Now that the 2019 NFL draft is complete, you might already be looking forward to watching Ohio State’s newest NFL players – and probably some of the more experienced NFL Buckeyes, too – this fall.
The beauty of being an Ohio State fan, especially if the Buckeyes are your primary rooting interest, is that almost every NFL game features at least one Buckeye. Following the NFL draft, there are currently only five NFL teams (Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) that don’t currently have any Ohio State players on their rosters.
So if you’re looking to watch former Ohio State players on Sundays this fall, you won’t have to look hard. If you want to circle some games on your calendar early, however, there might be some that stand out more than others.
To help you get started, here’s a look at some of the games featuring former Buckeyes that you might be interested in tuning into – or depending on where you live, perhaps even attending – this year. One game for each week of the season has been included, with preference given to games that are scheduled to be nationally televised or are likely to be televised in Ohio markets.
Hall of Fame Game: Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons – Thursday, Aug. 1, 8 p.m., NBC
If you’re like me, you’ll be ready to watch any football game at all by the time August rolls around, so we’ll start with the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, where two Buckeyes will have an opportunity to see their first game action in NFL uniforms: Broncos third-round pick Dre’Mont Jones and Falcons fourth-round pick Kendall Sheffield. Jones, in particular, will surely draw plenty of hometown support as a Northeast Ohio native. The Broncos’ roster also features former Buckeye tight end Jeff Heuerman, while former Buckeye defensive tackle Michael Bennett will be competing for a roster spot with the Falcons.
Preseason Week 1: Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns – Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.
The biggest draw of the preseason for Ohio State fans will come in Week 1, when Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin will be back in Ohio for their preseason debut as Redskins. Haskins’ first NFL game action would be anticipated regardless of who he played, but the road game against the Browns should draw plenty of Ohio State fans to Cleveland to watch he and McLaurin play. There’s also the possibility of Haskins and McLaurin going up against former teammate and Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, though Ward will likely only see limited preseason action this year now that he’s an established starter.
Preseason Week 2: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos – Monday, Aug. 19, 8 p.m., ESPN
Nick Bosa will play on national television for the first time as an NFL player in the closing game of the second week of the preseason, when the 49ers will take on the Broncos – and his former Ohio State defensive linemate Jones – on Monday Night Football.
Preseason Week 3: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans – Sunday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m., NBC
These teams only have one Buckeye each on their active rosters – Cameron Heyward for the Steelers and Damon Webb for the Titans – but the action on the sidelines could also be worth watching for Ohio State fans in this Sunday night preseason game. Ryan Shazier will continue to be with the Steelers this season even though he has been placed on the Reserve/PUP list as he continues to recover from his spinal injury, while the Titans’ coaching staff features former Ohio State assistants Mike Vrabel and Kerry Coombs.
Preseason Week 4: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers – Thursday, Aug. 29, 10 p.m.
The final week of the preseason will feature a Bosa vs. Bosa matchup, as Nick’s 49ers head to Los Angeles to take on Joey’s Chargers. The bad news: Established veterans like Joey typically don’t play in the fourth preseason game, and there’s a good chance Nick won’t either. This game also falls on the opening night of the college football season, so there will be better football on TV. But this game should serve as an opportunity for brotherly bragging rights nonetheless, as it will be the first time they meet as members of opposing NFL teams.
Week 1: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints – Monday, Sept. 9, 7:10 p.m., ESPN
The Saints have more Ohio State players on their roster (six) than any other team in the NFL, and they’ll open the regular season with an appearance on Monday Night Football. This game will also serve as former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby’s first regular-season game with the Texans (who he joined as a free agent this offseason after five seasons with the Broncos), which could mean lining up against former teammate Michael Thomas and fellow former Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn. This could also be the regular-season NFL debut for Johnnie Dixon and Malcolm Pridgeon if they make the Texans’ roster as undrafted free agents.
Week 2: San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday, Sept. 15, 1 p.m., FOX
There will be plenty of recent Buckeyes in the trenches in this game, as a Bengals offensive line led by former Ohio State center Billy Price (that could also include Michael Jordan if he wins the starting right guard job as a rookie) takes on Bosa on the 49ers’ defensive line, while Hubbard figures to play an even bigger role on the Bengals’ defensive line in his second NFL season.
Week 3: Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins – Monday, Sept. 23, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
There’s no guarantee that Haskins will open the season as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, but assuming he is the starter by Week 3 (an outcome ESPN will surely be hoping for), this will be his first nationally televised regular-season game. The Bears don’t have any Buckeyes on their roster, but Haskins with a side of McLaurin should draw plenty of viewers in Columbus as Haskins could have his first opportunity to make a big impression in front of a primetime NFL audience.
