There will be no shortage of great quarterback matchups during the 2021 NFL season. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are set to renew acquaintances in an AFC title game rematch. Tom Brady will battle Cam Newton in Brady's return to New England. If Aaron Rodgers and the Packers ultimately iron out their differences, the reigning MVP will meet the previous two winners of the highest individual honor, Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
We'll find out exactly when these compelling matchups will take place at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, when the 2021 NFL schedule is unveiled on NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app. In the meantime, when looking at the games on the 2021 slate, we asked our analysts one question:
Which quarterback matchup are you most anticipating this season?
The quarterback matchup I'm most looking forward to is Patrick Mahomes versus Aaron Rodgers. Each player can certainly make a claim for being the best in the game at the position. And as a fan of the Chicago Bears, I'm rooting for this to become a twice-a-year rivalry with Rodgers as a member of the Denver Broncos. Think of the matchups that would happen if this hypothetical trade were completed, with Mahomes, Rodgers, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the AFC West. That would be like an old-school four-corners match in wrestling. I would love to see it. Mostly for Rodgers being out of the NFC North. But as a football fan, too. So, I'd prefer two (a guy can dream, right?) but I suppose I can settle for one meeting between two of the last three MVP winners.
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns took a major leap in Kevin Stefanski's first season at the helm, with their season ending in the Divisional Round at the hands of Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs. Meeting again less than a year later will be a great evaluator for the Browns. Are they able to step up and overtake the AFC's best? Time will tell!
The matchup between Tom Brady and Josh Allen has a real chance to be the Super Bowl LVI preview. Both quarterbacks played at near-MVP levels last season and took their respective teams deep into the playoffs, with Brady's Buccaneers winning the whole thing. Bills-Bucs has the potential to be the best game of the 2021 regular season.
Although we frequently see Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes on screen together in State Farm commercials, we have never had the luxury of seeing them take the field in the same game. In the last meeting between the Chiefs and Packers (Week 8 of 2019), Mahomes did not play due to a knee injury. Watching arguably two of the most gifted and talented quarterbacks in NFL history compete would be football utopia, especially with their out-of-this-world improvisational playmaking ability. (Let's just hope that Rodgers is still wearing a Packers uniform when these two teams are set to clash.)
Quarterback matchups technically don't exist since QBs don't take the field at the same time. In fact, they don't even face the same defense, so it's tough to really compare opposing quarterbacks in a matchup. That said, I am most excited to see Tom Brady return to New England, where Cam Newton now takes the snaps. What Brady did for the region and franchise over two decades was quite simply amazing, and I'm hopeful that his homecoming will feature a hard-fought game full of class and respect -- like all good competition should.