Speed Reads

the nfl returns

3 matchups to watch during the NFL's first full slate of the 2021 season

Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially kicked off the 2021 NFL season when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 on Thursday, but Sunday provides the first full slate of games. Here are three matchups worth checking out.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. ET on CBS — Jacksonville went 1-15 last year, Houston wasn't much better at 4-12, and neither team is likely to be particularly good this year, either. But it's worth tuning in to see the No. 1 overall draft pick line up under center for the first time. Cue Jacksonville's Trevor Lawrence, who's fresh off a great career at Clemson University and will helm the Jaguars offense under new head coach Urban Meyer, who also had a highly successful career in the collegiate ranks.

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS — This is a rematch of a competitive playoff game from last year, which the Chiefs held on to win despite losing superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes to injury. The Chiefs would go on to win the AFC before getting trounced by the Bucs in the Super Bowl. They'll look to get off to a hot start as they seek their second Lombardi Trophy in three years. The Browns, meanwhile, are determined to prove last season's playoff run wasn't a fluke. 

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (in Jacksonville due to affects of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans), 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox — It was a suspense-filled offseason for the Packers, who weren't sure if reigning league MVP and future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be back. Rodgers was seemingly disgruntled with the organization's postseason failures in recent years, but he did ultimately return, and the team is expected to contend for a Super Bowl. The Saints, meanwhile, will be without the now-retired Drew Brees at quarterback for the first time in what feels like forever. Jameis Winston will take his place.