At long last, NFL football is back. After being tortured throughout the summer by only being able to watch MLB baseball, fans can now kick back and relax as phenomenal athletes partake in the hard hitting sport of football.
When looking at the week one slate, there are several interesting games that should have fans all over the world glued to their television sets regardless of what specific team one roots for.
The first game is the Thursday night game between the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots made headlines in the preseason for all the wrong reasons as star receiver Julian Edelman tore his ACL and will miss the entire season. Edelman became a household name after his amazing Super Bowl catch in the fourth quarter and will definitely be missed by the Patriots organization as well as his fantasy owners (i.e.: myself). However, the Patriots are experts at getting unexpected contributions from unlikely sources and will likely rely on fellow receivers Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola to fill the void.
As for the Chiefs, they really did not do much to improve over the offseason. Instead of upgrading the roster to compete for a Super Bowl, they decided to let receiver Jeremy Maclin and star defensive tackle Dontari Poe walk. The Chiefs offense is led by veteran quarterback Alex Smith and playmaking receiver Tyreek Hill. However, they lost starting running back Spencer Ware to a knee injury in the middle of preseason which could be a very difficult loss to overcome. If the Chiefs plan on pulling off the upset, they will have to control the time of possession and provide serious defensive pressure on future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
As for the Sunday schedule, the day games that are televised will vary depending on one’s location. However, I will be discussing the TV schedule in the East Coast region because that is where I am from.
The 1:00 P.M. Sunday game on CBS will be between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills. Both teams have practically cleared house and are in the midst of a rebuild. Specifically, the Jets got rid of star receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall while the Bills got rid off star receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby. Expect a low scoring game between two below average offenses as both teams stumble into a long season with no real hopes of success.
The 1:00 P.M. Sunday game on FOX will be between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. The Eagles were relatively busy this offseason and added several weapons on offense including running back Legarrette Blount and receiver Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles look poised for a solid season with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz leading the squad. As for the Redskins, they added receiver Terrelle Pryor this offseason to compensate the loss of big play threat DeSean Jackson in the passing game. Expect a lot of points as both teams can score in bunches but lack defensive playmakers in the secondary.
The 4:00 P.M. game on CBS is between the Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams are not expected to do much this season and the Rams are still rebuilding with a first-year head coach and the Colts have no talent besides quarterback Andrew Luck and receiver T.Y. Hilton. Both teams should finish the year several games under .500 and I expect a lot of offensive futility in this game.
The 4:00 game on FOX is between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Both teams are regarded as serious Super Bowl contenders and have had quite a rivalry in years past. Both teams are led by phenomenal Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers who is, arguably, the best quarterback in the league while the Seahawks have mobile quarterback Russell Wilson. This game should be extremely competitive due to the similarities between both teams. Both teams have elite quarterbacks but below average running backs. Both teams also have injured offensive line which can make for a very interesting battle at the line of scrimmage. For this contest, expect an extremely close game that can go anyone’s way.
The 8:30 P.M. game on Sunday night is a highly anticipated contest between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants will look to return to the playoffs after losing to the Packers in the first round last season. The Giants made a splash this offseason and signed receiver Brandon Marshall to help compliment star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and will rely heavily on their passing attack throughout the course of the season. However, the Giants offensive line is one of the worst in football and quarterback Eli Manning might throw a large number of interceptions as a result. To make matter worse, Odell Beckham Jr. injured his leg during the preseason and might miss the first game of the season.
As for the Cowboys, they looked poised to defend their NFC East title behind their two phenomenal second-year players Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. However, Elliot was suspended six games for domestic abuse and is expected to miss this game despite his appeal. The Cowboys also face tons of questions on defense due to a lack of talent in the secondary and the defensive line. Expect a very tight game that can go anybody’s way.
The first Monday night game is at 7:10 P.M. and is between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. This game is especially significant because it is Adrian Peterson’s first game against the Vikings since his departure from the organization in the offseason. The Saints will most likely rely on Drew Brees to carry the team once more and finish around .500 due to a below average defense while the Vikings will probably be in the playoff hunt due to their phenomenal defense and running game. I expect the Vikings defense to dominate the game and sack Brees multiple times.
The second Monday night game is at 10:20 and is a divisional contest between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. Both teams will look to return to the playoffs after not making it the previous year. However, the likelihood of either team making the playoffs in the tough AFC West division is unlikely. Expect a close game but I think the Broncos defense holds strong and forces multiple turnovers.
NFL Week 1 Dates & Times
- Thursday, September 7: 8:30 P.M. – 11:30 P.M. EST
- Sunday, September 10: 1:00 P.M. – 7:15 P.M. EST| 8:30 P.M.– 11:30 P.M. EST
- Monday, September 11: 7:10 P.M. – 10:10 P.M. EST| 10:20 P.M.– 1:20 P.M. EST
NFL Week 1 TV Schedule
Everyday of the first week, ESPN and ESPN2 will be airing various matches of the tournament.
- Thursday, September 7: 8:30 P.M. – 11:30 P.M. EST, NBC
- Sunday, September 10: 1:00 P.M. – 7:15 P.M. EST, CBS and FOX| 8:30 P.M.– 11:30 P.M. EST, NBC
- Monday, September 11: 7:10 P.M. – 10:10 P.M. EST| 10:20 P.M.– 1:20 P.M. EST, ESPN
NFL Week 1 Predictions
New England Patriots 27 Kansas City Chiefs 17
New York Jets 20 Buffalo Bills 17
Indianapolis Colts 14 Los Angeles Rams 24
Seattle Seahawks 27 Green Bay Packers 28
New York Giants 27 Dallas Cowboys 31
New Orleans Saints 13 Minnesota Vikings 30
San Diego Chargers 21 Denver Broncos 27