With the NFL schedule coming out, I am already excited for the “biggest season yet.” I am penciling in the games I am most excited to bet moneylines and game totals on – even though the season is still four months away. Here are the games we are most excited about going into the 2021 NFL season.
Opening Day: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tom Brady vs. America’s Team. The reigning champs against the return of Dak Prescott. The NFL got it right scheduling the Dallas Cowboys against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are a serious threat to return to the Super Bowl in 2022 – while the Cowboys are one of the most unpredictable clubs in the league. Who knows what will happen on Thursday night – but we should expect fireworks.
NFL Returns to London: Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets
Something is strange about this matchup – and I love it. The Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets have almost no history against each other, but they play in London which could add something to a legacy. Plus seeing young gun Zach Wilson take on veteran Matt Ryan should be fun. Also, the Jets and Falcons – two franchises are known for blowing leads and screwing up playing at 9:30 AM on Sunday. Sign me up!
Dual of the Last Two First Overall Picks: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 4 kickoffs with a Thursday night game featuring the 2020 and 2021 first overall picks. Trevor Lawrence against Joe Burrows is sure to draw plenty of eyes – even if their respective clubs are not considered contenders in this season.
AFC Championship Rematch: Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Bills make the first of four primetime appearances this season when they head to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC Championship rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs. With Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes trading touchdowns for 60 minutes, this could end up as the highest scoring affair of the season. Definitely make sure your Sunday night is free in Week 5.
Fitzmagic One More Time: Washington Football Team vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Maybe the greatest play of last season was Ryan Fitzpatrick’s comeback, head getting ripped off, heave down the field against the Las Vegas Raiders. While Fitzpatrick has left Miami, he gets another shot at the Raiders as the starting QB for the Washington Football Team.
Thanksgiving Night Spectacle: Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
Even with Drew Brees retiring, the Saints are still one of the best teams in the NFL. Or at least they will get a chance to prove they are still a Super Bowl contender when they host the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving. The quarterback room in New Orleans is a bit of an enigma going into the season – but a combination of Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill on Thanksgiving against Josh Allen and the Bills could result in one of the wackiest Thanksgiving in recent memory.
New quarterbacks in primetime? Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Colts travel to California for a Sunday night showdown against the 49ers. The 49ers and Colts are two of the most interesting teams going into the season – with the Colts trading for Carson Wentz and the 49ers drafting Trey Lance. We cannot know this far out if the 49ers will be rolling with Lance or Jimmy G in Week 7 – but either way, this will still be a fun time in primetime.
The Classic Franchises Renew Their Rivalry: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers
While the Aaron Rodgers saga continues, and Big Ben is about as injury-prone as anyone in the NFL, these two franchises playing is always a big deal. The two franchises – possibly the most historically important ones from each conference – had good, but disappointing ends to their seasons last year, and will look to get a statement win in this earlier season matchup.
Christmas Day: Cleveland Browns vs. Green Bay Packers
Playoff teams. Check. Explosive offenses. Check. Super Bowl hopefuls. Check. What more could you ask for in your Christmas Day game – when the Browns trade the shores of Lake Erie for Green Bay and a showdown with the Packers.