Last year, when the NFL schedule came out, we had a post on the blog looking at possible two-game trips — that is, Sunday-Monday doubleheaders that would allow the resourceful football-fan traveler to maximize his or her time and budget while seeing two different cities and stadiums. The post was well-received enough that we’re doing it again with the 2014 schedule. And who knows, maybe we’ll be able to follow one of our own suggestions this fall.
The criteria is as follows: The games must be on consecutive days (so no Thursday-Sunday suggestions– that’s two extra days of lodging and expenses), and they must be in cities within a reasonable driving distance of one another. Here are our ideas:
Sunday, Sept. 7: Bills at Bears, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 8: Giants at Lions, 7:10 p.m. ET
Start your season at Soldier Field, then trek across Michigan and catch the opening game of the season-opening Monday night doubleheader at Ford Field. Get an early glimpse of what promises to be a fierce battle for supremacy in the NFC North.
Distance between stadiums: 283 miles
Sunday, Sept. 14: Falcons at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 15: Eagles at Colts, 8:30 p.m. ET
See two AFC contenders take on interconference foes in their home stadiums — first, the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday, then after a short trip up I-74, the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night.
Distance between stadiums: 112 miles
Sunday, Sept. 21: Redskins at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 22: Bears at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET
Call it the New Jersey Turnpike doubleheader. Start in Philly and watch the fireworks as DeSean Jackson returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, then head up to MetLife Stadium and see the revamped Jets take on the Bears with New York City as your backdrop.
Distance between stadiums: 96 miles
Sunday, Oct. 5: Rams at Eagles, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Oct. 6: Seahawks at Redskins, 8:30 p.m. ET
Pretty much every team along the Eastern seaboard is within a quick trip, and Week 5 presents another prime opportunity. The Eagles are again home, but then head down to D.C. (or, more accurately, Landover, Md.) and see the Redskins take on the defending champion Seahawks. If you don’t feel like paying tolls along I-95, try traveling on Amtrak instead.
Distance between stadiums: 128 miles
Sunday, Oct. 19: Vikings at Bills, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Oct. 20: Texans at Steelers, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Buffalo-to-Pittsburgh drive isn’t exactly a straight line, but it is underrated for its scenery, especially in fall. At either end you’ll be able to catch the Bills and their fervent fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, followed by the Steelers and their rabid fan base at Heinz Field in a Monday-nighter against the Texans.
Distance between stadiums: 209 miles
Sunday, Nov. 2: Broncos at Patriots, 4:25 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 3: Colts at Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET
It’s a QB bonanza! Involving BOTH Mannings, too! See Peyton take on Brady on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, then head down to MetLife and see Eli face Andrew Luck in prime-time.
Distance between stadiums: 207 miles
Sunday, Nov. 9: Titans at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 10: Panthers at Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET
Baltimore-Philly is a quick trip by car or by train, and two beautiful stadiums and spirited fan bases await at either end. Check out the Ravens hosting Tennessee on Sunday before heading north to see the Eagles host Cam Newton and Carolina.
Distance between stadiums: 99 miles
Sunday, Nov. 23: Bengals at Texans, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 24: Ravens at Saints, 8:30 p.m. ET
It’s the longest drive of any of the ideas presented here, but it could be worth it to see the Texans, trying to rebound after a disastrous 2013, take on the Bengals — then head to the Bayou as Drew Brees and the Saints host the Ravens, who return to the site of their Super Bowl XLVII triumph.
Distance between stadiums: 354 miles
Sunday, Nov. 30: Chargers at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 1: Dolphins at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET
Another mid-Atlantic shuffle here. Will M&T Bank Stadium and MetLife Stadium be hosting pivotal late-regular season games?
Distance between stadiums: 189 miles
Sunday, Dec. 7: Jets at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 8: Falcons at Packers, 8:30 p.m. ET
It might not exactly be driving weather in December, but some fierce NFC North football would be your reward for braving the conditions. And remember, the Vikings will be playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium for the next two seasons. Remember to bring lots of layers.
Distance between stadiums: 276 miles
Sunday, Dec. 14: Texans at Colts, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 15: Saints at Bears, 8:30 p.m. ET
Another Midwestern jaunt with Andrew Luck and Jay Cutler as your hosts. See previous entries regarding layers, at least when you’re in the Windy City.
Distance between stadiums: 181 miles
Saturday, Dec. 20: Chargers at 49ers, 4:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 21: Bills at Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET
Here’s the easiest doubleheader of the season. And it’s near Christmas-time, and in the Bay Area so you can avoid snow (but maybe not rain). Catch the 49ers at their brand-new Levi’s Stadium, then see the Raiders at their not-so-new O.co Coliseum.
Distance between stadiums: 32 miles