The Giants have a lot invested in seeing Aaron Rodgers stay put in Green Bay.
Joe Judge’s club will open the 2021 season with a 4:25 p.m. Sunday home kickoff against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 12.
Teddy Bridgewater tops Denver’s quarterback depth chart for now after a recent trade with the Carolina Panthers. But Rodgers is pushing the Packers for a trade, and the Broncos are one of the best fits and most likely landing spots if Green Bay acquiesces.
As of Wednesday, the Broncos are 2-to-5 favorites to land Rodgers if the Packers trade him, per BetOnline, ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders (5-to-1), Cleveland Browns (14-to-1), New Orleans Saints and Washington Football Team (16-to-1 apiece).
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Adding Rodgers to Denver’s offense would dramatically increase the challenge the Giants face in their first game of a pivotal season for quarterback Daniel Jones.
FOX and the NFL have hedged their bets to possibly land Rodgers in the late window of Week 1 no matter what happens. Green Bay at New Orleans will lead FOX’s 4:25 p.m. time slot simultaneous to the Broncos’ visit with the Giants.
“Denver is a good team and obviously they’re coached well,” Joe Judge said in a statement Wednesday night. “They have some great systems in place. It’s definitely going to be a great challenge for us opening up against Denver.”
There is a solemn and more meaningful connection to the Giants-Broncos matchup, however, as well: Denver hosted the Giants on Sept. 10, 2001, on Monday Night Football, the night before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now the Giants will host the Broncos one day after the 20-year anniversary of the tragedy.
Denver’s visit also will bring former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, now the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, back to face his former team for the first time since his firing in Dec. 2019. This will not be Shurmur’s first time back at MetLife Stadium. His Broncos defeated the host Jets in Week 4 last season.
After hosting the Broncos on Sept. 12, the Giants then have an extremely tight turnaround to a Thursday night Week 2 visit to reigning NFC East champion Washington. The division champs will be coming off a 1 p.m. Week 1 home game against the L.A. Chargers.
The NFL’s 2021 season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 9 with the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys on NBC. The network also will carry the Chicago Bears at the L.A. Rams on Sunday Night Football at SoFi Stadium, the venue that will host Super Bowl LVI in Feb. 2022.
The Monday Night Football opener on ESPN will have the Las Vegas Raiders hosting the Baltimore Ravens in Sin City.