Will BakerMania connect with Odell week 1 and how many times? Will the “QB Whisperer” Bruce Arians make a man out of Jameis Winston? Will Antonio Brown actually punch GM Mike Mayock in the face like he said? Get your popcorn ready because football is back let’s just hope the rest of the first week of football is better than the Thursday Night game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Marriage Between Jameis and Bruce Arians Begins
Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer are all former QBs that have experienced the QB Whisperer. For those who don’t know, Bruce Arians is a QB guru and the Buccaneers have lured him out of retirement to hopefully get Jameis Winston to play like a No. 1 pick. Can you imagine if Arians gets Winston to the top tier level of QBs? That would cement his legacy has one of the best of all-time. A lot of his former QBs would have probably been successful either way. The thought of making Winston an MVP caliber QB was enough to pull the 66-year-old back into the game. His first test will be the 49ers in Tampa.
Cleveland Browns- Baker, Jarvis, and ODB Looking To Dominate
One of the biggest offseason moves was Odell Beckham Jr. going to the Cleveland Browns joining fellow LSU Tiger Jarvis Landry. We’ll see how many one-handed catches these two can haul in from Baker. The Browns also made things interesting when they brought in the free agent Kareem Hunt who is serving an 8 game suspension from the NFL. Nick Chubb and Hunt will form the best duo in the NFL as soon as he is able to return. They’ve also addressed the defensive side of the ball signing DT big Sheldon Richardson and grabbing Olivier Vernon from the Giants. They showed a commitment to building the defense when they traded for former 1st round pick Damarious Randal from the Packers. They’ll be a fun team to watch, I repeat, the Browns will be a fun team to watch.
Indianapolis Colts- Brissett Tries to Change Colts Bad Luck Against The Bolts
The Jacoby Brissett era begins in Indy. He will have his hands full with the Chargers defense and the pass rush of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Luckily, for Brissett, the Colts offensive line was one of the best in the league last year. They’re young and nasty. Either way, the Chargers have many weapons on defense. It doesn’t seem likely that he starts the season with a win against that Gus Bradley defense. But what if they come out fighting? They were a playoff team last season. The Colts will either come out incredibly inspired and shock the world or they’re still having a post-luck hangover and don’t know what to do. Luckily for Brissett, the Chargers will be without all-pro safety Derwin James. However, the Chargers are quite stacked at Safety. There is no replacing a Derwin James so they’ll have to get serious production from a group of players. The Colts recently resigned Brissett to a 2 year, $30 million deal. Putting total confidence in him to lead this team. It begins with the Chargers in Southern California.
Arizona Cardinals- Kyler and Kliff Look to Play Fast
The team to watch this week is the Arizona Cardinals and the Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray combination. They showed virtually nothing in the preseason and that is certainly by choice. Right? Here is a stat for you. In an 11-year college coaching career, his offenses have never finished outside the top 20 in total offense and have never finished outside the top 15 in passing. He previously worked at A&M, Houston, and his alma mater Texas Tech. Texas Tech fired him last season and he signed to be the offensive coordinator for USC. Until the Cardinals came calling. Bringing us to the current role, head coach for an NFL team. Seems like a giant jump because every team wants to find the next Sean McVay, the young Rams coach who’s already had so much success in the league. Kingsbury’s choice for the top pick in last years draft was a no-brainer since he recruited Kyler Murray heavily while he was in high school. It only makes sense he gets him at the highest level. Future hall of fame Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald signed a one-year extension prior to the season. GM Steve Keim has also brought in receiver Michael Crabtree to mentor young Wide Receiver Christian Kirk and the rookie receiver class for the Cardinals. The much anticipated week 1 matchup against the Lions is finally here and we can finally witness what Kingsbury has in store for the ultra-athletic, ultra-fast Kyler Murray.
Oakland Raiders- Mike Mayock Wins Battle With Antonio Brown, For Now
The drama is over in Oakland. Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock gave Antonio Brown what he wanted and I am sure they’ve never been happier. They released the 7-time pro bowl wide receiver after he allegedly threatened to punch the GM in the face then kicked a football and told him to fine him. The next day Brown apologized and Gruden supported him. The day after that the Raiders refused to pay Brown his guaranteed money so Brown asked for a release and Mayock met his wishes without hesitation so the Raiders can finally move on without the drama queen AB. The Raiders also picked up former Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams who had 1,000 yards receiving the year Keenan Allen went down to an ACL tear. He is one of the fastest receivers in the league but not sure if he’s No. 1 WR material. We’ll see.
Steelers and Patriots- Pair of Future Hall of Famers Duel Week 1
The best overall matchup this week is probably the Steelers vs. Patriots. With all the talk being on Baker Mayfield and the Browns in the AFC North look for Ben and Co. to make a statement week 1. No better team to do it against then the Patriots. The Roethlisberger-Brady matchup always has the potential to be special. This offseason the Steelers went the addition by subtraction route by parting ways with La’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The Patriots coming off another Super Bowl are always ready but it’s early on in the season where Belichick tries a lot of different things to see what works for later in the season. Which is exactly why he exploded through the playoffs again. Belichick took teams by surprise when he rode Sony Michel and the ground game through the Chargers and Chiefs. He likes to see what his guys can do. If he’s not impressed he’ll kick you to the curb faster than you can say, “Another Super Bowl for the Pats.”