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2018 NFL schedule: The NFC West is getting plenty of primetime love (except the Cardinals)

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

At the beginning of this decade, the NFC West was a laughing stock. The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record, and everyone else in the division had double-digit losses. Just three years later, the NFC West boasted three teams with double-digit wins, including the Super Bowl champions (SEA! HAWKS!) and the NFC championship runners-up.

As we approach the 2018 season, with the NFC West sending only the Los Angeles Rams to the playoffs in 2017, this division is in high demand. With the NFL regular season schedule released on Thursday, the Seahawks, 49ers, and Los Angeles Rams all managed the maximum of five primetime appearances. An option for a sixth one is available only for Week 17, which doesn’t have a Sunday night game.

Expectations are obviously high for the Rams given their success last year and all of the moves they’ve made this offseason. They’ll open their season with a Monday night showdown at the Oakland Raiders, then appear under bright lights in Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. In Week 7, the Rams travel to Santa Clara to play the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, which is the first time that an all-NFC West matchup NOT involving the Seahawks has gotten SNF on NBC treatment. November 19th sees LA take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City on Monday Night Football, and then their allotment ends on December 16th with an SNF showdown vs. the Philadelphia Eagles.

San Francisco was a 6-10 team but ended on a five-game winning streak, and Jimmy Garoppolo is supposed to be the future of the franchise. Their first primetime game is a Monday Night Football road trip to play the Packers on October 15th. The Rams SNF clash is the very next week. Ten days after that, they have a Thursday appearance at home vs. Oakland in what should be the final “Battle of the Bay” before the Raiders move to Las Vegas. Following that game, they host the New York Giants on Monday Night Football on November 12th. Their final scheduled primetime matchup is a certain December 2nd Sunday Night Football tilt against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

There were questions about the Seahawks’ primetime strength on the back of a disappointing 2017 and the loss of Richard Sherman to San Francisco. As it turns out, Seattle still has Russell Wilson, and they’ve been a major ratings draw in recent years. They’re on Monday Night Football twice (at Chicago in Week 2 and vs. Minnesota in Week 14), Sunday Night Football twice (vs. San Francisco in Week 13 and vs. Kansas City in Week 16), and Thursday Night Football once (vs. Green Bay in Week 11).

Oh yeah, the Arizona Cardinals have just one national TV game, and that’s a Thursday night home game against the Denver Broncos in Week 7. They’re probably not going to be good or worth anyone’s time this year.

The other seven teams with five primetime games are the Dallas Cowboys (surprise, surprise), Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, and New Orleans Saints.

NFC West football is slated to be appointment viewing in 2018... for now.