The 2020 NFL season will mark the league’s 101st in existence. Being that we are now 100 days away from the start of the season, we thought we would treat you to our second annual edition of 100 things to know for the coming year.
2. The Texans will take the field without DeAndre Hopkins, who was traded this offseason (along with a fourth-round pick) to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
3. The Chiefs used their first-round pick on LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is now the highest-drafted running back in Andy Reid’s coaching career. Edwards-Helaire’s calling card is his ability as a pass-catcher, giving Patrick Mahomes yet another weapon to use against opposing defenses.
4. For the first time in nearly two decades, the New England Patriots will enter the season with someone other than Tom Brady as their starting quarterback. It seems likely that 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, who went 2 of 4 for 14 yards and an interception last season, will get first crack at the job.
6. In a weird quirk of history, the Dallas Cowboys could become the first-ever NFL team to run the “Bird Gauntlet.” Dallas plays against all five teams with bird-related nicknames: the Eagles, Falcons, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Ravens. No NFL team has ever played and defeated all five of those teams in the same season.
7. Here’s a quick fact about each of those five teams… The Eagles added a ton of speed to their offense this offseason, drafting Jalen Reagor (4.47-second 40-yard dash) and John Hightower (4.43) and trading for Marquise Goodwin (4.27).
8. The Falcons cut longtime cornerback Desmond Trufant, replacing him with first-round pick A.J. Terrell.
9. The Cardinals added one of the most versatile defenders in the draft in former Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Arizona has experience using versatile defensive playmakers like Budda Baker, Deone Bucannon, and Hassan Reddick.
10. The Seahawks have absolutely loaded up on running backs, adding Carlos Hyde in free agency and DeeJay Dallas in the draft, with Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Travis Homer all set to return to the fold as well.
11. The Ravens added even more talent to an already loaded defense, bringing in defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe via trade and free agency, then drafting Patrick Queen and Justin Madubuike.
12. Returning this year after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
13. In addition to Green, the Bengals supplied No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow with another young wide receiver: No. 33 overall pick Tee Higgins. They’ll also get their 2019 first-rounder pick, tackle Jonah Williams, on the field for the first time after he missed last season with an injury.
14. The 2021 NFL Draft is taking place in Cleveland. The 2022 draft will be held in Las Vegas (as a makeup for the city not being able to hold the 2020 draft due to the coronavirus pandemic) and the 2023 draft is headed to Kansas City.
15. A whole bunch of players who had spent their entire career in one place are with new teams this year, including but not limited to Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Philip Rivers (Colts), Greg Olsen (Seahawks), Andy Dalton (Cowboys), Jason Witten (Raiders), Bryan Bulaga (Chargers), Wolfe (Ravens), and Xavier Rhodes (Colts).
16. Also with a new team: Todd Gurley, who was cut by the Rams in order to create salary cap space. Gurley landed with the Falcons, where he’ll take over for the also-cut Devonta Freeman, who has yet to find a new team but is a rumored target of the Eagles, among others.
17. New York Jets running back Frank Gore is back for his 16th NFL season, sitting 1,379 yards behind Walter Payton for second place on the all-time rushing list. Interestingly, Gore and the Jets will also play against every single other team he has previously played for during his NFL career.
18. Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who already owns the NFL’s all-time completions record, is only 133 completed passes away from reaching 7,000 for his career. Brees is also 2,584 yards away from becoming the first quarterback to reach 80,000 and three touchdowns away from becoming the first quarterback with 550 passing scores.
19. The tight end position saw significant change this offseason. Not only did Gronkowski un-retire, but Austin Hooper left the Falcons for the Browns; Hayden Hurst was traded from the Ravens to the Falcons; Eric Ebron left the Colts for the Steelers; Jason Witten left the Cowboys; Greg Olsen was released by the Panthers and signed with the Seahawks; Jimmy Graham moved from the Packers to the Bears; and Tyler Eifert left the Bengals for the Jaguars.
20. This year’s Thanksgiving slate: Texans at Lions, Washington at Cowboys, and Ravens at Steelers.
21. There will also be an NFL game on Christmas this year: the Vikings visit the Saints in a rematch of what has been one of the more hotly-contested playoff battles in two of the past three seasons.
22. Speaking of the Saints: they gave versatile offensive weapon Taysom Hill a huge contract, and are pretty much all-in on this season after trading up three different times in the draft and signing Malcolm Jenkins and Emmanuel Sanders as well.
23. The NFLfor the 2020 season, but the proposed onside kick alternative was not one of them. Instead, the NFL addressed the replay system, defenseless players, and game-clock manipulation.
24. The Vikings have had one of the NFL’s best defenses for a while now, but they’ll return in 2020 having undergone significant turnover: none of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Linval Joseph, or Everson Griffen will be back in Minnesota this season.
