The 2020 NFL Draft drew its best ratings ever last April – which wasn’t a surprise, considering the circumstances. I know tons of fans are missing sports, so we will take what we can get until everything returns to normal. Recently, the NFL officially released the entire 2020 schedule, despite being subject to change due to the pandemic. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the world will look like by August or September. Hopefully in some way, shape, or form there will be football played this upcoming season. Either way, it’s fun to look ahead and anticipate certain games. Here’s my picks for the most enticing matchups, one for each week of the regular season.
Week 1: Buccaneers at Saints
It’s going to be weird seeing Tom Brady in a different uniform after he spent 20 years in a Patriots jersey. There’s a ton of hype around Tampa Bay’s team – particularly their offense. Rob Gronkowski even came out of retirement to join his former quarterback amongst a talented roster. Right out of the gate we will see if they can start with a bang against their division foe, the Saints. New Orleans has one of the best home environments in the league so it should be rocking, if there are fans in the stands.
Week 2: Rams at Eagles
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were the top two draft picks in the 2016 NFL Draft. So far, those two picks have worked out, for the most part. Goff has been to the Super Bowl, while Wentz has a Super Bowl ring – granted he was injured and was not the starter. I’m interested to see if Goff can get back to being what he was in 2018, or if he will regress like last season. Wentz on the other hand, cannot seem to stay healthy enough to make it to the post season. Maybe this is the year he finally plays in the playoffs, or could it be time for rookie Jalen Hurts to step in and be the guy? That’s a storyline to watch for.
Week 3: Chiefs at Ravens
Many people thought this would be the AFC Championship game last season. Baltimore was eliminated in convincing fashion, after having a remarkable regular season. Kansas City, of course, won their first Super Bowl in 50 years. Led by, arguably, the best player in football – Patrick Mahomes aims to repeat with another title for the Chiefs Kingdom. Baltimore has MVP Lamar Jackson, who is just getting started in what seems to be a long and successful career. Two of the best teams in the NFL dueling on a Monday Night? Sold.
Week 4: Patriots at Chiefs
A new era begins in New England and there is uncertainty if the Patriots will continue to be the most consistent franchise in the NFL. At this moment in time, we’re not sure who will be their quarterback, but whoever it is will have big shoes to fill. They do, however, still have the best head coach – maybe of all time. That always helps. They have a shot here early in the season to make a statement and beat the defending champs.
Week 5: Vikings at Seahawks
This was a fantastic game last season in primetime, so it’s only fitting that we get a rematch. Sunday night in Seattle is a special place. This could also have playoff implications down the line, so it’s sure to be another significant and thrilling contest.
Week 6: Packers at Buccaneers
Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have faced off against each other twice in their careers, a split series. Let’s hope that both guys are healthy so we get to witness only the third ever meeting between the two future Hall of Famers.
Week 7: 49ers at Patriots
San Francisco went all the way to the Super Bowl last season, as they look to try and finish the job this time around. Jimmy Garoppolo and Bill Belichick will reunite in Foxboro after four years.
Week 8: Titans at Bengals
Tennessee sets their sight on improving from last year’s victory in the Wildcard. Derrick Henry is an animal, but he needs help if they want to be a serious contender. For Cincinnati, it is a new beginning with Joe Burrow and company. I believe this will be a more than solid matchup, and it should be a good measuring stick to where both teams will be midway through the season. The Bengals have a chance to play spoiler against an assortment of teams this year – let’s see if Burrow is as good as advertised. Ryan Tannehill now gets to start from day one, so we’ll find out if he can build some more chemistry with the talented weapons he has around him.
Week 9: Steelers at Cowboys
What a classic encounter this is! I don’t even care what either of their records will be by this point, the history of the names alone make it worth watching. No I am not sucking up, I actually think these two teams have the most bandwagon fans in the league. However, that doesn’t strip away the fact that they are both quintessential NFL franchises — just enjoy the game.
Week 10: Bills at Cardinals
The Cardinals scooped up DeAndre Hopkins who will be matched up at times with Tre’Davious White. That battle will, without a doubt, be a blast to check out. Kyler Murray and Josh Allen like to run around and do crazy things too, so this should be entertaining in more ways than one.
Week 11: Titans at Ravens
Here’s your rematch of the AFC Wildcard Round from last season. Tennessee stunned the masses last season after their convincing win against Baltimore. A chance for the Titans to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with. It’s a chance for the Ravens to claim some sweet, sweet revenge.
Week 12: Chiefs at Buccaneers
Yeah I know, again with these teams? I’m a sucker for the QB battles. Sorry, not sorry. Besides, it could be a wild shootout. This will be a fantasy lover’s delight. Easy choice.
Week 13: Colts at Texans
This game usually has playoff implications and with the Titans sitting there, the stakes are even higher now in the AFC South. We will discover how much Philip Rivers has left in the tank, and if Houston can manage to make the playoffs for the third straight year. This will be the first meeting of two for Indianapolis and Houston, so it may not be do or die but it will give one of them the upper hand late in the year.
Week 14: Steelers at Bills
It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be ugly, it’s going to be hard hitting. A massive game in the back half of the season that will presumably have a lot on the line in the AFC playoff race. Count me in.
Week 15: Chiefs at Saints
* See Week 12
Week 16: Eagles at Cowboys
If history tells us anything, the winner of this game will win the NFC East. Enough said.
Week 17: Seahawks at 49ers
What a white hot rivalry this has been for the past several years. The stakes will be mighty and the fireworks never fail to appear in this one. Get your popcorn ready.
Now we wait and see if football will be here on time, or later. Keep watching those replays and highlights to hold you over until then. We will get through this together, whether there will be fans in the stands or not. Stay safe, stay healthy, and don’t draft a quarterback in the first round of your fantasy draft.