The NFL schedule is officially out and it’s now the time for many fans and players to circle important dates on the calendar. CPGM gives you the marquee games that are circled on our calendar:
Thursday Night September 8th – Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
What’s better than a Super Bowl rematch with a dabbin Cam Newton versus the “ferocious pass rush” which includes the Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The last time we saw Cam, he was ducking the media and getting heavily criticized for his lack of professionalism. In what can be a spring-board game for both the Panthers and the Broncos in the 2016 season, things will be much different for both teams. The Panthers should have their big bodied number one receiver Kelvin Benjamin back from injury. On the other side of the ball the Broncos offense as of right now still doesn’t know who the starting QB will be. With the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure of Brock Osweiler, the Broncos could be possibly starting a rookie QB, Mark Sanchez, or Colin Kaepernick if they pull a trade with the 49ers. All three options should be a downgrade to a position they weren’t really that strong at last season and should be the deciding factor in this game coupled with the play of the Panthers offensive line.
Sunday Afternoon October 2nd – Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins
Ok I will admit it, any game with the Cleveland Browns participating in it can’t really be considered marquee but Robert Griffin going back to Washington really intrigues me. RGIII is one of the most polarizing figures in football today and the divorce from Washington wasn’t exactly all peaches and cream. Griffin must first win the starting spot in Cleveland but if he does he will definitely be looking for revenge, retribution, retaliation, redemption, and blood in what will be a prove it season for RGIII’s career. Expect him to give it his all to prove to Washington that they were indeed correct in selecting him with the number 2 overall pick in a few seasons ago.
Monday Night October 24th – Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
The Brock Bowl Part 1 takes the stage on Monday Night Football as the Broncos wouldn’t give Osweiler the $18 million the Texans doled out for their new starting quarterback. I will admit I wasn’t high on Osweiler coming into the league and he has exceeded my expectations. But $18 million for a quarterback who has only started 7 professional games and 15 collegiate games? Can’t hate on Brock hitting the jackpot or the Texans trying to take their franchise to the next level but time will tell if he is “that guy.” One thing for sure the Texans’ QB situation is a lot better than the defending champs. If Osweiler proves he is a franchise quarterback, GM John Elway will have a lot of explaining to do with a defense in place that’s Super Bowl ready.
Sunday Night November 13th – Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots
How about another Super Bowl rematch game!!! Superbowl 49 might have been one of the most exciting Super Bowl games of all time as the Seahawks had to execute one play from the 1 yard line to walk away champions and win back-to back Super Bowls. As fate would have it the Seahawks decided to pass the ball resulting in a game ending interception rather than handing the ball to a player they call Beast Mode. Beast Mode is now retired and shouldn’t play in this contest unless he has a change of heart and returns to the league. The Seahawks will look to redeem themselves from what could of been a terrific start to a dynasty and Russell Wilson’s career (not too shabby regardless). Marshawn Lynch is gone, the offensive and defensive lines are not what they once were, and Ciara is in the picture. By the way Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is still running the show in New England. Tough matchup for Seattle on the road against a Patriots team who hasn’t skipped a beat since that thrilling victory.
Sunday Night December 4th – Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
Brady vs. Manning is officially in the books as the marquee quarterback matchup in the NFL. Enter Cam vs. Russell as the new signal caller – headliner to see each season going forward. Cam got the better of Russell last season with a fourth quarter come back win after getting bounced out the playoffs the previous season. Not only does this game include two young stud QBs in the NFL but this matchup boasts two of the top defenses; both of which play with a physical demeanor each and every snap. Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Josh Norman, Kawaan Short, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Bobby Wagner are all-pro caliber defensive difference makers that can change the complextion of any game. This is the new black and blue matchup in the NFL for years to come.
Thursday Night December 8th – Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
I never realized how impactful one player leaving the game would have on multiple matchups this season. But Manning’s retirement (third Manning mention) opens the door for the Chiefs versus Raiders Week 14 matchup to possibly decide the AFC West. No one can really argue with what the Raiders have done the last 3 off seasons to bolster their roster to be a force to reckon with. Derek Carr is a franchise quarterback, Amari Cooper is one the best young wideouts in the league, their offensive line might be the best in the conference, and the defense is much improved with head coach Jack Del Rio in the fold. The Chiefs on the other hand get back their all pro running back Jamaal Charles who missed every single game during the team’s 11 victories in a row last season. This game should have huge playoff implications and get back that feeling of the Raiders vs Chiefs rivalry of the 90s.
Sunday Night December 18th – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
In what is now the marquee divisional matchup in the fearsome AFC North, the Bengals and Steelers carry over some recent bad blood from the 2015 season. More specifically the Bengals defense led by Vontaze Burfict against the high octane Steelers offense. Burfict ended up injuring star RB Le’Veon Bell for the season (much to CPGM Juice’s chagrin), consistently banging all time Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (also injuring him for part of their playoff game), and giving Steelers all pro WR Antonio Brown the business concussing him on a dangerous hit resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and for all intents and purposes ended the Bengals season. This will be a hard hitting affair in Cincinnati that will be “Must See TV.”
Saturday Christmas Eve – Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Say What!! The Packers didn’t win the division last season?!? It’s hard to imagine but the greatness of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense struggled mightily last season. The receivers failed to get separation, the offensive line was average at best, and Eddie Lacy didn’t turn down a meal in all of 2015. In the meantime, the Vikings quietly played solid football all season long winning the division. If it wasn’t for a botched 27-yard field goal the Vikings could have gone further, possibly to the bowl. This matchup should also be the deciding factor in terms of who gets a home game in the playoffs and will be an early Christmas treat in Lambeau.