The wait is over. After months of trade rumors, mock drafts and off-the-field theatrics, the 2017 NFL season kicks off this Thursday.
Here are the games I’ll be watching this week:
- Chiefs at Patriots, Thursday, September 7th at 8:30 PM on NBC
The Kickoff Game of the 2017 season promises to be a good one. These two teams are in the playoff hunt again, and yet, both have serious questions to answer on Thursday. For the Patriots, who will replace Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount? For the Chiefs, how will rookie Kareem Hunt hold up in his first start at running back? The outcome of this game will depend on how each team rises to face their challenges. As an added bonus, on Thursday, the NFL is hosting a special noontime concert (with rumored guest Bon Jovi) at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston to celebrate the start of the 2017 season.
- Steelers at Browns, Sunday, September 10th at 1:00 PM on CBS
While games between these rivals always promise interesting football, this one should be particularly exciting. Recent transactions, including the Browns’ trade for wide receiver Sammie Coates and Steelers’ acquisition of former Brown Joe Haden, add additional intrigue. On top of that, this will be the first start for Deshone Kizer, whom the Browns hope will finally be the answer at quarterback, as well as 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. The Cleveland Browns have charted a unique analytics-driven course in recent years, and will look to see it pay off in a statement game during week 1.
- Seahawks at Packers, Sunday, September 10th at 4:30 PM on FOX
The last time the Seahawks played the Packers, they were demolished 38-10. Expect them to seek revenge in this matchup of NFC heavyweights. To add fuel to the fire, this will also be the return of Eddie Lacy to Green Bay, which traded him cheaply this offseason. This game will also pit Aaron Rodgers and one of the league’s most prolific passing offenses against a Seattle secondary seeking to reclaim its top spot as the Legion of Boom. Suffice it to say, this rematch of rivals promises plenty of excitement.
- Giants at Cowboys, Sunday, September 10th 8:00 PM on CBS
Another great rivalry will be on display Sunday night as the Giants face the Cowboys. Both teams have their eyes set on the playoffs, and hope to get one step closer by beating their NFC East challengers in week one. Both teams were busy this offseason: the Giants added Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram to their passing attack, while the Cowboys drafted Taco Charlton to bolster their pass rush. We’ll see how these additions impact the matchup. We will also learn if Zeke Elliott, who is suspended for the first six weeks of the season, will be granted a restraining order and allowed to play. Look to see these and other questions answered in this Sunday night highlight.