Eight games to circle on the 2021 NFL schedule for Canadians

Screengrab courtesy: CBS

The NFL has unveiled its 2021 regular season schedule and while most people are hyping up the major marquee matchups — Tom Brady’s return to New England on Oct. 3, for instance — we’re excited about a different set of games.

There are over two dozen Canadians under contract in the NFL along with a large handful of former CFL players. All will look to make an impact in the upcoming season, so let’s take a look when they play one another.

Here are eight games to circle on the NFL schedule for Canadians.

Sept. 12, 1:00 p.m. ET — Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team

A pair of third-round 2021 NFL Draft picks could end up playing directly opposite one another in their professional debuts. Brampton native Josh Palmer should get reps at receiver and could match-up against Montreal-born cornerback Benjamin St-Juste.

Sept. 12, 4:25 p.m. ET — Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

Toronto native N’Keal Harry is still looking for a breakout season after being a first-round selection of the Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft. He could draw coverage from Coquitlam, B.C.’s Jevon Holland in what should be the second-round pick’s first career NFL game.

Oct. 10, 1:00 p.m. ET — Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers

Former CFL all-star Alex Singleton has established himself as Philly’s top linebacker, which means he could see plenty of Sherwood Park, Alta. native Chuba Hubbard in this contest. Coincidentally, Hubbard was selected by Singleton’s former team, the Stampeders, in the 2021 CFL Draft.

Oct. 25, 8:15 p.m. ET — New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

Université de Montréal product Pier-Olivier Lestage still needs to make Seattle’s roster as an undrafted free agent, but he could line-up against another former U Sports star if he does. The University of Manitoba’s David Onyemata is entering his sixth season with the Saints and continues improving with each passing year.

Nov. 8, 8:15 p.m. ET — Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

Former CFL all-star cornerback Tre Roberson has recovered from the broken foot he suffered last off-season and could make Chicago’s 53-man roster. If he does, there’s a chance he’ll take reps against Canadian phenom Chase Claypool who will be looking to build off a sensational rookie season.

Nov. 21, 1:00 p.m. ET — Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers

Former CFL all-stars Brandon Zylstra and Marken Michel filled depth roles in Carolina’s receiving corps a year ago and could look for more work in 2021. If either or both become regulars in the lineup, it’s possible they’ll draw coverage from rookie cornerback Benjamin St-Juste.

Nov. 21, 4:25 p.m. ET — Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is returning at guard for the Chiefs after opting out of the 2020 to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic as a medical doctor. He should see action against a pair of Canadian defensive linemen in this game in Mississauga’s Brent Urban and Ottawa’s Neville Gallimore.

Nov. 21, 8:20 p.m. ET — Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers

Scarborough native Tevaughn Campbell established himself as a starter for the Chargers in 2020, recording a pick-six against Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco. The speedster could take reps opposite Chase Claypool in this contest, so he’ll need every bit of his 4.35 speed to keep up with the burgeoning star.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.