NFL specialists choose finest matchups, greatest winners from schedule launch

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The 2020 NFL schedule is out, and the common season will start with the Houston Texans going through the Tremendous Bowl champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10. Week 1 additionally options the New Orleans Saints internet hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whereas the opening Monday Night time Soccer video games will see the Pittsburgh Steelers on the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans on the Denver Broncos.

Who’s the most important winner from the schedule launch? Which video games do you have to circle in your calendar? And which rookie debut would be the most fascinating? Our panel of NFL specialists weighs in.

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Which matchup do you’ve got circled in your calendar?

Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Chiefs at Saints, Week 15. Two of the NFL’s finest offenses in a possible Tremendous Bowl preview. Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, plus the playcalling of Andy Reid and Sean Payton. Plan for a shootout right here.

Jeremy Fowler, nationwide NFL author: Chiefs at Ravens, Week 3. That matchup was stellar a yr in the past, and these two are certain to be among the many most fun groups in 2020. Watching what Lamar Jackson and Mahomes do is a should every week, and this time you possibly can catch them each without delay.

Dan Graziano, nationwide NFL author: Chiefs at Saints, Week 15. Love that this recreation is scheduled for late December, by which period it is simple to think about each of those groups gearing up for potential playoff runs and perhaps a Tremendous Bowl matchup towards one another.

Jason Reid, senior author, The Undefeated: Texans at Chiefs, Week 1. Discuss beginning off proper with a famous person quarterback matchup. Kansas Metropolis’s Mahomes and Houston’s Deshaun Watson are the breakout members of the 2017 NFL draft class. Bears executives in all probability should not watch this one. Bear in mind: Chicago made Mitchell Trubisky the primary QB chosen in 2017.

Aaron Schatz, editor of Soccer Outsiders: Buccaneers at Saints, Week 1. The Saints prime my projections but once more this yr, and the Bucs must be massively enjoyable to look at with their new-look offense. And naturally, we’ve not gotten a lot of Brees towards Tom Brady in our lifetimes, and now we get it twice in a single season.

Kevin Seifert, nationwide NFL author: Texans at Chiefs, Week 1. How can we glance previous the annual kickoff recreation? The Texans blew up their roster after shedding a 24-Zero second-quarter result in the Chiefs within the divisional playoff spherical. Can they get any nearer to the Chiefs? Or will they as soon as once more be humiliated?

Area Yates, NFL analyst: Chiefs at Ravens, Week 3. Whereas I am keenly conscious of the very fact Mahomes and Jackson will play exactly zero snaps on the sphere on the similar time, any recreation during which these two are concerned is greater than sufficient to get enthusiastic about.


Who’s the most important winner of the schedule?

Bowen: The Buccaneers. With Tom Brady signing to play for Bruce Arians’ workforce, Tampa takes over the nationwide stage this season, logging 5 prime-time slots.

Fowler: Brady. The prime-time celebration involves him. He dominated the night-game circuit for a lot of the previous 20 years, and this slate of video games is perhaps his most hotly anticipated but. Everybody desires to look at him throw to Gronk in Buccaneers colours.

Graziano: The Patriots. 5 prime-time video games even with out Brady. Two video games at house to complete the season. Their L.A. video games in back-to-back weeks to allow them to keep on the market in between. Second-half highway video games are in Houston, L.A. and Miami, so no highway video games in chilly climate. Numerous people are going to select Buffalo within the AFC East, however New England’s schedule appears to arrange in a useful means for the 11-time defending division champs.

Reid: The Chiefs. Why? As a result of the schedule launch marks the official starting of their bid to repeat as Tremendous Bowl champs. Neglect the deep dives into house video games, prime-time video games, potential cold-weather video games, and many others. Simply present the Chiefs the schedule. After which let Patrick Mahomes get to work.

Schatz: The Ravens. They seem to have a clean highway via December — house towards Jacksonville and the Giants, then at Cincinnati — which may permit them to relaxation some gamers for the postseason.

Seifert: Las Vegas. After shedding out on internet hosting the 2020 NFL draft, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Vegas was richly rewarded with 4 prime-time video games at Allegiant Stadium. A kind of is a Monday Night time Soccer recreation that shall be simulcast on ABC and ESPN. Las Vegas will get the rapid headlines and a spotlight it sought when it lured the Raiders from Oakland.

Yates: The Raiders. The Raiders had an extremely troublesome slate final season during which they didn’t play a recreation in Oakland in what felt like a three-month stretch. This yr, they’ve 4 prime-time video games, all in Vegas. The league’s latest metropolis can have loads of consideration on it.


Submit-draft win totals are out. Which over or beneath do you’re feeling finest about selecting proper now?

Bowen: Steelers over 9.0. The Steelers function one of many NFL’s prime defenses, a unit that may create strain and take the ball away. Now pair that with an offense that will get a significant enhance from the return of Ben Roethlisberger. I see Mike Tomlin’s workforce attending to the 10-win mark in a troublesome and bodily AFC North.

Fowler: Packers over 8.5. No respect for a workforce that received 13 video games final season. I am not anticipating the Packers to duplicate that efficiency, however that is an bettering protection, and the quarterback is about to have the very best spite season in NFL historical past after the workforce drafted Jordan Love within the first spherical.

Graziano: Texans over 7.5. Solely as soon as in six seasons in Houston has Invoice O’Brien did not win at the least 9 video games. I hate the DeAndre Hopkins commerce as a lot as anybody, however betting towards O’Brien within the AFC South is not a good way to generate income.

