After making everyone wait nearly one month longer than usual, the NFL is finally going to reveal the 2020 schedule on Thursday, and although there are plenty of questions that won't be answered when the schedule drops -- Will fans be allowed to attend games? Will the season start on time? What happens if a player tests positive during the season? NO ONE KNOWS -- there are plenty of questions that will be answered.
For instance, we're finally going to know which two teams will be playing in the NFL opener, which is currently scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10. One team that will almost certainly be on the field is the Kansas City Chiefs, and that's because the defending Super Bowl champs have hosted the traditional Thursday night opener in 14 of the past 16 years.
Although the NFL changed the tradition last year so that the Bears and Packers could kick off the league's 100th season, the NFL is expected to return to tradition this year and let the defending champ host the opening game, which means the season will be opening in Kansas City. One clue that the opener will be happening in KC is the fact that the Royals have so that the Chiefs would have full use of the parking lot that serves both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums.
So who will the Chiefs be playing in the opener?
That's what I'm here for. We already know all the Chiefs Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, Texans -- so I'm going to rank them from least likely to play in the opener to most likely. After that, I'll present my dream scenario, which the NFL will likely ignore because they always ignore my dreams.--
8. Panthers at Chiefs
The Panthers are a rebuilding team with a first-year coach and the last thing that anyone wants to see in the opener is the Chiefs slaughter a team that's in the middle of a rebuild. If you're scoring at home, the Panthers decided to move on from multiple 2019 starters including Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Eric Reid, Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy, Bruce Irvin, and I could go on, but I think you get the point. Basically, the Panthers are going to have a lot of new starters on the field, and due to the shortened offseason, those starters aren't going to have a lot of time to gel on the field. If the Panthers were to play the Chiefs in Week 1, the game would probably be a blowout and we'd all be turning it off before the end of the second quarter, which is saying a lot, because most of us have vowed to never turn off a game early ever again after going nearly two full months without any sports.
T-7. Chargers/Raiders/Broncos at Chiefs
If you like competitive football, then you should probably be rooting against an opener that involves the Chiefs playing an AFC West rival. Although I do think that every team in the division has gotten better this offseason, the fact of the matter is that none of them have any idea how to beat the Chiefs. Not only did the Chiefs go 6-0 against the division last year, but they're 23-2 against AFC West teams in their past 25 games, with 14 of those wins coming by double digits. The Chiefs are also 13-1 in their past 14 home games against AFC West teams. Basically this would be a mismatch waiting to happen and I don't want to watch that.
4. Jets at Chiefs
If this was a home game for the Jets, I'd probably have them up higher on this list, but it's being played in Kansas City, and the problem with that is that the Jets have been one of the worst road teams in the NFL over the past few years. Since 2017, the Jets have gone 5-19 on the road and in each of those three seasons, they never finished better than 2-6. Sending them into Arrowhead Stadium for the opening game of the NFL season seems like it would be a disaster waiting to happen.
3. Falcons at Chiefs
If there's team on the Chiefs' home schedule that might be able to keep up with them in an offensive shootout, it's the Atlanta Falcons, who very well might be going into the first week of the season with an offense that consists only of former first-round picks. Despite having all that talent, Falcons fans don't sound too confident about the upcoming season.
I have to admit that negativity is starting to wear on me. Maybe the Falcons in the opener isn't such a great idea after all.
2. Patriots at Chiefs
If Tom Brady was still on the Patriots' roster, picking the Chiefs' opponent for the NFL opener would be a no-brainer. However, Brady isn't on the roster, which is why New England isn't in the top spot here. The Patriots couldn't beat the Chiefs last season and that was with Brady, so I don't really think they're going to do much better with Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer trying to go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes. One reason I do like the idea of this game is because Bill Belichick is one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and if he could lead the Patriots to a win on opening night in Kansas City, it would make a statement that the Patriots aren't dead and that Belichick can win with anyone under center.
1. Texans at Chiefs
The guys in the NFL scheduling department usually seem to have a sense of humor, which is why I think this will be the game that gets selected for the opener. The last time we saw the Chiefs and Texans on the field together, Houston blew a 24-0 lead in the playoffs, and the crazy thing is that that's not even the most embarrassing thing they've done since January, because this is the same team that traded away DeAndre Hopkins (No offense David Johnson). This might not be a sexy matchup, but the fact of the matter is that the Chiefs don't have a sexy home schedule, which means we're going to have to settle for Deshaun Watson versus Mahomes in a battle to see who's the best quarterback from the 2017 draft ... JK, Mahomes has already won that battle.
Dream scenario for NFL opener: Chiefs at Buccaneers
Although the defending Super Bowl champion usually gets to host the opener, the NFL should should think about bucking tradition this year and give us Chiefs-Buccaneers. For this to happen, the NFL would have to send the Chiefs on the road to start the season, which the Chiefs might not approve of, but I have to think that every other NFL fan in the world could get behind this so that we could get TOM BRADY VERSUS PATRICK MAHOMES.
These two quarterbacks have already played three epic games against each other, so why not add a fourth one to the list. Sending the Chiefs on the road to open the season wouldn't be completely unprecedented. Back in 2013, the Ravens were forced to open their season on the road in Denver due to a parking conflict with the Baltimore Orioles, who were scheduled to play on the same night. Although the Chiefs won't be dealing with the same problem -- because the Royals have already agreed to move their game -- the truth is that the Chiefs just don't have a very attractive home schedule and sending them on the road makes more sense.
If this game were to happen, it means the 2020 NFL season would both start and end in Tampa since Raymond James Stadium will be hosting Super Bowl LV. Of course, if the NFL is concerned that Brady might not be in sync with his new teammates in time to go toe-to-toe with Mahomes in Week 1, the Chiefs also play at New Orleans and Baltimore, and both of those games would also make for an attractive opener, but again, it would involve the Chiefs playing on the road. The good news for the NFL is that if you're going to break tradition and send the defending Super Bowl champ on the road, this is the year to do it. After all, this has been a year of total craziness and no one will bat an eye if you decide to throw a curveball and buck tradition for the opener.