We live in the age of turning the other cheek. In times as frightening and uncertain as these, we're told this is the moment to drain bad blood in service of the greater good. Angry? Take a deep breath and ask yourself: What Would Gal Gadot Do?
'Round these parts -- in the darkest and most petty corner of this particular website -- we breathe deep and seethe for the grandeur of retribution. Glorious, sweet, crushing vengeance. You "imagine" a world at peace. We're all about getting even.
Here are the best REVENGE GAMES the 2020 NFL regular-season schedule has to offer:
Carson Wentz waited four seasons for his first playoff start with the Eagles. His debut lasted just two series before a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jadeveon Clowney ended his 2019 campaign. Clowney's hit was ruled incidental by game officials, but many Eagles fans didn't agree and expressed their outrage about the call during and after the ensuing 17-9 loss to Seattle. Now Wentz gets another crack at the Seahawks in prime time, though it remains to be seen if Clowney, who remains a free agent, will be on the field for this game. Who knows, maybe they'll be teammates.
It was perhaps the most memorable -- and unquestionably the ugliest -- moment of the 2019 season: Late in an important Thursday night game between the Browns and Steelers in Cleveland, Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Mason Rudolph and struck the Pittsburgh quarterback in the head with it. Garrett was ejected from the game and subsequently suspended indefinitely. Things took an uglier turn when Garrett accused Rudolph of using a racial slur during the altercation, an allegation Rudolph vehemently denied and the league found no evidence to support. A healthy Ben Roethlisberger means Rudolph is unlikely to be on the field when these two teams meet again in October, but Garrett, who was reinstated in February, will surely be the center of attention for this game.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when MetLife Stadium was filled with fans wearing Odell Beckham Jr. jerseys. Beckham's incredible athleticism and propensity for highlight-reel catches made him an instant fan favorite, but his mercurial personality wore thin with the team, leading to his blockbuster trade to Cleveland last offseason. The deal looked like a huge steal for the Browns at the time, but Beckham didn't live up to his billing in his first year with Baker Mayfield. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver believes he has a huge comeback season in store, and you know he wants to put on a show in the building where he enjoyed his greatest moments.
Talk about your all-time backfires: Melvin Gordon wanted to be paid like one of the best running backs in the league. The Chargers said, "Nah." Gordon held out ... and held out ... and held out ... for 64 days in total last year, then struggled while attempting to play himself into shape in the middle of the season. Gordon lost millions in 2019 salary and torpedoed his 2020 value in the process. Whoops. The Broncos signed the running back to a two-year deal, and now Gordon will get two opportunities a year to stick it to the team that wouldn't break the bank for him.
How's this for a sliding doors scenario? Tom Brady, determined to stay in the same conference as Bill Belichick and drawn to the comforts of living and working in Southern California, chooses the Chargers over the Bucs in free agency. The NFL looks a lot different, doesn't it? Their interest in Bradynot reciprocated, the Bolts pivoted and invested the 2020 NFL Draft's No. 6 overall pick in Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Are we headed toward a scenario where Brady and Herbert go head-to-head? The Chargers were spurned by the G.O.A.T. in March -- they'll want to punish him for that decision in October.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
Week 9: Thursday, Nov. 5 at 8:20 p.m. ET on FOX/NFLN/Amazon
The 49ers embarrassed the Packers on a national stage last season -- twice. First, a 37-8 beatdown on Sunday Night Football in Week 12, then a 37-20 laugher in the NFC Championship Game. Niners RB Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the latter blowout ... the same Raheem Mostert who was previously cut by six different teams in his career. You wonder how confident Matt LaFleur's team can be going back to San Francisco for another prime-time matchup. It's also fair to wonder if Aaron Rodgers still has the necessary magic in his right arm to keep this game from turning into another whooping.
Hell hath no vengeance like a Belichick scorned. The Patriots were primed to extend their incredible streak of consecutive seasons with a playoff bye to 10 as they prepared for their regular-season finale against the last-place Dolphins. But Ryan Fitzpatrick connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki with 24 seconds remaining for a stunning 27-24 victory at Foxborough. New England dropped into the Wild Card Round for the first time in a decade and was immediately dispatched by the upstart Titans in Tom Brady's final game as a Patriot. Think Belichick likes the idea of getting the post-Brady Pats off to a positive start while also snuffing out optimism in Miami? It's all the man thinks about.
It feels like everyone is dunking on Bill O'Brien and the Texans this offseason, but it started with Patrick Mahomes back in January. Houston, fresh off an overtime win over the Bills in the Wild Card Round, jumped out to a 24-0 second-quarter lead over the Chiefs at stunned Arrowhead. That's when Mahomes went nuts, leading Kansas City to 41 unanswered points on seven consecutive touchdown drives in an eventual 51-31 win. It was an embarrassing end to the season for the Texans, and gaining a measure of atonement in the NFL's Thursday night opener will be all the more difficult with star wideout DeAndre Hopkins now catching passes 1,200 miles to the West. Has anyone mentioned that was a weird trade?
The Ravens enjoyed a dream regular season in 2019, piling up 14 wins behind Lamar Jackson en route to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Baltimore was a popular pick to reach the Super Bowl, but the Titans had other ideas in the Divisional Round. Led by another dominant performance from Derrick Henry, the Titans controlled the game from start to finish in a 28-12 victory. "We just beat ourselves," Jackson said after the loss. Stunned fans at M&T Bank Stadium were left to wonder what in the hell just happened, while Jackson faced more questions on why his dominant play in the regular season had yet to surface in two playoff losses. The reigning MVP will have to wait until January to slay that narrative, but beating up on Tennessee in November would undeniably scratch an itch. Big Truss.
You have to go all the way back to 1985 and Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago to find a Christmas Day sporting event with a revenge hook as juicy as this. The 13-3 Saints entered the playoffs in January as arguably the best No. 3 seed in NFL history. The inconsistent Vikings were exactly the kind of team you'd expect to get turned into cannon fodder by a superior January opponent. But the Vikings didn't blink in the Wild Card Round, and Kirk Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph on a third-and-goal pass in overtime to secure a stunning 26-20 win. "I'm just glad Kirk can't win big games, apparently," Rudolph told FOX immediately after the game. "We proved that one wrong today." It was a bitter pill for the Saints, who have now had their hearts broken by the Vikings in *two* of the last three postseasons.