With the NFL releasing the schedule for the upcoming 2020-2021 season, and with the caveat that the season is still in flux due to the ongoing pandemic, Dustin breaks down some of the things that we’re most excited to see as well as a few missed opportunities.
With the NFL season start date still very much in question, the league went ahead and dropped the schedule for the 2020-2021 season anyways. While it’s still not known if the games will all be held as scheduled or if teams will have to move locations and adjust on the fly during an already grueling season, there are still some games and matchups that already have fans all across the world hoping that everything is able to go as smooth as possible. These are just some of the games we may or may not have already circled on the calendar.
– Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson
The Game: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (Week 3, MNF)
Why We’re Excited: The AFC Title Game that everyone wanted from last year but didn’t get. We finally get to see what happens when the last two league MVPs, and two of the absolute best teams in the AFC, go head-to-head.
– Ohio State QB Revenge
The Game: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins (Week 11)
Why We’re Excited: The whole reason that Joe Burrow transferred from Ohio State to LSU and ended up having the greatest statistical single-season in College history and becoming the number one overall pick is that he lost the OSU starting QB job to Dwayne Haskins. I can’t imagine that that’s going to come up at all during the lead up to the game and throughout the entire broadcast nonstop. Either way, count me in because I always love a years-later revenge game.
– OBJ Goes Back to NY
The Game: Cleveland Browns at New York Giants (Week 15)
Why We’re Excited: Last off-season the Browns won the entire season when they traded for Giants’ superstar WR Odell Beckham Jr. Then the actual games happened and everything was a mess and the coach got fired, people questioned Baker Mayfield as a man and as a QB and then actually started to wonder if the Giants had won the seemingly one-sided trade. Just about everything Odell does is monitored through a magnifying glass that I couldn’t possibly begin to comprehend so this game is likely going to be either flexed to prime time depending on the standings or given the full Romo treatment. Hopefully, both teams fair better than they did last year but no matter what the lead-up is, expect Odell to put on a show for his former team and city.
– ARod vs Tompa Bay
The Game: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 6)
Why We’re Excited: For just the 3rd time in their illustrious, Hall of Fame careers, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady will go head-to-head. While it’ll be exciting to see Brady face Saints QB Drew Brees twice this season, a matchup with Rodgers is exciting simply because it’s so fresh. Throw in all the speculation about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers that’s been going nonstop since the NFL Draft and it’s going to be an absolute media zoo.
– Kid Sees Ghosts Pt. II
The Game: New England Patriots at New York Jets (Week 9, MNF)
Why We’re Excited: Last year, Sam Darnold did not have the best Monday Night against the Patriots. But that was last year. Hopefully, the mono is done with and this is a very different Patriots team than they faced last year. Yes, Brady is gone but on defense, the Pats have lost a number of starters and role players in the offseason. If Darnold continues to progress and if the Jets’ offseason moves to beef up the offensive line pan out, Darnold may finally be able to exorcise those demons.*
* Note- we here at HefferBrew are putting the Over/Under for times the MNF broadcast mentions/replays the “I’m Seeing Ghosts” clip at 20.5. Not to mention Over 2 graphics that are either ghost or haunted house related.
– The (other) Nick Foles Homecoming
The Game: Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 16)
Why We’re Excited: Remember two years ago in free agency when the Jaguars backed a mountain of cash up to Nick Foles’ house because Tom Coughlin thought that would make the team respect him more? Then, remember last year Nick Foles broke his collarbone in the first half of the first game of the season and Gardner “Uncle Rico” Minshew II came in and endeared himself to the entire state of Florida? The Jags promptly fired Coughlin and then sent Foles and his fat contract over to Chicago, who come to town to either make the Jaguars look like idiots or geniuses depending on how this game goes. I’ll never not be interested in the exploits of Big Richard Nick Foles because it’s the NFL circle of life with this guy: starter gets hurt, backup comes in and shines. You could tell me absolutely anything about how this game goes and who plays at QB for which team and I’d believe pretty much every scenario.
– Burrow vs. Tua
The Game: Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (Week 13)
Why We’re Excited: Assuming that Tua Tagovailoa is starting for the Dolphins by Week 13, this is going to be a great matchup. A lot of analysts like to say that if Tua wasn’t hampered by his hip injury and the lack of teams being able to do medical evaluations due to the pandemic, that he would’ve leaped Burrow to be the consensus first overall pick. Burrow will be looking to prove those naysayers long while Tua will be hoping to complete the comeback.
– Tom Brady’s Perfection
The Game(s): Buccaneers at Bears (Week 5), vs. Minnesota Vikings (Week 14), at Falcons (Week 15),
Why We’re Excited: Tom Brady is a pretty good QB right? Arguably the all-time best. Those three teams up there? He’s never lost to them. These are 3 of 5 teams he’s undefeated against. Tampa Bay has all the makings of either a super team or an unbelievable trainwreck of hype and disappointing results not seen since last season in Cleveland. How Tom fairs as a Buc will dominate the headlines for the season but this is the storyline we’ll be paying attention to.
– Tua Tagovailoa vs. Justin Herbert
The Game: Chargers at Dolphins (Week 7)
Why We’re Excited: It didn’t matter who went where, but with the Dolphins and Chargers both needing QBs, the debate was who do you take: Tua or Herbert? Fortunately, we may only have to wait until Week 7 to get an early answer. Both teams still haven’t said much on who their QBs will be going into the season and if their prized rookies will be starting, but even if they don’t start, expect 3 hrs of side-by-side shots of them holding clipboards.
1 Big Missed Opportunity
What They Should’ve Done: Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans
Texans coach Bill O’Brien shocked NFL fans everywhere (especially in Houston) when he traded franchise cornerstone and one of the top three receivers in the league DeAndre Hopkins out to Arizona for an aging, expensive David Johnson and not even a first-round pick. O’Brien then hinted that locker room behavior and concerns over Hopkins wanting a contract extension were behind the decision. Hopkins revealed some pretty less than great things about conversations with his former coach/GM and even Texans fans were like, “Damn I hope he comes back and just destroys us cause this sucks and he deserves better.” And the NFL didn’t give us that. Who knows when the two teams will eventually play but football fans everywhere are already waiting and ready for it.
Who knows if these games will all be held or what this season may end up looking like but having the schedule is a fun escape for a few hours. Not to mention that betting lines have already been opened up for Week 1. Never underestimate the gamblers.
What games or storylines are you looking forward to most this season? Do you think the season will even happen? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter or Instagram with your thoughts. And keep it here for all the latest stories on the NFL and how this upcoming season will unfold.