The NFL annual schedule release event caught the attention of millions of fans, players, coaches and media personalities, making it must-watch television. This time last season, we were wondering would football be an afterthought, but with vaccinations and advanced testing protocols being implemented throughout the league, we are slowly approaching Week 1 of the 2021-22 NFL regular season. There were many games to choose from for my top 5 must-watch list, including Cam returning to Charlotte, Brady returning to Foxborough, and a AFC Championship rematch.
Here’s my Top-5 Must watch games
Buccaneers at Patriots, Oct. 3, NBC (Sunday Night Football); 8:30 p.m.
Without a doubt, this is the biggest game of the season and it’s not even debatable. Fresh off of wining a Super-bowl, Tom Brady answered the question if he’s a product of the Belichick system. That’s no knock on Bill Belichick, but the fact remains, some seemed to question Bill’s system without Tom with a past-prime Cam Newton, who doesn’t necessarily have a history of being an off the charts pocket passer. Tom Brady gave the Patriots organization six Lombardi trophies, relevancy, and the title as the most dominant football organization in the 21st century. You can expect the majority of the crowd to fully embrace the return of Brady. What we know is that Belichick is known for taking away a team’s number one option; but what if that is the same man who brought you so much success and legacy?
Chiefs at Ravens, Sept. 19, NBC (Sunday Night Football); 8:20 p.m.
The two most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in the league will both be on the same field in this prime-time matchup. Lamar Jackson has been criticized about his post season failures, and after getting his first post-season win last season it still isn’t enough. It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Ravens. We know what weapons Mahomes has in his arsenal. The question is can Don Martindale, defensive coordinator for the Ravens, at least contain the Chiefs – keeping them out of rhythm. The Ravens in the last three seasons have allowed the fewest yards and points in the entire NFL.
Bills at Kansas City, Oct. 21, NBC (Sunday Night Football); 8:20 p.m.
A rematch of last years AFC championship game. Star Bills receiver and NFL leading yards candidate, Stephon Diggs (1535) can be remembered watching the yellow, red and white paraphernalia falling on the cold tundra of Arrowhead Stadium after defeat during a promising season for the fan-favorite Bills – who looked like the most consistent team in all of the NFL last season. Josh Allen who threw for over 4500 yards (4544), 37 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, looks like an up and coming star for the Bills. Of course revenge is on the line. How do the Bills revamp it’s defense, which certainly got stronger during the draft? Can Leslie Frazier keep Mahomes off the field? This will be a nice early season test for the Bills who will be in the spotlight with high expectations. After a 13-3 record and winning the AFC East there is no room for drop offs; even if the Patriots did upgrade their offensive weapons.
Patriots at Panthers, Nov. 7th, CBS, 1 p.m.
What’s understood doesn’t need to be explained. The man who brought the MVP to Charlotte. A player who was known as Super Man. A MVP who took his team to the promise land and wore his heart on his sleeves. A player who gave the city his blood, sweat, and tears. The last time Cam Newton was in a Panthers uniform was September 12, 2019. His season was cut short due to a foot injury that not only ended his season, but ended his tenure in Charlotte. Expect this homecoming to be filled with cheers, a memorandum of Cam’s achievements while with the Panthers, and a sold-out crowd.
Chiefs vs. Packers, Nov. 7th, 4:25 p.m. FOX
Reigning league MVP, Aaron Rodgers. has made it publicly known that not only is he dissatisfied with a organization that has failed to draft one first round receiver during his tenure with the Packers, but that he doesn’t want to return to Green Bay. But if that “Bad-man” Aaron Rodgers is under center for this electrifying matchup at Arrowhead, expect a complete airshow with two MVP candidates capable of putting up 300 yards in the first half. The Packers fell short last season in the NFC championship and have been to the last 2 divisional championships.