next thing fans scan for is the number of primetime games on the schedule. We'll save you the trouble of looking; the Commanders have two nationally televised matchups -- the same number as last year.

Fans won't have to wait long for the first one. The Commanders will play the Bengals in Week 3 on Monday Night Football with an 8:15 p.m. kickoff. The Bengals are one of Washington's least common opponents, as the two teams have only met 11 times. The last time they played was in 2020, and it's been even longer since the Commanders played on the road (they were last at Paul Brown Stadium in 2008).

The Commanders will see Joe Burrow for the first time since he tore his ACL against them four years ago. Burrow appeared in 10 games last season but missed the last seven with a wrist injury. The Bengals still managed to get a winning record without him, though, and now that he's expected to be healthy again, they should get back to being one of the top teams in the AFC.

The Commanders will also play the Eagles on Thursday Night Football in Week 11 at Lincoln Financial Field. The last time the two teams met in a primetime matchup, the Commanders upset the undefeated Eagles on the road, holding Jalen Hurts and a dominant offense to their four-lowest point total of the year.

Although the Eagles struggled down the stretch, losing five of their last six regular season games, they're still considered the best team in the division and a contender in the NFC. Getting a win on the road late in the year would provide a significant boost for Washington.

3. Three road trips in four games to start the season.

The Commanders will have nine home games in 2024, but the first quarter of the season is going to be defined by how they perform on the road.

Aside from the home opener against the Giants in Week 2, the Commanders will have three road games in their first four weeks. The Giants, particularly when they are led by Daniels Jones, have given the Commanders problems in recent years, but the quarterback situation is in flux in New York.

Jones said in January that he believes he'll be ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn ACL last November, but head coach Brian Daboll hasn't committed to a timetable for the quarterback's return. If he's unable to play, then either Drew Lock or Tommy DeVito would be under center in Week 2. The Giants also parted ways with Wink Martindale, who consistently frustrated Washington with his constant pressure.

The Commanders will also travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals in Week 4 with a 4:05 p.m. kickoff, marking offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury's return to the franchise that made him a head coach in 2019. Even more importantly, the Commanders will get their longest road trip out of the way early, as the rest of their games will be played in either the eastern or central time zones.

The Washington Commanders partnered with APG Training to give their players special lessons in creating leadership and teamwork. Take a look at the top photos from the afternoon.

4. Another late bye week.

The Commanders have had to deal with late bye week for the past two years. That's one thing that hasn't changed for the Commanders in 2024, as they'll take Week 14 off for the third straight season.

There are a few ways to look at the situation. If you include the preseason, the Commanders will play 16 consecutive games before getting a break, although the weekend off after the primetime Eagles game should help a bit. While NFL players are professional athletes, four months' worth of games and practices is a lot to endure. As they've done for the past two seasons, the Commanders will need to make sure they take care of their bodies so they can stay in peak physical condition.

On the other hand, having a break at that point in the season can be beneficial. If the Commanders are in playoff contention, they'll need the rest for a final push. Once they get back to work, their last four games will all be against conference opponents, two of which will be the Eagles and Cowboys.

At that point in the season, the Commanders can't afford to be off their game.

Take a look from the war room to the draft stage in Detroit and the touch down in Ashburn as the Washington Commanders take Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 overall pick. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

5. No. 2 vs. No. 1.

From the moment Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels' names were called first and second overall in the NFL Draft, respectively, fans began speculating when the two would meet on the field for the first time. Now we have an answer; Williams and the Bears will come to Commanders Field in Week 8 on Oct. 27.

It will be the third time in four years that Washington and Chicago will play each other, and for the last two seasons, the road team has emerged victorious. The last time the Bears came to the DMV, they got their first win of the 2023 season by taking down the Commanders handedly, 40-20. D.J. Moore had a career game, catching eight passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams isn't the only new face on offense. The Bears made sure to surround their new quarterback with talent by trading for Keenan Allen, drafting Rome Odunze and signing D'Andre Swift. Time will tell how those pieces work together, but it's certainly a more potent group on paper.

The Commanders have made similar moves to make Daniels' job easier when he is eventually named the starting quarterback. They signed running back Austin Ekeler, bolstered the offensive line with Tyler Biadasz and Nick Allegretti and drafted young weapons like Luke McCaffrey and Ben Sinnott. Add that to players like Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Brian Robinson, and it could be enough to improve a unit that struggled to maintain balance in 2023.

It likely won't be the last time Williams and Daniels meet, but the first time should be one of the most anticipated moments on the schedule for both teams.

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