2020 NFL schedule takeaways, power rankings and more


The 2020 NFL schedule is out, and there are important takeaways for each division. Right here’s our prime 10 heading into the summer season.

10. Chicago catches an early break

The Chicago Bears must be thrilled. They won’t lose till deep into October.

Right here’s how the primary six weeks play out:

  • at Detroit Lions
  • vs. New York Giants
  • at Atlanta Falcons
  • vs. Indianapolis Colts
  • vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TNF)
  • at Carolina Panthers

The Bears draw maybe the NFC’s three worst groups and have the Colts at residence and the Buccaneers — a superb crew — at Soldier Discipline on a brief week. Whereas the Falcons may show a tricky out, it’s not inconceivable to see Chicago profitable in Atlanta.

9. Cowboys and Eagles meet in Week 16 as soon as extra

Final yr, the NFC East was determined within the season’s penultimate week. It’d occur once more.

The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles clashed at The Linc final December with the house crew profitable ugly. Wanting on the division, it’s exhausting to see the Eagles or Cowboys not strolling away with the crown. The primary matchup comes Week Eight in Philadelphia, with Dallas attending to host the rematch this time round. It could possibly be one of many league’s finest video games of the yr.

Eight. Playing cards obtained dealt a nasty hand by schedule makers

The NFL will need to have seen Kliff Kingsbury’s home and determined his life is simply too straightforward.

Arizona has one of many uncommon three-game street journeys on its schedule, going through the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and Cowboys in Weeks Four-6. The Cardinals additionally journey to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Evening Soccer earlier than heading to New England for a cross-country tilt at 1 p.m. ET with the Patriots. Oh, and so they open up at Levi’s Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers. Not ideally suited.

7. Burrow vs. Tua provides us nice matchup for future

In Week 13, the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins conflict at Onerous Rock Stadium for what must be the primary of many NFL contests between Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.

Drafted solely 4 slots aside, and hailing from rival SEC faculties, this has the makings of an excellent rivalry for 15 years. Hopefully that is the beginnings of one thing particular. Possibly one in all these groups surprises and is within the race.

6. Texans have the beginning from hell

Houston has endured a tricky run. The Texans blew a 24-Zero lead within the Divisional spherical, traded DeAndre Hopkins and prolonged Laremy Tunsil on an absurd deal over the previous 4 months. The schedule launch solely added to their distress.

Houston’s first three video games subsequent season: at Kansas Metropolis, vs. Baltimore and at Pittsburgh. Tough. If the Texans are 1-2 going into a house date with the Minnesota Vikings — one other exhausting recreation — they need to be thrilled.

5. AFC East may collectively have an extended yr forward

No person is aware of who’s profitable the AFC East. Regardless, they most likely received’t be a prime seed.

The division will play the NFC West and AFC West, making it a gauntlet for all 4 groups. New England not solely attracts these eight foes but in addition will get a street date with Deshaun Watson and Houston, together with the Ravens coming to Gillette Stadium.

The important thing to profitable the division is at all times taking part in nicely inside it, however that’s doubly true for the AFC East in 2020.

Four. Browns have favorable schedule in Stefanski’s first yr

If the Cleveland Browns underperform once more, it received’t be as a result of the schedule gods hate them.

Cleveland begins in Baltimore however then performs three of 4 at residence with the Bengals, Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts coming in. In addition they get to remain by Lake Erie in Weeks Eight-11 earlier than a Week 12 journey to face the underwhelming Jacksonville Jaguars. The final recreation of the common season additionally has the Browns welcoming within the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Issues went proper for Cleveland right here.

three. Broncos are improved, however a brutal starting awaits

Denver is a well-liked choose to succeed in the postseason for the primary time since 2015. Nonetheless, schedule does it no favors. The Broncos’ begin with the Tennessee Titans on Monday evening earlier than going to Pittsburgh on a brief week.

