The NFL schedule was released on Thursday, and there were definitely several winners and losers. The Las Vegas Raiders were among the winners in the scheduling lottery, as they’ll get to christen their new stadium in primetime with a Monday night game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.
Other teams, like Green Bay, didn’t fare as well; The Packers will open and close their season on the road this season. The Packers also have the misfortune of having one of the toughest non-conference schedules of any team. They’ll face Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Tampa Bay, all on the road.
Some of the other NFL schedule winners and losers are listed below.
New coach Mike McCarthy gets a break for the first half of the season. In the first nine games before their bye, the Cowboys will face just two teams that made the playoffs last year. The second half of the season gets a little tougher, with games against Baltimore and San Francisco, but winning 10 games and returning to the playoffs is definitely realistic.
The travel schedule is very kind to the Ravens this season. They are only flying 6,310 miles, the lowest of any team in the last four years, according to ESPN.
Some of those road games are against Washington, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. They will face a couple of tough tests away from home against Houston and Indianapolis, however. The Ravens did catch a break, though, facing the defending Super Bowl champs Kansas City at home.
Monday Night Football
There have been some really poor games featured on the past couple of seasons of Monday Night Football, but this year, the show has its best lineup in recent memory. It begins in Week 1 with Tennessee at Denver, and continues the next two weeks with New Orleans at Las Vegas, and Kansas City at Baltimore. Other highlights include Buffalo at San Francisco, Seattle at Philadelphia, and Arizona at Dallas.
Even some of the lesser games offer intrigue. Will Tom Brady and Tampa Bay be a strong contender when they face the New York Giants in Week 8? What about Brady’s former team New England? They’ll face a New York Jets team that would like nothing more than to pay the Patriots back for several years of being dominated.
New York City Teams
Neither the Giants nor the Jets are expected to do much this season, but each team’s schedule pretty much ensures another losing season. The Giants have non-conference games against Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Seattle, and San Francisco.
The Jets non-conference schedule is even tougher. They travel to face defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City. They also have contests against Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and Indianapolis.
Los Angeles Teams
The two Los Angeles teams will be making their debut in a brand new stadium, but that might be their only highlight of the season. The Rams have the usual tough NFC West division opponents with San Francisco and Seattle, but Arizona is improved and might get a split this season after being swept last year. In addition, the Rams have to face Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay on the road.
The Chargers are going to get some serious frequent flier miles this season. ESPN Stats & Info reported the team will be flying 25,455 miles in 2020, 9,794 more miles than the Chiefs. That’s the biggest disparity between any two division rivals in the league.
The COVID-19 global pandemic put the quash on any games outside the United States. It will be the first time since 2006 there won’t be an international game.
London was scheduled to host four games, and Mexico City one, but they will have to wait until the 2021 season at the earliest. You certainly won’t hear any of the NFL players complaining about that long flight and short week.