The 2014 NFL season is finally set to get underway, as all 32 teams played in their final preseason games on Thursday. On Saturday, each team will be forced to determine its final 53-man roster with which it will start the year.
There’s a lot to be excited about with the start of the new season. The Seattle Seahawks will defend their first title in franchise history, Peyton Manning returns after setting multiple quarterback records, and rookies like Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney will look to make an impact with their new teams.
Below is a look at the key dates for the 2014 NFL season.
Season Opener (Sept. 4)
The Seattle Seahawks will begin the 2014 NFL regular season with a Thursday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers. In the last two years, the returning champion has lost the opener and gone on to miss the playoffs.
Week One (Sept. 7)
The season really gets underway on the first Sunday of Week One, as 13 teams start their quest to reach Super Bowl XLIX. Five divisional matchups highlight the schedule, and the slate of games concludes on "Sunday Night Football" with the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Denver Broncos.
Trade Deadline (Oct. 28)
The NFL trade deadline is usually the most uneventful of the four major sports. Players like Jared Allen and Josh Gordon were involved in trade rumors last year, but ultimately weren’t moved.
Thanksgiving (Nov. 27)
Three games will be on the schedule, and all have a chance to involve playoff teams. The Chicago Bears will visit the Detroit Lions to start the action, followed by the Philadelphia Eagles at the Dallas Cowboys. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers will conclude the slate of games.
End of Regular Season (Dec. 28)
Week 17 is unlike any other on the season schedule, as every NFL team plays on Sunday. Multiple playoff spots could be determined, as every team will face a divisional rival. Dallas vs. Washington, Detroit vs. Green Bay and Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh as just some of the games that will close out 2014.
Start of Playoffs (Jan. 3 and Jan. 4)
Four postseason games will be played at the start of 2015 on Wild Card Weekend. The Divisional Playoffs and Conference Championships will follow in consecutive weeks.
Pro Bowl (Jan. 25)
For the sixth straight year, the NFL’s All-Star Game will be sandwiched in between the two conference championship games and the Super Bowl. The conferences have alternated wins in the last five years, with the NFC coming out on top last season.
Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1)
The NFL’s biggest game returns to Glendale, Arizona, for the first time in seven years, with the 2015 Super Bowl. If the last nine years are indicator, this year’s game will feature two new teams.