With sports still on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, every NFL event feels almost like the Super Bowl.
First, NFL free agency went on as planned, then there was the surprisingly well-run NFL Draft and now it’s the 2020 regular season schedule release.
Although we don’t know if the NFL regular season will go on as originally planned, it’s still a fun exercise to break down the most-anticipated games of the upcoming campaign.
10. Week 11: Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens, along with the Chiefs, are expected to be the class of the AFC. And to prove that they belong in the same conversation with Kansas City, Baltimore has to win games like this one.
Despite making it to the AFC Championship Game, the Titans are still searching for respect from the rest of the league. If they can upset the Ravens, in Baltimore, one more time, then they’ll have earned their way to the upper echelon of the AFC.
Expect reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, to play a lot better in this big-time AFC matchup.
9. Week 6: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
The Cardinals’ battle against the Cowboys has the potential to be one of the highest-scoring matchups in the NFL this season. These two up-and-coming NFC teams boast offenses that could — and should — finish in the top ten in scoring, while both of these defenses have plenty of holes.
This could be 2020’s version of the Rams and Chiefs offensive explosion on Monday Night Football in 2018. And this game just so happens to be a Monday night affair as well. Expect Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray, two players with superstar potential, to put up a plethora of points in what would be a fantasy football player’s dream.
One of the most improved teams in the league, the Cardinals can show the world that they’re for real with a big win in Big D on primetime.
8. Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
The NFC East was an utter disappointment a year ago. Both the Cowboys and Eagles had Super Bowl aspirations, but they underperformed in a wide-open division. This Week 16 tilt could be the difference between a playoff spot — and potentially a first-round bye — for the two squads expected to contend for the NFC East crown.
The Cowboys — after a strong draft class — have risen up the NFL Power Rankings, and could be a legitimate threat to make the Super Bowl. But don’t count out the Eagles. Philadelphia’s roster is extremely talented, although the pass-catching group needs players to emerge.
If there really are Football Gods, then this rivalry game will determine the winner of the NFC East in what could be an epic clash.
7. Week 13: Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens
Dak Prescott against Lamar Jackson? Yes, please. In a battle of young star quarterbacks, this could be a determining factor in the MVP race.
More than just a top-notch quarterback duel, this is an intriguing matchup in many ways. How will Jackson perform against Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence and the athletic Cowboys defense? Will Earl Thomas — barring any marital problems — make the Cowboys regret not signing the hometown star?
Don’t look now, but could this tilt between two heavyweights be a Super Bowl preview?
6. Week 15: San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
The ‘Boys are back again. Making their fourth appearance on the list, the Cowboys will host the 49ers in a game that could have huge playoff implications.
Coming off their Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, the 49ers will attempt to avoid the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. By Week 15, we should know if the 49ers will be able to replicate their success from a year ago. If they do — and the Cowboys don’t disappoint again — then this battle has the potential to reignite the bitter rivalry between these two powerhouse franchises.
On the field, the matchup is pretty juicy. The 49ers’ fierce pass rush against the Cowboys stellar offensive line and Dak Prescott and his trio of receivers taking on Richard Sherman and Co. should be worth more than the price of admission.
Cowboys fans might want to show up to this one and avoid any embarrassment.
5. Week 15: Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Merry Christmas, football fans. This game between two of the best teams in the league will be played just five games before Santa scoots down your chimney. And nobody would be surprised if we saw this clash again in February.
Let’s unwrap this anticipated matchup. Drew Brees versus the guy who could eventually break all of his passing records in Patrick Mahomes and two of the games offensive minds — Andy Reid and Sean Payton — battling it out in the Super Dome, makes this game a potential high-scoring affair.
Take the over in this one, friends.
4. Week 10: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Arguably the best game of the 2019 campaign, the 49ers and Saints will battle it out again in noisy New Orleans. If you remember last year’s back-and-forth battle between these two high-scoring franchises, then you know why this one’s on the list.
The Saints’ loss to the Niners last year propelled San Francisco to the top seed in the NFC and a Super Bowl appearance, while New Orleans ended their playoff run prematurely for another season.
3. Week 1: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
The first week of the season will give us plenty of good matchups — including Packers-Vikings and Cardinals-49ers — but nothing tops this clash of elderly quarterbacks. In Tom Brady’s first game with the Buccaneers, he’ll take on Drew Brees and the Saints in the Superdome.
Although it's the first game of the year, this tilt could play a big factor in determining the winner of the NFC South. And what’s nice is, these quarterbacks should be fresh. As we’ve seen with Brees in recent seasons, he starts off strong but wears down as the season goes. We should see Brady and Brees close to the peak of their powers.
It’ll be extremely weird to see Brady in a Bucs uniform, but we’ll forget all about that once these two take the field in our third most-anticipated game of the season.
2. Week 17: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
If the 49ers-Saints game last year was the best of the season, then the Niners-Seahawks Week 17 showdown was a close second. That game, of course, came down to a touchdown-saving tackle by Dre Greenlaw to lock up the NFC West and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
The Niners-Seahawks has been one of the most reliable sources of entertainment in the NFL over the past decade — and as long as Russell Wilson is under center for the Seahawks, then that should continue.
Knowing these two franchises, this game will determine the winner of the NFC West — and it’ll come down to the last second.
1. Week 3: Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens
Thanks to Tennessee’s upset victory over Baltimore in the playoffs last year, the world was deprived of an epic AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Ravens. We’ll just have to settle for the regular-season matchup instead.
This game represents the future — and present — of the league. Mahomes and Jackson, the two previous NFL MVPs, have absolutely taken over in their short tenure. And it doesn’t look like they’ll loosen their grip anytime soon. This could be the start of this generation’s Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry.
The most-anticipated game of the year could have massive implications for the playoffs as well. Nobody would be surprised if this Week 3 tilt determined the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
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