The NFL will officially announce the 2020 schedule for all 32 teams at 8 p.m. Eastern, but the day is expected to be full of leaks of major matchups. It is important to keep in mind that nothing is official until the NFL announces the schedule tonight.
ESPN 710 Seattle’s John Clayton reported that the first four weeks of the NFL schedule will AFC-NFC matchups. This would allow the NFL to more easily shorten the season to just conference and divisional games if the start is delayed as a response to COVID-19.
“@JohnClaytonNFL tells @937theFan that the NFL schedule will be NFC vs AFC for the 1st 4 weeks of the season. Steelers play the NFC East. So 1st 4 games would be Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, and Giants,” Pittsburgh’s 937 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi tweeted.
Yet, some of the leaks that have emerged leading up to the schedule release seem to contradict this idea. New Orleans Football’s Nick Underhill reported that the Saints will take on the new-look Buccaneers setting up a Drew Brees and Tom Brady Week 1 matchup.
The major question hanging over the 2020 season is if it will start on time in September. While the NFL has maintained their desire to kickoff at their normal start date, the league is also making contingency plans if the schedule needs to be altered. ESPN’s Adam Schefter detailed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s comments to teams on the schedule release.
“The NFL will release its full regular-season schedule Thursday night, although Goodell said in the memo that the league ‘will be prepared to address contingencies as they arise,'” Schefter noted.
Here is a look at some of the reported key matchups on the 2020 NFL schedule. We will be updating this page as more rumors emerge throughout the day.
Patrick Mahomes & Deshaun Watson Will Reportedly Square Off in the NFL Season’s Opening Game
The NFL has a tradition of the defending Super Bowl champion opening up the season on the Thursday night of Week 1. Radio.com’s Danny Parkins reported that the Chiefs will host the Texans in season’s opening game. It would give fans an epic quarterback matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Houston’s offense will look completely different with DeAndre Hopkins now with the Cardinals and David Johnson making his Texans debut. It is worth keeping an eye on if this matchup comes to fruition as Clayton reported the first four weeks would be cross-conference games which the Texans-Chiefs would not coincide with. Parkins also reported that the Bears would travel to take on the Lions in Week 1.
Brees & Brady Will Square Off in Week 1
The Buccaneers will go on the road to take on the Saints on September 13 at 4:25 p.m. Eastern. It will be the first of two Brees-Brady matchups now that the former Patriots quarterback is in the NFC South. The reported time is worth noting given many wondered if Brady would land the Bucs a primetime spot for the opener.
Brady Is Rumored to Take on the Bears on Thursday Night Football in Week 5
Tampa Bay is sure to have plenty of primetime national televised games this season with Brady heading south. The Bucs will square off with the Bears in Week 5, per Parkins.
Parkins also reported three additional Bears matchups: at Rams (Week 7 Monday Night Football), vs. Vikings (Week 10 Monday Night Football), at Packers (Sunday Night Football after Thanksgiving), vs. Packers (Week 17).
Texans Rumored to Play Lions on Thanksgiving
The Lions and Cowboys are annual Thanksgiving staples, and it looks like Watson will be making a Turkey Day appearance as well. NBC Houston’s Vanessa Richardson reported that the Texans will square off with the Lions. Detroit is typically the first game of the holiday so fans could be kicking off Thanksgiving with the star Texans quarterback.
The NFL Reportedly Will Have Christmas Day Games
The NFL has typically avoided playing games on Christmas Day but this could change in 2020. According to The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan, the Vikings will host the Saints on Christmas. Fans could be getting a rematch of a frequent playoff matchup.