The NFL’s schedule for the 2019 season was released on Wednesday. With the craziness of the offseason settling in, many grudges have been created. Decisions from teams and players that caused disappointment can now be avenged in a few anticipated games of the new season. Here are four revenge games to look forward to in the 2019 NFL season.
4. Bears at Raiders
Week 5; October 6
The blockbuster trade that sent Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears took place just weeks before the 2018 season. The Oakland Raiders received 2019 and 2020 first round draft picks along with a few more picks in return for Khalil Mack.
The Bears flourished with Mack as he made an instant impact to the defense. In 2018, the pass-rusher had 47 combined tackles,12.5 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown. Mack also was selected to the Pro-Bowl and earned First Team All-Pro honors. The Bears finished the season with a 12-4 record, winning their division and moved on to the playoffs.
While Mack was proving his worth in Chicago, the Raiders struggled. The Oakland defense had a total of 13 sacks on the season. Only .5 more than Mack had by himself. The Raiders finished last in the AFC West with a 4-12 record.
Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is close, the Raiders will be able to use the picks they gained in exchange for Mack. Although the Bears seemingly won this trade, the two teams face off in week 6. This will be the first time Mack will play against his former team.
3. Ravens at Seahawks
Week 7; October 20
The Seattle Seahawks recently signed Russell Wilson to a deal that made him the highest paid player in the NFL. This may be the reason why the team never signed safety Earl Thomas to an extension.
Earl Thomas was one of the most valuable free agents of the 2019 offseason. After a lot of speculation on where he would sign, the safety ended up with the Baltimore Ravens. The team signed Thomas to a four-year, $55 million contract.
Before finding his new team, the Seahawks refused to trade or extend Thomas when he headed into the 2018 season, the final year of his contract. The safety suffered a broken leg only after a quarter of the season. Although the injury was believed to lower his value, Thomas was signed to the second highest deal at his position.
Thomas will be given the opportunity to perform against his former team, Week 7.
2. Saints at Rams
Week 2; September 15
Last year’s NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams was controversial, to say the least. The Rams won in overtime 26-23 and moved on to the Super Bowl while the Saints were sent home packing. Of course, this only after the infamous no-call against cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman.
The no-call sparked outrage throughout the nation as it seemed the Saints would have won if the pass-interference was penalized. It did not help when the Rams went on to lose Super Bowl 53 after putting up only 10 points. Many believed the Saints would have put up a better fight in the Super Bowl and frustrations continued.
Recently, a new rule was put in place that allows teams to challenge offensive and defensive pass interference calls and no calls. The rule will make its debut in the 2019 season. After being put in place after the 2018 NFC championship, it seems the controversial no call is what led to the creation of the new rule.
The Saints will get the chance to get revenge in the NFC championship rematch, only 2 weeks into the regular season.
1. Steelers at Jets
Week 16; December 22
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been making headlines all offseason, and not for the right reasons. From twitter wars between Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, to criticisms aimed at Ben Roethlisberger, the team has had its dysfunctions. Along with the drama, animosity between a few players and the team has brewed.
Running back Le’Veon Bell held out for the entire 2018 season in hopes of a contract extension. The Steelers decided that the price tag was too hefty and let the All-Pro walk. Bell became one of the most valuable free agents on the market.
The New York Jets signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal in the 2019 offseason. After holding out for an entire year, the running back finally got the contract he wanted.
Le’Veon Bell will take on his former team in Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season. By then many playoff spots will be clinched. But, there will be spots that come down to the very last few weeks. With each team being in the AFC, the Jets and Steelers may both very well be fighting for a playoff spot.
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