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Orlando Brown trade grades: Chiefs upgrade Patrick Mahomes’ protection; Ravens wiggle out of tough situation

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Orlando Brown trade grades: Chiefs upgrade Patrick Mahomes' protection; Ravens wiggle out of tough situation

How ’bout those … offensive linemen?

The Kansas City Chiefs surprised the NFL world by signing Joe Thuney to reinforce the offensive line earlier in the offseason, and now they made another massive move, trading for Baltimore’s disgruntled tackle Orlando Brown to give the team a left tackle of the future.

MORE NFL DRAFT: Complete 7-round mock | Top 100 big board

Orlando Brown trade details

The full reported trade details per Adam Schefter:

Kansas City gets: 

  • OT Orlando Brown
  • 2021 second-round pick (58th overall)
  • 2022 sixth-round pick

Baltimore gets: 

  • 2021 first-round pick (31st overall)
  • 2021 third-round pick (94th overall)
  • 2021 fourth-round pick (136th overall)
  • 2022 fifth-round pick

Really, this is a deal where both sides win: the Chiefs get much-needed offensive line reinforcements in the immediate and the Ravens wiggle out of a tough situation that was coming to a boil this offseason. Here’s how it grades out:

Chiefs: A+

Any time you get offensive line help, and a bona-fide franchise left tackle, for the No. 31 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s a win.

The Chiefs got manhandled in their Super Bowl 55 loss to the Buccaneers with both bookend tackles out. Now, with Eric Fisher departed and Mitchell Schwartz released and heading towards retirement, Kansas City needed offensive line help desperately, and they got exactly what they needed.

The Chiefs lost out on Trent Williams (who re-signed with the 49ers) but did secure Joe Thuney at guard, and they head into the 2021 NFL Draft with a revamped offensive line that features Brown on the left side and Thuney. That’s how you build on the fly and give your superstar quarterback the protection he needs in the coming years. It’s not offense when star offensive linemen hit the market, and the Chiefs understood this.

They also have to understand that while this is a deep offensive line draft, the tackle position might not be: first-round prospects Rashawn Slater and Christian Darrisaw are expected top-15 picks, which would have been well before Kansas City was slotted to select, meaning a trade-up would have cost a lot, or they’d likely miss out on both.

They also get back a late second-round pick, which mitigates the loss of the first-rounder and an extra sixth. Now, they have two second-rounders and they still have a fourth-rounder which was received as a comp pick.

While the Chiefs could still opt to target offensive line in the draft, focusing on acquiring the much-needed upgrades along the line earns KC brass high marks right now, even if a contract extension isn’t reportedly in the immediate talks.

MORE: 10 most likely teams to trade up, down in NFL Draft

Ravens: B+

It’s kind of hard to give the Ravens a bad grade here considering Orlando Brown’s desire to play on the left side, and it also hurts when you’re trading a star tackle to a team that you may be vying for a Super Bowl appearance with, but the Ravens did decent overall here.

First and foremost, Baltimore’s brass must be happy to get a first, third and fourth back in the immediate even after trading away their late second-rounder (58th overall), which will give them opportunities to throw darts at the board in a deep offensive line and wide receiver 2021 NFL Draft if they so choose. This will help mitigate the loss of Brown, presumably, and also give them a chance to find more receiving help for Lamar Jackson.

Also, Baltimore is reportedly zeroing in on signing longtime Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva to play right tackle, which would also significantly help their line now and give them less needs to target in the draft.

The bottom line is: Brown wanted out, which gave Baltimore little leverage in trade discussions. Picking up a first-round pick this year is a big win. But trade value charts say that the Ravens really lost value on the deal, even if we can’t project where exactly the Chiefs’ pick will land in 2021 — if you’re into that sort of thing.

Still, getting back three picks for a player you wouldn’t be able to re-sign or retain in the long-term is a good move. What the Ravens do with those picks will ultimately tell the story of the deal, per usual.

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NFL schedule 2021: When is Tom Brady returning to New England to face the Patriots?

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NFL schedule 2021: When is Tom Brady returning to New England to face the Patriots?