Reid: Chiefs over 12.0. Full workforce with the sport’s finest quarterback and a future Corridor of Fame coach who’s coming off his first Tremendous Bowl title. Yeah. I am all-in on that over.

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Adam Schefter breaks down the pliability of the 2020 NFL schedule in coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

Schatz: 49ers beneath 10.5. These Caesars Sportsbook totals look fairly correct to me. I am going to exit on a limb with San Francisco. I am unable to deny the great expertise and robust teaching, however there is a good likelihood the 49ers are going to hit the Plexiglas Precept after bettering a lot final season, particularly on protection, the place groups are inclined to see extra regression towards the imply.

Seifert: Bears beneath 8.5. What number of occasions can a workforce change gears at quarterback? Nick Foles provides the Bears a greater likelihood than Mitchell Trubisky, if that is the best way their presumed coaching camp competitors is resolved. However in a division that features the Packers, Vikings and an improved Lions workforce, this could possibly be a troublesome yr for the Bears.

Yates: Packers over 8.5. I do know they have been a preferred goal for questioning this offseason and that their level differential final season was not reflective of a typical 13-Three workforce, however I do assume they’ll have a successful file this season. That does not really feel like a lot of a daring name for a workforce led by Aaron Rodgers.


Which rookie debut are you most all for?

Bowen: QB Joe Burrow, Bengals vs. Chargers. Burrow has high-level traits, however adapting to NFL defenses is a significant a part of the transition course of for rookie quarterbacks. Right here, the No. 1 total choose opens up towards a Chargers protection with disruptive pass-rushers and perhaps the league’s finest total secondary. Welcome to the league.

Fowler: DE Chase Younger, Redskins vs. Eagles. Whereas everyone seems to be intently inspecting the rookie quarterbacks, I will be watching Younger carry Carson Wentz to the turf in a classic Washington efficiency. I anticipate the Redskins to be a lot improved beneath Ron Rivera, and Younger will lead a Professional Bowl-caliber cost.

Graziano: Burrow. It must be Burrow towards a robust Chargers protection that must be more healthy than it was final season. Joey Bosa up entrance, Derwin James on the again finish. Rookie Kenneth Murray manning the center. Burrow jumps in feetfirst.

Reid: Burrow. I am noticing a pattern of the No. 1 choose towards the Los Angeles Chargers, which undoubtedly is smart. Burrow will begin out towards a robust Chargers protection. And though one recreation doesn’t a profession make, his first recreation will draw numerous curiosity for apparent causes.

Schatz: Burrow. Look, the man’s coming off one of many biggest seasons in faculty soccer historical past. After all we need to see how he will do on the subsequent degree.

Seifert: Justin Jefferson, Vikings vs. Packers. Everybody wished the Packers to draft Jefferson to present Aaron Rodgers a sophisticated new weapon. As a substitute, the Vikings drafted him to interchange Stefon Diggs and the Packers drafted backup quarterback Jordan Love. That’ll be a enjoyable subplot to the groups’ Week 1 matchup at U.S. Financial institution Stadium.

Yates: Burrow. I may purpose for some kind of witty justification of why it isn’t Burrow, however why hassle? He has an opportunity to fully rewrite the route of the Bengals, and that every one begins towards the Chargers.


Bonus: What’s your early Tremendous Bowl LV choose?

Bowen: Chiefs over Saints. The Saints loaded up for yet another run at this factor with Drew Brees. However I am staying with the Chiefs right here. The band is getting again collectively on offense in Kansas Metropolis, and I anticipate the protection to make an enormous bounce in Yr 2 beneath coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Fowler: Ravens over Seahawks. Lamar Jackson figures all the pieces out, and the Ravens’ loaded roster does the remainder. Seattle escapes the NFC after a vicious battle with the Saints, and Jackson scrambles and tosses his method to 400 yards in a near-perfect effort on the most important stage. It will not be sufficient.

Graziano: Saints over Ravens. Third yr in a row I am selecting the Saints. It has to work in some unspecified time in the future, would not it? As for Baltimore, it is scary to think about what John Harbaugh and Greg Roman are going to have the ability to provide you with to raise this offense once more in Jackson’s third yr. Their playoff flop will solely make them hungrier.

Reid: Chiefs over Saints. I may present numerous sharp evaluation right here to make myself look actually good. As a substitute, I am going to sum it up in a single phrase: Mahomes.

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5:17

Ryan Clark predicts Tom Brady’s Buccaneers to go 11-5 as their 2020 schedule is launched.

Schatz: Saints over Chiefs. The Saints, Chiefs and Ravens lead the early Soccer Outsiders projections. I feel that is the third yr in a row I’ve picked the Saints to win all of it, and I am simply going to maintain doing it till Brees slips or the Saints lastly recover from the hump as an alternative of struggling a painfully shut playoff loss.

Seifert: Chiefs over Buccaneers. There’s a lot youth and blue-chip athleticism on the Chiefs’ roster that it is actually not that onerous to check them as a repeat champion. (Bear in mind, they superior to the AFC Championship Recreation in 2018.) And the Buccaneers? Cannot wager towards the reunited mixture of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, together with a extremely good protection led by coordinator Todd Bowles.

Yates: Saints over Chiefs. The 2 most full groups within the NFL. See you in Tampa in February.

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