Rodgers, Packers vs. Winston, Saints Tops Fox Week 1 Games for 2021 NFL Schedule

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2021

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Fox announced its full slate of games for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season on Wednesday with a clash between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints serving as the headliner. 

Per ESPN's Field Yates, the Week 1 Fox schedule will be as follows:

  • Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET
  • San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET
  • Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET
  • Denver Broncos at New York Giants, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. ET

Packers vs. Saints is an intriguing matchup for several reasons, including the fact that it will be the Saints' first opener without Drew Brees at quarterback since 2005. It also remains unclear if Aaron Rodgers will still be the Packers' quarterback once the regular season rolls around.

Although it isn't set in stone, it seems likely that Jameis Winston will be head coach Sean Payton's preferred choice to replace Brees, however, Taysom Hill will be waiting in the wings should Winston falter.

If Rodgers either gets traded or refuses to play in 2021 due to his unhappiness with the Packers organization, 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love will be Green Bay's likely Week 1 starter after not taking a single snap as a rookie.

The Packers and Saints were two of the NFC's premier teams last season and have been in recent years. That could continue if Rodgers returns to the Pack and Winston transitions smoothly into a starting role, but the uncertainty regarding those situations makes Green Bay vs. New Orleans one of the must-see games of Week 1.

Another highly anticipated game on Fox's Week 1 slate will see a pair of 2020 playoff teams in the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts lock horns at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy.

The Seahawks are mostly returning the same team in 2021, which may not necessarily be ideal since they were ousted by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card Round of the playoffs.

Some Russell Wilson trade rumors even made the rounds earlier this offseason, and while they have since died down, 2021 could be a make-or-break year for Seattle in terms of whether it can keep Wilson happy and make him want to spend the rest of his career with the only organization he has ever played for.

If the Seahawks don't have a successful year and Wilson doesn't feel as though he was given enough help, it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that he could be next offseason's version of Rodgers.

As for the Colts, they will look to provide quarterback Carson Wentz with a career resuscitation after acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles during the offseason.

Wentz was one of the NFL's worst quarterbacks last season, but now that he is reunited with former Eagles offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach Frank Reich, there is some hope for the 2016 No. 2 overall pick to turn things around.