25. If you’re wondering when the rematch of Helmet-Gate takes place: Myles Garrett and the Browns play against the Steelers in Week 6 and Week 17, with the first of those games taking place in Pittsburgh.
26. Players potentially returning from suspension include Garrett, Cowboys edge rushers Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory, free-agent wide receiver Josh Gordon (if reinstated), and free-agent linebacker Vontaze Burfict, among others.
27. The NFL elected not to put any international games on this year’s schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
28. The 49ers traded away one of the best players on their league-best defensive line, sending DeForest Buckner to the Colts in exchange for Indy’s first-round pick. The Niners traded down one slot, then used the No. 14 overall selection on Buckner’s replacement: Javon Kinlaw.
29. Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is still unsigned, though he is coming off a major injury for the second consecutive offseason.
30. Former Buccaneers and Titans quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the No. 1 and 2 overall picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, did not last beyond the fifth-year option with their original teams. Winston signed with the division rival New Orleans Saints to back up Drew Brees, while Mariota signed with the Las Vegas Raiders to back up Derek Carr.
31. The Rams moved on from one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history, Wade Phillips, and hired former Bears and Broncos outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley as their new defensive coordinator.
32. The Packers drafted Jordan Love — the player they view as Aaron Rodgers‘ eventually successor — several years before Rodgers is ready to hand up his spikes, just as they drafted Rodgers several years before Brett Favre felt he was done.
33. Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia (a former defensive coordinator with the Patriots) signed a couple former Patriots this offseason (again): defensive tackle Danny Shelton and linebacker Jamie Collins. He also traded for safety Duron Harmon. Dolphins coach Brian Flores, also a former defensive coordinator in New England, brought in linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts, plus center Ted Karras.
34. Seven different NFL teams made at least a tweak to their, while the Rams, Falcons, Bucs, Browns, and Chargers debuted all-new looks.
35. The Texans handed out a monster contract to left tackle Laremy Tunsil, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson is also now eligible for a contract extension.
36. Several rookie running backs look like they will be in position to contribute right away this season, including Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs), Jonathan Taylor (Colts), D’Andre Swift (Lions), Cam Akers (Rams), and J.K. Dobbins (Ravens).
37. Speaking of rookies: former Ohio State teammates Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah, the No. 2 and 3 overall picks in the 2020 draft, will be on the same field again in Week 10, when Washington travels to Detroit to take on the Lions.
38. Two of the three members of the 2016 quarterback class (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz) signed contract extensions last offseason, but Dak Prescott remains unsigned. He has been franchise-tagged by the Cowboys and will earn approximately $31.4 million in 2020 if he and the Cowboys are unable to agree to a long-term deal.
39. The other players on the franchise tag are Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake, Ravens edge rusher Matt Judon, Bengals wideout A.J. Green, Broncos safety Justin Simmons, Jaguars edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, Vikings safety Anthony Harris, Patriots guard Joe Thuney, Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams, Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree, Buccaneers edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, Titans running back Derrick Henry, and Washington guard Brandon Scherff.
40. While two running backs were franchise-tagged this offseason, another received a mammoth contract extension. Christian McCaffrey got a four-year, $64 million bump from the Panthers after his record-setting 2019 season.
41. Not awarded an extension: Leonard Fournette, taken by the Jaguars with the No. 4 overall pick in the same draft. That one’s not looking great, folks.
42. Speaking of draft picks that don’t look great: the Bears brought in Nick Foles to “compete” with Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job. Not that we need to remind Bears fans, but Chicago traded up one spot to land Trubisky at No. 2 overall in the same draft where Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were drafted later on.
43. The first-ever home game for the Las Vegas Raiders will be in Week 2, on Monday Night Football, against the Saints.
44. The Rams will open their new stadium in LA by playing host to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones played a sizable role in the Rams’ LA proposal getting approval from the rest of the league’s ownership groups.
45. No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and the Bengals have games scheduled against five other top-10 picks: Week 1 against the Chargers and No. 6 pick Justin Herbert), Week 4 against the Jaguars and No. 9 pick C.J. Henderson, Week 11 against Washington and No. 2 pick Chase Young, Week 12 against the Giants and No. 4 pick Andrew Thomas, and Week 13 against the Dolphins and No. 5 pick Tua Tagovailoa.
46. It’s also possible we could see Tagovailoa and Herbert on the same field when the Chargers and Dolphins square off in Week 7.
47. After he missed almost all of last season due to injury, Denver Broncos edge rusher Bradley Chubb should be back on the field in 2020, forming one of the NFL’s best pass-rush duos alongside Von Miller.
