By Brian Kalchik @BrianKalchik on July 27, 2014
Revenge isn't among our higher qualities as human beings, but the desire to get even is a key factor to any NFL player. With the league's official schedule now in hand and the preseason set to begin, it's time to look at some of the biggest games that feature players who will be trying to get back at their former teams. Without further ado, here are the 10 biggest revenge games in 2014.
The Houston Texans finished with a disappointing record of 2-14 in 2013, and most of the blame fell on starting quarterback Matt Schaub. With a new regime in place, Schaub was let go and is now Oakland's presumed starting quarterback heading into 2014. Schaub will get an early shot at revenge against his former team as the Raiders host the Texans in Week 2.
Similar to Knowshon Moreno, Eric Decker had a career year last season with the Denver Broncos in a contract year. The receiver put up career highs in receptions (87) and yards (1,288) but wasn't given a big-time contract. Decker then took the money and left the Broncos for the New York Jets, where he is the presumed No. 1 receiver. Decker gets his first shot at his former team in when Denver travels to take on the Jets in Week 6.
Without Josh McCown last year, the Chicago Bears would not have been anywhere near the race for the NFC North. With Jay Cutler back and healthy in 2014, the Bears did not keep McCown as he signed with Tampa Bay. McCown has a chance to prove that he should've been the Bears' QB this season when the Bucs travel to Chicago in Week 12. This will also be a revenge game for former Bears coach Lovie Smith, who is now Tampa Bay's new head coach.
Cast off by the Chicago Bears, Julius Peppers stays within the NFC North as he signed with the rival Green Bay Packers. Peppers will now serve as the complementary rusher that the Packers have needed opposite Clay Matthews. These two teams first meet in Week 4, with Peppers coming back to Chicago, and in Week 10 when Chicago travels to Green Bay.
In place of Peppers, Chicago has a new pass rusher of its own in Jared Allen. The former Vikings All-Pro gives the Bears a nice complement alongside fellow free agent DE Lamarr Houston. With revenge on his mind, Allen gets two opportunities to torment his former team with the first coming in Week 11 in Chicago. Allen and the Bears then end their season in Week 17 as they travel to Minnesota.
Although Darrelle Revis already had a revenge game against the Jets, his one-year tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was pretty much forgettable. This season, Revis joins the division rival New England Patriots in an effort to bolster their secondary. The Patriots-Jets rivalry takes another turn as these two teams first meet in Week 7 in New England and in Week 16 in New York.
In 2011, Alex Smith had his best season with the 49ers, leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship game. The next season, however, Smith lost his job to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion. Now with the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith faces his former team for the first time as the Chiefs travel to San Francisco in Week 5.
After 13 seasons as Carolina's leading receiver, Steve Smith was let go this offseason in a controversial and questionable cost-cutting move. After his release from Carolina, Smith signed a free agent deal to join the Baltimore Ravens. The 34-year-old wideout has his first chance at revenge against the Panthers early in 2014 when the Ravens host Carolina in Week 4.
The Tennessee Titans gave up on star running back Chris Johnson this offseason, but when he's in the right frame of mind, Johnson has proven he can still be an effective runner. Now with the Jets, Johnson gives New York a weapon in the running game that they have not had in the past. CJ2K gets hits shot at revenge as the Jets travel to Tennessee in Week 15.
Kicked to the curb by the Eagles this offseason after leading the team in receiving in 2013, DeSean Jackson joined the division rival Washington Redskins as a free agent. The wide receiver now joins a potent offense with Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon. Jackson's first test against Philadelphia comes in Philadelphia in Week 3. The Eagles then travel to Washington in Week 16 in what could be a playoff-deciding game.
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