The Start of the NFL Season: First Week in Action


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Buccaneers Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski celebrate after winning the Super Bowl. 

Jacob Artz, Staff Writer

One of the best weeks of the year for sports fans is almost upon us: the start of the NFL season. The season kicks off Thursday, Sept. 9, with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay squaring off against Dallas.

There are many storylines heading into the first week of action, and they all start in Tampa Bay. This team brings back all 22 starters from last year’s championship team and none more important than the starting quarterback Tom Brady.  According to Pro Football Reference, he impressed again last year by tossing 40 touchdowns, throwing for 4,633 yards and completing 65.7% of his passes. The Buccaneers are certainly the favorites to dispatch the Cowboys on Thursday night.

The rest of the Week 1 games are intriguing, as many featured players are on new teams, and new draft picks will be starting the first games of their regular-season careers. In Houston, the number one overall draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, will make his first start with the Jacksonville Jaguars under first-time head coach Urban Meyer, who had much success in coaching college football. According to CBS Sports, Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson is engulfed in trade talks but is in a state of limbo with 22 civil lawsuits against him alleging sexual misconduct in massage sessions.

In another game, the Los Angeles Chargers visit Washington D.C. to take on the Washington Football team. These teams both have playoff aspirations, with the Chargers being led by 2020 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert and a ferocious Washington defense led by Chase Young. Seattle and Indianapolis are two other impressive teams that will face off. Seattle’s starting quarterback, Russell Wilson, will again shine with wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, while former Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz starts anew in Indianapolis with former offensive coordinator and Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, although his status for the game is uncertain since he was put on the COVID-19 reserve list on Aug. 30.

The second overall pick in the draft, Zach Wilson, and the New York Jets take on Carolina, which traded for the Jets’ previous starting quarterback Sam Darnold this offseason. Last year’s number one overall draft pick, Joe Burrow, is coming back from a gruesome ACL and MCL tear with a partial PCL tear (per CBS Sports) to lead Cincinnati against veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins and Minnesota. Cousins was up and down last year, while Burrow showed flashes of good play before the injury.  

Two offensive powerhouses, Arizona and Tennessee, will play on Sunday. The game will feature up-and-coming Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray and Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 but will be back before the game against Arizona, per The 49ers are looking to avenge a rough season last year as they take on a hopeful Detroit team with new coach Dan Campbell and former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff under center. 

In a top-tier AFC matchup, superstar Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen will face Pittsburgh, which is led by Ben Roethlisberger. The Eagles barely played their starters in the preseason, with Jalen Hurts only playing ten snaps, as they look to impress against Atlanta, which disappointed last year.  

In the late games, a rematch of the wild AFC Divisional round playoff game between Cleveland and Kansas City will commence in what could determine a crucial head-to-head tiebreaker for playoff seeding. Green Bay weathered a highly publicized holdout by MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the team will play Jameis Winston-led New Orleans after future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees retired. Two teams looking to find their footing, Denver and the Giants, face off, while the surprise playoff contender from last season, Miami, travels to New England, which will be led by the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft, Mac Jones.  

In the Sunday night game, Chicago travels to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. The Rams traded for longtime Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford in the offseason.  In the Monday night game, the AFC championship-contending Baltimore takes on Las Vegas in the first primetime game at Allegiant Stadium. 

This is going to be a fun season with all the fans back and many good teams fighting for playoff spots.