Dissecting the Schedules

Come on, admit it. You’ve seen your teams’ schedule and you’ve totted up how many wins you’ll get along the way. Nothing to be ashamed of! Hopefully you’ve been doing the totting up on the schedules that you have viewed on our amazing 2021 NFL Schedule Release Wallpapers. Desktop, tablet and Mobile versions all there for you WITH UK TIMES on the games! Our gift to you ahead of the offseason.

I have taken it upon myself to go through each team’s schedule and give you a particular game that caught the eye whilst also providing you with some quirks in the scheduling along the way.
Let me know what game you are most looking forward to in 2021 by following me on Twitter @Tim_MonkF10Y or join the bigger conversation over @Full10Yards too.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Game in focus: Week 5 @ Chiefs

The Bills get 3 top tier defences out of the gate with games against the Steelers, Washington and the Dolphins. They’ll get a nice week 4 layup before returning to Arrowhead, the scene of their post season humiliation in 2020. Can Josh Allen close the gap by taking another leap forward in year 4 with the Bills? The Bills beefed up their pass rush, whils tthe Chiefs have address the offensive line… which comes out on top?

Miami Dolphins

Game in focus:  Week 1 @ Patriots

The tone could be set for the season in week 1 as the Dolphins travel to a wounded Patriots and Bill Belichick who had the equivalent of a mid life crisis when buying lots of shiny new things in Free Agency. Tua will have no excuses and be under the spotlight right from the get go, with no Ryan Fitzpatrick to bail the team out. Something you don’t see very often, Dolphins play the Patriots in the 1st and last weeks of the regular season. Also the fact that Miami only have one road game between weeks 9-15.

New England Patriots

Game in focus: Week 4 vs Buccaneers

The build up to this one will get boring quickly but its Brady going back to the place that made him famous. Belichick and co probably putting on a brave face especially if losing their 1st 3 against the Dolphins, Jets and Saints. How many references do you think Michaels and Collinsworth make to Brady and Belichick’s past relationship? You have to know that Bill is already game planning for that one.

New York Jets

Game in focus: Week 1 @ Panthers

Whilst the Jets wont be troubling the playoff hunt this year, the game that will be in the spotlight will be in week one in the Sam Darnold Bowl. The Jets did not give their former 1st round pick any tools or any chance of succeeding under Adam Gase. You can say the opposite for Zach Wilson and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in this early grudge match.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

Game in focus: Week 17 vs Browns

The last 3 games for the Steelers is brutal with matchups at Kansas and Baltimore sandwiched between this home game against the Browns. Have to feel that this match will once again go towards deciding a division winner and you wont be belittled for wondering if Big Ben is still healthy/active as he enters the last couple of holes on his round, so to speak.

Baltimore Ravens

Game in focus: Week 12 vs Browns

Week 12 sees the 1st of 3 straight divisional games with the Steelers sandwiched between 2 Browns games. The 1st of those could prove pivotal towards divisional record and could give the victors a leg up for the AFC north crown.

Fun fact – Baltimore have 4 straight home games  + bye meaning they do not leave Baltimore between. Oct 4th – Nov 10th

Cleveland Browns

Game in focus: Week 1 @ Chiefs

These two have some unfinished business from last years AFC title game and with the Texans in week 2, the Browns can go all in on this one to try and put the record straight. Many may fancy a deep run from the Browns under Stefanski in year 2 and this would be a statement win first up.

Cincinnati Bengals

Game in focus: Week 4 vs Jaguars (TNF)

You’ll be hard pressed to say many Bengals games are pivotal judging on recent success, but Joe Burrow vs Trevor Lawrence should be a good enough reason to stay up on a Thursday Night to watch in the rematch of the 2019 National Championship. Burrow came away with the victory on that occasion, can he do it again?

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AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

Game in focus: Week 8 vs Titans

It’s unlikely that the Texans and Jags make a push this year except for the #1 overall pick perhaps, so the Titans and Colts will once again have a 2 way tussle for the AFC South Title. The games between these teams were pivotal in 2020 and will be so again this season. The colts don’t have a bye until week 14, by which point 5 of their 6 divisional games would have been played, their home against the Titans will be the most crucial prior to that bye.

Tennessee Titans

Game in focus: Week 17 vs Dolphins

There is a good chance that this game will have playoff implications for both teams (if Tua takes a step forward) which makes this game a very intriguing one for both teams and both divisions. Titans finish up in week 18 with the Texans and the Titans play the 49ers on TNF the week before so will have a few extra days to prepare for this potentially tense tussle.

