The NFL regular season is upon us. We look forward to 17 glorious weeks of sloth, gluttony, and the inevitable wrath as we see our favorite teams go down. With a slate of a dozen games each Sunday, it can be hard to keep track of what’s on. So each week, The Turf will preview the Sunday games so you know what to keep an eye on as you debate whether or not you should continue eating like a hobbit with your 6th meal of the day.
Let’s kick things off by looking at Week 1.
Seattle at Atlanta
In one of my favorite matchups of the week, Russell Wilson’s Seahawks head east to take on the Falcons. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan hopes his shiny new toys (Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst) help propel the Falcons back into NFC relevancy. With two of the highest-flying offenses in the league, expect some fireworks.
New York Jets at Buffalo
With the AFC East up-for-grabs for the first time in over a decade, the Jets come into Buffalo with the hopes of establishing themselves as the division favorites. They’ve taken some hits on defense with the trade of Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley opting out, while Buffalo hopes the addition of Stefon Diggs creates more consistency in the offense. One thing’s for sure – while the Bills Mafia won’t be allowed in the stadium, you can still expect a shortage of folding tables in the greater Buffalo area.
Chicago at Detroit
Chicago and Detroit both enter Week 1 with some major questions about the future of their franchise. Mitch Trubisky won the starting job (for now) but Nick Foles is waiting in the wings. On the other side of the field, Matt Patricia is in the hot seat after a paltry 3-12-1 run in 2019. With Matt Stafford back under center, Detroit will hope to get the season started on the right track.
Green Bay at Minnesota
In another early divisional clash, the Packers travel to Minnesota as both teams face questions about their potential to compete in 2020. While both should compete for the NFC North crown, the Packers did little to upgrade on the offensive side, while the Vikings shipped Stefon Diggs out to Buffalo. I’m expecting a slow-paced affair here, with both teams handing things over to their backfield to drive the offense.
Miami at New England
Things will look a lot different in Foxborough, as Cam Newton will start the season under center for the Patriots. Miami will start with Fitz-Magic leading the offense, but how long before we see Tua taking snaps? Bill Belichick and the Pats will hope to make a statement with a big win in Week 1 and prove that his team-based approach drove their historic run, not the play of a quarterback-who-must-not-be-named.
Philadelphia at Washington
Carson Wentz’s Eagles head to the nation’s capital to take on the newly-minted Washington football team. Despite making the playoffs in 2019, the Eagles and Wentz have under-performed since their Super Bowl run and will look to get things back on track. Conversely, Washington enters the season with low expectations, but Dwayne Haskins is hoping to make the sophomore-year leap.
Las Vegas at Carolina
Following Cam Newton’s departure, Teddy Bridgewater takes over the Panthers offense with the Raiders in town. Meanwhile, the Raiders are hoping a healthy Derek Carr can propel them to the top of the AFC West. Against a weak Oakland defense, expect CMC to run wild to the delight of fantasy owners.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
In one of the less exciting match-ups in the early slate, the Colts head down to Jacksonville. With a competitive AFC South, the new Phillip Rivers-led Colts will hope to make some noise early on. Despite Minshew-mania, the Jaguars seem to be in the midst of a massive sell-off in the hopes of #tankingforTrevor. Well, we’ll have to see what the Jaguars have to say about that…
Cleveland at Baltimore
Baltimore rolls into 2020 as an AFC favorite as they take on the Browns in another Week 1 Divisional tilt. In Cleveland, patience may be running thin on Baker Mayfield and OBJ following a rough 2019 campaign. The front office injected more talent into the offense by signing TE Austin Hooper but will it be enough? In all likelihood, probably not, as Baltimore is a heavy favorite to steamroll the Browns.
Los Angeles at Cincinnati
With the first late-afternoon game, fans will get their first look at LSU-phenom Joe Burrow on an NFL field. AJ Green is healthy, Joe Mixon has a fat new contract, and the Bengals are hoping their offense is set up for the future. In Los Angeles, Tyrod Taylor takes over under center after the Chargers parted ways with Phillip Rivers. Can the Chargers make a jump after losing Rivers and Melvin Gordon in the offense? Lots of intrigue in this one as both teams look markedly different from those that took the field last in December.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
All eyes will be on the Superdome as the Brady-led Bucs take on divisional rival Saints. Drew Brees and the Saints have owned the NFC South but can Brady and Gronk be difference makers in Tampa? With another early playoff exit, the Saints will be out for revenge in 2020 and Tampa Bay may be the first victim on their list.
Arizona at San Francisco
Following a solid but not stellar 2019 campaign, Kyler Murray hopes the addition of DeAndre Hopkins will lead to a more prolific passing-attack. Meanwhile, the 49ers are hoping their prolific defense reigns as they set out to show their 2019 Super Bowl run was no fluke. Arizona and SF had two stellar matchups in 2019 so expect another classic to kick-off the season.
Dallas at Los Angeles
To wrap the Sunday slate, the Cowboys and Dak Prescott travel to the West Coast to take on the Rams. Following recent extensions for Cooper Kupp and Jalen Ramsey, the Rams believe they have the talent on both sides of the ball to compete now. Meanwhile, Jerry Jones added to Dak’s arsenal by drafting CeeDee Lamb in the hopes that a more potent offense will lead to an NFC East crown. Both teams will look to establish themselves as the class of the NFC in this clash of titans.
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