For the first time in his 21-year NFL career, Tom Brady is going to get a chance to play against the Patriots. Because of the way the NFL’s rotating schedule works, the teams from the NFC South will be playing all four of the teams from the AFC East this year.

That, of course, means that Brady’s Buccaneers will be taking on Bill Belichick and the Patriots during the 2021 campaign. Needless to say, the stakes will be high in that game as both members of the long-time coach/quarterback duo will look to out-duel one another on the field.

By virtue of the 2021 NFL schedule release, we now know when Tampa Bay is traveling to New England for the contest. And luckily, fans won’t have to wait long to see a game that many never thought we’d see.

MORE: Full Buccaneers schedule for the 2021 season

Here’s everything to know about Tom Brady’s return to New England, including the date, time and TV channel for the contest.

When is Tom Brady playing against the Patriots?

  • Date: Sunday, Oct. 3
  • Kickoff Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBC

Tom Brady will be returning to New England to play the Patriots in Week 4 of the NFL season. The Oct. 3 game will be shown on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and will be one of the marquee matchups of the season.

It won’t just be Brady’s return to New England either. Tight end Rob Gronkowski also will be in action against his former club for the first time in ’21. That will mark two likely Hall of Famers who are set to suit up against New England for the first time. Belichick will certainly cook up some plays in an effort to slow them down.

It’s unclear who the Patriots will be starting at quarterback by that point in the season, but it seems likely that it will either be Cam Newton or Mac Jones. If it’s Jones, then the first-round rookie will have a chance to endear himself to Patriots fans early if he can beat the team’s former star and earn Belichick and the Patriots some bragging rights.

The Buccaneers will be on the second game of a two-week road trip and will have just taken on the Rams in Los Angeles before this contest. It may not be easy for them to go coast-to-coast for this matchup, especially given how tough an opponent the Rams may be. Meanwhile, the Patriots will be coming off a home game against the Saints, which should be easier for them to bounce back from in the post-Drew Brees era.

No matter what happens in this game, it’s sure to be great. Brady and Belichick are two of the NFL’s ultimate competitors, and this could be the only time they face off as they enter the twilights of their careers. They’ll each be sure to bring their A-games to this matchup of all-time greats.

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Broncos schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

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Broncos schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

The Broncos, despite finishing 5-11 and falling into last place in the AFC West last season, are giving coach Vic Fangio a chance to redeem himself in 2021. Denver hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 — the season which ended with the team winning Super Bowl 50.

John Elway hired a GM, George Paton. But the Broncos, much to everyone’s surprise, didn’t go all in trying to replace third-year second-rounder Drew Lock at quarterback, settling to bring Teddy Bridgewater in the mix (for now). While the offense is hoping to perform better with the many talented pieces it already has around the QB, the defense continues its rebuild for Fangio.

Here is a complete breakdown of the Broncos’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis.

NFL OFFSEASON 2021:
Team-by-team draft grades | Latest power rankings

Denver Broncos schedule 2021

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time  TV
1 Sept. 12 at Giants 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
2 Sept. 19 at Jaguars 1 p.m. ET CBS
3 Sept. 26 vs. Jets 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
4 Oct. 3 vs. Ravens 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
5 Oct. 10 at Steelers 1 p.m. ET Fox
6 Oct. 17 vs. Raiders 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
7 Oct. 21 at Browns 8:20 p.m. ET Fox/NFLN/Amazon
8 Oct. 31 vs. Washington 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
9 Nov. 7 at Cowboys 1 p.m. ET Fox
10 Nov. 14 vs. Eagles 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
11 BYE
12 Nov. 28 vs. Chargers 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
13 Dec. 5 at Chiefs 1 p.m. ET CBS
14 Dec. 12 vs. Lions 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
15 Dec. 19 vs. Bengals 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
16 Dec. 26 at Raiders 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
17 Jan. 2 at Chargers 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
18 Jan. 9 vs. Chiefs 4:25 p.m. ET CBS

The Broncos looked up to everyone in the division last season. The Chiefs are still daunting and the Chargers have some worthy buzz. Las Vegas provides the slight opening for Denver to get out of the cellar.

Outside of the AFC West six games, the Broncos join those rivals in also playing all of the AFC North and NFC East. The Jaguars and Jets are the extra last-place games in the AFC. The depleted Lions are a helpful simliar reprieve as the 17th opponent, from the NFC North.

