Rick Zamperin: NFL’s 2020 schedule offers plenty of highlights

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) gestures before Super Bowl 54 against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The National Football League released its 2020 regular season schedule last week, and with it comes a handful of interesting wrinkles.

The season will kick off Sept. 10 at Arrowhead Stadium where the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs receive their championship rings before they host the Houston Texans.

Game one of the season offers fans a rematch of one of the league’s most epic comebacks in playoff history in which K.C. rallied from a 24-0 deficit in the second quarter of their Divisional Round matchup to beat the Texans 51-31.

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Week 1 will also pit legendary quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees against each other when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the New Orleans Saints.

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Brady’s Bucs are scheduled to play a franchise-record five prime-time games in 2020, but Tom Terrific’s former teammates in New England will also play five times under the bright lights as the NFL wants to showcase Bill Belichick’s Pats.

The Buffalo Bills have four night games on their slate compared to just one last year. None of them will be easy, as the Bills face off against the Chiefs, the Super Bowl finalist San Francisco 49ers, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Patriots.

New stadiums in Los Angeles (Rams and Chargers) and Las Vegas (Raiders) figure prominently in 2020, with L.A.’s SoFi Stadium hosting three prime-time tilts — all featuring the Rams — while Allegiant Stadium in Vegas will host four night games, an eyebrow-raising amount for a franchise with just one winning season in 17 years.

The Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins are the only teams without a night game on their calendar, although both teams will play in front of a nationally televised audience on American Thanksgiving when the Lions host Houston and Washington travels to Dallas.

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The most interesting tidbit about the 2020 season, however, doesn’t involve any particular matchup at all.

With the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the schedule includes a contingency plan in the event the season is delayed. Every team’s Week 2 opponent has the same bye week later on in the season, providing a natural rematch date for those teams.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, I guess.

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