Double the Monday Night Magic: Unveiling Two Thrilling Football Face-offs in Week 2!


The Thrill of Monday Night Football: A Doubleheader in Week 2 of the 2023 Season

While the NFL has come to own Sundays, the action isn’t limited to one night of the week. Thursday nights are part of the schedule, and there are a handful of Saturday games toward the end of the season. Monday night, however, holds a special place in the collective heart of NFL fans everywhere.

Through that lens, Week 2 of the 2023 season will be a treat. Beyond the usual Monday Night Football action, there’s a second game on the schedule.

A detailed view of the Monday Night Football logo on a camera prior to the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 14, 2023, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There will be two MNF games during Week 2 of the 2023 season.

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

ESPN is Creating ‘Super Audience’ on Monday Night

When you’re watching a professional football game, it’s readily apparent that the NFL is a big business. That reality helps to explain why Week 2 features two Monday night games in overlapping timeslots, rather than a single contest or a traditional back-to-back doubleheader.

The Saints and Panthers will kick off in the early window (7:15 p.m. ET) on ESPN, and the Browns and Steelers will kick off an hour later on ABC. That aim, it seems, is to use all of the broadcast resources available to get fans engaged.

“The thought there is, can we combine total audience and do a little bit like we used to do in the old days of college football where we create a simultaneous national and regional appeal and use our networks to do that in a single window?” ESPN President of Content Burke Magnus told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch. “Then it combines to sort of like a super audience total number.”

There’s also some experimentation at play. With two games overlapping, rather than one starting after the other ends, where will fans focus their attention? And how can the network best take advantage of the situation?

“We’re going to learn more about what optimizes best, and I think by next year we’ll continue to hone on driving the biggest viewership between the two games,” Magnus told Deitsch. “We will learn if it is better to start with the ABC game, the ESPN game, or the other way around.”

Saints Will Look to Keep Building in Early Game

The NFC South is a wide-open division. That gives the New Orleans Saints and Derek Carr room to push for the playoffs.

After a narrow Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans, the Big Easy-based club will feel good about its chances against Carolina. The Panthers dropped their opening game to the Falcons, and Bryce Young played like the rookie quarterback he is.

In that context, the Saints defense, which corralled three interceptions in their season opener, will be looking to take advantage of the young signal-caller. Carr and company will also like their chances against a defense that surrendered 24 points to the Falcons.

A win would put New Orleans at 2-0, keeping pace with the Buccaneers and Falcons. And while it’s early, you never want to fall behind the divisional leaders.

Steelers and Browns Can’t Afford to Lose Ground

If the NFC South standings loom large in the early game, an early divisional race will also shape in the later game.

The Ravens are sitting atop the AFC North at 2-0; the Bengals, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, are in the cellar at 0-2. The Browns enter Monday night 1-0, while the Steelers are 0-1.

After beating Cincinnati in the season opener, Cleveland will be looking to stamp its authority on the season. An MNF win will keep the ball rolling and provide tangible proof that things are moving in the right direction. After the Browns’ seemingly unending misfortunes, that psychological boost can’t be underestimated.

Conversely, the Steelers won’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole. With a largely unproven Kenny Pickett under center and at least two (if not three) legitimate playoff teams in the division, falling behind in the standings is a recipe for disaster. Mike Tomlin may be a proven head coach, but there are limits to even his talent.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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