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Twitter's NFL broadcasts to feature top teams but so-so matchups

The social network's free live-streaming of NFL Thursday night games will have the Broncos and Panthers playing, but not their Week 1 matchup against each other.

25 October 2009: A goal post with the NFL logo stands while the sun sets during the fourth quarter of the Buffalo Bills 20-9 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tim Steadman/Icon SMI

Football fans flocking to Twitter to see free live-streaming of National Football League games on Thursday nights this season will see star quarterbacks Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, but not too many big-time battles.

The social network will air the NFL's most storied rivalry when the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers in week 7 on October 20. That's one of the handful of decent games Twitter will have in its groundbreaking 10-game online broadcast lineup. But as became clear when the NFL released its 2016 schedule on Thursday, only nine of the 20 teams Twitter will show this season made the playoffs in 2015.

What Twitter's NFL schedule doesn't include is the September 8 battle, during the season's first week, between the defending champion Denver Broncos and Newton's Carolina Panthers, a rematch of Super Bowl 50, in which the Broncos upset the Panthers.

And if you're stuck at a non-football fan's house on Thanksgiving, you won't find relief on Twitter. The social network also isn't airing the traditional trio of holiday games featuring the Detroit Lions playing the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys hosting the rival Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Otherwise, games in weeks 2, 3, 5 and 15 look promising for Twitter's estimated 800 million registered and nonregistered users. But in the NFL, where parity rules, anything can happen.

Here's the full slate of Twitter's NFL Thursday night football broadcasts. All of the games kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET.:

Week 2, Sept. 15: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Week 3, Sept. 22: Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Week 5, Oct. 6: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

Week 6, Oct. 13: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

Week 7, Oct. 20: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Week 11, Nov. 17: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Week 13, Dec. 1: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings

Week 14, Dec. 8: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 15, Dec. 15: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Week 16, Dec. 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles