NFL on the Horizon: Must-See Week 1 Games
Arrowhead Welcomes Fans
Never fear Chiefs’ fans. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket then you will be joined by approximately 17,000 other Kansas City crazies. That’s right, the Chiefs recently issued a press release that Arrowhead Stadium will be filled to 22 percent of capacity. COVID-19 protocols are firmly in place with enhanced sanitization of the facility as well as staff members being subjected to health screening before they are allowed entrance into the facility.
As for the patrons, there will be cashless transactions at the concession stands to minimize contact between staff and fans while hand sanitizing stations will be ubiquitous and easily accessible. Commemorative masks will also be given out for the first three games of the season to all who enter. Social distancing will be practiced by safely spacing the seating assignments while those who choose to tailgate will also be distanced according to safety guidelines.
“As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season,” the Chiefs said in a written statement posted to their website.
Week 1 Marquee Matchups
If you are a fan of the NFL then an exhibition game between the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars and the dismal Detroit Lions would be a sight for sore eyes right about now. But if all goes according to plan then we will see a full NFL slate of games within a month’s time.
Thursday, September 10th – Texans vs. Chiefs
This is the official kickoff of the 2020 NFL season and all eyes will be on this Thursday night showdown as Patrick Mahomes and the vaunted Chiefs’ offense get back to work to begin the defense of their Super Bowl crown. As of this writing, Kansas City is a solid 10-point home favorite and will enjoy hearing their fans cheer them on while other franchises might not be quite so lucky. These teams tangoed twice last year with Houston upsetting Kansas City in their regular-season meeting while the Chiefs paid them back in their postseason clash with a 51-31 victory.
Sunday, September 13th – Dolphins vs. Patriots
The landscape has changed dramatically in Foxboro as Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa Bay, leaving in his wake a sublime 20-year career with the Patriots where he copped a whopping six Super Bowl rings and nine AFC championship titles. Cam Newton appears to be the heir apparent but will he rekindle his Superman performances of 2015 or will he play more like Clark Kent? On the other side of the field, fans could get their first glimpse of Tua Tagovailoa, the can’t-miss kid who suffered a dislocated hip in a game against Mississippi State midway through last season after winning a national championship in the 2017 season and returning the following season only to lose to Clemson.
Sunday, September 13th – Browns vs. Ravens
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson was the most electric player in the league last season and it earned him his first MVP Award. All Jackson did was toss for 36 touchdowns and 3,127 yards but then added seven rushing touchdowns while chewing up over 1200 yards of real estate. And now we get to watch him do it all over again. However, for all his gaudy statistics, what he and his team failed to accomplish was winning their opening-round playoff game against Tennessee. The Ravens will be out for redemption but Baker Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and the Browns will do their level best to derail those plans in Week 1.
Sunday, September 13th – Bucs vs. Saints
The Tom Brady Era begins in Tampa and there is no bigger game in the opening week of the season than watching how the 43-year-old GOAT acclimates to his new teammates. Unlike his last season in New England, he has weapons galore with one of the best in the business in Mike Evans and speed merchant Chris Godwin on the wings while old buddy, Rob Gronkowski, returns from his one-year retirement to join the party in the Bay. However, their opponents down on the Big Easy have a future Hall of Fame quarterback of their own in Drew Brees. It will be fascinating to see these two 40-somethings go toe-to-toe in their first of two divisional tilts.