With the flurry of trades and roster cuts after the final week of preseason games, our focus turns to Week 1 of the NFL season. Who will come out of the gate red hot? Which new head coaches will struggle in their first real action on the job?
Today we will look at the five games we are most excited about for Week 1.
Bears vs Packers
The first meeting between these two teams last season was one of the best of the year. The Raiders had just traded Khalil Mack and he put on a show for the Chicago Bears, while Aaron Rodgers again proved why he is one of the game’s best quarterbacks. This rivalry is one of the most heated in the history of the league, and with Mitchell Trubisky in year two of Matt Nagy’s offense, it could be a shootout.
Steelers vs Patriots
We normally expect this game to go down in the AFC Divisional or Championship playoff rounds, so to see these two teams square off in the regular season is always a treat. Bill Belichick normally gets the best of Mike Tomlin, holding a 10-3 record over the Steelers head coach.
Both teams will have new dynamics to their offense, as the Steelers no longer have Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown on their roster. The big question for New England is who will fill Gronk’s role? It should be an exciting matchup and could help determine first-round byes in the playoffs.
Chiefs vs Jaguars
Patrick Mahomes surprised everyone with his play in 2018. The league was taken by storm as the second-year QB threw for 50 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards. The Chiefs did cut Kareem Hunt during the offseason, but the backfield is still explosive with Damien Williams.
Can the Jaguars return back to the top of the AFC? After reaching the AFC Championship game in 2017-18, the bottom fell out for the Jaguars last year. This is a put up or shut up season for Jacksonville. Leonard Fournette and Jalen Ramsey will both need to play at Pro-Bowl levels if the Jags are going to come out on top against the Chiefs.
Falcons vs Vikings
Two teams that are looking to bounce back in 2019 after underwhelming seasons, the Falcons and Vikings could both be playoff contenders in 2019. Both teams can make a claim for having the best receiving corps in the league. The Falcons are lead by Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, while the Vikings boast Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Jones had 113 receptions for 1,677 yards, while Thielen also hauled in 113 passes for 1,373 yards. It will be an explosive matchup and we wouldn’t be surprised if both teams scored over 35 points.
Rams vs Panthers
After a disappointing loss in the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams will look to get back on track against the Panthers. Carolina is still a threat in the NFC, with former MVP Cam Newton leading the way, but we think Todd Gurley and the offense will do more than enough to make life easy for reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
Christian McCaffrey could continue his dominance on opposing defenses, but we expect the Rams to pull out the Week 1 victory.
Which game are you most excited about?
After checking out our list of the biggest NFL games for Week 1, which ones are you excited to see? We think the Chiefs and Jaguars could be a potential AFC playoff game and are looking forward to that one. If you want more news and notes from around the league be sure to check out more from our NFL section.