The Top 5 Week 18 Games Upcoming in 2021
It was officially announced on Tuesday that the NFL will be adding a 17th game to the regular-season schedule in 2021, moving on from the 16 game format that the league has used since 1978. The extra games will feature an AFC team playing host to an NFC team based on division standings from the previous season. This means that fans will get to see their teams play against opponents they would possibly only play every four seasons.
So – which of these games are the most intriguing? Here are 5 of them in order from least amount of intrigue to the most.
5. Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns
This game will be exciting thanks largely to the two young quarterbacks who lead their respective offenses.
Arizona’s Kyler Murray made the Pro Bowl in 2020 after throwing for over 3,900 yards, and 26 touchdowns, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield also threw for 26 touchdowns, and over 3,500 yards.
These teams have talent all over their rosters; players like DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr., J.J. Watt, and Myles Garrett will make this game must-see.
4. Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots
In a matchup between two of the most disliked franchises in the NFL, expect to see a lot of yards gained on the ground, and an improved Patriots offense with Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, and Nelson Agholor.
Last season, the Patriots ranked 4th in the league for rush yards per game and had the 6th most rushing touchdowns. Dallas on the other hand was completely unable to stop the run, allowing 158.8 rush yards per game, something that could very well hurt them against New England.
Dallas will hopefully be with Dak Prescott as their quarterback which is always entertaining, and improves their chances of a victory. But watch out, if Cam Newton and New England’s fresh offensive weapons can get going, this could get ugly fast.
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
One-time Super Bowl XL foes will face off in what could be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. The Seahawks have won the last two meetings between these teams, with the last coming in 2019.
The Steelers led the league in pass attempts with around 41 per game, and both teams were top ten in scoring last season. When you have two quarterbacks that have played at an elite level for as long as Ben and Russell Wilson have you are sure to get a great game.
Although the quarterback play will be great, keep an eye on the young wide receivers. DK Metcalf and Chase Claypool combined for 16 touchdowns in 2020, and may just steal the show in this one!
2. Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens
The defense is going to tell the story of this game. The Rams had one of the better defenses in the league in 2020 getting around 3 sacks per game and allowing the 4th fewest rush yards per game, factors that will do them well against a Baltimore team that led last season in rushing yards.
The always dangerous Lamar Jackson will play the Rams for the second time in his career, with the first being a 45-6 win in 2019 where he threw for 5 touchdowns. As for Matthew Stafford, he has 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in two career games against the Ravens.
It’s a match-up we’ve only seen seven times before which makes this game all the more interesting.
1. Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Without question, this is the biggest game that is being added to the 2021 schedule. These two teams finished first place in their conference, and both have top quarterbacks in the NFL. The game will be sold as “Mahomes vs. Rodgers”, and that’s exactly how it should be.
The offense is what makes this so exciting. The Chiefs have possibly the most dangerous passing game with play-makers like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and of course Patrick Mahomes. This will be Mahomes’ first game against the Packers after being ruled out of the 2019 match-up with a knee injury. With a Packers defense that was middle of the pack for pass rush, the Chiefs could have a big offensive day.
No matter how few weapons Aaron Rodgers has, he always makes this offense special. Add star running back Aaron Jones returning in free agency and the Packers are looking to be the same offensive threat that they were in 2020. It would be nice to see Green Bay add a few missing pieces through the draft to make this game even more entertaining.