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Top 10 ‘Can’t Miss’ games on the 2016 NFL schedule

The 2016 NFL schedule has been released for a bit now and looking at it, there are an abundance of great match-ups. From old rivalries to Super Bowl rematches, here is a list of the top NFL games you should circle on your calendar in 2016.

Super Bowl 50 rematch to open the season

Von Miller strip sacks Cam NewtonWeek 1: Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos

Thursday, September 8th

8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

The 2016 season will kick off with a bang in Denver with a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl that saw the Broncos defeat the Panthers 24-10. Although this time Denver will be breaking in a new starting quarterback as Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left for Houston via free agency. Currently the Broncos have newly acquired veteran Mark Sanchez and 2015 7th round pick Trevor Siemian on the roster, but many are expecting John Elway to bring in another QB with either a trade or in the draft. Carolina QB Cam Newton will be ready to silence his doubters after a forgettable Super Bowl performance, but will the Panthers offensive line be ready to contain that ferocious pass rush?

The NFL returns to Los Angeles

Rams HB Todd GurleyWeek 2: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, September 18th

4:05 p.m. ET on FOX

One of the more intriguing teams of the 2016 season will be the Rams as they make their long awaited return to Los Angeles. What better way to welcome the NFL back to L.A. with a divisional match-up with rival Seattle. Another reason why this game will be a must-watch will be the possible breaking in of a rookie quarterback for the Rams. L.A. recently traded up to the No. 1 pick and many are expecting them to select either Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. Also 2nd year RB Todd Gurley is a superstar in the making after rushing for over 1,100 yards in just 13 games.

Monday Night Football, Mexico City style!

Raiders vs Texans in Mexico CityWeek 11: Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders (game played at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City)

Monday, November 21st

8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

The NFL will go South of the border for a Monday night showdown between the Texans and Raiders. Interest in American football in Mexico is high and this game should draw a huge crowd as both the Texans and Raiders have aspirations of making the playoffs in 2016. Houston is hoping free agent signee Brock Osweiler is the answer they have desperately been looking for at quarterback, meanwhile Oakland seems to have its QB for the foreseeable future in 2014 2nd round pick Derek Carr.

Jets seek early-season revenge against Rex Ryan and Buffalo

Buffalo Bills HC Rex RyanWeek 2: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Thursday, September 15th

8:25 p.m. ET on CBS

For the most part the New York Jets season in 2015 was a success, but a week 17 loss to Rex Ryan and Buffalo cost them a shot at the playoffs. After losing both games to their former head coach and the Bills, the Jets will be ready for this Thursday night showdown. Several questions remain however, as the Jets have yet to re-sign free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who broke the franchise record for touchdown passes last season. On the Buffalo side, will running back LeSean McCoy be eligible to play after a reported dispute with Philadelphia police during the off-season. Nevertheless these two bitter rivals will be ready to duke it out on primetime.

Brock Osweiler returns to Denver

Houston Texans QB Brock OsweilerWeek 7: Houston Texans at Denver Broncos

Monday, October 24th

8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

It has been quite the off-season for the defending champs, who after winning the Super Bowl lost both its top quarterbacks, including Brock Osweiler leaving Denver to take over in QB-starved Houston. This match-up has some bad blood as the Denver defense has made its intentions clear to make Osweiler pay for ditching them. The game also has some intrigue on the field as both teams won their respective divisions a season ago and we will get to see two of the league’s elite pass rushers in the Texans J.J. Watt and Broncos Von Miller.

Luck vs Rodgers

Andrew Luck and Aaron RodgersWeek 10: Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers

Sunday, November 6th

4:25 p.m. ET on CBS

When you have two of the best quarterbacks in the game you’re bound for a great match-up. Andrew Luck and the Colts will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2015. Meanwhile the Packers, despite making the divisional playoff round, looked somewhat mortal on offense last season. These two quarterbacks last met in week 5 of Luck’s rookie year in 2012, where he led Indianapolis back from a two-score deficit to defeat Green Bay.

Possible Super Bowl contenders clash in the desert

Tom BradyWeek 1: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, September 11th

8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Sunday Night Football opens the season with a battle between the two teams that fell just short of the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots have been busy this off-season, including a trade with Arizona that sent defensive end Chandler Jones to the Cardinals for guard Jonathan Cooper. They also picked up former Bears tight end Martellus Bennett as head coach Bill Belichick will try to utilize the double tight end set that has brought them success in the past. The match-up to watch in this one will be Tom Brady against the Cardinals ball-hawking secondary.

AFC North rivals meet after blood feud in the playoffs

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.33.54 PMWeek 15: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, December 18th

8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

There is no love lost between these two AFC North rivals after a hard-hitting wildcard game last season. A personal foul penalty on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, cost Cincinnati a chance to break their losing playoff streak (Last won in 1991). Burfict was later suspended for the first 3 games of 2016, meaning he will miss the week 2 match-up between these two teams. The Steelers advanced to the divisional round last season, despite losing star running back Le’Veon Bell during the season. Either one of these teams could be playing in Super Bowl LI.

Newton and Wilson renew rivalry from last year’s playoffs

Russell Wilson and Cam NewtonWeek 13: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, December 4th

8:30 p.m ET on NBC

These two teams met in the NFC Divisional playoffs last season, as Carolina jumped all over the Seahawks for a 35-0 halftime lead. However, Seattle would make a ferocious comeback falling just short in a 35-28 thriller. Cam Newton and Russell Wilson could be the NFL’s next great QB rivalry with Peyton Manning calling it quits this off-season. Both quarterbacks are in their prime and the Panthers and Seahawks have the makings of NFC contenders for the foreseeable future. Needless to say, most football fans are hoping this won’t be the only match-up between these two in 2016.

Seahawks seek revenge from Super Bowl XLIX loss

Malcom Butler INT in Super Bowl XLIXWeek 10: Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots

Sunday, November 13th

8:30 p.m. ET on NBC

The last time these two met was Super XLIX two years ago, as a game-ending interception at the goal line by Malcom Butler sealed the Patriots 4th championship. This Seahawks team is a bit different from that one, as running back Marshawn Lynch hung up the cleats following an injury-riddled 2015 season. QB Russell Wilson is now the focal point of the offense, as well as wide receiver Doug Baldwin who caught 10 touchdowns last season. The names may change in New England, but one thing stays the same. As long as Tom Brady is under center, the Patriots will be in the mix.

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