The NFL season will kick off before we know it, and primetime games naturally get a lot of attention from fans and media. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday highlights the ten best primetime games on the 2020 NFL schedule.
10. Week 16: Bills vs. Patriots (MNF)
The final Monday Night Football game of 2020 looks like it should be a good one, with the Bills and Patriots squaring off in late December for what could be the deciding game in the AFC East. The division dominated by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady over the past two decades looks more wide open than it’s been in quite some time after Brady’s departure. Hopefully it’s with a packed stadium after a COVID-19 vaccine, but the energy in Gillette Stadium should be electric either way in the final game of the penultimate week of the regular season.
9. Week 13: Bills vs. 49ers (MNF)
No. 10 will deliver excellent defense from both squads, and Bills-Niners might feature a matchup of the best defense from each conference in primetime. Bills vs. 49ers also belongs on the list because it’s the final week of the fantasy football regular season for many leagues, so some playoff fates will be determined in the final game of Week 13—the game includes likely fantasy starters such as Josh Allen, Devin Singletary, Stefon Diggs, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, and more.
8. Week 8: Cowboys vs. Eagles (SNF)
Whether it’s a close game or either one of the fanbases having a breakdown following a subpar performance, Eagles-Cowboys typically knows how to deliver great entertainment, especially in primetime. Lincoln Financial Field won’t have fans this season, which hurts the anticipation for this showdown, but you can bet on a high rating—assuming politics in an election year doesn’t kill the NFL’s ratings—a couple of nights before Election Day.
7. Week 12: Seahawks vs. Eagles (MNF)
Unless he’s a surprise signing by the Eagles, Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t figure to factor into this postseason rematch from last January when Carson Wentz was knocked out of the game early. Russell Wilson has had Philadelphia’s number since they passed on him in 2012, and Seattle has won six consecutive games total in the series. Still, it’s a matchup coming later in the season between two teams and two of the best franchises in the NFC looking to compete for a postseason spot.
6. Week 6: Chiefs vs. Bills (TNF)
Chiefs versus Bills in Buffalo might be the best Thursday Night Football game of the year, and this one just feels like it’s going to be a blast. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen had previously talked about having a throwing competition to determine who has the stronger throwing arm, and we’ll see them both on the field with their teams competing for the first time on October 15 to kickoff Week 6. It’ll be a major test for the Bills as they look to take a step forward into the elite tier of teams in the league.
5. Week 9: Saints vs. Buccaneers (SNF)
By the time Week 9 rolls around and we hit around the midpoint of the season, we should have a pretty good idea about where each team stands. The expectation is that both the Saints and the Bucs will be Super Bowl contenders, and this would be their second matchup (the NFC South foes play in the late-afternoon window in Week 1). Led by exceptional rosters and two future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks, first-place in the division and playoff seeding could easily be at stake here.
4. Week 16: Vikings vs. Saints (Christmas Day)
The Christmas Day game between the Vikings and the Saints kicks off at 4:30 PM ET, but it’s the only game on the holiday and deserves a spot on the list of the NFL’s top primetime games for 2020. Not much explanation is necessary. It’s football on Christmas, and the Vikings-Saints rivalry has become one of the most interesting battles in all of sports over the past few years.
3. Week 12: Ravens vs. Steelers (Thanksgiving Night)
It’s hard to beat a Christmas game when it comes to the holidays, but it’s also tough to beat the Ravens-Steelers rivalry. During the regular season last year, Pittsburgh did as good of a job as anyone at containing league MVP Lamar Jackson—it’ll be interesting to see how Jackson responds after he sat in the Week 17 matchup last season. With stacked rosters, notable star players, and two championship coaches, Ravens versus Steelers should be an awesome Thanksgiving nightcap.
2. Week 1: Texans vs. Chiefs (Season opener)
In just over two weeks, the NFL will finally return after many speculated it wouldn’t happen at all in 2020. Both the Texans and Chiefs have dominated their divisions over the past several years, the offensive-minded coaches should have exciting gameplans after months to prepare, and Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson are two of the game’s biggest headliners. Football fans should get a good one to open the campaign.
1. Week 3: Chiefs vs. Ravens (MNF)
One primetime game tops the season opener and the return of football: Chiefs vs. Ravens. Featuring the two previous league MVPs, Kansas City and Baltimore are widely seen as the two favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LV, and we could see some crazy offensive fireworks from both sides. Let’s all just hope it’s more bearable to watch on ESPN with a new Monday Night Football crew.