The NFL's 102nd season is not devoid of enthralling matchups. On Wednesday, the NFL released the 2021 schedule, the first 17-game schedule in the league's 102-year history. One of the initial takeaways is the amount of compelling rivalry games. Rest assured, fans will quickly highlight these games on their team's calendar.
Let's take a look at the top 10 rivalry games on the 2021 schedule.
Eagles at Cowboys: Week 3
In one of the NFL's best rivalries, Jalen Hurts will make his second career start at AT&T Stadium. Hurts threw for 342 yards and ran for 69 more in his first start inside Jerry World, an Eagles loss. Hurts has DeVonta Smith on his side this time around -- thanks to a shocking draft-day trade between these longtime NFC East rivals.
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A rematch of the 2019 NFC Championship Game, which San Francisco won with ease en route to the franchise's seventh conference title. Will things be different this time around? Bay Area native Aaron Rodgers certainly hopes so -- assuming he is still with the Packers by the time this game kicks off.
Buccaneers at Patriots: Week 4
While not a traditional rivalry, the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick element makes Buccaneers-Patriots appointment viewing. Though Brady was the first of the two to add to his Super Bowl ring collection, Belichick will relish creating a game plan designed to trip up his former quarterback -- in Foxborough, no less.
Seahawks at Packers: Week 10
Packers fans still remember the sting of losing to Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game. Conversely, Seahawks fans can recall their team's five-point loss to the Packers in the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs. Not only is this a game between two of the NFL's better teams, it may also be a preview for yet another playoff showdown between the two teams (again, assuming Rodgers is still with the Packers).
Ravens at Browns: Week 14
One of the NFL's most exciting games of the 2020 took place between these two NFC North rivals. After briefly leaving the contest, Lamar Jackson returned to lead the Ravens to a come-from-behind victory in Cleveland. The win ultimately helped Baltimore finish just above the Browns in the division standings. Given both teams' aspirations in 2021, this should be a similarly exciting game.
Don't think for a second that Giants fans haven't forgotten what transpired during the final week of the 2020 season. The Giants, needing an Eagles win over Washington to clinch a division title as well as a playoff berth, watched helplessly as Philadelphia changed quarterbacks while essentially surrendering the division title to Washington. Giants fans will definitely be airing their grievances during this game -- and let's not forget the draft-day trade between the Eagles and Cowboys that let Philly leapfrog the Giants.
Rest assured that Raider Nation is already preparing its collective voices to welcome Patrick Mahomes inside Allegiant Stadium. After not having fans during their first season inside the "Death Star," the Raiders are primed to have one of the NFL's most sizable home-field advantages.
Buccaneers at Saints: Week 15
A rematch of last year's divisional-round playoff showdown, Tampa Bay pulled away from New Orleans in the second half en route to its Super Bowl victory. This time around, it will be Taysom Hill -- not Drew Brees -- leading the Saints' offense against the Buccaneers' formidable defense.
Buffalo swept the New England in 2020 en route to its first division title since 1995. While the Bills are favored to win the AFC East once again in 2021, the revamped Patriots should be a much tougher out this time around.
Pittsburgh has spent an entire offseason licking the wounds of last year's wild-card playoff loss to Cleveland. In what could be his final year in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger is undoubtedly looking to get some payback against the team that infamously passed on him way back in the 2004 draft. For the Browns, this game is a chance to reinforce their arrival as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.