Top NFL divisional rivalry games that are must-see in 2020

Sometimes the best NFL rivalries aren't always the most exciting ones. PFN's Cole Thompson breaks down every top NFL divisional rivalry games in 2020.

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

Nine wins will likely be enough to win the NFC East, and outside of maybe a slip up to the hopefully improved New York Giants, these two are going to duke it out for the division. However, a hopeful draft class could make the Cowboys and Eagles watchable when it comes time for kickoff on Sunday nights.

The Cowboys will try to land Dak Prescott on an extension deal before the July 15 deadline, but the draft class could entice him to take less money. CeeDee Lamb is a versatile receiver that will excel as the team’s No.3 weapon. Trevon Diggs is a rising cornerback with quality coverage coming in the SEC. Later picks, like Tyler Biadasz and Neville Gallimore, were the icing on the cake of an underachieving team.

Carson Wentz lived up to his contract last season and would have won more if not for a slew of injuries. When Greg Ward Jr. is your lead receiver in Week 17, you know it’s a tough time. The team should be better equipped with speedster Marquise Goodwin joining the roster and first-round pick Jalen Reagor making moves on the outside. Plus, Jalen Hurts is going to be used in some fashion, thus adding interest to the storyline under center.

If Dallas wins both times, they’ll head back to the postseason. The same goes for the Bird of the Brotherly Love. Simply put, it’s a weak race to the finish line, so whoever stays healthy longer will earn the bragging rights.

NFC North: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings 

Until Mitchell Trubisky or the entire Detroit Lions squad prove anything, there’s one rivalry in the NFC North. For the Vikings, they’ll be looking to improve despite losing seven starters in the offseason. Green Bay will be coming off a 13-3 season, but have their own problems at hand under center. 

Kirk Cousins will have to break his primetime curse after given a new extension. Lucky for him, both games against the Packers won’t happen unless barring a time change. Both sides of the field took hits in free agency, forcing young talent to step up into starting roles. Meanwhile, a limited training camp and preseason could also put Minnesota’s plan back a season while trying to regroup. 

Aaron Rodgers will enter the win-now campaign as if this is the end for him with the Pack. Following the selection of Utah State’s Jordan Love, the clock is ticking on the 36-year-old’s time up north. A majority of offensive stars will also be playing for new deals as Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari, Jamaal Williams, and others will hit the market in 2021. After retooling the defense for 2020, this could be a chance for Matt LaFleur’s squad to finish what was started a season before. 

Related | Aaron Rodgers Contract: What options to the Packers have? 

For now, all four teams have flaws, but this duo has the least. In 119 meetings, Green Bay holds the edge, 62-54. For 2020, a win could mean more than another “W” in the column, but rather one leading to a trophy by season’s end.

NFC South: New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Buccaneers

The Senior Bowl has come to the NFC South. Well, not that Senior Bowl, but still one fans want to see. The G.O.A.T versus the all-time leader will now meet twice a year, both hoping to add a few more numbers to their Hall of Fame careers. Expect the winner of the matchup also to represent the division come postseason time.

Three straight heart-breaking playoff performances by New Orleans could lead to the end of Drew Bress’ career on a sour note. Mickey Loomis and Sean Peyton aren’t giving up just yet as the additions of Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins should fix to glaring needs. The draft class could be a factor as Cesar Ruiz, Adam Trautman, and Zach Baun all are expected to be immediate contributors.

For Tampa, they were a quarterback away last season despite having the league-leading passer. Moving on from Jameis Winston in favor of Tom Brady, Bruce Arians will be going for his Lombardi Trophy to end his career. The offense will feature Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the outside with Rob Gronkowski at tight end. Inside, O.J. Howard should produce while rookie Tyler Johnson could be a large frame weapon at the slot.

The heavy favorite to win it all should be one of these two. Brees will be looking to win one more ring while Brady just wants to prove he wasn’t a product of New England. One of these two greats should get the chance, but the quest for a title starts September 13th in the Superdome.

NFC West: Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams

Look, Seattle or San Fransisco will likely win the division with the latter grabbing one of the three Wild Card spots. However, with the third spot available, the NFC West could feature three teams representing the conference in football’s division. For this rivalry, it’ll be a race out of the last place. 

The Rams are going to have to show their worth in 2020. After parting ways with Brandin Cooks, Dante Fowler Jr., and Todd Gurley, Sean McVay will have to coach his rebound team to success behind the likes of a younger roster. Jalen Ramsey should thrive in coverage, and while perhaps overrated, Jared Goff still has only suffered one losing season in four years as the starter. 

The same goes for Kliff Kingsbury in the desert. Steve Keim gave up on both Steve Wilks and Josh Rosen for the air-raid college offense to take flight. One full year with Kyler Murray should be enough for the former Red Raiders’ coach to prove his scheme will work at the next level. The former Heisman winner should also be in for a breakout year as DeAndre Hopkins will be added to an impressive offensive attack. 

Two years ago, McVay was coaching in the Super Bowl. This could be a season where he’s coaching to remain relevant. Kingsbury’s hire was already questionable, and despite some flashy moments, Arizona still has concerns on defense. Both teams are talented, yet one could be in for a long offseason should they lose both matchups. 

Cole Thompson is the lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson and @PFN365 for all up to date NFL content.

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