48. In response to the wildly controversial application of the challengeable pass interference rule last offseason, the NFL simply decided to get rid of it rather than attempting to fix the problem.
49. Desperately in need of help at defensive back, the Eagles traded for former Lions corner Darius Slay this offseason. Slay and his former defensive backfield-mate Quandre Diggs were share the field again in Week 12, when the Eagles play the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. (Diggs was traded from Detroit to Seattle last season.)
51. The Patriots have won the AFC East every year since 2009, and in 17 of the past 19 seasons. The Patriots are narrow favorites to win the division in 2020, checking in at +120 at William Hill. The Bills are right behind them at +130.
52. The Bills added yet another piece to their offense this offseason, hoping to help quarterback Josh Allen take the next step: former Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who was acquired in exchange for Buffalo’s first-round pick. That selection was used to select Diggs’ replacement: LSU wideout Justin Jefferson.
53. The Colts have thefor the 2020 season, when determining schedule strength by the team’s projected win-loss records in Las Vegas.
54. The Falcons have the most difficult schedule by the same measurement.
55. The following players remain free agents: Cam Newton, Jadeveon Clowney, Marcell Dareus, Logan Ryan, Damon Harrison, Ron Leary, Tony Jefferson, Larry Warford, Everson Griffen, Reshad Jones, Jabaal Sheard, Michael Bennett, Lamar Miller, Jason Peters, Cameron Wake, Eric Reid, Clay Matthews, Terrell Suggs, Stephen Gostkowski, Markus Golden, LeSean McCoy, Vinny Curry, Morris Claiborne. And they’re not alone.
56. Among the 10 players with the highest cap hits for the 2020 season, two of them play for the Rams. Aaron Donald is an obvious (and deserved) one, but there’s also Jared Goff.
57. The Colts, meanwhile, have allocated more than $46 million to the quarterback position this season, between Philip Rivers ($25 million) and Jacoby Brissett ($21.375 million).
58. The Chargers, already armed with some of the best defensive personnel in football, added two more intriguing pieces this offseason: former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris and Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
59. The 2021 quarterback draft class is supposed to be pretty awesome: There’s Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but also North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Georgia’s Jamie Newman, Stanford’s K.J. Costello, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, and more.
60. The star-studded 2021 receiver class took a hit, though, when Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced that wideout Justyn Ross will undergo surgery and miss the entire 2020 season with a spinal fusion issue.
61. The two largest contracts signed this offseason by players who actually reached free agency were handed to Byron Jones (five years, $82.5 million) and Robert Quinn (five years, $70 million), both of whom played the 2019 campaign for the Cowboys.
62. The 49ers traded one piece of their running back trio (Matt Breida) to the Dolphins, but still have both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman left over. Oh, and Jerick McKinnon is on his way back. And they replaced retired left tackle Joe Staley with longtime Washington stalwart Trent Williams.
63. Matthew Stafford was on pace to throw for nearly 5,000 yards, along with 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, at the time he was injured last season. He’s heading into Year 2 in Darrell Bevell’s system, and the second year has typically seen quarterbacks under new coordinators.
64. The Jets spent a whole bunch of money and draft capital this offseason to upgrade the infrastructure around Sam Darnold, signing offensive linemen Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten, plus wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and drafting offensive lineman Mekhi Becton and receiver Denzel Mims.
65. The Jets’ Week 4 opponent on Thursday Night Football, the Denver Broncos, enacted a similar offseason strategy. Denver signed Graham Glasgow and Melvin Gordon, then drafted Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Lloyd Cushenberry, and Albert Okwuegbunam.
66. The Panthers, meanwhile, used all seven of their draft picks on defensive players, starting with former Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown at No. 7 overall.
67. After hiring Kevin Stefanski, the Browns appeared to consciously model his former team (the Vikings), signing Jack Conklin to upgrade their run game and bringing in Austin Hooper so they could have him run more two-tight end sets alongside David Njoku. Baker Mayfield has seen his most success out of two-tight sets in each of his first two seasons.
68. It is, of course, entirely within the realm of possibility that some or all of the 256 games scheduled to be played this season will take place without fans in the building, or with socially-distanced fans filling the stadium to less-than-full capacity.
69. Every Week 2 game is scheduled so that the two teams playing against each other have the same bye week, in case the league has to delay the beginning of the season due to the pandemic.
70. The league also has a plan for what will happen withif fans cannot attend games.
71. This will be the first NFL season without Eli Manning since 2004. His fellow Class of 2004 quarterbacks, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, are with a new team for the first time ever (Rivers is with the Colts) and coming back from a major injury (Roethlisberger had elbow surgery), respectively.
72. Bill Belichick and company will get another shot at trying to stop Lamar Jackson when the Ravens visit New England in Week 10.