Houston Texans

Game in focus: Week 1 vs Jaguars

Sorry Texans fans, you aren’t winning many games this year and therefore it’s hard to pick a pivotal game. The Jaguars out of the gate will give you a chance to say you were the first team to hand Trevor Lawrence his first regular season loss. However, I think Deshaun Watson could be suspended due to his alleged indiscretions so if that amounts to anything, it’ll be hard to see any wins on this schedule.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Game in focus: Week 6 vs Miami (London)

Pivotal for a few reasons. After this game finishes, we’ll have learned a lot about Trevor Lawrence and the Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville. Also, whilst it’s a “home game”, it’s not even half a home game as this one isn’t at Wembley. Also somehow we never got to see Tua vs Trevor Lawrence in college, so that’s a nice little under the radar storyline too.

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AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Game in focus: Week 3 vs Chargers

Probably not the game you would expect to pick here. Hear me out. Week 1 they face the browns (see the Browns), week two they are at Baltimore. That’s 2 tough games out of the gate and whilst the Charger’s may possible starting to change their stripes, the Chiefs cannot allow themselves to take the foot off the gas and Justin Herbert and co. will fancy causing an upset in a potential let down spot for the Chiefs, especially with games against Buffalo and Washington on the horizon shortly after for Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.

Los Angeles Chargers

Game in focus: Week 6 @ Ravens

The Chargers have a week 7 bye and then the schedule opens up quite nicely for the Chargers. If they can get out of week 6’s game at .500 (3-3), they will be in very good shape to make a postseason push. A lot of eyes will be on Herbert in year two and with the new coaching staff, there may even be an air of expectancy at this early stage considering the promise the former #6 overall pick showed last year. Baltimore will be a tough venue to go to with fans (probably) back in the stands. It’ll be a game of two explosive offensives and two stout defences. Fascinating under the radar game in Baltimore.

Denver Broncos

Game in focus: Week 6 vs Raiders

Fun fact – Denver have no MNF game for the first time since 1991. They also don’t appear on Sunday football which explains where exactly the Broncos are in terms of progress. Drew Lock is under a fair amount of pressure and have a week 11 bye. I firmly believe Drew Lock starts the season at Quarterback and depending on how this game goes could go towards a benching or confirming he’ll see out the rest of the season. They’ll have a good chance at at least not having a losing record with Giants, Jaguars and Jets in their 1st 3, but come out of that 1-2 before facing the Ravens and the Steelers, this Raiders matchup could prove more pivotal than first look on paper.

Las Vegas Raiders

Game in focus: Week 5 vs Bears.

The Raiders could be a hot mess this year. Their opening slate sees them take on Ravens, Steelers, Chargers and the Dolphins. They could legitimately be 0-4 heading in to this one, which makes this game vital for Carr, Gruden and the Raider Nation. They’ll have 2 more easier games against the Broncos and Eagles before their bye but things could get ugly in the Sin City if this divisional match is lost at home in a repeat of the 1st International series game at Tottenham.

NFC East

Washington Football Team

Game in focus: Week 10 vs Tampa Bay

There are a few interesting stretches for Washington, They play the Giants in week two then their last 5 games are all NFC East opponents. There’s also a stretch prior to the bye where they face the Bills, saints, Chiefs and Packers in a 5 game window. However, coming out from their week 9 bye, after going close against Tampa in the post season with Taylor Heinicke, Ryan Fitzpatrick with one of his million revenge games will be fascinating to watch.

New York Giants

Game in focus: Week 2 vs Washington

Giants could be absolutely anything this year. Saquon is back and they have freshened up the wide receiving room for Danny Dimes. Their week 2 clash with Washingotn could be a good indicator on what the Giants will be in 2021, which will be on Thursday night Football. There are winnable games either side agains the Broncos and Falcons so if things go their way here, 3-0 start!

Dallas Cowboys

Game in focus: Week 2 @Chargers

The Cowboys play 3 TNF games including the season opener and their customary Thanksgiving game. Their week 2 one could be quite pivotal because if you give the Bucs the opening day win, losing to the Chargers could start to see questions being asked of Mike McCarthy. At the very least his seat wil get a little bit hotter. The schedule on thw whole is favourable, with a fairly soft middle portion, but going 0-2 always makes the next game that much harder when you are behind the 8 ball with your newly paid (rightly or wrongly) Quarterback, who himself is coming back from a devastating injury.

Philadelphia Eagles

Game in focus: Week 3 @ Dallas

Howie and Hurts will likely be on short leashes this season, even if they make it to the end of the year, but week 3 on Monday Night football against the Cowboys is always a huge matchup in the division. We should know by this game if Hurts is the answer in Philly or if the Eagles’ struggles continue. They do have a favourable schedule as the Eagles have 9 away games, none of those opponents had a winning record in 2020.

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NFC North

Green Bay Packers

Game in focus: Week 1 @ Saints

There will be no Drew Brees in this one…but will there be an Aaron Rodgers. For my money, 100% absolutely will be and think all this offseason nonsense is just, well, nonsense. Will we get a Rodgers that comes to paly or will we get bitchy, moany Aaron Rodgers who’s thrown all of his toys out of the pram already. Should be fans back in the stadiums and New Orleans is one of the most hostile places to go first up.

