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2016 NFL Schedule Release: Early look at Games of the Week

With the NFL schedule released last night we thought we would take an early, hugely subjective, look at the potential Games of the Week duri


With the NFL schedule released last night we thought we would take an early, hugely subjective, look at the potential Games of the Week during the regular season. As teams over and under perform through the season this list will surely change – but, for now, let’s look at the games we are most excited to watch each week. Week 1 Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers Talk about starting with a bang – Super Bowl 50 rematch straight out of the gate! Carolina will be thirsty for revenge in this game and face a very different Bronco’s outfit than that which they faced in February. Cam Newton will look to remove the stain of his Super Bowl performance and get back to winning ways in this season opener. Week 2 Seattle Seahawks @ LA Rams Forget the game itself – the NFL returns to LA for the first time in 20 years. Not only that, it does so with the First Pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. If that wasn’t enough – Pete Carroll returns to the LA Coliseum, site of many a triumph during his highly successful USC Trojans career. Week 3 Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals 2 teams with the best records in the AFC from last year face off early as they look to establish themselves as powers in the AFC once again in 2016. Not truly a marquee matchup, but on paper, Week 3 look short of them. Week 4 Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots Rex Ryan versus Tom Brady is always fun to watch – assuming Brady is free to play in this game and not suspended. Ryan gets to fully put his stamp on the Buffalo defense this year, having cleared out some of the malcontents from 2015. This will be an interesting test for a Patriots offense that, once again, figures to be lighting up the scoreboard having added another matchup nightmare in Martellus Bennet. Week 5 Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers The week 5 slate offers little in the way of marquee matchups so this game almost makes it by default. A divisional matchup, turning over Arizona would be a statement win for Chip Kelly in San Francisco as he tries to return the team to relevance. Week 6 Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots These teams have been fixtures of the AFC postseason for nearly a decade now but Cincinnati is yet to really get the recognition they deserve because of the lack of a post-season victory to their name. On paper, these two look to, once again, be the class of the AFC and this matchup, although early, could be key in determining playoff seeding come January. Week 7 Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos Osweiler’s return. The new look Houston Texans offense will travel to 2015’s best defensive team with a young quarterback under center and determined to prove that Denver was wrong to let him leave. Houston are looking to take a big leap in 2016 and a win here will show they are ready to make a deep run into January. Week 8 Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers A rematch of the NFC Championship game, with both teams expecting to return there this year. The teams also figure to be stronger this season – Carolina by virtue of returning Kelvin Benjamin to the lineup and Arizona having added Chandler Jones to their pass rush and Tyrann Mathieu back from injury in a playmaking secondary. This should be a great matchup – much closer than the blowout win of the NFC Championship. Week 9 Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens Regardless of records this is always a fascinating matchup between two heavyweights of the AFC North. Expect no different this year, as both teams figure to be physical on defense yet with contrasting offensive styles which will add an extra layer of intrigue to the game. Week 10 Seattle Seahawks @ New England Patriots Another recent Super Bowl rematch – following a game neither team will have forgotten. The audience won’t have forgotten either with Super Bowl XLIX remembered as one of the most dramatic of all time. Many of the key players still remain for Seattle and will want to make new memories of playing the Patriots to help ease the painful memories of that fateful Super Bowl. Week 11 Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders Again, this game features largely for reasons other than the teams involved – with the NFL returning to Mexico for the first time since 2005 for a regular season matchup. As part of the ever expanding international series, NFL officials will be playing close attention to this game as they assess the viability of future expansion of the programme. Week 12 Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys Watching the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving night is always a treat for fans of the NFL. Add in the fact that this year they welcome division rival, and defending NFC East champions, the Washington Redskins, and you have the making of a classic matchup. Week 13 Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks Always a classic matchup, these teams never fail to serve up an exciting, close game. Seattle will be out for revenge and, by virtue of hosting Seattle rather than travelling East, will be looking to start much quicker than they did in last year’s playoff game. Both teams will expect to be in postseason consideration at this point and this contest could have a big impact on seedings. Week 14 Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts The AFC South could be a surprising division this season. Indianapolis figured to be improved with a healthy Andrew Luck returning to the line-up, Houston have significantly upgraded their offensive firepower and Jacksonville figure to be in the mix as well this season given the defensive re-enforcements. There will be divisional championship connotations to this game with the loser potentially facing a wildcard battle in the closing weeks. Week 15 Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals The AFC North is always hotly contested and this season will be no different. Having battled each other to a standstill last season in 3 matchups these two will tee off on each other in a matchup that will be a major key in the postseason picture in the AFC. Cincinnati will not have forgotten the heartbreaking playoff loss last season nor will Pittsburgh have forgotten how Cincinnati played beyond the edge of the rules. There is spice to this game. Week 16 Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks NFC West decider? Early indicators would suggest so as the 49ers and Rams still seem to be a level below these two in the division. Arizona were completely dismantled by Seattle last season in week 17, in a game Bruce Arians admits they took their eye off, having already cemented a playoff bye. There will be no looking past this game though. Week 17 Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos Could this gae be for the division title? The Broncos look unlikely to be the dominant force they were last season given the player exodus in free agency and Oakland look to have strengthened their team significantly. With another year of growth from Derek Carr and the Oakland offense, team management will be looking at at least 10 wins from the season which will put them right in the mix for January action.

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2016 NFL Schedule Release: Early look at Games of the Week

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