After a day of social media leaks, the official 2020 NFL schedule was revealed just prior to a three hour televised show on Thursday night. The reaction show to the full 256 game schedule announcement filled the prime time slot that is reserved during the NFL season for the opening game of the week. Since 2006, Thursday Night Football has heralded the start of the weekend’s NFL action. Despite receiving criticism in the past for below-par matchups, Thursday Night Football has also delivered sensational games. Which are the contests that are set to be the top Thursday Night Football games in 2020?
Top 5 2020 Thursday Night Football games
5. Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills – Week 6
The reigning Super Bowl Champions will open the 2020 NFL season on a Thursday night against the Houston Texans. However, their Thursday night matchup against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 is the first to make our list.
The Chiefs will go into the 2020 NFL season as a heavy favorite as they return many of the pieces that helped them secure the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 NFL season. Patrick Mahomes has an additional weapon in the backfield with Clyde Edwards-Helaire in what promises to again be the most potent offense in the NFL.
After adding Stefon Diggs via a trade prior to the NFL Draft, the Bills have put the pieces in place around quarterback Josh Allen to make a serious challenge in the AFC East. They made the playoffs in 2019 and were close to defeating the Houston Texans on Wild Card Weekend.
The Bills hold a 26-21 advantage in the head to head record and defeated the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium last time the two teams met back in 2017.
Mahomes was riding the pine as a rookie during that 2017 defeat for the Chiefs. Can he lead Kansas City to victory or will Josh Allen’s continued development provide a catalyst for the Bills to be a serious Super Bowl contender in 2020?
4. Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints – Week 16
There is some serious bad blood between these two franchises which makes it must-watch television and one of the top Thursday Night Football games in 2020.
The Minnesota Vikings hold a 23-12 all-time advantage over the New Orleans Saints, but it’s their two most recent victories that will ensure this is a fiery encounter on Thursday Night Football.
For two consecutive seasons, the Vikings have ended the Saints’ Super Bowl hopes. In 2018, the “Minnesota Miracle” floored fans as time expired at the end of the NFC Divisional game. Then, in 2019, Kyle Rudolph’s overtime touchdown gave the Vikings a walk-off win on Wildcard Weekend.
The Vikings overhauled their roster in the 2020 NFL Draft and are very much in a “win-now” situation with Kirk Cousins under center. The Saints returned Drew Brees for what will be probably be one last run at the Super Bowl.
This Christmas clash has all the ingredients to deliver a holiday feast of football, and potentially have a say in deciding the shape of the playoffs. What more can you ask from a Thursday Night Football game in 2020?
3. Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – Week 11
Kyler Murray tasted victory over the Seattle Seahawks in his rookie season, and after making waves in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals look set to be in a position to make a run at the NFC West title in 2020.
Although they will never be on the field at the same time, the clash between two of the games most mobile quarterbacks in Murray and Russell Wilson will make this one of the top Thursday Night Football games in 2020.
There will be exciting matchups all over the field. The DeAndre Hopkins trade from the Texans to the Cardinals gives Murray a host of receiving options in what could be the NFL’s hottest offense. The Seahawks aren’t lacking firepower for Wilson either, with D.K. Metcalf set to build on a promising rookie campaign.
The Seahawks hold a slender one-game advantage over the Cardinals in the head to head record. If the Cardinals live up to their potential, then they could leave the 2020 season as the top birds in the NFC West pecking order.
2. Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – Week 9
Two of the most famous franchises in the NFL go head to head in Week 9 for one of the top Thursday Night Football games in 2020. There are many subplots that are set to make this an instant classic.
The Packers will be out for revenge after two humiliating defeats to the 49ers in the 2019 NFL season. After losing 37-8 in Week 12, the Packers were trampled all over in the NFC Championship as the 49ers booked a place in the Super Bowl with a 37-20 win.
Can the 49ers repeat last season’s Super Bowl run behind Jimmy Garoppolo? Will the Packers be able to stop the 49ers run game that was so dominant in the previous encounters? Is 2020 the final swansong for Aaron Rodgers after the Packers drafted Jordan Love with their 2020 NFL Draft first-round pick? Will the addition of A.J. Dillon provide the Packers with a multi-headed run game that the 49ers used with such devastating success last season?
Points are almost guaranteed when these two teams go to war on the field and that, combined with the aforementioned storylines, make this a must-watch Thursday Night Football game midway through the season.
1. Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens – Week 13
The Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens suit up on a Thursday for two consecutive weeks as their Week 13 matchup comes one week after their appearance in the Thanksgiving tripleheader. Although the Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins followed by the Ravens trip to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers are divisional battles, the Cowboys trip to Baltimore will be a must-watch game and the top Thursday Night Football game in 2020.
The 2019 season showed the NFL world what Lamar Jackson was really capable of. The NFL MVP lit the football world on fire as he led a Ravens offense that was sensational to watch week in and week out. Jackson’s unique skill set allowed the Ravens run game to thrive with Mark Ingram. The rich got even richer with the addition of Dobbins into the backfield during the 2020 NFL Draft.
After a dismal 2019, the Cowboys finally parted ways with head coach Jason Garrett and that move alone is enough to fire up their offense. Dak Prescott has never had more weapons to throw to, with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup joined by first-round draft pick Ceedee Lamb. He will also be motivated to prove that he deserves a big payday.
This Thursday Night Football game will see potentially two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL face-off, as the Cowboys look to bounce back from a shocking ending to 2019 and the Ravens look to mount a Super Bowl run once again.