NFL Week 1 Preview — Some Intense Games to Start the Season
Here’s a preview of what to expect in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season.
Thursday, September 7
Can Anyone Beat the Patriots?
Kansas City at New England | Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
As is custom, the defending Super Bowl champions open the NFL season at home on Thursday night. New England starts its quest to become the first team to win back to back Super Bowls since…they did in 2003 and 2004. The Patriots have added receivers Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett as targets for Tom Brady, who will need protection from the aggressive Kansas City pass rush. Brady won’t have wideout Julian Edelman, who is out for the season with an ACL tear, but he will have tight end Rob Gronkowski back. The Chiefs will need to find out if Kareem Hunt can replace the injured Spencer Ware in their backfield. They’ll also need a balanced, turnover-free attack to beat the champs.
Sunday, September 10
The Dolphins and Bucs Won’t Play Sunday — Will It Hurt Them Later?
Tampa Bay at Miami | Hard Rock Stadium, Miami — POSTPONED to Nov. 19
Due to the expected landfall of Hurricane Irma in South Florida, the Dolphins and Buccaneers have postponed their regular-season opener at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. The game has been rescheduled for Nov. 19, both teams mutual bye week. While this is certainly the right decision for the players, fans and residents — all of whom have hopefully moved to safer ground — the impact of this schedule change could hurt the playoff chances of both teams later. Both Miami and Tampa Bay will now have to play 16 consecutive weeks without a bye, a grind that may wear them down over the last five weeks of the regular season.
Derek Carr & Marcus Mariota Face Off in Nashville
Oakland at Tennessee | Nissan Stadium, Nashville; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks — who play in front two of the AFC’s best offensive lines — duel in Nashville this Sunday. Oakland’s Derek Carr had an MVP-level season last year until he broke his leg in Week 16. The Titans pass rush hopes to challenge Carr’s mobility in Week 1. New Raider Marshawn Lynch will look to keep Tennessee honest with some vintage “Beast Mode” runs. We’ll all find out what he has left after a one-year retirement.
Weirdly enough, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota also suffered a broken leg in Week 16 last season. The Oakland pass rush, led by All-Pro Khalil Mack, will look to keep him in the pocket and the Tennessee offense in check. The Titans will use both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to run at the Raiders’ weak linebacking corps. This should be an entertaining, high-scoring game.
Is It Too Early for an NFC Championship Preview?
Seattle at Green Bay | Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on FOX
There hasn’t been a single regular-season snap yet, but would it surprise anyone if the Packers and the Seahawks each won their respective divisions and met in the NFC title game? You know the recurring storyline: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers battles Seattle’s Legion of Boom secondary while Pete Carroll manically paces the sideline. Optional: Russell Wilson plays poorly all game, yet somehow wins it with a two-point conversion late because the Packers never make a key defensive stop.
Will Ezekiel Elliott’s Impending Suspension Affect the Cowboys?
N.Y. Giants at Dallas | AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had his six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy upheld by an arbitrator earlier this week, but the decision came too late for him to be suspended for Week 1, so Elliott is eligible to play against the Giants on Sunday night. It’s complicated.
Dallas would much rather have the reigning NFL rushing champ than not, but it must figure out how to work him and other backs into the offense this week — and through any suspension — if the Cowboys are going to be Super Bowl contenders. The vaunted Dallas offensive line better have a plan for the Giants relentless pass rush, too. New York’s Eli Manning should find plenty of open secondary receivers against the Dallas defense, which will need to double-cover the dangerous Odell Beckham Jr. Expect plenty of points.
Monday, September 11
Adrian Peterson Wants Revenge on the Vikings
New Orleans at Minnesota | U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis; 7:10 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
He likely won’t be featured in the pass-heavy Saints offense led by quarterback Drew Brees, but Adrian Peterson will be on a mission on Monday. One of the NFL’s best-ever running backs, the former Viking will play his first-ever game in another uniform against his old team in Minnesota. Fans will be torn between rooting for their team and rooting for the franchise’s greatest offensive player, but this will likely be the game’s greatest drama. AP’s emotions must inspire New Orleans to play at another level, because the Saints defense is likely to yield plenty of yards and points to Sam Bradford and the Vikings.
Sunday, September 10
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo | New Era Field, Buffalo; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Atlanta at Chicago | Soldier Field, Chicago; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Baltimore at Cincinnati | Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland | FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Arizona at Detroit | Ford Field, Detroit; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Jacksonville at Houston | NRG Stadium, Houston; 1 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Philadelphia at Washington | FedEx Field, Landover, Md.; 1 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Indianapolis at L.A. Rams | Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles; 4:05 P.M. (ET) on CBS
Carolina at San Francisco | Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.; 4:25 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Monday, September 11
L.A. Chargers at Denver | Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver; 10:20 p.m. (ET) on ESPN