Monday, September 5, 2011

Several Key Games Highlight Week One NFL Schedule - Many With Playoff Implications

The NFL has done a fantastic job of scheduling in Week 1 of the 2011 season.  Rivalry games and games featuring top teams highlight what should be an exciting kickoff.

The Games With Playoff Implications - Yes, Playoffs
  • New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers - The Super Bowl Champions begin their title defense Thursday night against one of the top teams in the NFC.  Drew Brees vs Aaron Rodgers is what everyone will focus on, but I'm wanting to see what the Packers look like with all of their offensive weapons back.  Also, what impact will Mark Ingram have in the running attack for the Saints?
  • Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens - Classic AFC matchup destined to be a nail-biter.  Will the Ravens offense finally reach its potential?  Will the defenses of both teams continue to be dominant, or will this be a high-scoring affair?
  • Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears - Playoff matchup between two divisional leaders.  How will Julio Jones improve the Falcons offense with Matt Ryan at the helm, and can the Bears defense match up?  Also, how will Chicago's offensive line handle the Falcons improving defense?  Will Cutler show the effect of all that improved footwork and supposed maturity??
  • Philadelphia Eagles @ St. Louis Rams - The Dream Team begins its march to an inevitable Super Bowl victory (yea, right) against a St. Louis Rams team that is dramatically improving under second year coach Steve Spagnuolo.  How good are the Eagles, and will Vick pick up where he left off last year? He will be facing a young, very quick defense that is on its way up.  Also, what impact does new Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have on Sam Bradford, who had a really good season last year as a rookie? The Rams have a very good chance of an upset here, and will need every victory they can get to get to the playoffs this year.
  • Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Both teams are young and on the rise, and this should be a preview of potential wild card matchups.  Quarterbacks and defensive lines will be the focus for both clubs, and it will be interesting to see how they match up against each other.
  • Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets -  Sibling rivalry will highlight this NFC-AFC potential playoff match up, with the Ryan brothers facing off (Rex - HC for the Jets, Rob - D-coordinator for the Cowboys). Tony Romo is back for the 'Boys, and it'll be interesting to see if he picks up where he left off in 2010 before his injury.  I'm also very interested in Mark Sanchez's progress and to see if he can adequately utilize the offensive weapons his team picked up in preseason.
I know that the Giants are playing the Redskins, but I actually don't think either of those teams are playoff bound this year and I'm not interested in that game at all.  The rest of the schedule is filled with games that matter mots to the local fan base (like Oakland @ Denver, New England @ Miami), where the only thing that could cause them to be relevant is if there was a big upset.

Are you ready for some football???!!!!  

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