Key Dates for the 2023 NFL Season: From Kickoff Weekend to the Super Bowl

We break down the biggest dates, deadlines, and events ahead of the upcoming 2023 NFL season.

Last Updated: Aug 16, 2023 8:57 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Can you hear that? It's the sound of millions of NFL fans anxiously counting down the seconds until the 2023 regular season officially kicks off. Fortunately, they don't have much longer to wait as a brand new campaign will get underway on Thursday, September 7 when the Detroit Lions take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. KC opened as 7-point favorites, but Detroit is far more than just cannon fodder after winning eight of its final 10 games in 2022.

The first game of the season always gets the "Lions' share" of the attention, but there are so many more noteworthy games and events on the NFL schedule that deserve just as much fanfare. Here are 15 can't-miss dates that every NFL fan should circle on their calendar.

August 29: Rosters must be cut down to 53 players

They say the first cut is the deepest, but the last cut isn't much fun either. Hundreds of players around the league will discover the excruciating heartbreak of being dumped by an NFL franchise when teams are required to reduce their rosters from 80 to 53 players on August 29. Among the biggest cuts last season were wide receiver Josh Gordon, running back Marlon Mack, and quarterback Kellen Mond.

September 7, 10-11: NFL Kickoff Weekend

Lions vs. Chiefs isn't the only game worth watching on Kickoff Weekend. Fans can also look forward to the Battle of Ohio between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, a heated NFC East grudge match between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, and a spicy New York state showdown between Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills and Aaron Rodgers and the new-look New York Jets. Expect sparks to fly as these talented QBs engage in a high stakes game of one-upmanship.

October 1: NFL International Game at Wembley Stadium (Falcons vs. Jaguars)

The Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars kick off the NFL's heavily-hyped International Series on October 1 when they clash at Wembley Stadium. London has become something of a home away from home for the Jags, who have played eight games in the city since 2013, going 4-4 over that span.

October 8: NFL International Game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Jaguars vs. Bills)

The Jaguars are officially listed as the road team in this juicy AFC matchup, but make no mistake about it, they'll be warmly embraced by the home crowd when they play their second game in London in as many weeks. Local fans are sure to fall in love with third-year QB Trevor Lawrence, who earned Pro Bowl honors last season after throwing for 4,113 yards and 25 touchdowns. The easy-going Knoxville native is undefeated against the Bills, having led Jacksonville to a narrow 9-6 win during his rookie campaign.

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October 15: NFL International Game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Ravens vs. Titans)

Londoners could be treated to a good 'ol quarterback duel on October 15 when the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The question is, which QBs will they see? Lamar Jackson is firmly ensconced as the main man in Baltimore after signing a lucrative five-year, $260 million contract in April, but the situation is considerably less clear in Tennessee, where Ryan Tannehill is likely to be on a short leash after the club selected Will Levis with the 33rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Kentucky product got off to an uneven start in his preseason debut, but the team's coaching staff remains high on his elite arm strength.

October 31: Trade Deadline

Remember the thrill of sorting and trading candies with your friends on Halloween? NFL general managers will get to experience that same rush this year as they try to wheel and deal their way to a better roster before the league's trade deadline arrives at 4:00 p.m. ET. October 31 is also the last day for vested veterans to be released and hit free agency. After this date, players with four-plus pension-credited seasons of NFL experience become subject to waivers for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.

November 5: NFL International Game at Frankfurt Stadium (Dolphins vs. Chiefs)

The NFL will visit Frankfurt for the first time in its storied history on November 5, when the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs face-off in the city affectionately known as "Mainhattan." German fans couldn't ask for a better introduction to the game, as rival field generals Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa are certain to put on a memorable show.

November 12: NFL International Game at Frankfurt Stadium (Colts vs. Patriots)

Frankfurt Stadium will continue to be the league's European home base for another week as the Indianapolis Colts tangle with the New England Patriots. Indy won just four games in 2022, but there's reason for optimism this season thanks to the arrival of Anthony Richardson, who was chosen fourth overall in the NFL Draft. The former Florida star has dazzled teammates in training camp with his exceptional arm strength and athleticism and was named the team's Week 1 starter on August 15 following a single preseason appearance. 

January 7: Week 18

The NFL wraps up its regular season in grand style on January 7 with all 32 teams in action. Will we see a club complete a perfect 17-0 campaign on the final day? The Chiefs and Eagles have identical +3,500 odds at DraftKings to do just that.  

January 13-15 Wild Card Playoff Games

Buckle up for Super Wild Card Weekend! This wild and wooly weekend of playoff football will see two Wild Card games on Saturday, January 13, a trio of games on Sunday, January 14, and then the final Monday Night Football broadcast of the year to wrap up the first postseason round.

January 20-21: Divisional Playoff Games

Put your hand up if you thought Jacksonville would reach the Divisional Round in 2022. Anyone? Anyone at all? The underdog Jags pushed the Chiefs to the limit, coming up just short in a pulse-pounding 27-20 loss that was far too close for comfort for Patrick Mahomes & Co. Will we see another surprise team reach the Divisional Round again this season? Only time will tell.

January 28: AFC and NFC Championship Games

Four teams, two games, one destination. The AFC and NFC Championship games will be played on January 28, 2024, with a spot in the Super Bowl - and pigskin immortality - on the line.

February 4: Pro Bowl Games

The Pro Bowl Games are back by popular demand! Last year's inaugural event was seen by 6.4 million viewers and attracted an additional 58,000 onsite fans in Las Vegas. They watched in wonder as Saquon Barkley showed off some Matrix-like moves in dodgeball and marveled at Derek Carr's pinpoint accuracy in the precision passing event. This year's edition will feature even more wacky events (Kick Tac Toe!) and will culminate in an epic flag football game on Sunday afternoon.

February 11: Super Bowl LVIII

All eyes will be on Las Vegas on February 11, 2024 when the NFL's top two teams duke it out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Allegiant Stadium. The most-likely matchup according to FanDuel Sportsbook is Chiefs vs. Eagles (+1,800), followed closely by Chiefs vs. 49ers (+2,100), Bills vs. Eagles (+2,200), Bills vs. 49ers (+2,600), and Chiefs vs. Cowboys (+3,000). Keep your eyes peeled on the Super Bowl odds as the season marches on.

April 25-27: 2024 NFL Draft

Detroit will be the center of the NFL universe in late April when the Motor City hosts the 2024 NFL Draft. This eagerly-anticipated three-day event kicks off on Thursday, April 25 with Round 1 and continues on Friday with Rounds 2 and 3. The fun - and suspense - wrap up on Saturday evening with rounds four through seven. 

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams is the overwhelming favorite to go first, but plenty can change over the course of a long and unpredictable college football season.

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