NFL Top 10 Games for 2021: Weeks 1-9
The NFL has really become a year round league. The draft in April and now the schedule release in May. They have turned the mundane into must see TV. Football junkies like myself tuned in from start to finish. The schedule release gets the football fever started and I've poured over the first nine weeks to find some great matchups that every fan won't want to miss. I stayed away from traditional rivalries and divisional matchups, as those draw eyes regardless. I mostly went with playoff and Super Bowl implications matchups. It was a difficult task and you will see some repeat teams, but let's hop in and see what we have in store for 2021.
1. Tampa Bay @ New England (Week 4)
True football fans and even the casual watcher are going to be glued to their televisions for this matchup. Bill Belichick wants this one bad, no matter what he may say to the media. Tom Brady hoisting his 7th Lombardi in February, amped this matchup up to an 11. This may have Super Bowl type TV ratings. Tom Vs. Bill in Sunday primetime at Foxboro is absolutely must see TV.
2. Buffalo @ Kansas City (Week 5)
A rematch of the AFC Championship game last year and could be a preview of this years. Buffalo added some pass rushers in the draft to try and get home against Pat Mahomes and the vaunted Chiefs offense, will it be enough? The Chiefs fresh off an embarrassing Super Bowl performance, where they couldn't protect their franchise QB, went out and rebuilt their entire offense line. Can the Bills get over the hump? Do they have enough offense to score with KC? Do the pass rush upgrades rattle Mahomes? Tune into this matchup to find out.
3. Dallas @ Tampa Bay (Week 1)
The first real NFL game of the year and the NFL did not disappoint! The Bucs raising the Championship banner, the return of Dak Prescott, Americas Team versus The Golden Boy, and a jam packed house in primetime. What a way to start the year, count me in!
4. Cleveland @ Kansas City (Week 1)
The Browns are all in this year, after adding a bunch of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Drawing the defendMing AFC champs right out of the gate should be a good test. Last years playoff game showed the Browns could play with Kansas City and they hope the upgrades will be enough to put them over the top. Super Bowl or bust for Cleveland starts in Arrowhead.
5. Green Bay @ San Francisco (Week 3)
This could be a boom or bust game, depending on how the Aaron Rodgers situation plays out in Green Bay. The 49ers went and got their quarterback of the future in Trey Lance and he could be starting by Week 5. Rodgers returning to the Bay area against a team that dismantled his Super Bowl hopes two years ago, I’ll be watching as long as Rodgers is still a Packer.
6. Kansas City @ Baltimore (Week 2)
This has been a great AFC matchup the last two years, but Baltimore and Lamar Jackson need to beat the Chiefs. Kansas City has won the last 3 matchups and its starting to look like the Ravens just don't have enough to knock them off. The quarterback matchup between two of the most electric players in the NFL is compelling enough for me to tune into this one.
7. Indianapolis @ San Francisco (Week 7)
I had to have an old school matchup. This is it, as both teams want to beat you up on the ground and mix in some play action on offense. The defenses are both near the top of the league if healthy. Carson Wentz was brought in to take the reigns of a Super Bowl ready team and this interconference matchup should tell us something.
8. Green Bay @ Kansas City (Week 9)
The Super Bowl matchup, that could have been last year. This again depends on the Rodgers situation, but a potential Rodgers versus Mahomes matchup is just too juicy to leave off this list.
9. Dallas @ New England (Week 6)
Two teams trying to bounce back after disappointing years? Rabid national followings? Huge offseason moves? This matchup has all three and will have people tuning in to see if Dak can go into Foxboro and outwit Bill Belichick. Could Mac Jones be at the helm for the Patriot's by then? Who knows, but I’ll be watching to find out.
10. Cincinnati @ Jacksonville (Week 4)
What?! A meaningless 1 o'clock game between two bottom dwelling franchises? But the quarterback matchup between the last two #1 picks has some intrigue. The Jags took Trevor Lawrence first overall this year and Jacksonville new head man Urban Meyer, making his NFL coaching debut will hand him the keys to the franchise. Cincinnati got their trigger man last year in Joe Burrow, he will be coming off injury but last year showed he could finally end the Bengals long search for a franchise quarterback. The new look Jags offense under Meyer and the explosive Bengals offense should put on enough of a show for me to tune in for a little bit.
What a tough assignment to pick just 10 games to highlight, I would love to have your feedback on which games I missed or which ones you would have left off. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow and check out more articles and podcasts on bluecollarmg.com.