The 5 most intriguing games for Joe Burrow in his rookie season

LSU football’s Joe Burrow will look to take the NFL by storm in 2020.

When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow with the first pick in the NFL Draft, they made the move with the intention of the former LSU football quarterback being the franchise’s starter in 2020.

Shortly after selecting Burrow, the Bengals released former starting quarterback Andy Dalton, essentially making their intentions a reality.

Barring injury, Burrow is the guy for the Bengals in 2020. There will be no sitting on the bench and learning behind a veteran. It’s Burrow’s team.

And that should make for a very interesting rookie season for the former Tigers standout.

The 2020 NFL schedule was released on Thursday evening, so we now know when Burrow will take the field this upcoming season.

There are five specific games on the Bengals’ schedule that immediately jump out to me as intriguing.

Here are those five games.

Week 1 — Los Angeles Chargers @ Bengals (September 13, 3:05 CT/4:05 ET)

This will be Burrow’s first regular season NFL game, so of course it’s intriguing.

The Chargers are a team in transition. It’s going to be odd watching them take the field without Philip Rivers under center (he’s now with the Indianapolis Colts).

There’s a chance this could be a matchup between the first and third quarterback (Justin Herbert) selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Los Angeles signed Tyrod Taylor before the 2019 season to back up Rivers. As of now, he’s at the top of the depth chart. But that could change this summer, depending on Herbert’s progression.

Week 2 — Bengals @ Cleveland Browns (September 17, Thursday Night Football)

We don’t have to wait long for Burrow’s first game in prime time.

Just four days after starting his career against the Chargers, Burrow will play under the lights against the Browns (oddly enough, Burrow starts his career by playing in both cities in Ohio with professional football teams).

This should be a fun showdown between Burrow and Baker Mayfield — two young quarterbacks that down-on-their-luck franchises are betting on.

(By the way, the two quarterbacks were on opposing sidelines in 2017 in Oklahoma’s early season win against Ohio State, but Burrow didn’t see any game action.)

Week 5 — Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (October 11, 12:00 PM CT/1:00 PM ET)

This will be the biggest test of Burrow’s young career. Bigger than anything he faced while at LSU.

Baltimore was the best team in the NFL during the regular season in 2019. And quarterback Lamar Jackson was the league MVP. Suffice it to say, the Ravens will be quite a challenge for Burrow and the Bengals.

The good news for Burrow is that expectations won’t be too high for his first matchup against the Ravens. But he better get used to this rivalry. Jackson and the Ravens are going to be a thorn in Burrow’s side for a long time in the NFL.

Another interesting subplot of this game will be Burrow going up against his former college teammate Patrick Queen, who was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Week 13 — Bengals @ Miami Dolphins (December 6, 12:00 PM CT/1:00 PM ET)

This game is either going to be really, really intriguing or not intriguing at all.

It all hinges on whether or not Tua Taigovailoa plays (and starts) for the Dolphins.

Prior to the start of the 2019 season, everyone assumed that Taigovailoa would be the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But Burrow’s breakout season, combined with Taigovailoa’s injury issues, threw a wrench in that assumption.

Believe it or not, there are still some analysts out there who feel like Taigovailoa is the better quarterback.

This matchup on an NFL field would be a great way to see how these two quarterbacks measure up to each other as professionals.

Week 15 — Pittsburgh Steelers @ Bengals (December 21, Monday Night Football)

Burrow’s first Monday Night Football appearance (which will also be his first prime time appearance in Cincinnati) will be must-see television.

The Steelers are another opponent that will likely be a thorn in Burrow’s side for years to come. This could be the first of many memorable matchups we get between Pittsburgh and the Burrow-led Bengals.

And with Ben Roethlisberger’s career winding down, it will be one of the few times we get to see Burrow take on the two-time Super Bowl winner.

One other interesting thing about this matchup?

JT Barrett, who started ahead of Burrow at Ohio State, is on the Steelers’ practice squad.

Funny how that worked out, huh?

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