In a time bereft of live sport, May 8th’s NFL schedule release was a day of joy for fans of the pigskins.
Analysts and fans alike went into a frenzy trying to put together predicted win-loss records for their team.
Two things sell enormous hope in sports – draft night and schedule release.
A talented draft haul can thrust your team into championship contention and a friendly schedule can set you up for a memorable season.
In reality, predicting anything from the schedule is foolish but it’s damn fun so we will have a look anyway. Besides, what else is there to do!?!
Here are the five games I’m most looking forward to…
HOUSTON at KANSAS CITY (Arrowhead Stadium, Friday September 11)
Where else would you start than the actual season opener!?! We get to see the champions open their championship defence at home with a talented but new-look Texans squad on the clock.
Coach Bill O’Brien sent All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins packing which will leave him open for mass criticism IF Deshaun Watson misses his No. 1 weapon significantly.
Should all things proceed positively, Arrowhead will be absolutely rocking as Mahomes, Tyreek, Kelce and round one pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire kickstart season 2020/21.
TAMPA BAY at NEW ORLEANS (Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Monday September 14)
Week 1 gets an unfair advantage when assessing the most exciting games of the season because everything is brand new.
But this one is different as a 43-year-old, six-time Super Bowl-winning QB makes his debut for Tampa Bay inside the raucous venue owned by a fellow 40-something-year-old Super Bowl-winning QB.
Oh, and, GOAT tight end Rob Gronkowski has followed Tom Brady to the Buccaneers adding even more spice to an already mouthwatering contest.
And the beauty is, we get to see this match-up again on November 9th.
KANSAS CITY at BALTIMORE (M&T Bank Stadium, Tuesday September 29)
Lamar Jackson is must-see TV. Patrick Mahomes is must-see TV. In week three of the NFL season, they take the field as opponents and whilst they’ll never ever be on the turf at the same time, this is a clash you cannot miss.
Both Jackson and Mahomes are under 25 and they’ve each won a league MVP gong. The NFL world is their oyster so watching these two go at it will be epic – and perhaps pivotal to playoff seeding down the road.
GREEN BAY at TAMPA BAY (Raymond James Stadium, Monday October 19)
Quarterbacks rule the world. And none will rule the 2020 NFL storylines like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. And at this point of the season, we’ll have a good handle on how both squads are tracking.
Rumours will likely swirl around Rodgers’ future in Green Bay, particularly should things go south in Packerland. Brady is Brady so you know the headlines will follow him everywhere he goes.
Two iconic quarterbacks duelling for perhaps one last time will be a magnificent watch.
CINCINNATI at MIAMI (Hard Rock Stadium, Monday December 7)
This one is very self-serving and I may be the only Australian tuned into this match via Game Pass but I’m hoping to see my guy Joe Burrow go up against Tua Tagovailoa down in the Floridian sunshine.
Burrow looks a lock to start in Cincinnati whilst Miami will seemingly take a more cautious approach with Tua. Hopefully by week 13, he’s healthy and ready to go against Burrow and the Bengals who should be improved with the offensive crew consisting of AJ Green, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd.
Both gunners have a chance to be special quarterbacks so I’ll be eager to see them clash as rookies.