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The 2020 NFL schedule release is this Thursday. We already know each team’s list of opponents and where each game will take place — we don’t know when. And let me tell you, there are some fascinating matchups set to take place.
Here are the five most intriguing of 2020 slate:
5. Texans at Chiefs
Chiefs-Texans, partly, comes in at No. 5 because it should be the NFL’s opener. There is always an extra level of interest in a season’s kickoff game. But that’s not the only reason. Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and could rank one and two by midseason. There is the built-in storyline of Houston’s still hard-to-process playoff debacle. It wasn’t just a bad nightmare for the Texans. After getting out to a 24-0 lead, the Chiefs really did stomp them 51-31. Houston has had a rough offseason trading away DeAndre Hopkins for an off-brand bag of chips. However, when you have the quarterback position right, and Watson is a superstar, it covers up most blemishes.
4. 49ers at Saints
If this game is 65% as exciting as last season’s 48-46 Madden-style shootout, we are in for a treat. The Saints and 49ers, per FOX Bet, have the best odds to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl at +460 and +575, respectively. 2020 could be Drew Brees’ last chance to add a second Super Bowl to his legendary resume. It all starts with securing home-field advantage. On paper, San Francisco and New Orleans are equal. If this is the first of two matchups between them, with the second in the NFC Championship Game, we’ll consider ourselves lucky.
3. Browns at Cowboys
If the Browns are as good as I expect them to be, they will be one of the most talked-about teams in the league. Heck, they probably will be, regardless. The week-long hype, both positive and negative, of their matchup with the Cowboys already sounds exhilarating. Cleveland now only ranks behind Dallas in never-ending drama. The pressure is on Baker Mayfield this season, and millions of extra eyes will be on his performance against the Cowboys. Additionally, both teams come into the season amongst the most talented.
2. Packers at Buccaneers
An unprecedented number of Tampa Bay games will be nationally televised and the talk of the NFL this season. There’s Tom Brady’s first game as a Buc, the two meetings with the Saints, the Brady vs. Mahomes showdown, but none are more noteworthy than Tampa’s matchup with Green Bay. This very well could be the last time we see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady go head-to-head. The legends never facing off in a Super Bowl is equitable to the disappointment that LeBron never faced Kobe in an NBA Finals. Brady’s move to the NFC puts that dream scenario on life support (unless Rodgers is traded to the AFC in a few years). Bucs-Packers is my pick as the highest-viewed non-Cowboys game of the season. Rodgers, Brady, Gronk, two top teams in the NFC, playoff stakes — what more could you ask for?
1. Chiefs at Ravens
It’s reckless to predict any quarterback rivalry will reach the heights of Manning vs. Brady. Nevertheless, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are the two most exciting players in sports and they play for the NFL’s top two teams. This will be the best sports rivalry for the next decade. Derrick Henry’s bulldozer impersonation robbed us from this matchup in the AFC Championship Game last season. This game is likely to have serious ramifications on playoff seeding. It could even determine the sole AFC team with a first-round bye. A cold, red and purple Week 16 Sunday night would be fitting.