The 2021 season is just under 24 hours away as NFL week 1 kicks off with the Dallas Cowboys traveling to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a full capacity of fans returning to attend games this season, the energy will be like never before. NFL week 1 consists of multiple premier matchups, including teams we could see face each other in January. One of the most anticipated seasons in a while is set to begin and it’s sure to be a fight until the end.
NFL Week 1 Games To Watch
Browns vs Chiefs
This game will likely be the game of the week as the Cleveland Browns travel to take on the Super Bowl favorite Kansas City Chiefs in the late window on Sunday. Both of these teams met in the AFC Divisional Game in 2020 as the Chiefs came out on top 22-17. This time around, the Browns look to prove that they’re a serious Super Bowl contender.
One way the Browns can prove that they’re a Super Bowl contender is by building a stronger connection with Baker Mayfield and his receivers. With a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. paired with Jarvis Laundry, year two in Kevin Stefanski‘s offense will click like gold. With one of the best offensive lines in the league and Nick Chubb in the backfield, this offense will be hard to stop. That being said, the defense is poised to take strides but they’ll have the tough task of dealing with this Kansas City offense.
Having Patrick Mahomes, the MVP favorite, throw the ball to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce is almost unfair to anyone in this league. This offense is just as explosive as any and they’ll look to showcase it right out of that gate in week 1. The Chiefs defense will also have the tough task of fighting off this Browns’ attack but that side of the ball is poised to improve as well. This week one matchup will be a dog fight whether it’s an offensive explosion or more of a defensive game.
Steelers vs Bills
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough end of the year in 2020 and it might be the same heading into this season when they travel to face the Buffalo Bills. Pittsburgh was the last undefeated team when they started the year 11-0. Hope pretty much faded after that as they lost five in a row to end the season and capture a record of 11-5. The worst part is that they got embarrassed by the Browns in the AFC Wild Card game, 48-37.
The Steelers enter NFL week 1 hoping to calm any doubt surrounding them. They come into the season with a motivated Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and a stable receiving core. Their defense was the talk of the town that allowed them to have success last season.
That defense will get tested right out of the gate as they welcome one of the best duos in the league with Josh Allen throwing to Stefon Diggs. The Bills fell one game short of the Super Bowl in 2020 and they’re projected to be the team to challenge the Chiefs for the crown in the AFC. As they try to prove that, the Steelers are hungry and won’t be an easy task for an NFL week one matchup so the Bills need to focus on the task at hand.
Packers vs Saints
America’s Game of the Week will feature the Green Bay Packers taking on the New Orleans Saints. This game was supposed the be in New Orleans but Hurricane Ida had a change of plans and now the game will be played in Jacksonville.
The Saints quarterback situation was solved in the preseason as Jameis Winston was given the starting job. He’ll have the task of taking over a Saints offense that will be without Michael Thomas as he nurses an ankle injury. Alvin Kamara will be the focal point of this offense as he yet again will be in the conversation for Offensive Player of the Year. The Saints are also hoping receiver Marquez Callaway can shine as he did in the preseason. One thing they can count on is their defense but with the number one offense in all of football last season drawing them in game one, it’ll be tough to get a handle on this team.
The Packers come into this season with yet another NFC Championship loss in 2020. That doesn’t sit well with this team and the reigning MVP will have something to say about it. It’s crazy to think about but with Davante Adams, arguably the best receiver in the league, playing in a contract year and weapons improving all around on offense, this team could be even better than last season. This defense isn’t all that bad either with key pieces all around in multiple positions. This game will tell us a lot about both teams and what their outlook will be in 2021.
Seahawks vs Colts
The Indianapolis Colts won’t be 100-percent entering this NFL week 1 matchup, but they might be more healthy than initially thought. After injuries kept quarterback Carson Wentz and guard Quentin Nelson out of practice for weeks, both are trending towards being active for NFL week 1 after speculation of missing weeks. However, that won’t be the case for wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, as he was placed on injured reserve to start the season. Even without Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell (questionable) are more than enough to create a tough matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
It doesn’t stop there as the Colts have a great offensive line to counter whatever pass rush Seattle will send. The line also compliments their great running back room, led by Jonathan Taylor. The defense is also one of the best in the league with a core led by newly-paid linebacker Darius Leonard.
The Seahawks might have trouble on both sides of the ball to contain this team but if anyone can do it, it’s Russell Wilson throwing to D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. We’ve seen it multiple times where the offense of the Seahawks can get explosive when it needs to. Their defense needs a little work but is looking to improve enough to make a serious run. They just paid safety Jamal Adams and re-worked a deal with defensive tackle Duane Brown to anchor and lead that defense. This will be a fight until the end but due to the fact that the Colts are at home, they might have the advantage.
Other Notable Games
Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chicago Bears vs Los Angeles Rams
Arizona Cardinals vs Tennessee Titans
Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens vs Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers vs Washington Football Team