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How did the NFL do with its matchups for Amazon, ESPN+, Netflix and Peacock?

The NFL has many mouths to feed when it comes to their broadcasting partners and the regular season schedule. And it's not just the traditional networks anymore.

Netflix has entered the fray with a pair of Christmas games. The NFL announced that partnership, which will include Christmas games the next three years on Netflix, on Wednesday. Peacock, NBC's streaming service, had a regular season game and a playoff game last season. The playoff game between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs set a record as the largest streamed event in U.S. history. ESPN+ also got a game last season, when the Atlanta Falcons played the Jacksonville Jaguars in London during Week 4, and was given another exclusive game this season.

The NFL has many broadcast partners including its own NFL Network to satisfy with quality matchups, and a lot of subscriptions for fans if they want all the games. Here's how the NFL handled handing out matchups to the streaming services this season:

ESPN+

ESPN gets Monday night games (the network has struggled to get the best matchups through the years as the league prioritized its Sunday night slate), and last season it got an exclusive game on ESPN+. There's another this season, and it's a bit hard to figure out the appeal of it.

The matchup is the Los Angeles Chargers at the Arizona Cardinals, it comes in Week 7 and is part of a Monday night doubleheader. The Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off at 8:15 p.m. Eastern, and Chargers-Cardinals kicks off 45 minutes later. It doesn't make a lot of sense why ESPN would want to pull any viewers away from its main network's Monday night matchup. And the Chargers-Cardinals matchup isn't even that great, between two teams that missed the playoffs last season, though there is still some star power on both sides including new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh. Overall, it's just a strange placement and matchup for the ESPN+ exclusive game this season. Having an ESPN+ game in the international early morning window last season made a lot more sense. Or having a better game for ESPN+ than Chargers-Cardinals.

Netflix

The NFL is taking over Christmas when it falls on a Wednesday this year, but at least there are good games to watch.

The NFL was kind to Netflix in the streaming giant's first foray into live NFL broadcasting. The first game is the Kansas City Chiefs at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The second will be the Baltimore Ravens at the Houston Texans. Those are four AFC playoff teams from a season ago. The Chiefs are reigning back-to-back champions and always a draw, the Steelers have one of the biggest fanbases in the sport, the Ravens were the No. 1 seed in the AFC last season and have two-time MVP Lamar Jackson and the Texans have C.J. Stroud, one of the most exciting young players in the league.

Netflix has to be happy with those matchups. It's a heck of a way to usher in the new media outlet and might be a sign of a more expanded partnership between the NFL and Netflix down the road. The NFL rolled out the red carpet for Netflix with those games.

Peacock

Peacock, NBC's streaming service, gets another exclusive game and it's a good one. Peacock will air the Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles game from Brazil, which will be on Friday of Week 1. That gives the streaming service a quality matchup between two playoff teams from last season, both of which bring a huge fanbase, all in a standalone window. The NFL hasn't had a Friday game in its opening week since 1970, which says a lot about their efforts to make NBA/Peacock happy with its exclusive game. Peacock should be pleased.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon will be streaming a playoff game this season. The company paid a reported $120 million to add a wild-card game to its portfolio, and that will stream in January of 2025. It's no surprise, after the success of the Peacock game last postseason, that the NFL would stream another playoff game.

But the bulk of the Amazon package is the Thursday night slate. Frequently over the years, the Thursday night schedule seemed like it was an afterthought with subpar matchups. Amazon Prime Video isn't paying a reported $1 billion per season for the Thursday night package just to get scraps.

The Amazon package got a bit better last season, the second year of its deal with the NFL, but the third year is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts strong with the Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, then there are some questionable matchups before it picks up again:

Week 2: Bills at Dolphins

Week 3: Patriots at Jets

Week 4: Cowboys at Giants

Week 5: Buccaneers at Falcons

Week 6: 49ers at Seahawks

Week 7: Broncos at Saints

Week 8: Vikings at Rams

Week 9: Texans at Jets

Week 10: Bengals at Ravens

Week 11: Commanders at Eagles

Week 12: Steelers at Browns

Week 13 (Black Friday): Raiders at Chiefs

Week 14: Packers at Lions

Week 15: Rams at 49ers

Week 16: Browns at Bengals

Week 17: Seahawks at Bears

Nobody really needs to see the Patriots, Giants, Broncos or Commanders in prime time, but they can't all feature the Chiefs and 49ers. There are some hot matchups on paper, though plenty of other matchups are asking one marquee team carrying the night against a subpar opponent. Hopefully some of those lesser teams at least give us a good show.

NFL placing select games on streaming services isn't going away, and you can bet the number of games and services will increase as those companies cut enormous checks for just a few games.

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