By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The 2021 NFL schedule was released on Wednesday, and football fans will be treated to an expanded regular season – each team will now play 17 games instead of 16 – full of intriguing matchups and storylines. We examined the schedule and came up with the best “must-see” game for each week. In other words, if you had the ability to attend one NFL game foe every week of the season, here is our suggested dream itinerary:
WEEK 1: BALTIMORE @ LAS VEGAS. Finally, fans will be able to fill Allegiant Stadium, and on the first Monday Night Football game of the season, no less. Expect a wild and electric atmosphere. Oh, and speaking of electric, we got two words for ya: “Lamar Jackson.”
WEEK 2: DENVER @ JACKSONVILLE. Urban Meyer and No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence make their home debuts in Duval. The big questions: Will the visiting team debut a new QB of their own, and if so, will it be Aaron Rodgers?
WEEK 3: GREEN BAY @ SAN FRANCISCO. With or without Rodgers, this will be an early-season test for the Packers, as they visit a dangerous 49ers team that should bounce back from a disappointing 2020 season.
WEEK 4: TAMPA BAY @ NEW ENGLAND. Tom Brady returns to New England. ’Nuff said.
WEEK 5: BUFFALO @ KANSAS CITY. A rematch of last season’s AFC championship game. Kansas City has won five of the last six games with the Bills, including two in 2020 (once in the regular season, and again in the AFC championship. If Buffalo wants to take that next step, they’ll have to get by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
WEEK 6: MIAMI vs JACKSONVILLE. Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence renew their friendly rivalry…in London? Crickey!
WEEK 7: DETROIT @ L.A. RAMS. Matthew Stafford is now a Ram. Jared Goff is now a Lion. These kinds of stories write themselves.
WEEK 8: PITTSBURGH @ CLEVELAND. Last season, the Browns posted a winning record for the first time since 2007 and made their first postseason appearance since 2002. But now they’re hungry for more. Toppling the Steelers from the top of the AFC North Division is that next step. As for the Steelers, here’s a hot take: Najee Harris will make a strong push for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
WEEK 9: ARIZONA @ SAN FRANCISCO. Here’s a key NFC West matchup to close the first half of the 2021 season. Plus, a grand tour of the NFL season wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity to see Cardinals QB Kyler Murray do his thing.
Come back tomorrow for Part Two!
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