• Brandon Sweet

17 Weeks, 17 Games: The Most Intriguing Match ups of the 2020-21 NFL Season.

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

The 2020-21 NFL Schedule has been released. Yes, we already knew who all of the teams were playing, but now they are in order! Fans have already played the “schedule game” with their favorite teams and predicted the season. The upcoming NFL season brings with it a lot questions, particularly surrounding the COVID-19 virus. For me, one word sticks out more than any other and that word is HOPE. Fans, coaches, players, and organizations are hopeful that a full season takes place. How that is going to look will be a huge topic of discussion. I tend to be on the more positive side of things. With all that being said, here are 17 games that I am most looking forward to this season.

Week 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints – 4:25 PM: FOX

Why you should be Interested: The debut of Future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady has him facing Drew Brees in New Orleans. The two quarterbacks take the field with a combined 1,088 total passing touchdowns in their legendary careers (Brady, 541 & Brees, 547). Who is going to end up at the top of the record books when it’s all said and done? With Brady moving to the NFC South, we now get to see this matchup twice a year.


Brees

Week 2: Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys – 1:00 PM: FOX

Why you should be Interested: Jerry Jones added CeeDee Lamb to a Cowboys offense who led the NFL last season in total yards per game. With the addition of Lamb, this allows Amari Cooper to move to his more natural position in the slot. The Cowboys offense could be even more deadly this season. Dak Prescott’s contract situation is going to be a story line all season as well. Dan Quinn is on the hot seat this season and with Atlanta spending their first two picks of the draft on defense, this will be an intriguing early season match up.

Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:15 PM: ESPN

Why you should be Interested: Patrick Mahomes. Lamar Jackson. Monday Night Football. Enough said.

Week 4: Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:20: NBC

Why you should be Interested: The Eagles had arguably the most surprising selection in the 2020 NFL Draft when they took QB Jalen Hurts in the second round. With Carson Wentz only being 27 years old, this brings into question of the Eagles faith in Wentz long term. How will this offense look with the potential for Hurts in special packages? The 49ers got nastier on the defensive line after trading DeForest Buckner and selecting Javon Kinlaw in the first round. There are questions at receiver and the secondary, but the 49ers look to reload for another shot at a Super Bowl.

Hurts

(Photo via Sporting News)

Week 5: Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans – 1:00 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: I’ll admit, this isn’t the sexiest game on the menu, but the Bills and Titans both made the playoffs last season. Buffalo added Stefon Diggs and Zack Moss on the offensive side of the ball to give Josh Allen more weapons. Tennessee brought Tannehill back from their magical run to the AFC Championship last season and added OT Isaiah Wilson in the draft. The key match up to watch here is Derrick Henry against a tough Bills defense.

Week 6: Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 1:00 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: In what was the ugliest moment of the 2019 season, Myles Garrett returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since the incident with QB Mason Rudolph. The Browns and Steelers have a fierce rivalry, perhaps more between fans the last 20 years, but this adds a new on-field element to the contest. The result of this game could determine the trajectory for the rest of the season between these two division rivals.

Myles

(Photo via UPI.com)

Week 7: Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami Dolphins – 1:00 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: The first potential match up between Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. These two quarterback’s careers will be looked at very closely after going back-to-back in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Chargers roster is loaded on both sides of the ball, but has major questions on the offensive line. Miami could be one of the most improved teams this year after adding an influx of talent this past off season.

Week 8: San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 4:25 PM: FOX

Why you should be Interested: This has developed into one of the most exciting rivalries in all of the NFL. The two teams split last season’s match ups by a combined 8 points. Russell Wilson is a top 3 quarterback and is must see TV.

Week 9: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Dallas Cowboys – 4:25 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: Packers-49ers & Saints-Bucs would be the pick here but Steelers-Cowboys are one of the more beautiful match ups in sports. A rivalry that dates back decades is reignited in Week 9. Ben Roethlisberger is returning this season and should provide stability at the quarterback position, provided he is healthy. “Jerry World” will be shining bright for this match up.

Week 10: San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints – 4:25 PM: FOX

Why you should be Interested: I know, I know. The 49ers again you say? I can’t help but select this game after last year’s instant classic that saw the 49ers defeat the Saints by a score of 48-46. These are still two of the best teams in football. Drew Brees does not have many seasons left in him it appears and this could be another incredible game.

Week 11: Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens – 1:00 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: A rematch of the AFC Divisional Round last season that saw Tennessee pull a dramatic upset over the 14-2 Ravens. Don’t think Baltimore has forgotten the beat down in the trenches put on them. Can the Titans control the ball and run Derrick Henry again? Lamar Jackson will have something to say about that with rookie running back JK Dobbins expected to carry the load this season. Baltimore addressed the defensive line as well, adding Calais Campbell in the offseason.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens

(Photo via The Sports Daily)

Week 12: Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4:25 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes face each other again, but this time in Tampa Bay. This game could play a huge factor in terms of seeding for the playoffs. The Chiefs have a lot of players returning and need to win before they have to pony up for Mahomes. By this point in the season, we will know a lot about the Buccaneers and if Brady still has it.

Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 1:00 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: First overall selection and defending Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow matches up with Tua Tagovailoa for the first time in the NFL. Burrow is looking to bring the Bengals back to the playoffs. With both teams in opposite conferences, we may not get to see this match up a ton. I’m going to savor the first meeting between two hopeful rookie quarterbacks.

lsu-vs-alabama-joe-burrow-tua-tagovailoa

(Photo via Pro Football Network)

Week 14: Indianapolis Colts @ Las Vegas Raiders – 4:05 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: I’ve got to see Phillip Rivers against the Raiders one more time. Even though he is in a different uniform, I have zero doubt that the Rivers will be leading a game tying/winning drive in the last few minutes of regulation. Rivers has long been a thorn in the Raiders side, with a career record of 18-9 and 47 passing touchdowns (most against any team). Will Las Vegas treat the Raiders better against him?

Week 15: Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints – 4:25 PM: CBS

Why you should be Interested: Pretty self-explanatory here. The Chiefs and Saints post two of the best offenses in the NFL. This is a potential Super Bowl preview, if New Orleans can figure out how to win in the postseason. This match up comes late in the season and could have a huge impact in home-field-advantage for both sides.

Week 16: Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets – TBD

Why you should be Interested: Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold. Technically, we haven’t had an actual match up between these two yet. In their rookie year, Baker Mayfield entered mid-game for an injured Tyrod Taylor and led the Browns to a comeback victory over the Jets. However, because he did not start that game, the head-to-head result was not accounted for. Last year, Darnold missed the game because of mononucleosis. This will hopefully be the first real match up between the two quarterbacks from the 2018 draft class.

baker-mayfield-sam-darnold

(Photo via New York Post)

Week 17: Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams – 4:25 PM: FOX

Why you should be Interested: This was as tough a week to pick as any. Who knows what the story line will be by the end of the regular season. Kyler Murray may be exceeding expectations and have the Cardinals in position for a wild card berth. The Rams could be a total mess or rebound from a tough 2019 season. Kingsbury and McVay present an attention-grabbing meeting between two of the youngest head coaches in the NFL. This game could be a pleasant surprise or a total dud.

Featured Image: CBS Sports

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