- Kenneth Cotterill
Top 5 Games To Watch - Week One
5. Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The opening game of the NFL season should be a fun one to watch. The Texans had quite a poor off-season and come into this year with fewer weapons than before. Letting go of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for scraps was the latest of Bill O'Brien's infamous tenure in Houston. Kansas City, on the other hand, retained their players from their Super Bowl run and even drafted running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. With Patrick Mahomes at one hundred percent, we could be in store for another special season from the third-year quarterback.
While I personally do not have high hopes for the Texans this season, I think this is a must-watch game to see how their retooled offense looks. When healthy players like David Johnson, Brandin Cooks, and Will Fuller can all be fantastic on the football field, so this could still be a high powered offense. Also given JJ Watt's last few seasons we may not see him for a full sixteen game schedule, so it is a treat to watch him on opening night doing his thing. While many predict Kansas City to win this game, if Houston can keep up scoring-wise we could be in for a shootout to start the season.
Kansas City 31 - Houston 20
4. Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Jason Garrett era in Dallas is finally over and the Mike McCarthy era begins Sunday night against the Rams. The Cowboys ranked first in yards and sixth in points scored and still found a way to add more depth on offense by drafting Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. The Dallas front seven is also quite strong, but the secondary is a big question mark, especially after releasing veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Their opponents in Los Angeles had a tough off-season, releasing Todd Gurley, trading Brandin Cook, and replacing Dante Fowler with Leonard Floyd. Jalen Ramsey, who just got a massive extension, and Aaron Donald will have to be huge for the Rams to have a good defense.
As far as this game goes, both teams have plenty of offensive firepower to score a ton of points. Ramsey will be covering Amari Cooper all night, who struggles to produce on the road. Expect a big night from Cooper Kupp for the Rams and Michael Gallup for the Cowboys. Dallas should win this one comfortably if they can get Ezekiel Elliott going, but that is a tough ask with Donald patrolling the middle of the field. If the Cowboys offensive line struggles to contain Donald then this game could come down to the final possession. A must watch on Sunday night for sure.
Dallas 35 - Los Angeles 21
3. Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
This opening week showdown between Seattle and Atlanta could be a fun one, with both teams having pretty good off-seasons. The Seahawks added Josh Gordon this past week, but the big splash was trading for one of the best safeties in the NFL, Jamal Adams. With DK Metcalf going into year two as well, Russell Wilson could be primed for a huge fantasy year. Then you have Atlanta, who said goodbye to Austin Hooper and released Desmond Trufant. But all hope is not lost, as the additions of Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst to that high-powered Matt Ryan offense should be fun to watch once again. The addition of cornerback A.J. Terrell should also help improve a Falcons defense that gave up almost 25 points per game last year.
Across the board, this game should be fun to watch. Two talented QB's, solid running games, and high profile receivers should make for a fun offensive showdown at Mercedez-Benz stadium. Seattle has the edge on defense, but stopping Julio Jones and Gurley together will not be an easy task. This is the best matchup in the early slate of games on Sunday, so you will want to tune in, especially for fantasy football purposes.
Seattle 28 - Atlanta 24
Jamal Adams makes his debut for the Seattle Seahawks Sunday. Photo Credit: ESPN
2. Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Super Bowl runner ups get a tough divisional clash to open the season and it should be a fun matchup. The Cardinals franchise quarterback Kyler Murray is heading into year two with elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins by his side. This Cardinals offense does not lack weapons, so they just need the defense to hold up in order to compete in the division. The 49ers lost Emmanuel Sanders but replaced him with first-rounder Brandon Ayiuk. The loss of DeForest Buckner to the Colts will be tough, but they still have Nick Bosa to terrorize quarterbacks all year.
The 49ers lost a couple of offensive linemen this past year as well, but they should be fine against a Cardinals average pass rush. Kyler will have to be at his best scrambling in this game, but this should be a relatively high scoring game. The 49ers are more of a rushing based offense, but the Cardinals cannot underestimate Jimmy Garappolo. This should be a great divisional game and could go either way.
San Francisco 24 - Arizona 17
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
With all the excitement around the Buccaneers off-season, we finally get to see them in action against an elite divisional opponent. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, and draft pick Tristan Wirfs all found homes in Tampa, and this offense should be an absolute treat to watch. There are obviously a lot of question marks around whether some of the players I named have much left to give, but we are excited to watch. New Orleans had a tough off-season, not even necessarily to do with the football side of the game. Drew Brees found himself in hot water for comments made off the field and Alvin Kamara had a bit of a contract dispute, but they are both ready to go.
Tampa Bays' defensive line should cause some problems for Brees, as they did for most quarterbacks last year. New Orleans defense is also quite good as well, so neither team should get blown out in this one. This will likely be the most relevant fantasy football matchup of the week, with probably a dozen relevant players competing late Sunday afternoon. Tom Brady will also be looking to make a statement in his new division so he versus Brees will be fun to watch.
New Orleans 35 - Tampa Bay 31
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