With Super Bowl LIV in the rearview mirror, the next NFL game that counts could very well be at SoFi Stadium on Thursday, September 10.
Based on recent precedent, the league will aim to release the full slate of games in late April, ideally before the Draft.
Here's an early wish-list for the 2020 Los Angeles Rams.
Prime Time Home Opener
We all expect the Rams to be home Week One, and either a Thursday or Sunday night kickoff should be in order for Stan Kroenke, given the investment he's made in constructing the world's greatest sports and entertainment venue in the Southland.
Hosting Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys makes a lot of sense. But a slight majority of you actually prefer the San Francisco 49ers for the opener.
TNF Early in the Season
If the Rams don't end up playing the NFL's first game of 2020, it would be great to draw a Thursday night assignment as early as possible.
In recent years, L.A. has benefitted from getting that physically and mentally demanding challenge out of the way while the team is relatively fresh.
Last season, it could have been a walk-off, game-winning field goal in Seattle in Week Five. In 2018, the Rams orchestrated the thrilling Week Four triumph over Minnesota. And in Sean McVay's first season, the Rams put 41 points on San Francisco in Week 3 of 2017.
Five Prime Time Assignments
I can't see any reason the Rams wouldn't receive the maximum of five prime time assignments (with the potential to flex into more later in the season).
There's the new stadium, rebranded uniforms, plenty of star power and expectations, and a tremendous schedule littered with opponents from major markets.
Every NFC West contest should be electric. Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, New England, and the New Yorks always make sense from a ratings standpoint.
Seriously, what matchup on the 2020 slate would the country be disappointed to see in prime time:
Washington? New head coach and a young quarterback, with phenom edge rusher Chase Young likely joining them with the second pick in the Draft.
Buffalo? Coming off a trip to the postseason.
Miami? Will almost certainly have a new first-round draft pick behind center.
Buffalo Before it Gets Cold
Speaking of that Bills game, certain members of the media may feel otherwise, but sign me up for September, please. Or October, at the latest.
I agree that snow games are fun to watch… on television.
Mid-Season Mini-Camp in Florida
Conversely, stash me away in Florida for a week, no problem.
In fact, NFL schedulers should do the Rams a solid and set up at least one east coast back-to-back.
With trips to Philadelphia, Washington, Buffalo, Miami, and Tampa Bay on the docket, it would only be sensible to connect a couple of them.
Ideally, the Rams would play the Dolphins and Buccaneers in consecutive weeks, allowing L.A. to stage an in-season mini-camp, as they've done throughout McVay's tenure.
Here's how it's worked the past three years:
2019 – Win in Atlanta, practice in Atlanta, win in London.
2018 – Win vs Seattle, practice at altitude in Colorado Springs, win in Mexico Ci— err, at the Coliseum.
2017 – Win in Jacksonville, practice in Jacksonville, win in London.
Put a bye week on the back end of a 10-day trip to Florida in 2020 and the travel won't feel nearly as grueling as it has in recent seasons.
No International Game
I've loved our trips to London and would really like the opportunity to make up the game we missed in Mexico City in 2018.
But this isn't the year.
Definitely no home games abroad, and even as the road team, it would be great to put the passports away for a season.
Because of the five journeys to the eastern time zone already listed, the Rams will once again be among the NFL leaders in miles traveled. So we wish the International Series well in 2020.
Anticipating that the NFC West will be the best division in the NFL, I'm all for having a schedule backloaded with those games.
It was great to play four West contests in December 2019 (and nearly sweep them). Let's run that back in 2020.
Finally, here are a few stray items related to opposing quarterbacks that could make this year's schedule even better.
First, there's no reason for Tom Brady to go down the Brett Favre retirement path, okay? Whenever TB12 is done with his social media teases, let's hope that he and the Patriots come to terms. Because we all need a Patriots-Rams rematch at SoFi Stadium.
Secondly, I thought it would be cool if the Jets could come to town on a USC home weekend so that Sam Darnold has the opportunity to stop by the Coliseum.
And finally, here's hoping the Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa. Would really enjoy seeing him in person as a rookie.
Alright, I think that's it for now. Unless Dak Prescott wants to hold out for Week One in protest of the franchise tag.