The 2021 NFL schedule release lent itself to plenty of intriguing games involving players with local ties across the league.
Rematches, reunions and matchups with former teams are some of the enticing contests on the 2021 slate as far as players from the 808 state are concerned. Below are some games to keep an eye on in the upcoming NFL season.
[Latest stories from Hawaii’s Sports Station — KHON2 Sports]
Week 1 — Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots: The Dolphins opened the 2020 season at New England, back when Ryan Fitzpatrick was their starting quarterback, losing 21-11. Come Week 1 of the 2021 season, Tua Tagovailoa will have his chance to be the starter and start the season with a win. Tagovailoa will also be playing against his former Alabama backup in Mac Jones, who was selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Patriots.
Week 1 — Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans: Former University of Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald is a longshot to make the roster for the Cardinals in 2021, but if he gets playing time in Week 1, it could come against the team that drafted and released him in 2020.
Week 3 — Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders: A rematch of the ‘Brotherhood Bowl‘ in 2020, a matchup between famed Saint Louis alumni Tua Tagovailoa and Marcus Mariota. Although Tagovailoa started the game, he was eventually benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who won the game for Miami. Mariota, meanwhile, did not play.
Week 4 — Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins: Tagovailoa will square off against DeForest Buckner for the first time.
Week 5 — Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tagovailoa gets his chance to square off against the defending 2021 Super Bowl champions.
Week 6 — Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tagovailoa will take on 2021 No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence in London. The two quarterbacks also squared off in the 2019 college football national championship game, a 44-16 win for Lawrence’s Clemson over Tagovailoa’s Alabama.
Week 7 — Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers: All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner makes his return to the franchise that traded him for a first-round pick in 2020.
Week 7 — Chiefs at Titans: Kamalei Correa returns to Tennessee after requesting a trade from the franchise in 2020.
Week 8 — Dolphins at Bills: Tagovailoa gets an opportunity to avenge a fateful loss to the Bills that otherwise would have clinched the Dolphins a playoff berth in 2021.
Week 9 — Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins: Kamu Grugier-Hill, who played for the Dolphins last year, will face off against Tua Tagovailoa for the first time.
Week 12 — Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Mariota, if he sees the field, will play on Thanksgiving against the team he grew up rooting for.
Week 16 — Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints: Tagovailoa’s Monday Night Football debut.