The most compelling game from each week of the 2021 NFL schedule
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The most compelling game from each week of the 2021 NFL schedule

The release of the 2021 NFL schedule brings plenty of anticipation for NFL fans. These are the games we're most looking for to over the 18-week regular season.

 
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Week 1: Seahawks at Colts

Week 1: Seahawks at Colts
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An intriguing Week 1 slate includes Carson Wentz's Colts debut with a very formidable opponent in Seattle. The Seahawks claimed the NFC West at 12-4 last season, but still opened as slight underdogs.

 
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Week 2: Chiefs at Ravens

Week 2: Chiefs at Ravens
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The matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson has been touted over the last two years, with the Chiefs owning the 2-0 advantage. Most recently, the Chiefs blew out the Ravens in Baltimore 34-20 in Week 3 last year, but John Harbaugh's team will certainly have some adjustments.

 
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Week 3: Buccaneers at Rams

Week 3: Buccaneers at Rams
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Tampa Bay fell to the Rams in Week 11 last season before getting their footing late in the year. The Rams added Matthew Stafford in the offseason, and are hoping to knock the Bucs off their perch in what could be an NFC Championship Game preview.

 
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Week 4: Buccaneers at Patriots

Week 4: Buccaneers at Patriots
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Tom Brady's return to New England should gain more hype by the day. He led the Patriots organization to nine Super Bowls, winning six, before going off on his own to win with Tampa Bay last season. The Patriots have had a busy offseason, with Bill Belichick hoping to rebound from a disappointing 2020 season without Brady.

 
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Week 5: Bills at Chiefs

Week 5: Bills at Chiefs
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The Bills were no match for the Chiefs in last year's AFC Championship, but they will get another shot in Week 5. Entering the season, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are two of the favorites for NFL MVP, and for good reason.

 
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Week 6: Seahawks at Steelers

Week 6: Seahawks at Steelers
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Ben Roethlisberger could be entering his final NFL season regardless of whether the Steelers are able to right the ship after last year's late-season struggles, and will get a tough matchup when they host Russell Wilson's Seahawks. It's a rare interconference showdown between two of the most successful NFL franchises of the last decade.

 
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Week 7: Colts at 49ers

Week 7: Colts at 49ers
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The Colts and 49ers are two teams with major playoff aspirations and potentially both with former North Dakota State quarterbacks by Week 7. Indianapolis features Carson Wentz in 2021, while San Francisco could potentially turn to rookie Trey Lance if Jimmy Garoppolo doesn't produce early in the year. It would be a rare opportunity for the alums to go head-to-head.

 
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Week 8: Cowboys at Vikings

Week 8: Cowboys at Vikings
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Fans of great offensive talent will have a lot to watch in Week 8 when the Cowboys and Vikings meet. Both teams are loaded at the offensive skill positions, with Dallas featuring Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, while the Vikings can also hold their own with Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson. Dallas and Minnesota are both hoping for rebound seasons after a disappointing 2020.

 
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Week 9: Packers at Chiefs

Week 9: Packers at Chiefs
Denny Medley / USA Today Sports Images

Assuming Aaron Rodgers and the Packers mend their relationship, he will get to face the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes for the first time. The two teams squared off in 2019 when Mahomes was out with a knee injury. The game will be a coup for NFL fans and State Farm.

 
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Week 10: Seahawks at Packers

Week 10: Seahawks at Packers
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Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers have been two of the faces of the NFC over the last decade-plus, regularly making playoff appearances and leading their teams to Super Bowl contention. The battle between Seattle and Green Bay at Lambeau is a rematch of the 2019 Divisional Round playoff matchup when the Packers won 28-23.

 
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Week 11: Cowboys at Chiefs

Week 11: Cowboys at Chiefs
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Fans of scoring should see their fair share when the Cowboys and Chiefs square off in Week 11. Kansas City has been an elite offense since Mahomes' arrival in 2018, while Dallas looked like an elite offense when Dak Prescott was healthy early last season.

 
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Week 12: Browns at Ravens

Week 12: Browns at Ravens
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The Browns vs. Ravens matchup is quickly becoming a legitimate AFC North rivalry, with both teams having a realistic shot to win the division. The teams played one of the most memorable games of the 2020 season when Lamar Jackson returned from the locker room late to help the Ravens win 47-42 at Cleveland in Week 14.

 
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Week 13: Chargers at Bengals

Week 13: Chargers at Bengals
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First-round quarterbacks are often graded with the other quarterbacks in their draft class. After one year, Justin Herbert looked like the gold standard of the 2020 quarterback class, but first overall pick Joe Burrow also impressed before suffering a knee injury. The two young signal callers will get a chance to face off in Week 13.

 
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Week 14: Bills at Buccaneers

Week 14: Bills at Buccaneers
Denny Medley / USA Today Sports Images

Just a few years ago it would have seemed laughable, but now the Bills vs. Bucs matchup has a realistic chance to be a Super Bowl preview. Josh Allen has emerged as one of the top young quarterbacks in the league, while Tom Brady is still going strong in his mid-40's.

 
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Week 15: Packers at Ravens

Week 15: Packers at Ravens
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Green Bay is really getting a rough go with AFC opponents in 2021, and their late-season visit to Baltimore poses another big challenge. The two teams have Super Bowl aspirations, with Aaron Rodgers facing Lamar Jackson.

 
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Week 16: Bills at Patriots

Week 16: Bills at Patriots
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Buffalo finally ended New England's 11-year AFC East title run last season, but Bill Belichick is hoping to get back on track this season. This late-season matchup could be a must-win to take the division for either team.

 
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Week 17: Browns at Steelers

Week 17: Browns at Steelers
Joseph Maiorana / USA Today Sports Images

Browns vs. Steelers remains one of the NFL's most storied rivalries, and the AFC North foes could be eyeing a division title in Week 17. Cleveland is hopeful the game is more of a passing of the baton in the division, with Ben Roethlisberger potentially playing in the rivalry for the final time.

 
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Week 18: 49ers at Rams

Week 18: 49ers at Rams
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

The NFC West has regularly been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL recently, and there's a good chance the 49ers and Rams will be playing for the title in Week 18. Both teams are also hoping to get back to the Super Bowl after the Rams advanced three years ago and the 49ers narrowly lost to the Chiefs two seasons ago.

Seth Trachtman is a fantasy sports expert and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan still hoping for a Super Bowl win during his lifetime. He doesn't often Tweet, but when he does, you can find him on Twitter @sethroto.

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