Then it’s again to Denver for a gathering with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers earlier than going cross-country for a Thursday evening affair towards the Jets. The following week it’s again to the East Coast for the Patriots. A difficult begin for Drew Lock and Co.

2. Bucs and Saints are getting us kicked off proper

When Brady signed with Tampa Bay, everybody started desirous about his matchups with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Fortunately, the NFL isn’t making us wait. The NFC South rivals will meet Week 1 within the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The winner has a major leg up within the divisional race, giving us probably the most impactful recreation of the opening weekend.

1. Week three may have a significant influence on the postseason

It’s not typically September provides us a weekend which implies a lot come January. But that’s what we have now in Week three.

On Sept. 27, the Texans and Steelers meet in Pittsburgh within the early afternoon. The Cowboys go to the Seahawks within the late window. On Sunday evening, it’s the Inexperienced Bay Packers and Saints within the Superdome. Then, on Monday evening, the Chiefs invade Baltimore with Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes assembly for the third time of their younger careers.

A quartet of nice video games, all of which may have large playoff implications.

Energy rankings

High 10 quarterbacks not within the Corridor of Fame (have to be eligible)

1. Ken Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals
2. Phil Simms, New York Giants
three. John Hadl, Los Angeles Chargers
Four. Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals
5. Jim Hart, St. Louis Cardinals
6. John Brodie, San Francisco 49ers
7. Steve McNair, Tennessee Titans
Eight. Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles
9. Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins
10. Earl Morrall, Baltimore Colts/Miami Dolphins

Quotable

“I prescribe to the strategy of aggressive equity inside our recreation, and that’s everyone will get a chance. Our recreation is extraordinarily aggressive. It’s one of many issues that make soccer at this stage so enticing to our followers. I’m dedicated to preserving and defending that, and so all groups getting a chance to start out on the identical footing is a core component of that.”

– Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on when groups can reopen their services

As groups undergo OTAs and minicamps over the following six weeks, the league should contemplate all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the NFL is seeking to start the method of opening crew services on Friday, Tomlin’s level is one to be strongly thought of.

The league needs normalcy — and so does everybody on the globe — nevertheless it most transfer as gradual because the slowest state with an NFL crew. In any other case, sure golf equipment will get pleasure from an unfair benefit.

Podcast

Random stat

1971 was the one yr of the last decade by which one of many Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers or Minnesota Vikings didn’t play of their respective convention title recreation.

Data discovered this week

1. NFL schedule speaks volumes on stage of coronavirus concern

There was a perception the NFL would have non-conference video games main the schedule to supply cushion for a delayed season. Not the case.

The league revealed its schedule on Thursday evening and didn’t deviate from its typical methods. There have been loads of divisional bouts all through the slate, whereas inter-conference video games have been unfold out over common season.

Whether or not it’s short-sighted or not, the NFL backed up what its message has been all offseason. Full steam forward.

In fact, coronavirus and the way it’ll play out in america from now till Labor Day is anyone’s guess. It may rage on or start sputtering. Possibly the NFL has unimaginable timing and snuck within the Tremendous Bowl earlier than the nation went right into a digital lockdown and begins its 2020 season as we’re going again to a brand new regular. It stays to be seen.

For now, commissioner Roger Goodell clearly believes the league will play a full 17-week marketing campaign. How the NFL — and the nation — navigates the following few months shall be fascinating to look at.

Right here’s to well being and security for all.

2. Tremendous Bowl LV odds paint lopsided image

Free company and the draft are over. The schedule is out, and so are the Tremendous Bowl odds.

BOVADA has the Chiefs (+600) as slight favorites to win all of it, edging out the Ravens (+650). After these AFC superpowers? Seven NFC groups, led by the 49ers (+800) and Saints (+1000). The Patriots and Payments share the third-best odds out of the AFC (+2200).

These strains are paying homage to the early ’90s NFC when Dallas and San Francisco have been outpacing the remainder of their convention at a comical fee. Barring a shock, Kansas Metropolis and Baltimore will enter the season as prohibitive favorites to see one another within the AFC Championship Recreation.

