CBS announces Week 1 NFL schedule for 2021 season

Ahead of Wednesday evening’s full NFL schedule release, CBS announced its full slate for Week 1 of the 2021 season this morning.

These early- and late-afternoon kickoffs are filled with phenomenal matchups to begin the 2021 campaign. It’s no accident the NFL schedule broke this way, as many fan bases have lots to be excited about.

We’ll now take a closer look at some of the juiciest narratives surrounding these contests.

Top storylines from CBS’ Week 1 NFL schedule

Sam Darnold gets shot at revenge vs. Jets

Top storylines from CBS' Week 1 NFL schedule
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws the ball against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. How about that? The New York Jets just drafted Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and traded away their would-be franchise quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers not long before then.

Darnold won’t have to wait long to prove to his former team that he is that man who can be a long-term quality starter. He’s back on the NFL scene as a Panther to go head-to-head with Gang Green.

Even with a new defensive-minded head coach in Robert Saleh, New York will have its hands full against a Carolina team that has loads of skill position talent, headlined by All-Pro tailback Christian McCaffrey.

It’ll likely be up to Wilson to take care of the ball while still putting a lot of points on the board to keep pace with the Panthers.

Browns and Chiefs meet in AFC Divisional Round rematch

CBS NFL schedule Week 1
Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the Cleveland Browns during the first half in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

When these two teams last met, the Browns hung tough in the playoffs, but a Rashard Higgins touchback fumble and a failure to stop a 4th-and-1 completion by Chad Henne resulted in Cleveland taking the loss in Kansas City 22-17.

Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes figures to be healthy for the whole game this time around, and Arrowhead Stadium won’t be an easy environment for the Browns to thrive in. However, they’ve upgraded their secondary a lot since they last faced Mahomes and Co.

After an offseason in which the Chiefs prioritized protecting Mahomes with a much better offensive line, it’ll be fascinating to see how the new-look Cleveland defense handles this high-octane KC offense.

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Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars likely to start 1-0

Top storylines from CBS' Week 1 NFL schedule
April 29, 2021, Seneca, SC, USA; Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is selected to the Jacksonville Jaguars as the number one overall pick during the 2021 NFL Draft. Mandatory credit: Logan Bowles/NFL Handout photo via USA TODAY Network

The reigning No. 1 overall draft pick and his new head coach Urban Meyer couldn’t have asked for a better opponent out of the gates.

Considering that the Houston Texans are in complete disarray and probably have the least-talented roster in all of football, they stand little chance even as Trevor Lawrence and Meyer make their NFL debuts.

It’s extremely unclear who’ll even be at quarterback for Houston. What better way to begin a new era in Jacksonville than by getting an easy AFC South rival on the road to boost morale?

Look for Lawrence to light up the Texans defense, as any optimism in Houston will be quickly dashed by the rude awakening this figures to be for the home team.

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