Each week, starting with this week’s NFL week one slate of games, I will take a look at each game on the schedule and give you my ratings, predictions, and other tidbits for each matchup, including the Arizona Cardinals game on ESPN Monday Night Football.
Five-star games, the cream of the crop:
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks get the traditional Thursday night opener but unlike Baltimore last year, Seattle actually cares about it’s football team and didn’t do anything to harm chances for hosting the affair. It’s a tale of two top tier quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Oh, and the real refs will be there this time.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos: The first matchup of the Colts and Broncos after the trade of Peyton Manning last season was one of my favorite games of the entire season. There is no reason to believe that Sunday Night Football matchup won’t be matched by this week’s.
Four-star games, must see’s:
San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals: High expectations for both franchises this season. The Chargers are coming off a playoff appearance in 2013 and the Cards just missed. We know both teams have great offensive weapons. What will be interesting to watch is how both defenses perform.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins: Tom Brady said on Tuesday that he’ll hang it up when he knows it is time, when he “sucks”. I don’t believe that time will be this season. Miami fans are looking for this to be the season quarterback Ryan Tannehill breaks out.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: Sure, both teams have offensive weapons but this could end up being a defensive tilt. That’s the most intriguing thing about this one, it could end up either an offensive or defensive battle.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys: Depending on who you listen to, some think the Niners are on their way to failing this season. Most are convinced the Cowboys won’t do any better than .500 at 8-8 and much of that can be attributed to their atrocious defense. Tony Romo returns after off-season back surgery.
Three-star games, missing a play or two for a bathroom break is alright:
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is expected to play but his receiver corps is depleted from last year. His biggest weapon might be rookie Kelvin Benjamin. The Bucs employ new coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Josh McCown. Those new uniforms do nothing to hide or overshadow what the Bucs are, 6-10 at best.
New York Giants at Detroit Lions: One of these teams will be 0-1 after week one and the one that does drop this one may not reach .500 again the rest of the season. That being said, it is still fun to see how many interceptions Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford can combine to throw. My over/under is 9.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons: What could still end up being a good game, the Falcons have a lot to prove that they are back from a hideous 4-12 season, one where virtually nothing went right except the games ended. Saints quarterback Drew Brees returns, reloaded. Watch for rookie receiver Brandin Cooks.