With the 2021 NFL season just weeks away, there are several classic revenge games on the schedule. There is the rematch of last year’s AFC title game, for example, between Kansas City and Buffalo that takes place in October. There are a handful of other rematch games from last year’s playoffs.
There are also some quality player revenge games. Free agency permits the movement of players from team to team and there will be some big-name players that will have the opportunity to go up against their old teams in 2021. Here’s a look at the best revenge games of the 2021 season.
Tom Brady vs. New England Patriots
Brady, of course, led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title last season. His former team, the New England Patriots, recorded a losing record in 2021. That marked the first time the Patriots had done so since Brady was a rookie with the team in 2000. New England missed the postseason for the first time since 2008 when Brady tore an ACL in Week 1 and missed the season.
On Oct. 3, Brady will go up against his former mentor, Bill Belichick. There is no doubt Brady made his head coach better. In games when Brady was not his starting quarterback, Belichick is a rather mediocre 62-73 overall.
2020 AFC Championship Rematch
On Oct. 10, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs will meet again at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs, of course, got the best of the Bills and won 38-24 in last year’s AFC championship game. Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns leading the Chiefs to a second straight Super Bowl.
Buffalo won 13 games last season and returns QB Josh Allen, an MVP candidate, WR Stefon Diggs, and many more from the first Bills team to reach the AFC title game since 1993.
Matthew Stafford vs. Jared Goff
In the offseason, the LA Rams and Detroit Lions executed a swap of their quarterbacks sending Stafford to the Rams and Goff to the Lions. The two teams will meet on Sun., Oct. 24, in LA’s SoFi Stadium. The Rams are just three years removed from playing in a Super Bowl and had the NFL’s best defense a year ago. Detroit breaks in yet another new head coach in Dan Campbell.
J.J. Watt & DeAndre Hopkins vs. Houston Texans
Two of Houston’s greatest all-time players will welcome their former team, Houston, to Arizona on Oct. 24. Hopkins was traded to the Cardinals prior to the 2020 season and promptly recorded 115 catches for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns. Watt signed with Arizona this offseason and will add a dimension to the Cardinals pass rush. Houston is a shell of its former self after losing Hopkins, Watt, and potentially QB Deshaun Watson.
Jameis Winston vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Depending upon who wins the New Orleans Saints starting quarterback job, this one might not come to fruition. Winston, the former starter in Tampa, would have the chance to go up against his old team on Sunday, Dec. 19, if he is the Saints starter at the time.
Winston is actually Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. In his last season with the Bucs, Winston threw for 33 touchdowns. That was three more than the 30 interceptions he also threw that season. He set an NFL record when seven of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
In 2020, one of the best games of the season was a Week 2 showdown between the Cowboys and Falcons. Atlanta took a 39-24 lead in the fourth quarter. Dallas scored but missed on a two-point conversion try with fewer than five minutes to play. It appeared as if the Falcons were headed for a win.
Atlanta then blew it. Dallas recovered one of the more bizarre onside kicks and went on score twice more, the second a Greg Zuerlein field as time expired. Dallas won 40-39. Atlanta has a revenge opportunity but would have to win on the road at AT&T Stadium.
Cam Newton vs. Carolina Panthers
Should Newton remain the New England Patriots starting quarterback in November, he would get the opportunity to go up against his old team, Carolina. Newton is the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns in Panthers franchise history.
Newton would love to prove he can still get it done with a win over his old team. That’s the same Carolina franchise he led to three NFC South titles, an NFC championship, and an appearance in Super Bowl 50.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
It’s not often that a team gets not one, but two opportunities to get revenge against an opponent in the NFL. The Steelers will have that opportunity when they face division rival Cleveland in 2021.
Last season, Cleveland beat Pittsburgh in the final week of the regular season. The Browns won 24-22 in a game that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger did not play. The following week, the two teams played again in an AFC Wild Card matchup. The Browns won again pulling the 48-37 upset at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will get their first crack at the Browns on Oct. 31 in Cleveland and then again at home on Monday Night Football on Jan. 3. Prior to the two wins last season, the Browns had not won consecutive games over the Steelers since 1999-2000. Cleveland won the second game of the 1999 season 16-15 and the first game of the 2000 season 23-20. Since those two wins, the Browns have just seven wins over Pittsburgh.
2023 NFL Football Season