The 2022 NFL season is just over two weeks away from kicking off, and this year will see a host of big game rematches from last year. The league isn’t wasting any time giving teams the opportunity to avenge crucial losses or rejection by players. So, here’s the list of some of the biggest revenge games of the 2022-2023 season.
Week 1: Baker Mayfield vs. Cleveland Browns
Once the Mayfield trade from Cleveland to Carolina was official, it was a foregone conclusion for most that he’d be the starter for game one of the season against the team that sent him packing. Now that Baker’s “officially” been named QB1 by Matt Rhule, we can look ahead to this matchup.
This game will be the highlight of Baker’s first season with the Panthers, as he’s always played with a chip on his shoulder. I’m not suggesting Mayfield won’t have a good season after Week 1, but he won’t be nearly as hyped for any other game this year.
After all, Cleveland went behind his back acquiring Deshaun Watson while selling their soul in the process for the sake of “winning.” So, Baker will be fired up and ready to take down the Browns for putting him through the wringer this offseason.
Week 1: Russell Wilson vs. Pete Carroll/Seattle
This break-up had been in the works for two years and finally happened during the offseason, so the NFL couldn’t have picked a better time for this game. A Week 1, Monday Night Football showdown in the Emerald City.
Seattle’s 12th-man fan base has been recognized as the loudest in the league, and that night won’t be any different. They will be ready and waiting to boo Wilson out of the building in his return. This is the best-case scenario for Carroll and the Seahawks and their chances of winning this game.
Russell is in a new offense, and catching him in his first game as the Broncos QB will likely be the only advantage for Seattle. What many will be paying attention to is after the game. Will Wilson and Carroll embrace each other after the game or avoid one another like Tom Brady after a loss? That’s the moment we’re waiting for.
Week 1: Dak Prescott/Dallas vs. Tom Brady/Tampa Bay
For the second consecutive year, we’ll be treated to Prescott against Brady in Week 1 of the NFL season. Last year the Buccaneers beat the Cowboys, 31-29 in Tampa Bay. After the game, Dak told Tom, “we’ll see y’all again.” Apparently, Dak meant the following season because Dallas failed to hold up their end, failing to make it out of the wildcard round in January.
This time Dak and his boys get Brady and crew in Big D in primetime on the first Sunday Night Football broadcast of the season. Prescott is still out to prove he’s an “elite” quarterback and what better way to do it than to conquer the GOAT?
If Dallas is ever going to get over the hump, it’ll need to be on Prescott’s back. Brady and Tampa have offensive line issues heading into the season, so this might be the best time to catch the Bucs slipping.
Week 3: Aaron Rodgers/Green Bay vs. Tom Brady/Tampa Bay
Brady’s had a hand in keeping quite a few QBs/teams from reaching their ultimate goals, and Aaron Rodgers felt the wrath of Brady two years ago in the NFC championship game. Brady led the Bucs to a 31-26 win, denying Rodgers an opportunity at a second Super Bowl ring.
This Week 3 tilt will be the first time these two have stepped on the same field since, and although Rodgers has won back-to-back MVPs, Brady has what he really wants. In two years with Tampa, Tom has the same number of rings as Aaron in 16 years for Green Bay.
As phenomenal as Rodgers can be during the regular season, he’ll never be ranked as high as Brady all-time if he can’t win any more rings. It sucks for him, but it’s just reality. A playoff victory over Brady would be better but suffering another loss against him wouldn’t bode well for A-Rod.
Week 4: Patrick Mahomes/Kansas City vs. Tom Brady/Tampa Bay
This Super Bowl LV rematch has to be circled on Mahomes’ calendar, whether he’d care to admit it or not. After the arse whipping the Buccaneers put on Mahomes and the Chiefs, there’s no way KC won’t be extra pumped to exact a little revenge.
