There will be many reasons to watch top games during the 2016 NFL schedule, but nothing draws in fans more than the idea of a possible quarterback duel.
Anybody who follows the game of football knows what that is. It’s a matchup where the running backs and the defenses take the week off and it becomes fast break, gun-slinging shootout between two of the best arms in the business. There will be lots of points, lots of yards, lots of lead changes and lots of drama. That is what the fans love and is why quarterbacks are so beloved.
With the rules as they are and the quality of talent out there, the opportunity for some great duels are on the horizon, each unique in its own way whether because of contrasting styles or history between the two. Here the five meeting that fans absolutely must make sure to circle the calendar for in the months to come.
Week 4: Drew Brees vs. Eli Manning
How can anybody forget the last meeting between these two. Down in the Superdome of New Orleans last season, Eli Manning and Drew Brees made it seem like the defenses never even made it to the game and instead took the day off to go bar hopping. Manning threw for 441 yards and six touchdowns. On any normal day that would’ve resulted in a huge win. The problem was Brees not only matched but actually outdid him with 505 yards and seven touchdowns to secure a 52-49 win. To think there might be more of that on the horizon? Yes please.
Week 7: Derek Carr vs. Blake Bortles
He’ll never admit it, but Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is probably still a bit sore about the fact that he wasn’t a 1st round pick in the 2014 draft. What better way for him to show the league that they were wrong than by taking down the guy who was taken first in that class, Blake Bortles. Both quarterbacks are emerging into prolific passers, topping 30 touchdowns each in 2015 with some explosive wide receivers at their disposal. Neither pass defense has shown the capability (yet) to stop anybody. That bodes well for a standoff between those two.
Week 9: Andrew Luck vs. Aaron Rodgers
The only time they met was one of the most memorable games in recent history. Right after their head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer, the Indianapolis Colts played the Green Bay Packers. Having promised a victory for their ailing coach, the team watched helplessly as Aaron Rodgers picked them apart early on, building a 21-3 lead. Then Andrew Luck came of age, leading an epic comeback in the second half. He finished with 362 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass with 35 seconds left. It was gripping theater, and the two have a chance to deliver a second act at Lambeau.
Week 10: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tony Romo
While the two quarterbacks themselves have a bit of a history, this is more a celebration of an old rivalry. No teams from the AFC and NFC have met in the Super Bowl more times than the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. It always seems to produce drama, and the last two times that Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger have met, its upheld that tradition. Both games were decided by seven points or fewer with each claiming a victory on their home field. Romo posted 341 yards passing the last time he saw the Steelers defense. Roethlisberger had 339. That’s about as even as it gets.
Week 10: Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson
This is a game the Seattle Seahawks have waited two years for. One can bet Russell Wilson is still having nightmare about Super Bowl XLIX and that iconic interception he threw to end the game, handing the championship to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. It wiped out what had been a solid performance for the young gun and elevated Brady to an even higher pedestal. Since then Wilson has progressed even further as a passer. Last season he topped 4,000 yards for the first time and threw 34 touchdowns. There is no doubt he’ll be counting the days for this game to arrive so he can show Brady how much he’s learned since that heartbreaking defeat.