Oh yeah, NFL football is BACK! The wait is over!! Only a few more hours until the season kicks off with the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons.
If you’re like me, you may not be seeing live action this week. As a Dallas Cowboys fan who lives in Charlotte, N.C., I was suspiciously not invited to the Carolina Panthers-Cowboys game this Sunday by two family members with access to Panthers tickets. Seems even close relatives would rather me stay at home if I’m pulling for my ‘Boys. OK fine, I will just watch on TV then.
If you are too, or if you are going to a game but want to see what else is going on around the league this weekend, here are our Top 5 season-openers in the NFL. We’ll just list them chronologically because at this point, any football is awesome football, isn’t it?!
- Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. Storyline: You gotta love a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff when the Falcons were a short incomplete pass from knocking the soon-to-be Super Bowl champs out of the playoffs. Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is still out following December knee surgery, but as everybody saw in the Super Bowl victory over New England, his backup Nick Foles can handle the position pretty well himself.
- Houston Texans at New England Patriots, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS. Storyline: Speaking of New England, this matchup features an intriguing quarterback matchup with Brady starting his 19th season (17th as a starter) for the Patriots at age 41 against the Texans’ youngster Deshaun Watson, the former Clemson standout. Watson is eager to prove he is back from ACL surgery and that his stellar six-game stretch last year as an NFL rookie was no fluke.
- Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers, Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX. The Panthers and Cowboys meet for the first time since Thanksgiving Day, 2015, when Carolina walloped Dallas 33-14 and linebacker Luke Kuechly had two interceptions. The Cowboys are looking for new playmakers to emerge after the offseason retirement of tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Dez Bryant’s departure.
- Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers, Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. Lambeau Field will be buzzing with the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who missed nine games last year with a broken collarbone while his Packers stumbled to a 7-9 finish. Rodgers is 15-4 lifetime against the rival Chicago Bears.
- A. Rams at Oakland Raiders, Monday, 10:20 p.m. ET on ESPN. So as not to show any East Coast bias (smile) we give you this West Coast showdown. Jon Gruden returns to coaching after nine years in the Monday Night Football booth and begins his second stint as coach of the Raiders. This could be the final home opener in Oakland if the city goes through with a suit against the Raiders over their planned move to Las Vegas in 2020.