NFL Week 1: Best games to watch
Thursday night’s NFL kickoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears was sloppy, with the Packers eking out a 10-3 victory over their division rivals.
Luckily for fans, the season just started and there are still 15 more games to be played in Week 1.
Here are the matchups we’re looking forward to the most to wash away the memory of that ugly Packers-Bears game.
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
Fresh off his MVP campaign, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is back with his sights set on the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs offense is likely to regress from its record-setting year from last season, but they will undoubtedly terrorize defenses all season long.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and their suffocating defense will face a good test in Week 1 in what may be the top-ranked offense for a second season in a row.
However, helping the Jaguars this time around will be a vastly improved offense. The addition of quarterback Nick Foles will instantly elevate their passing attack and running back Leonard Fournette should bounce back after a disappointing sophomore season.
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The Vikings, who disappointed last season after missing the playoffs, are one of the most complete teams in the NFL with a strong defense and an offense with loads of talent.
With another year under his belt in Minnesota and running back Dalvin Cook back in the fold, quarterback Kirk Cousins should have a much better season in year two.
Atlanta has one of the most explosive offenses, with quarterback-receiver combo Matt Ryan and Julio Jones being one of the best in the NFL. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes will have his hands full against Jones.
The deciding factor in this matchup will come down to how the Vikings offense fares against the Falcons’ quick defense.
Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET)
The Los Angeles Rams may have lost Super Bowl LIII, but their team is still built to win a title and they will be in the conversation as Super Bowl favorites.
Despite concerns over his knee, running back Todd Gurley is still one of the best running backs in football. And Jared Goff, fresh off his massive contract extension, will be getting wide receiver Cooper Kupp back after he missed the end of last season and their playoff run with a torn ACL.
The Carolina Panthers are not the same team that went to the Super Bowl in 2016, but they are still a dangerous team nonetheless. Cam Newton is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL and running back Christian McCaffrey has proven to be one of the league’s best tailbacks.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET)
The defending Super Bowl champs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on prime time Sunday night, and this has been a rivalry that dates back 19 years.
Both quarterbacks will be without their longtime favorite offensive weapon: Wide receiver Antonio Brown was traded from Pittsburgh to the Oakland Raiders in the offseason, and former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski retired after the team won the Super Bowl.
Even so, we should be in for a good matchup.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will get plenty of looks against a tough Patriots secondary and running back James Conner should pick right up where he left off before he went down with injury last season.
On the opposite end, Tom Brady will look to receiver Julian Edelman early and often while hoping to get some production out of talented-but-troubled receiver Josh Gordon. Running back Sony Michel is in for a big year for the Patriots.
Expect a shootout between these two teams.
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (Monday, 7:10 p.m. ET)
This matchup may very well be the best game of the week.
The New Orleans Saints are looking to avenge the missed pass interference that led to them losing the NFC Championship game to the Los Angeles Rams and a ticket to the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Drew Brees, now 40, may very well be on his last legs as the team has a very short window to win another Super Bowl. With receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara spearheading their attack, they will give the Houston Texans defense all they can take, especially since the Texans just traded away one of their best defensive players in defensive end Jadaveon Clowney.
However, the Texans made another trade on the other end of the ball that brought back left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who will help quarterback Deshaun Watson avoid big hits. It should give Watson more time to find receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who may be the best receiver in the NFL.
This should be a high-scoring affair between two Super Bowl hopefuls.