Week 4: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – Sunday, Sept. 29, 8:20 p.m., NBC
With two rosters that currently feature a combined 10 Buckeyes, plenty of former Ohio State stars will be on display in the fourth Sunday Night Football game of the season, as Thomas, Marshon Lattimore and the rest of the Saints take on a Cowboys squad that could feature a one-two punch of Buckeyes at running back in Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Weber.
Week 5: Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers – Monday, Oct. 7, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Ohio State’s two most recent top-five overall picks will be on the field for this Monday Night Football game, as Bosa plays in his first primetime regular-season NFL game against Ward and the Browns.
Week 6: Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins – Sunday, Oct. 13, 1 p.m., FOX
Haskins made it clear after his fall to the Redskins and the 15th overall pick in the draft that he will be motivated to prove to the teams that passed on him that they made a mistake, and one of those teams is the Dolphins, who feature three Buckeyes of their own in linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker and offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, who they selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft.
Week 7: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins – Sunday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m., FOX
Ohio State’s two first-round picks from this year’s draft will go head-to-head in this game, as Haskins and the Redskins offense square off against Bosa and the 49ers defense.
Week 8: Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings – Thursday, Oct. 24, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFLN
The Redskins’ second nationally televised game of the season will come on Thursday Night Football, which could be another opportunity for Haskins to make a statement in a showcase game against the Vikings, whose roster also features two former Buckeyes with Pat Elflein on the offensive line and Jalyn Holmes on the defensive line.
Week 9: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m., CBS
Heyward gives the Steelers one of the NFL’s most consistently productive Buckeyes, while the Colts have three Ohio State products who could all play substantial roles this season in third-year safety Malik Hooker, second-year defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis and rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell.
Week 10: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers – Monday, Nov. 11, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Jamarco Jones and Demetrius Knox are competing for spots on the Seahawks’ offensive line, which could mean a matchup with Bosa when they play the 49ers, while Nick Vannett is also entering his fourth season as a Seahawks tight end.
Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders – Sunday, Nov. 17, 4:25 p.m., CBS
This game could feature a direct battle of former Buckeyes in the trenches between Price at center (potentially with Jordan alongside him) for the Bengals and Raiders nose tackle Johnathan Hankins, while Gareon Conley will be looking to build off a strong sophomore campaign as a starting cornerback for the Raiders.
Week 12: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans – Thursday, Nov. 21, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFLN
The Colts’ trio of Buckeyes will take the Thursday Night Football stage for a division rivalry game against the Texans in Week 12, which could mean matchups between Campbell and Roby in the passing game and as many as six former Ohio State players on the field.
Week 13: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – Thursday, Nov. 28, 8:20 p.m., NBC
While Thanksgiving afternoon will feature Taylor Decker and the Lions and Elliott and the Cowboys, the primetime game will be another showcase for the New Orleans Buckeyes. This is another game that includes potential matchups between former Ohio State receivers and cornerbacks, with Thomas and Ginn on the Saints and Sheffield on the Falcons.
Week 14: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns – Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m., CBS
A game between the Bengals and Browns takes center stage in Ohio, and their recent moves to draft Buckeyes give this matchup some Ohio State flavor. The Bengals have outpaced the Browns in that regard, with four Buckeyes on their roster (Hubbard, Jordan, Price, Chris Worley), though Ward has already emerged as one of the Browns’ star players as he enters just his second season in the NFL.
Week 15: Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints – Monday, Dec. 16, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
As aforementioned, the Saints have more former Buckeyes on their roster than any other team in the NFL while Colts have drafted Buckeyes three years in a row, so there will be plenty of reasons for Ohio State fans to tune into this one. With Thomas and Ginn going up against Hooker and Campbell going up against Lattimore, Eli Apple and Vonn Bell, there’s plenty of potential for Buckeye-on-Buckeye matchups between the receivers and secondaries in this game regardless of which team has the ball.
Week 16: New York Giants at Washington Redskins – Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m., FOX
There’s no team that Haskins will be more motivated to beat than the Giants, who passed over him in favor of drafting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick, and he’ll get two chances a year to make them regret their decision. Jones probably won’t be playing when the Giants and Redskins meet in Week 4, but there’s a greater chance he’ll be playing in Week 16 – especially if the Giants, who don’t have any Buckeyes on their roster, are out of contention at that point – which could make this a storyline-rich late-season battle of rookie quarterback.
Week 17: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m., CBS
See Week 14.