Chicago Bears

Game in focus: Week 12 @ Lions

Fun fact – Chicago don’t play consecutive home games all year and the Andy Dalton/Justin Fields saga could be an interesting one to follow. If Dalton (or maybe Fields) get to the Thanksgiving game without a carousel happening like last year’s debacle at Soldier Field, this cold either spell the end of that QBs starter status or allow them to keep it for the rest of the year.

Minnesota Vikings

Game in focus: Week 12 @ 49ers

The Vikings’ playoff credentials wont necessarily be decided by their fixtures against the packers or Bears, but possibly the NFC West. It’s not an easy schedule on first look and will be going into this one off the back of games against the Ravens, Chargers and Packers. The Vikings will need to be .500 for a sniff at the playoffs after week 12.

Detroit Lions

Game in focus: Week 4 @ Bears

It’s unlikely that the Lions will be doing much for the foreseeable, however their first divisional matchup comes in week 4 at Soldier Field. They’ll likely be coming into this one 0-3 though did have a surprising start to a season a few years back so will be fighting for this one that little bit more, especially if Jred Goff has a rough start to his Lions career. Talking of Goff, the Lions may also be circled the Rams game for obvious reasons.

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Game in focus: Week 15 @ Buccaneers (SNF)

The Saints swept the Buccaneers in the regular season but came unstuck at the business end. This week 15 matchup could be a divisional decider, though the QBs of Winston and Taysom Hill are a far cry from future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. The defences will come to play in this one in front of the NBC cameras.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game in focus: Week 3 @ Rams

I’ve already mentioned the Patriots game in week 4 above, as well as the Saints game in week 15. I’ve plumped for the Rams in week 3 as this is the 2nd game in succession against teams Tom has beaten in a Super Bowl. The Rams will be hotly fancied with a change at QB and with the Bucs trying to start a little bit faster than they did last season whilst battling a possible Super Bowl hangover (as well as maybe the Super Bowl parade hangover!), this is a mouth-watering game in week 3.

Carolina Panthers

Game in focus: Week 2 vs Saints

Whilst week 1 as described for the Jets is all about Sam Darnold, week 2 will all be about a team effort as they host the Saints, who could be suffering from Drew Brees withdrawal symptoms. The opportunity for a smash and grab is there for the taking and if they start 2-0, then a few ears will be pricked, especially if Darnold is performing well.

Atlanta Falcons

Game in focus: Week 1 vs Eagles

With an Eagles team not really expected to do much this year as their rebuild, the Falcons could be under a bit of pressure to start of with a win at home in front of the #RiseUp faithful. Kyle Pitts will be the star attraction as he joins Julio, Ridley and Matt Ryan in a star studded skill position core. They’ve not recovered from that Super Bowl loss and with the salary cap a bit of a mess, a loss straight out of the gate could quickly snowball into more anguish for the fans in 2021.

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NFC West

Los Angeles Rams

Game in focus: Week 18 vs 49ers

With a trip to Baltimore in week 17, the NFC West division could come down to the final week and if Trey Lance hits the ground running ( I am assuming he comes in at somepoint this season, if not week 1), the Rams could need a victory in this game. In a division where it’s always a tough battle in the trenches, this one will be no different.

Seattle Seahawks

Game in focus: Week 13 vs 49ers

The Seahawks are always a difficult team to assess and try and put W/Ls in each of the gameweek columns. They, with Russell Wilson fell off a cliff in the back 9 of 2020 meaning Wilson still doesn’t have any MVP votes. With the Packers, Cardinals, Football team the 3 games after their bye before coming into this one, this could prove to be another battle for at least a wildcard spot.

San Francisco 49ers

Game in focus: Week 5 @ Cardinals

Another option could be week 7 @ the Colts on SNF but this is centered around the QB position. The 49ers open up with games against the Lions, Eagles, Packers and Seahawks. Let’s say Jimmy Garoppolo is at QB, the 49ers are 2-2 heading into this game, a loss could spell the end for the handsome one? In another scenario, let’s say Trey Lance starts from week 1 and they are in the same position. Going in at 3-2 could be a lot different path wise for the 49ers than a 2-3 record going into the week 6 bye. My 2 cents? Trey Lance starts week 1.

Arizona Cardinals

Game in focus: Week 1 @ Titans

The Cardinals were sluggish whilst Kyler Murray battled niggles in the alst half of the season, going from a 6-3 record after a last second hail Murray against Buffalo, the Cardinals then went 2-5 from there on out. Kliff is under a tiny bit of pressure in my eyes and the game at the Titans is a game you want to be winning if you have playoff aspirations.

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