The NFL’s Must-See TV
Amid this global pandemic and dearth of sporting events, a must-see TV event would qualify as anything even remotely related to a competitive event featuring world-class athletes. But at some point, in the not too distant future (we hope) the king of North American sports will be taking center stage and the NFL will reign supreme. The ratings will be staggering and right now, at this moment in time, we could fathom a guess that a preseason game between the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals would take on Super Bowl proportions.
Even the most casual fan is waiting with bated breath for the arrival of professional football and once it begins, some semblance of normalcy will return. But until that time, let’s look ahead to the top five games on the NFL slate this season.
— NFL (@NFL) May 8, 2020
- 49ers at Patriots (October 25th, CBS) – Every football fan outside of Foxboro, Massachusetts is reveling in the notion that the New England Patriots will be knocked off their lofty perch after decades of dominance. Tom Brady will no longer be barking signals under center for the Pats and their comeuppance has been dreamt about for years after allegations of cheating and subterfuge tarnished their impossible reign of supremacy. It will be a communal case of schadenfreude if Bill Belichick and his troops sputter after losing their legendary quarterback to the Bucs while those who have insisted the Evil Genius would be nothing without Tom Terrific seek vindication. Of course, that entire scenario presumes the Patriots will indeed fall from grace this year and their matchup with the 49ers will add another element as former Brady backup Jimmy Garoppolo will be on the other side of the field trying to remind Pats fans what they’re missing after Belichick sent him packing to the 49ers for a measly second-round pick. Is this the year that the curtain will close on the New England dynasty?
- Chiefs at Saints (December 20th, CBS) – As of this preseason writing we can look at this clash of the titans as a Super Bowl preview but if one or both teams fail to live up to expectations then it will be far less dramatic. Nevertheless, anytime the Super Bowl champs come to town, especially at a non-stop party venue like the Big Easy right before Christmas, it is sure to be a spectacle. A win over the Chiefs would send N’awlins into a frenzy and there’s nothing better than debauchery mixed with victory.
- Patriots at Bills (November 1st, CBS) – The Bills are the up-and-comers in the AFC East and the most likely to unclench the vice-like grip the Patriots have had on the division. If we take a look at the odds of winning the AFC East, we see that the bills have pulled ahead the Bills have pulled ahead, albeit ever so slightly, of the Patriots as the favorites to end the season in the first place and supplant the perennial champs for the first time since 2008! As of this writing, the Bills are +125 to win the division, trailed closely by the Patriots at +130, with the Dolphins and Jets tied at +800. This could be viewed as the changing of the guard and there will be plenty of people in the Northeast corridor with eyes glued on this November clash.
- Buccaneers at Saints (September 13th, Fox) –There are some of us out there who recall when Michael Jordan came out of retirement and decided to play for the dreadful Washington Wizards as a rusty middle-aged man. Jordan was 38 at the time and a few years removed from his glory days with the Bulls so his return was greeted with mild curiosity as opposed to the absolute pandemonium sweeping the NFL at the prospect of another GOAT switching jerseys in the twilight of his career. The key differences are that Brady, although not at the height of his powers, is still a top-tier player, and his new team is loaded, unlike Jordan’s woeful Wizards. Due to sheer curiosity, this game could be No. 1 on the NFL slate as two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, do battle for the first time in a divisional tilt. However, it is only Week 1 and, regardless of the result, it will not define either team going forward. But what a great way to start the 2020 season.
- Chiefs at Ravens (September 28th, ESPN) – We finally get to see the AFC Championship that never happened last season. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens looked unstoppable and it seemed inevitable that the irresistible force would meet the immovable object, aka the Kansas City Chiefs. It was the best two teams in the league and it would be illogical to think they wouldn’t collide in the AFC title tilt. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the conference championship as the Ravens were stunned by the Titans after going 14-2 over the course of the regular season, paving the way for the Chiefs to get a much easier path to the Super Bowl. The schedule-makers know this game will pull huge numbers and it should because this is the No. 1 game on the NFL schedule in the 2020 season.