If the 2020 NFL season does begin as planned, it should have quite an opening act.
Old faces in new places, new faces in new places, and few high-profile rivalry games highlight a Week 1 schedule that's (for now) slated to begin with a rematch of one of last season's most entertaining playoff showdowns.
With the coronavirus creating the very real possibility of an early-September start without spectators, fans could be tuning in in record numbers when the 101st NFL season kicks off.
Here are six Week 1 games that fall into the can't miss category, as well as a few others that figure to provide ample entertainment.
.@TomBrady vs. @drewbrees.— NFL (@NFL) May 8, 2020
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1) Tampa Bay at New Orleans (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Tom Brady's first regular season game in which he won't be wearing a New England Patriots uniform. Rob Gronkowski's return to the gridiron after a year-long dabble into professional wrestling. Brady vs. Drew Brees.
Two potentially unstoppable offenses full of big-name playmakers. This one's got all the makings of a must-see affair. It's a mild upset, and a somewhat disappointing one, that this NFC South clash wasn't picked to be NBC's exclusive Sunday Night Football lid-lifter.
2) Miami at New England (Sunday, Sept. 13)
The Patriots' first season opener in two decades without Brady on the payroll is intriguing enough, but the possibility of the Dolphins getting an early start on the Tua Tagovailoa era at quarterback would give this AFC East encounter even more juice.
Miami was one of the league's most active teams in free agency this offseason, adding ex-New England starters Kyle Van Noy and Ted Karras among several others as it attempts to end a streak of three straight losing campaigns.
3) Green Bay at Minnesota (Sunday, Sept. 13)
One of two Week 1 games involving playoff teams from last season, the Packers and Vikings combined for 23 regular-season wins in 2019 and appear poised to contend once again in what's shaping up to be a loaded NFC.
These longtime rivals have also endured their share of offseason drama, with Minnesota shipping disgruntled wide receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo and Green Bay making the most controversial pick of this year's draft with the first-round selection of quarterback Jordan Love. Aaron Rodgers certainly won't be lacking for early-season motivation.
4) Houston at Kansas City (Thursday, Sept. 10)
It'll be interesting to see if the Chiefs decide to raise the banner to commemorate their first Super Bowl championship since 1969 if fans aren't allowed in Arrowhead Stadium, but if you've waited 50 years to celebrate a title, what's a few more weeks?
The Texans very nearly spoiled the party in the divisional round of last season's AFC playoffs, jumping out to a 24-0 lead before Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to seven consecutive touchdown drives in the Chiefs' 51-31 comeback win. Houston won't have to wait long for a revenge opportunity in this marquee matchup that starts it all off.
5) Dallas at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, Sept. 13)
The Rams hope to have their sparkling new stadium open for business by the time Week 1 rolls around, while the Cowboys hope to have Dak Prescott locked up with a new long-term contract when 'America's Team' heads to Hollywood for this primetime showdown.
With gifted rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb joining Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Dallas shouldn't be short on star power for new coach Mike McCarthy's debut.
6) Cleveland at Baltimore (Sunday, Sept. 13)
The Browns enter the season with a new coach and are coming off a campaign of double-digit losses. Sound familiar? It remains to be seen if Kevin Stefanski can get the most out of a talented Cleveland roster, and the former Minnesota offensive coordinator gets tested right out of the gate with a road date against a loaded Ravens team that went a league-best 14-2 in 2019.
Lamar Jackson, the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, will try to duplicate his spectacular MVP season of last year, while the guy who went first in that draft - Baker Mayfield - attempts to put behind a difficult 2019 in which he threw 21 interceptions.
HONOURABLE MENTION WEEK 1 GAMES
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati (Sunday, Sept. 13)
This potential meeting of rookie quarterbacks would be bumped up into the must-see category should Justin Herbert be able to wrest the starting job away from veteran Tyrod Taylor in Chargers camp. Barring injury, No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow will certainly be under center for the Bengals, which gives this matchup plenty of intrigue in itself.
Chicago at Detroit (Sunday, Sept. 13)
This NFC North clash may be the most pivotal game of the Week 1 schedule with coaches Matt Nagy and Matt Patricia squarely on the hot seat. The Bears' quarterback battle between incumbent Mitchell Trubisky and new addition Nick Foles should be one of the most interesting training-camp competitions of the summer, and whoever does win the job will likely need a good start as well.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (Sunday, Sept. 13)
A Colts-Jaguars game usually doesn't move the needle much, but Philip Rivers in something other than a Chargers uniform will be a sight to see and Gardner Minshew's amazing mustache is always something to behold.
Las Vegas at Carolina (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Philadelphia at Washington (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants (Monday, Sept. 14)
Three of the league's five new head coaches get to open up at home, with the Redskins' Ron Rivera and the Giants' Joe Judge each drawing difficult assignments in the defending NFC East champion Eagles and a formidable Steelers team that presumably gets Ben Roethlisberger back from injury.
The Raiders get to tune up for their ballyhooed first official game in Las Vegas - a Monday night skirmish with the Saints in Week 2 - by traveling cross-country to take on a Panthers team that doesn't appear to be very good, but should at least be interesting after plucking coach Matt Ruhle and offensive coordinator Joe Brady from the college ranks.