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Bengals, Browns & Other Notable Week 1 Matchups in NFL
The NFL schedule will be unveiled in its entirety on Wednesday night, just another offseason offering that has increased in popularity in recent years. But the league whet the appetites of football fans earlier in the day by revealing the games that will kick off the season in Week One, and other compelling matchups have been slowly leaking throughout the day.
Let’s take a look at who the Bengals and Browns will kick off 2021 with as well as a couple of other notable contests set to launch between September 9-13.
Bengals to Host Vikings - 12pm CT, FOX
Cincy opens their 2021 campaign at Paul Brown Stadium as they’ll welcome the Minnesota Vikings to town. This will be the first meeting between the two since 2017 that resulted in a blowout Vikings win, but Minnesota has not won in the Queen City since 1992 and is just 1-6 there all-time.
Former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will face his old team for the second time since taking the reins in Minneapolis, this time with another former Cincy DC, Paul Guenther, on his staff.
Joe Burrow should be back under center in Week 1 after his rookie season was cut short due to a torn ACL and MCL after just 10 games. He’ll be throwing to former teammate Ja’Marr Chase instead of being protected by Penei Sewell, and on the opposite sideline, the other standout receiver from LSU’s 2020 National Championship team, Justin Jefferson.
Browns to Visit Chiefs - 3:25 CT, CBS
Cleveland will open their season in the same place their 2020 run came to an end: Arrowhead Stadium. The Browns and Chiefs take center stage in the Sunday afternoon window with, arguably, the most compelling matchup on the CBS slate.
Kansas City eliminated the Browns in last year’s AFC Divisional Round, 22-17, despite a Patrick Mahomes’ injury that forced him from the game in the second half. Chad Henne kept things afloat as the Chiefs became the first AFC team to host three consecutive conference championship games.
The Chiefs have won the last four matchups against Cleveland, with the Browns' most recent win coming in 2012. Baker Mayfield looks for his first career win head-to-head against Mahomes.
Other Notable Week 1 Match-ups
The recently-dubbed ‘Kickoff Game’ will feature the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, September 9 at Raymond James Stadium on NBC. Reigning champions are 13-3 in the 16 Kickoff Games that they’ve played, with Tom Brady going 3-1 in the opener, all with the Patriots.
Sam Darnold’s first game as a Panther will come against his former team as Carolina hosts the Jets. Two AFC playoff teams from a year ago collide in Buffalo as the Steelers visit the Bills. The Saints post-Drew Brees era begins with a date against the Packers, but will Aaron Rodgers be there?
And the Week 1 slate wraps up on Monday night with the Las Vegas Raiders hosting Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
You’ll be able to see the full schedule for the Browns, Bengals, and all the other 30 NFL teams when the schedule is announced in its entirety, Wednesday evening.
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