That game was over at halftime. The Chiefs’ offensive line was overwhelmed and mauled early and often, leaving Mahomes to fend for himself just about every time he dropped back to pass. Both teams failed to make it back to the big game last season, so Week 4 will be Mahomes’ chance to get some payback on Brady in the Bucs’ home stadium.
Week 6: Josh Allen/Buffalo vs. Patrick Mahomes/Kansas City
Josh Allen and the Bills have had their season derailed by Mahomes and the Chiefs in the last two postseasons. Two years ago, the upstart Bills fell to the Chiefs in the AFC title game, 38-24. Last season, Allen and Mahomes’ teams battled in a divisional round thriller that took overtime to settle. A game in which KC won dramatically, 42-36.
While Buffalo beat KC in the regular season last season, that victory doesn’t erase the heartbreak of the playoff loss in January. To lose that game in OT, after taking a three-point lead with 13 seconds remaining in regulation, isn’t something easily forgotten.
Allen is recognized as a top-five QB and many people’s pick to win MVP this year. Although this isn’t a playoff game, a win should help remove some of the stench left behind by that overtime loss. Ultimately, Allen will need to topple Mahomes when it counts most in the postseason.
Week 9: Matthew Stafford/ LA Rams vs. Tom Brady/Tampa Bay
Matt Stafford might not be considered on the same level as Brady in terms of NFL success. Still, after spending his first 12 seasons in Detroit, he followed Brady’s blueprint by going elsewhere and winning immediately.
Brady and the Bucs had been picked to repeat last season but ran into Stafford and the Rams, and those plans changed drastically. It doesn’t take much to motivate Brady, and keeping him from winning another Super Bowl is enough to make him despise you. Ask Eli Manning/Giants and Nick Foles about that.
Even with this being a game in early November, Brady is usually ready to exact revenge on those he feels have wronged him. Stafford and company interrupted his road to repeating. For “psycho” Tom, that’s enough.
Week 14: Tom Brady vs Kyle Shanahan/San Francisco
This matchup might not feel animus on the surface, but all it takes is one key component having an issue, and there it is. Brady is that component after coach Shanahan and the 49ers decided to pass on his services following Tom’s exit from New England.
Tom grew up in the bay area and was a Niners fan. So, of course, he wanted to go home and play for the organization he rooted for as a child. One thing that drives Brady and has during his entire career is proving people wrong. Being drafted 199th overall can have that effect on a person.
Recently, another example of Brady holding a grudge became clearer. Following the Super Bowl win in his first year in Tampa, Tom made an appearance on “The Shop” with LeBron James and made some disparaging comments about an unnamed team sticking with a certain “M-for” at QB over him.
At the time, it was thought that Tom was referring to Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners, given their history dating back to New England. Now we know it was the Raiders and them deciding to stick with Derek Carr over Brady. Though the Niners are off the hook for that, they didn’t sign Tom when they had the chance, which should make for quite the battle when the Bucs visit the bay area in Week 14.
Dishonorable mention Week 13: Deshaun Watson vs. Houston
Deshaun Watson won’t touch the field this regular season until Dec. 4. Watson will be serving an 11-game suspension for the 24 sexual misconduct civil lawsuits brought against him. Sure, sitting Watson down for 11 games (after the NFL’s appeal) is better than the initial six concluded by former judge Sue L. Robinson.
It is interesting, though, how the league and Watson’s side/NFLPA agreed on him being eligible to return just in time to play the Texans in Houston. You’d think the NFL might want to avoid having Watson in Houston so soon. Ratings and talent are what matter to the NFL.
Browns owner Jim Haslam spelled that out after the 11-game suspension was announced by the league.
This one isn’t “technically” a revenge game, but it will be marked on the NFL calendar. Honestly, I feel the NFL could figure out a way to keep Watson from appearing in this game. Some way, somehow. Part of Watson’s suspension is completing a counseling program before he can be fully reinstated.
With the lack of remorse he’s shown thus far for the women he’s negatively affected, if his attitude hasn’t changed by November, that could be enough for the league to keep him out at least an extra game.