73. After last season’s classic regular-season finale, the 49ers and Seahawks will once again square off in Week 17.
74. Second-year QBs Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, and Gardner Minshew all enter the season as their team’s presumptive starters. Each of their teams added several players in order to upgrade the infrastructure around them and aid their development.
75. The league’s seven second-year coaches had a combined record of 46-65-1 last season. Only one of those coaches (Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur) finished the season with a winning record.
76. The Cowboys fired longtime head coach Jason Garrett and replaced him with longtime Packers coach Mike McCarthy, whose teams knocked Garrett’s out of the playoffs on two separate occasions. McCarthy retained offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who led the Cowboys to the second-most efficient offensive in the NFL last season, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA. McCarthy, who had long been reluctant to give up play-calling duties in Green Bay, will let Moore call the plays in Dallas.
77. Four other teams have new coaches this season: the Browns (Kevin Stefanski), Panthers (Matt Rhule), Giants (Joe Judge), and Washington (Ron Rivera).
78. The game ball used by the league this season will be a bit different than it was last year: the color has been slightly modified and the NFL shield is no longer gold in honor of the league’s 100th season.
79. No team will spend more on its offensive line this season than the Raiders, who have allocated nearly $60 million to the big boys up front. They’re paying their O-Line $8 million more than the next-closest NFL team.
80. Teddy Bridgewater enters a season as his team’s starter for the first time since 2015. He missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a traumatic knee injury, then played in only one game in 2017 before serving as the backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He went 5-0 in relief of Brees last year, then signed a three-year contract with the Panthers.
81. A rematch of last season’s NFC title game will take place in Week 9, when the Packers travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
82. Giants coach Joe Judge said his team’s new offense will look a whole lot like the one his offensive coordinator Jason Garrett ran in Dallas.
83. Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton indicated that he plans to retire at the end of his next contract, which he hopes keeps him in Indianapolis for the entirety of his career. Hilton
84. Rob Gronkowski is no longer a WWE champion. He lost his belt to R-Truth.
85. Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards last season, but he didn’t really take off until Ryan Tannehill took over as the starting quarterback. Tannehill was handed a contract extension this offseason and now enters the year as the Titans’ unquestioned starter.
86. There are two full days of, scheduled for Weeks 15 and 16. The NFL will choose up to three out of a group of five games on each of those days, with some of them being played Saturday and others pushed to Sunday.
87. The Seahawks will travel more miles than any other team in 2020 and more miles than every team in the AFC North combined.
88. The playoffs are set to expand from 12 teams to 14 this season. Rather than the No. 1 and 2 seeds in each conference getting a first-round bye, only the top-seeded team will have the first weekend off. The No. 1 seed will play in the divisional round against the lowest-seeded team remaining in the playoffs, while the other two advancing teams will play against each other.
89. Thanks to a quirk in the schedule, the Jets and Dolphins will play each other in consecutive games. They play in Week 10, both take their bye in Week 11, then play again in Week 12.
91. The new collective bargaining agreement signed this offseason includes the potential for the league to expand the regular season schedule to 17 games, but not until 2021 of 2022 at the earliest. If said expansion happens, the players’ percentage of guaranteed revenues will rise to 48.8 percent.
92. The Pro Football Hall of Fame will, with five modern-day inductees joining 15 additional inductees for the centennial class. The inductees are Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchison, Edgerrin James, Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher, Jimmy Johnson, Harold Carmichael, Jim Covert, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie, Ed Sprinkle, Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, and George Young.
93. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski aren’t the only Patriots who left the team. Legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retired (for the second time) this offseason. He’s been replaced by assistants Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo, who will coach the line in tandem.
94. The defending champion Chiefs are the current betting favorite to win Super Bowl LV at +400, followed by the Ravens (+650), 49ers (+700), and Cowboys, Saints and Buccaneers (+1200). The Jaguars, Bengals, and Washington are all considered the biggest long-shots, with +20000 odds.
95. The first two Monday Night Football games of the season are Steelers at Giants and Titans at Broncos.
96. Monday Night Football in Week 3, by the way: Chiefs vs. Ravens rematch. Mahomes. Jackson. Get ready for some fireworks.
97. 49ers star George Kittle is seeking a monster deal that would with left tackles and wide receivers rather than tight ends. As the best blocking tight end in the league and an A-plus level receiver, Kittle holds tremendous importance to the 49ers’ offensive system.
98. The NFL’s oldest coach, Pete Carroll, is 32 years younger than the NFL itself. (Carroll turns 69 in September.)
99. No team has ever won a Super Bowl played in its home stadium.
100. Super Bowl LV will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL on Feb. 7, 2021. You know, home of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.