In the meantime, the NFC is anyone’s guess. Even with the brand new playoff format, there shall be high quality groups residence for the postseason.

The AFC could have the 2 finest groups, however the NFC has unimaginable depth.

three. Saints transfer on from Warford in shock transfer

Larry Warford is 28 years previous and a three-time Professional Bowler. He’s now a free agent.

After taking heart Cesar Ruiz within the first spherical of the NFL Draft, the Saints determined to chop bait with their star veteran, saving $7 million in cap area. Warford has been to Orlando every of the previous three campaigns, and may draw heavy curiosity in the marketplace.

The query is what kind of curiosity? With free company’s crux lengthy over and the draft behind us, many groups will solely offer one-year pacts. Nonetheless, this could be excellent for Warford. If he performs nicely once more in 2020, the previous Kentucky Wildcat can hit the open market alongside the Patriots’ Joe Thuney as prime accessible guards subsequent offseason when the cap is schedule to skyrocket.

Within the meantime, one fortunate crew will achieve a Professional Bowler in Could.

Four. Patriots seem dedicated to Jarrett Stidham

Cam Newton doesn’t seem the reply in Foxborough.

Many have lengthy related the dots on Newton heading north for the Patriots, and whereas it will make sense, the fact is completely different. Regardless of Stidham being a former fourth-round choose with solely 4 profession passes — together with a pick-six — Invoice Belichick apparently believes within the teen.

Moreover, The Athletic stories New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wasn’t excessive on Newton when he interviewed for the Carolina job.

At 23 years previous, Stidham has probably the most unenviable job in soccer. The Auburn product has to exchange Tom Brady, the very best quarterback of all time in most estimations. He’ll be doing so and not using a star-studded forged round him, largely counting on an growing older Julian Edelman, second-year man N’Keal Karry and Mohamed Sanu.

Stidham seems to have his probability. If he thrives, give each he and Belichick all of the credit score.

5. Clowney continues to attend for a deal

Jadeveon Clowney remaining a free agent is one hell of an upset, but right here we’re.

The rumors haven’t stopped flying a couple of potential cope with the Eagles or a return to the Seahawks, however no deal has been brokered. If Clowney and his illustration are ready for a crew to return in heavy with a multi-year supply, they might be suggested to surrender the pipe dream.

It’s been written on this area earlier than, however Clowney’s finest path ahead is to signal a one-year deal, work his tail off by way of the summer season and dominate come the autumn. If Clowney can keep wholesome and publish his first double-digit sack season, he’ll money in come 2021.

No person likes ready, however for Clowney, he doesn’t have a selection if he needs the large cash.

Historical past lesson

In 1979, the Rams met the Buccaneers within the NFC Championship Recreation. Los Angeles received 9-Zero to succeed in its first Tremendous Bowl.

Tampa Bay quarterbacks Doug Williams and Mike Rae accomplished Four-of-26 makes an attempt for 54 yards.

Fortunately, the passing recreation has come a great distance within the 40 years since.

Parting shot

On Wednesday evening, I acquired a telephone name. My cousin, the closest I’ve been to a brother, died.

He was 31 years previous. He died of an obvious drug overdose.

For those who suppose somebody you like is struggling, attain out. Inform them you care. Inform them they’re beloved.

For those who’re struggling, let me say this: anyone cares. Anyone on the market can be crushed by shedding you. Somebody on the market won’t ever forgive themselves for staying silent at some point too lengthy.

Far too typically in life our delight or machismo will get in the best way. We don’t need to really feel weak or weak. I’d prefer to suppose I used to be there for my cousin, however I do know within the last years, I wasn’t. I didn’t do my half to ensure issues have been good.

Possibly it wouldn’t have mattered. Possibly it will have made all of the distinction.

I hope he by no means doubted he was beloved. Do your self a favor, and erase somebody’s doubt at present.



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