There’s nothing quite like a prime-time game in the NFL, when the eyes of the nation will be firmly on the two teams going head-to-head. The 2020 schedule was announced on Thursday evening and we found out the Monday Night Football match-ups for the forthcoming season.
Questions remain over whether the season will start on time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the NFL have released their schedule for the 2020 season, which will start on time in September.
Week 2: Raiders open new stadium against Saints in Las Vegas
There’s only one real place to start and that’s with the Las Vegas Raiders playing their very first home game in Week 2. They’ll open up their new Allegiant Stadium with a match-up against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Brees, now in the twilight of his career, guided the Saints to the NFC South title last season with a 13-3 record. However, the team fell at the first hurdle in the Playoffs, losing 26-20 in overtime at home to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders will open up their inaugural season on the road in the opening weekend, against the Carolina Panthers, before returning to Las Vegas for their home opener.
The Week 2 match-up between the Saints and Raiders is set to be a fascinating one. Can Brees roll into Vegas and spoil the party or could Carr open up their new stadium with a victory against a strong New Orleans team.
Week 3: Mahomes takes Chiefs to face Jackson’s Baltimore at the Bank
Out of all the Monday Night Football games, the clash between the Chiefs and the Ravens is the stand-out fixture for football fans as two young quarterbacks locking horns for just the second time.
Kansas City won their first Super Bowl title in 50 years back in February, with Patrick Mahomes guiding the team to a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens were the AFC’s top team last season, but will feel they have a point to prove after losing to the Tennessee Titans in the Playoffs. Baltimore were electric on both sides of the ball during the regular season, but fell short at home in the Divisional round.
Lamar Jackson, who was named MVP after a stellar season, and the Ravens offense broke many records last season and a win against the Chiefs, one of the favourites to go all the way, again, in 2020, would certainly set their season up early on.
Week 8: Brady in MNF action for first time as a Buccaneers
No team has been selected more than twice to play on Monday Night Football, but it’s really no surprise that Tom Brady’s Buccaneers were one of those teams.
The veteran quarterback, who signed a two-year deal with the Bucs after leaving the New England Patriots this offseason, will take his team to face the New York Giants, who will have second-year quarterback Daniel Jones as their starter, in Week 8.
There’s no doubt that the attention will be on the likes of Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the team, but after the Giants had a disappointing season last year, finishing third in the NFC East with a 4-12 record, they'll want to challenge in 2020.
Brady has a 17-7 record on Monday Night Football and will be favourite to add another game onto that win column when the Bucs roll into New York midway through the regular season.
Week 15: Joe Burrow put in front of the MNF lights for very first time
The Cincinnati Bengals have put their trust in quarterback Joe Burrow, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Their only appearance on Monday Night Football comes in Week 15 when they host division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
After the Bengals won just two games in 2019, they put all their trust in Burrow and parted ways with veteran Andy Dalton. It’s unlikely they’ll challenge for the AFC North title this season, but the team will be wanting to improve on their 2-14 record last season.
As for the Steelers, they won eight and lost eight games in 2019 and narrowly missed out on the Playoffs. Mike Tomlin will have Ben Roethlisberger back at quarterback this season and Pittsburgh will be looking to take the division crown off the Ravens.
The league has expanded the Playoffs, starting this season, meaning one more team will reach the postseason in both the AFC and NFC. By the time this game comes around, both sides will know where they stand when it comes to the Playoffs.
Week 16: Can the Bills end the Patriots dynasty and win the AFC East?
The Patriots are yet to address the quarterback position this offseason after Brady ended his time with the franchise to move to the Buccaneers. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer, as well as two rookie quarterbacks, will be battling it out for the starting role in New England.
This is the first time in many years that the AFC East has been wide open, where any one of the four teams could really mount a push to finish top of the division. One of the front-runners, along with the Patriots will be the Buffalo Bills and the two teams meet on Monday Night Football in Week 16.
Josh Allen has all the pieces around him now to succeed. A defense capable of pulling the team through if the offense isn't firing and vice-versa, but the quarterback needs to guide the team to the divisional title this season. The acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs has gave him another weapon on offense too.
Buffalo finished second in the division in 2019 with a 10-6 record and lost in overtime against the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the Playoffs. New England, who were beaten to the No. 1 seed by Baltimore last season, suffered a shock 20-13 loss to the Titans at home in the Playoffs.
Can Bill Belichick prove that he can win with another quarterback other than Brady? Has this Bills team got what it takes to go one step further this season and knock the Patriots off their perch?