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NFL's best revenge games in 2023 season: Super Bowl LVII rematch, Frank Reich vs. Colts and more

Do the Packers play the ... no, they don't. But a Packers-Jets matchup would have been totally cool, now that Aaron Rodgers is in New York. It would have been a great game to kick off this annual revenge games piece. But unfortunately for the viewing public, with Rodgers' old team and new team not on each other's schedules, we won't get a repeat of Russell Wilson squaring off against his former squad on Monday Night Football. Nor will we see the Raiders play the Saints, which would have been awesome, with Derek Carr now donning black and gold!

With that said, here are some of my favorite REVENGE GAMES in the upcoming 2023 season.

(I originally put this list out back in March, before the 2023 NFL Draft and before we knew each team's schedule. Now that we know which rookies will be playing where and when these games will be played, I've made the appropriate updates, as you'll see.)

If the NFL were professional wrestling, the Lions would "owe" the Packers a win for beating them in the Week 18 finale last year. You might have heard me say this before, but only the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs had a better ending to their season than the Lions. Detroit beat its rival, a team that has really hounded the Motor City for years. The Lions became one of the most beloved teams in the NFL -- and seemingly helped send Aaron Rodgers out of town without one last playoff appearance. Now Detroit heads into the 2023 season as a sentimental favorite. Of the two games scheduled between the teams this season, we'll zero in on the contest in Green Bay, where Jared Goff was last seen shouting "I own you!" at Cheeseheads. (OK, he didn't do that -- but he could have.) Coming three weeks after Detroit faces the Chiefs in the 2023 Kickoff Game, this contest will offer the Lions a nice chance to wrap September by really announcing their presence. Which, OK, wouldn't really be revenge for the most recent game, since Detroit obviously won that, but would be a spicy outcome nonetheless.

Oh, man -- this series is really personal for me. And I guess for David Montgomery, as well. It was a bummer to see him leave Chicago. Signing a three-year, $18 million deal with a division rival adds insult to injury. That's not a slam on the Lions. Anything but. I was just saying nice things about them. However, it will seem weird to see Monty in the Honolulu Blue. Plus, even if first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs ends up with most of Detroit’s carries this season, the former Bear is probably going to rush for about six touchdowns in two games against Chicago. You can book that. 

New Orleans is, of course, the new home of running back Jamaal Williams, who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (17) last season with Detroit. Yeah, this will be a big storyline this fall, regardless of how the snaps shake out between Williams, Alvin Kamara and rookie Kendre Miller.

It would be SO sweet if the Chiefs were scheduled to play in Philadelphia. (If I were the Eagles' ground crew, I'd saturate the field with water and make it a mud pit.) This meeting, though, is in Kansas City. The Eagles are out here looking to avenge a Super Bowl loss. Although, I always love how pundits (me) like to pretend a win will make up for the loss in a Super Bowl. It's like those movies where the hero punches the guy who murdered his family in the opening scene. You're like, Yeah, those things aren't equal. But hey, it gives them (me) something to talk about on NFL Total Access for a week. 

Speaking of the Eagles, the 49ers might have a bit of a grievance with the defending NFC champions for the way their season ended. And I might sound crazy here, but I anticipate San Francisco going into this game with a quarterback who has a working throwing arm. With everything that happened in that last game, the Niners were far more competitive than they should have been. (OK, at least for most of the first half.) This is undoubtedly the game they will have been looking forward to all offseason.

I know what you're thinking: Why is this one here? Because Bradley Chubb was traded to Miami? Dude ended up in a better situation. But did you see who the Dolphins added as their new defensive coordinator? Vic Fangio, a former head coach of the Broncos. I mean, Fangio was supposed to go out there and win games with Drew Lock. He was fired after three seasons. Then the Broncos trade for Russell Wilson. I know that hasn't gone as planned thus far, but the principle of it is very upsetting. The Dolphins are also rolling with newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey this year. I don't think he has beef with Denver, but he also seems like the kind of guy who doesn't need extra motivation. 

First, Frank Reich had to coach a series of Colts quarterbacks who were past their prime (Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan). Then he was fired, replaced temporarily by former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who was just chilling as a TV analyst and had no high-level coaching experience, in a move that was as shocking as it was infuriating to Hall of Famer Joe Thomas. (Shane Steichen ultimately got the permanent gig.) And then Indianapolis finally drafted a high-upside QB, landing Anthony Richardson fourth overall this April. Luckily for Reich, he had the chance to nab his own gem of a QB prospect, Bryce Young, in Carolina. Now that I think about it, should Richardson actually want revenge against Reich for passing on him with the No. 1 overall pick? There are layers here.

This game will always be considered a rivalry for all the weird things that have happened, from the 1970s, to the Tuck Rule, to when Jakobi Meyers threw a lateral to Chandler Jones that led to an unbelievable Raiders win last season. It might have been the weirdest game I saw in 2022. And like all of those people who go to Las Vegas and blow their money, these teams show up the next time, thinking it's going to be totally different. The added wrinkle to this classic matchup is Jimmy Garoppolo, the newly minted Raiders quarterback and former heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England. 

Ah, man -- this meeting would be so much better if Ezekiel Elliott were still with the Dallas Cowboys. But oh my gosh, this is another one of those historic NFL rivalries that has evolved since the 1970s. And Dallas' last two defeats at the hands of the 49ers have gotten weirder by the year -- including the final play of January's Divisional Round meeting. Which probably seemed like such a great idea when somebody pitched it. Like having Ryan Reynolds be Hal Jordan. Unfortunately, The Green Lantern was awful. I'm still bummed out about this -- The Green Lantern, not the ending of the Cowboys' season. That was hilarious. But hey, Ryan Reynolds did get the last laugh by making Deadpool sing on the silver screen. Oh, and selling Mint Mobile for a mint. Think about that, Mike McCarthy. This is going to be one of the most anticipated games of the year. 

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