NFL twinbill ideas: 2016 edition

(hittoleftfield.com)

(hittoleftfield.com)

Another NFL schedule is upon us, and as has become tradition here, the first thing we looked at were chances to maximize the sports traveler’s time and money while knocking two stadiums off his/her list. We call it the NFL twinbill — two days, two games, two stadiums. And in 2016 there are a number of chances to double-dip.

Our suggestions are below. 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 (maximum 400 miles).

Week 1

Sunday, Sept. 11: Bills at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 12: Steelers at Redskins, 7:10 p.m. ET

Get the season started off with an easy one — Baltimore and Washington are less than an hour’s drive apart, so you don’t even need to change hotels for this one. Begin at M&T Bank Stadium to see two teams looking to rebound from disappointing seasons, then head to FedEx Field as two playoff teams collide on Monday night.

Distance between stadiums: 32 miles

 

 

Week 2

Sunday, Sept. 18: Titans at Lions, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 19: Eagles at Bears, 8:30 p.m. ET

Start at Ford Field, where the Lions look for a bounce-back year sans Megatron, then head across Michigan and around Lake Michigan to the Windy City, where the Bears will host the Eagles on Monday night at Soldier Field.

Distance between stadiums: 283 miles

Week 8

Sunday, Oct. 30: Chiefs at Colts, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Oct. 31: Vikings at Bears, 8:30 p.m. ET

Another Midwestern jaunt, but make sure you bring a costume for this one: Andrew Luck and the Colts host the Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, then the Bears welcome the division-rival Vikings to Soldier Field on Halloween night.

Distance between stadiums: 181 miles

Week 10

Sunday, Nov. 13: Seahawks at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 14: Bengals at Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET

At Gillette Stadium you can take in a nationally televised Super Bowl XLIX rematch between Seattle and New England, then go by car (or train) to the Big Apple and see the Giants host the Bengals in a Monday-nighter at MetLife Stadium. (Note: There’s a much easier double-dip on the schedule, with the Jets hosting the Rams on Sunday at 1 p.m. But that’s also at MetLife, and seeing two games in the same stadium isn’t quite as much fun to us.)

Distance between stadiums: 206 miles

Week 11

Sunday, Nov. 20: Dolphins at Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 21: Texans vs. Raiders in Mexico City, 8:30 p.m. ET

We’re bending the rules a little (OK, a lot) for this one, but it’s too cool to not mention. First, the NFL is back in Los Angeles, so check out the Rams as they host the Dolphins at the L.A. Coliseum. Then hop on a plane (sorry, you won’t be able to drive this in one day) down to Mexico City, where the Raiders will take on the Texans in a “home” game at the famed Estadio Azteca.

Distance between stadiums: 1,835 miles

Week 12

Sunday, Nov. 27: Bengals at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 28: Packers at Eagles, 8:30 p.m. ET

Another Eastern Seaboard idea here, as the Ravens and Bengals tangle in a divisional clash at M&T Bank Stadium and the Eagles take on the Packers at Lincoln Financial Field.

Distance between stadiums: 99 miles

Week 13

Sunday, Dec. 4: Rams at Patriots, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 5: Colts at Jets, 8:30 p.m. ET

Just like in Week 10, Week 13 offers the opportunity to go to Gillette Stadium and MetLife Stadium for your two-games-in-two-days fix. Sunday’s game offers an inter-conference tilt in New England, while Monday’s contest could be a big one in the AFC playoff race.

Distance between stadiums: 206 miles

Week 14

Sunday, Dec. 11: Cowboys at Giants, 8:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 12: Ravens at Patriots, 8:30 p.m. ET

Yes, it’s MetLife Stadium and Gillette Stadium again, but hey, we can’t control where the NFL holds its Monday night games. Besides, these are two really good games, from Sunday night’s NFC East showdown between the Cowboys and the Giants to the Monday night clash between two teams that have quite a playoff history against each other.

Distance between stadiums: 206 miles

Week 15

Saturday, Dec. 17: Dolphins at Jets, 8:25 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 18: Eagles at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 19: Panthers at Redskins, 8:30 p.m. ET

Here’s a chance for an extremely rare TRIPLE-header, made possible by the fact the NFL likes to schedule Saturday games in December with college football’s regular season completed. All three of the stadiums involved — MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field — are mentioned earlier in this list, but if your goal is to knock off as many stadiums as you can in the shortest amount of time, this might be the weekend for you. That Saturday-Sunday turnaround might be a bit brutal, though, so might we suggest you use the train?

Distance between stadiums: 188 miles (MetLife to M&T Bank); 32 miles (M&T Bank to FedEx)

Week 16

Saturday, Dec. 24: Chargers at Browns, 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 25: Ravens at Steelers, 4:30 p.m. ET

Got no family plans for Christmas? Then try this jaunt through AFC North country: Start in Cleveland as the Browns take on the Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium (remember that the majority of games in Week 16 will be played on Saturday, Christmas Eve), then head down the turnpike to the Steel City to see the Steelers battle the Ravens at Heinz Field.

Distance between stadiums: 136 miles

Week 16 (alternate suggestion)

Saturday, Dec. 24: Bengals at Texans, 8:25 p.m. ET
Monday, Dec. 26: Lions at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m. ET

If you’re looking for a Christmas trip but want your Christmas Day free (or, better yet, if you have family in Texas that you don’t mind spending the holidays with), this trip might be for you. Watch J.J. Watt and the Texans face the Bengals in a Christmas Eve prime-time game at NRG Stadium, then, after taking Christmas Day off, see the Cowboys host the Lions at AT&T Stadium.

Distance between stadiums: 264 miles

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