Published On: Sat, Apr 21st, 2018

6 matchups we might see for the last time in 2018

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We now have a time, date, and location for all 256 games on the 2018 NFL schedule.

The best matchups and toughest schedules have been highlighted, but also of note are six matchups we may see for the last time this coming season.

Circle these games on your calendar. It just may be your last opportunity to see them play out.

Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers

Week 9 in New England, Sunday Night Football

The two titans at the quarterback position will meet this year for just the second time, and it could very well be the last.

The NFL’s schedule rotation currently allows for the Packers and Patriots to meet once every four years during the regular season. Of course, Brady and Rodgers could also meet in the Super Bowl, but they’ve failed to do so up to this point.

Both quarterbacks have expressed a desire to continue playing well into their 40s, and while they’re not ones to be doubted, reports emerged this week that Brady hasn’t yet committed to even playing in 2018. He’ll turn 41 this August, and he may not have another four years in him.

Eli Manning vs. the Cowboys

Week 2 in Dallas, Sunday Night Football
Week 17 in New York

No one knows how much longer Eli has in a Giants uniform. While he’ll be back for the 2018 season and has another year remaining on his contract, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the team’s starting quarterback in 2019.

New general manager Dave Gettleman holds the second overall pick in this year’s draft and could very well select Manning’s successor. If he takes a quarterback that high, it won’t be long before he’s throwing the passes for Big Blue.

Manning is 13-14 against Dallas in his career, but he’s enjoyed some trademark victories over the Cowboys, including a 2007 playoff win and the first game at Jerry Jones’ palatial new digs, which he celebrated by autographing a wall in the visiting locker room.

This could be the final season of this 14-year rivalry.

Bay Area battle

Week 9 in San Francisco, Thursday Night Football

This year’s schedule features what will likely be the last matchup between Bay Area teams in NFL history.

While the San Francisco 49ers (who now reside in Santa Clara) aren’t going anywhere, the Oakland Raiders are prepping for a move to Las Vegas in 2020. Unless the two West Coast clubs meet in the Super Bowl, this will be the last fight for Bay Area supremacy.

The showdown will get the Thursday Night Football spotlight in Week 9.

Philip Rivers vs. 2004 draft compatriot

Week 13 in Pittsburgh

Like Manning, Rivers also appears to be making a final tour through the NFL. He matched up against Eli last year in a meeting between quarterbacks traded for each other at the top of the 2004 draft. This year, he’ll play the only other active QB from that draft class: Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

Rivers is entering his 15th season and the Chargers have made it known they intend to find their quarterback of the future in this draft. Though the Bolts and Steelers will meet again next regular season and could draw one another in the playoffs, Rivers’ time at the helm appears to be running out.

Big Ben currently owns a 3-2 advantage in the series.

Bill Belichick vs. the Colts

Week 5 in New England, Thursday Night Football

The Pats and Colts meet again this year in what could be Bill Belichick’s last opportunity to torment Indy.

Belichick hasn’t declared how long he intends to remain on the sidelines, but he convinced offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels not to jump ship, presumably so he could eventually take the reins of the Patriot machine.

Since taking over as head coach of New England in 2000, Belichick owns a 15-5 record against the Colts, including wins in the last seven head-to-head matchups. Andrew Luck and Indianapolis can’t wait for him to announce his retirement.

Ben Roethlisberger vs. the Patriots

Week 15 in Pittsburgh

Roethlisberger has hinted at retirement in recent years, likely due to the fact he and the Steelers can’t get over one major hurdle in their efforts to make a long-anticipated return to the Super Bowl. That stumbling block is the Patriots.

New England has won the last five times the two teams have met, including the 2016 AFC Championship Game and last year’s battle for the No. 1 seed in the conference.

Ben is back and has said he intends to play for three more years, but he’s proven fickle. If he comes up short in another important late-season meeting with his nemesis, it’s probably time to hang ’em up.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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