Six must-see NFL matchups in 2020
Managing Sports Editor
On Thursday night, the NFL once again found themselves in the position to present a small glimpse of hope for sports in the United States with the release of the 2020 NFL schedule. The release comes just under two weeks after the NFL draft concluded.
It is unclear whether or not NFL stadiums will be filled with spectators or even allow spectators at all. To combat this, the NFL and its teams are set to have a refund policy in place that will fully refund fans who purchase tickets directly through the NFL, per The Associated Press.
Regardless, the anticipation for a new season of NFL football is upon us and with that comes some of the best games to look forward to in 2020.
Texans v. Chiefs: Thursday, Sept. 10
The first game of the new NFL season is a rematch of the 2019 AFC Divisional round playoff game, which saw the Chiefs overcome a 24-point deficit in the second quarter. The two teams now look very different heading into 2020.
The Chiefs are the reigning Super Bowl champions and are set to raise their first ever Super Bowl champion banner before the game. The Texans’ offseason saw big changes in personnel, including the departure of All Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and addition of veteran wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb.
The one constant that remains the same is the matchup of two of the best young quarterbacks in the game. Look for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to play a key role in an exciting opening night performance.
Buccaneers v. Saints: Sunday, Sept. 13& Sunday, Nov. 8
The Buccaneers could fill up half of this list, as the team’s new quarterback Tom Brady is set to go up against quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes in 2020. What makes the matchup with Drew Brees and the Saints stand out is the implications it has in the NFC South.
The Bucs and the Saints head into 2020 as the two favorites to truly contend for the division. The Saints have won the division the past three seasons, and in that same period, hold a 4-2 record against the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have not won a division title or made the playoffs since 2007.
In order for Brady and the Buccaneers to turn the tables on the Saints, the team will need to play some of its best football both in New Orleans and at Raymond James Stadium in primetime, setting up two must-see games in 2020.
Packers v. 49ers: Thursday, Nov. 5
Another playoff rematch emerges in 2020, this time in San Francisco where the Green Bay Packers saw their 2019 season come to an end. The quarterback dual of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garrapolo looks to set up this Thursday night primetime game as one of the better Thursday night offerings in 2020.
Look for the Packers to try and stop the 49ers running attack, which they failed to do in the 2019 playoff match. That day, the Packers allowed 285 yards on the ground. Aaron Rodgers going up against a defense with the names of Nick Bosa, Kwon Alexander and Richard Sherman also adds to what should already be a game circled on Packers and 49ers fans calendars.
Bengals v. Dolphins: Sunday, Dec. 6
In week 13, the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2020 draft will slug it out down in Miami, with Joe Burrow and the Bengals visiting Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.
Not only do both teams have young quarterbacks, they have a lot of high-priced players. In the offseason, both the Dolphins and the Bengals went all-in on big splash, free-agent acquisitions. The Dolphins spent over $238 million dollars in total and $146 million in guaranteed money, while the Bengals spent almost $132 million dollars with just over $41million of that guaranteed.
The combination of young quarterbacks and big free agents looks to make this matchup worth the watch.
Saints v. Eagles: Sunday, Dec. 13
This matchup, set in the city of brotherly love, reunites Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins with the Eagles. Jenkins spent the last six seasons with the team and served as one of the team captains for an Eagles team that won a Super Bowl in 2017. Jenkins signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Saints in the offseason.
The homecoming for Jenkins also reunites two teams that have not played each other since the 2018 season, which saw the Saints go 2-0 against the Eagles, including a divisional round playoff win in New Orleans. It is also the second time that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will go head-to-head with Drew Brees.
Both teams have made it to the postseason the past three seasons. Expect this game to have a playoff-type atmosphere, making a cannot miss game.
Browns v. Giants: Sunday, Dec. 20
Whether or not this game consists of two teams fighting for the postseason or playing for a better draft pick, the return to New York of Odell Beckham Jr. highlights this matchup. The Giants traded Beckham Jr. to the Browns after the 2018 season. In his five seasons with the Giants, Beckham had four seasons of at least 1,300 receiving yards.
During his time in New York, Beckham Jr. faced scrutiny for his actions on and off the field, including his altercation with former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in 2015, punching a kicking net in 2016 and comments in an ESPN interview that saw him openly question his teammates in New York.
The treatment of Beckham Jr. by Giants fans and his ability to perform in front of his old team make this late season matchup an intriguing watch.