2020 NFL Week 1: Top Games to Watch
By Ha Kung Wong
Although it’s unclear if the NFL season will start on time, the NFL went ahead and released the 2020 schedule anyway to great fanfare. Some might say it was too much fanfare as it was released in a 3 hour special, but hey, we’ll watch just about anything at this point. And what better to do after getting the wishful schedule on the books than breakdown what to watch in Week 1?
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots
1 PM ET – September 13, 2020
Here’s a tale of two teams potentially going in different directions. On the one side is the team that made the Super Bowl 9 times, winning 6 of them, over the last 18 years and was led by perhaps the most dangerous coach and QB tandem in football, now minus that QB for the first time in two decades. On the other side, you have a team that’s only made the playoffs 3 times, never winning any of them and started 20 different QBs over that same time period.
Both teams will likely be starting new QBs in this game, the Patriots with 2019 4th round pick Jarrett Stidham and the Dolphins with 2020 1st round, 5th overall, pick Tua Tagovailoa. Sure, QBs aren’t everything, but if we’ve learned anything from the Patriots dominance over the last two decades it’s that having a good QB is absolutely critical to success. You just can’t win without one. And while the Patriots managed to draft the GOAT Tom Brady in the 6th round of the 2000 draft who went on to start almost every game during his tenure, the Dolphins have drafted many QBs during that time without success.
First the Dolphins selected John Beck in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft, and he managed to only start 4 games that year before moving on. Then there was Chad Henne selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft who managed to start 31 games between 2009 and 2011 with little success. Then the infamous Ryan Tannehill was selected in the 1st round of the 2012 draft, starting 88 games between 2012 to 2018 with only 1 playoff appearance, prior to being released and then landing with the Titans and leading them to an AFC Conference Championship game in 2019.
So, will Tua make a difference? And was Brady really essential for the Patriots to be successful, or is Bill Belichick the reason why they were so dominant? Definitely must-see TV for week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals
4:05 PM ET – September 13, 2020
Speaking of top end QB draft picks how about watching number 1 overall pick Joe Burrow vs. number 6 overall pick Justin Herbert? The Bengals have essentially been a AAA minor league team over the last couple years, plagued by injuries and poor play. Not to mention failing to win a playoff game since 1990. Burrow has been crowned the savior before taking a single rep for the Bengals, so all eyes will be on whether he’ll have chemistry with AJ Green and rookie Tee Higgins.
The Chargers on the other hand always appear to be only a few points per game short of having success, but for the first time in 14 years will be without Philip Rivers. Whether they stick to their pre-draft mantra of believing in Tyrod Taylor, or whether they turn the keys over to Herbert right away is yet to be seen. But last year, many were hoping to see Tua and Herbert face off in the BCS College Football Playoffs, so maybe it’s about a year too late, but it’d still be fun to watch on opening weekend.