With the National Football League (NFL) season just a little over a week away, excitement from fans is at its peak, as it usually is at this time of year. So I will look over the top three games I am most anticipating coming into week one.
- Rams vs. Bills-In the very first game of the year on Thursday Night Primetime, last year’s Super Bowl winners, the Los Angeles Rams, face off against the Buffalo Bills. This is one that every football fan will be watching intently as it features two teams who are considered Super Bowl favorites for this season. The Rams being last year’s champs, have high expectations for this season with them having easily one of the best overall rosters in the NFL. Although they lost Von Miller, Robert Woods, and likely Odell Bechkham Jr., the Rams were able to add Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner and receiver Allen Robinson, who for the first time in his career, will have a formidable quarterback and roster around him. The Bills on the other hand were 13 seconds from sending the Kansas City Chiefs out of the playoffs last season, until Patrick Mahomes led a remarkable drive to field goal range, later winning in overtime. The Bills stock and more importantly quarterback Josh Allen’s stock have gone through the roof before this upcoming season after his incredible playoff performance, despite the loss. The Bills also added Von Miller after the Rams didn’t pick him back up which bolsters an already stacked defense that was statistically number one in the league last season. So with that being said, this game is almost a guaranteed classic in the making and a perfect way to kick off the season.
- Raiders vs Chargers-The Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers will throw down in an already crucial division game between two teams in the undisputed hardest division in football. The Raiders with an already solid roster made a blockbuster trade with Davante Adams being shipped from the Packers to Las Vegas. Adams and quarterback Derek Carr were teammates at Fresno State which will definitely play a factor as they already have great chemistry from that time. The Raiders also picked up linebacker Chandler Jones who a few years ago had led the league in sacks. Although Jones may be slowing down as he gets older, he will surely still show to be a key piece of the defense. The Chargers are also looked at as a Super Bowl favorite with arguably the best offseason out of any team in the league. The Chargers already have one of the top young quarterbacks in the league Justin Herbert as well as receiving weapons from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. The big change however was the Chargers defense as they added weapon after weapon, this was huge as the Chargers statistically had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season and were only one win away from a playoff spot last season. But the Raiders ended those hopes with a last-minute field goal in overtime, putting them in and the Chargers out. Some of the key names the Chargers added were, Linebacker Khail Mack, Corner J.C. Jackson, and defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph Day. This is a game that will be filled with talent on both sides of the field and really set things off on the right foot with an in-division win for one of these teams.
Chiefs vs. Cardinals-This will be a game that settles a lot of key what if’s that have come into this season, can Patrick Mahomes thrive without receiver Tyreek Hill, and will Kyler Murray rebound after the many preseason narratives that have been thrown at him? The Chiefs big storyline was obviously the loss of speed demon wide receiver Tyreek Hill who was shipped off to the Miami Dolphins, and while the Chiefs picked up JuJu Smith Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore. The question lies, will they fill the void of Tyreek Hill? From the looks of the preseason games that have been played, Mahomes looks to be just fine without Hill, still making dazzling plays and highlights. But football fans know that the regular season is a different animal with different intensity brought to the game. The Cardinals have been mired in controversy throughout the offseason with them losing Chandler Jones, Deandre Hopkins getting suspended, Marquise Brown getting in legal trouble, and the biggest storyline being the contract situation of quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray signed a new extension in the offseason after questions if they would reach an agreement, but the contract had a clause that Murray had to watch a certain amount of game film each day. This led to a massive backlash against Murray and his dedication to the game, with Murray even having an emergency press conference after practice to slander the clause, leading to it being taken out only a few days later. So without his star receiver in Hopkins and massive amounts of pressure on Murray, this is easily the most important season of his career and it starts off against arguably the best quarterback in the league Patrick Mahomes.