3 NFL Week 1 Matchups That Deserved A Primetime Slot


Running back Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football against the defense of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 17, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.
(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

 

NFL football is back.

That’s all there is left to say as fans anticipate the kickoff of the 2021 season.

Die-hard followers are preparing once again to cheer for their teams in hopes of having another great year.

Meanwhile, the players are pushing themselves during practices to perform at a high level.

They are hoping to start their campaign positively, be it at home or on the road.

However, there will only be two nationally-televised games during Week 1.

The Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams will take center stage on Sunday Night Football on September 12.

The Baltimore Ravens and the Las Vegas Raiders will face off on Monday Night Football a day later.

Aside from these games, there are other matchups on opening weekend that deserve the spotlight.

The reasons vary from postseason hopes to vendetta.

Here are noteworthy matches that have the makings of a primetime showdown.

 

3. Cleveland Browns At Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cleveland Browns during their AFC Divisional round clash last season.

However, some argue that safety Daniel Sorensen made a helmet-to-helmet tackle on wide receiver Rashard Higgins.

The Browns might have gotten  another snap from the Chiefs’ one-yard line if the officials ruled the play as such.

While there are no guarantees of scoring a touchdown, a dash from either Kareem Hunt or Nick Chubb could have changed the game’s complexion.

Instead, the tackle was a touchback in the Chiefs’ favor, and the Browns might still be fuming with anger over that call.

Cleveland’s pass rush led by Myles Garrett will be a real test for the Kansas City offensive line that played poorly during Super Bowl LV.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs offense would like to maintain the distinction as the best unit in the NFL with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill.

The simmering rivalry continues.

 

2. Arizona Cardinals At Tennessee Titans

Every game counts in the NFC West because it is one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.

The Seattle Seahawks won last year but lost to the Rams at home during the Wild Card round.

The San Francisco 49ers could also make a playoff push, if not for injuries to their key players.

Then there are the Arizona Cardinals, who played against the Rams for the NFC’s final playoff spot.

Arizona will be starting their season versus AFC powerhouse Tennessee, wherein contrasting offensive philosophies will prevail.

The Cardinals will exploit their aerial attack with Kyler Murray, A.J. Green, and DeAndre Hopkins.

Meanwhile, the Titans will pound the ground with reigning Offensive Player of the Year and the newest 2,000 rushing yards club member Derrick Henry.

However, Ryan Tannehill can spare Henry some rest by finding targets like A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.

This contest can turn into a high-scoring affair.

 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers At Buffalo Bills

Ben Roethlisberger will be playing what could be his final NFL season.

His offense last year that depended on short passes was an outlier given their preference of the run game and deep throws.

With Najee Harris on the roster, the Steelers onslaught could open up a bit.

However, Buffalo is a team that can match them every yard.

Josh Allen’s cannon arm makes it easy to complete long passes to Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs.

The Bills mirrored the Steelers offense to some extent last season, except for the short passing.

Expect more variety with their play-calling now that both teams bolstered their backfield.

The Steeler defense might have a slight edge over their counterparts.

Yet Roethlisberger must keep an eye on the Bills secondary, especially Micah Hyde and Tre’Davious White.



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