Most anticipated game for every 2024 first-round quarterback

2X5NCCR Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams throws a pass during the NFL football team's rookie camp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Caleb Williams has a potential playoff showdown against Green Bay: If Jordan Love starts 2024 the way he ended 2023, he’s going to push Williams to his Heisman Trophy-winning capabilities in Week 18.

Drake Maye and Caleb Williams face off mid-season: The No. 1 and No. 3 overall picks in the draft will go head-to-head in a fun battle in Week 10, at which point we’re hoping Maye is not only starting but also has a good feel for the offense.

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With the 2024 NFL schedule finally solidified and released, we wanted to take a look at the most anticipated matchups for the first-round quarterbacks from the 2024 NFL Draft.


Truth be told, the anticipation for Caleb Williams in the NFL will start from the opening kickoff of Week 1. But the matchup I’m looking forward to the most will have to wait until the very end of the season.

Packers-Bears feels like one of the closest rivalries the NFL has to a top-tier college football feud. With Williams now in Chicago, it sets up an epic battle between him and Jordan Love, hopefully for many years to come. If Love starts 2024 the way he ended 2023, he’s going to push Williams to his Heisman Trophy-winning capabilities. That game being the last regular-season contest for both teams could also mean the result will carry playoff implications.


We’re coming out of the gate hot with Daniels. The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 overall pick in the draft has a lot of hype behind him. It really feels like the Washington fan base is ready to explode with excitement at the slightest sign of competitiveness with Daniels at quarterback.

Daniels will travel to Tampa to play in the September heat, a challenge of its own. But I am excited to see what the first game of the Daniels-Kliff Kingsbury offense looks like, especially against the seasoned defensive mind of Todd Bowles.

People have compared the hype for Daniels to that of Robert Griffin III. If you remember, RG3 started his incredible rookie campaign on the road with a 320-yard, two-touchdown passing performance in a big win over the Saints. A statement victory from Daniels right off the bat could propel the Commanders’ hype train full speed ahead.

Click here to see Jayden Daniels' 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Drake Maye, New England Patriots: WEEK 10 AT CHICAGO BEARS

Week 3 against the Jets is an interesting target game, as it is in New York against Aaron Rodgers on Thursday Night Football. But Maye might not be starting at that point. The Patriots signed veteran Jacoby Brissett, who has won games in this league. If Maye is starting early, that game is my most anticipated.

A little further down the schedule, the Patriots travel to Chicago to face Caleb Williams and the Bears. The No. 1 and No. 3 overall picks in the draft will go head-to-head in a fun battle. By Week 10, we’re hoping Maye is not only starting but also has a good feel for the offense, and that his young receivers are acclimated to make some big plays.

Michael Penix Jr., Atlanta Falcons: WEEK 3 (PRESEASON) VS. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

We aren’t sure when Penix’s first NFL start will be. Heck, we don't even know if it will be this year (or next year!) But we are at least going to see him get action this preseason, and the best target game for that is in Week 3, where most, if not all, of the starters are resting up for Week 1.

This is the most anticipated outing for Penix not only because it could be the only action we see of him this year, barring a Cousins injury, but also because how Penix performs in that game will determine how much patience the fan base will have with Cousins if he struggles.

If Penix looks lights-out in a preseason game, the clamors for him to start could get loud amid any regular-season struggles.


The Vikings may not hand McCarthy the starting quarterback job by Week 1. I believe this team signed Sam Darnold in good faith, knowing it was very likely he would be their initial starter for 2024.

McCarthy will also just need time to grow as a player. That timeline might not manifest into a first start until the second half of the season, but I look at Week 7 as a date to circle for McCarthy. Yes, the Lions would be a tough first assignment, but the Vikings have a bye in Week 6 and will also play Detroit in Minnesota. Those are typically the two factors that play into when teams make a quarterback change — extra practice and a home crowd behind them.

Click here to see J.J. McCarthy's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Bo Nix, Denver Broncos: WEEK 7 AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Despite Nix being the No. 12 overall pick for Denver, it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will be an immediate starter. But Nix is a mostly polished player coming into the league, and the competition around him in Denver’s quarterback room isn’t exactly stellar. Week 7 feels like an appropriate amount of time to almost guarantee Nix is the starter, and that matchup will carry a lot of weight, as it will be Sean Payton returning to New Orleans to face his old team.

Payton should put some extra focus and creativity into getting the upper hand on New Orleans — not necessarily out of spite, but out of pride and competitiveness. We’ll be able to see how in sync Payton and Nix are if Nix is starting that week.


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