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

Broncos strength of schedule

The Broncos, on paper, have the sixth easiest schedule in the NFL, tied with the Dolphins. Denver’s opponents combined to go 127-143-2 last season, or a .471 winning percentage. A lot of that comes from Jacksonville, the two New York teams and Detroit.

Despite that, the Broncos still face returning playoff teams in six of their 17 games.

Toughest tests: The Broncos’ road schedule is brutal with trips to Cleveland and Pittsburgh offsetting a date in Jacksonville. They also have to play in Dallas and go to the Giants.

It’s a little different at home, where the Chiefs, Ravens and Washington represent the Broncos’ three toughest games out of nine total.

Biggest breaks: The Broncos get the “earned” breaks of the Jaguars, Jets and Lions, three teams in simliar situations. There also are the Bengals, Eagles and Raiders coming to Denver.

Bottom line: The Broncos are a mixed bag with offensive limitations and defensive overhauling. Fangio needs to win now after being saved despite his team’s dismal performance in 2020. 

If the QB situation changes dramatically, then it would be OK to consider the Broncos doing a complete 180 into contention. But in the current state, there’s little from Lock’s or Bridgewater’s recent play that inspires.

Record prediction: 6-11

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

The Giants are hoping for a breakout third season with quarterback Daniel Jones in 2021. New York finished second in the NFC East at 6-10 under new coach Joe Judge last season, an improvement from 4-12 the previous season.

With better health, led by running back Saquon Barkley, and upgrades in personnel all around, the Giants are more confident that they can jump into first place in Year 2 with Judge. Here is a complete breakdown of the Giants’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.

NFL OFFSEASON 2021:
Team-by-team draft grades | Latest power rankings

New York Giants schedule 2021

Here is the New York Giants’ complete schedule for 2021.

 

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time TV
1 Sept. 12 vs. Broncos 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
2 Sept. 16 at Washington (Thursday) 8:20 p.m. ET NFLN
3 Sept. 26 vs. Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
4 Oct. 3 at Saints 1 p.m. ET Fox
5 Oct. 10 at Cowboys 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
6 Oct. 17 vs. Rams 1 p.m. ET Fox
7 Oct. 24 vs. Panthers 1 p.m. ET Fox
8 Nov. 1 at Chiefs (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
9 Nov. 7 vs. Raiders 1 p.m. ET CBS
10 Nov. 14 Bye
11 Nov. 22 at Buccaneers (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
12 Nov. 28 vs. Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
13 Dec. 5 at Dolphins 1 p.m. ET Fox
14 Dec. 12 at Chargers 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
15 Dec. 19 vs. Cowboys 1 p.m. ET Fox
16 Dec. 26 at Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
17 Jan. 2 at Bears 1 p.m. ET CBS
18 Jan. 9 vs. Washington 1 p.m. ET Fox

The Giants have an interesting slate beyond their six division games against the Cowboys, Eagles and Washington. The other complete NFC division is the South, while the interconference rotation brings up the AFC West.

As a second-place team, the Giants also get the NFC wild-card Rams and Bears on top of the Super Bowl 55 champion Buccaneers. From the AFC, the Dolphins are the 17th opponent.

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

Giants strength of schedule

The Giants, thanks to their weak division, are tied for the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL with the Bills and Colts. New York’s 2021 opponents had a combined 2020 record of 128-142-2, a winning percentage of .474.

The two games against Washington lead the contests against returning playoff teams. The Rams, Bears, Chiefs, Saints and Buccaneers make it seven out of 17 games.

Toughest tests: The Giants get the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints on the road. The Bears, Chargers and Dolphins round out the nasty non-division away slate. Of the home games, the Rams are easily the toughest foe.

Biggest breaks: The NFC East should be better, but the division still provides their most favorable games. The Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Broncos are a welcome quartet of contests to soften the blows at home.

Bottom line: Jones has everything around him to be more successful winning games. The Giants’ defense is in the next stage of its rebuild. Should Jones raise his passing and running, New York will have a real chance at an NFC playoff berth, either as East champs or fringe wild card.

Record prediction: 8-9

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