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NFL Week 1: Final thoughts before kickoff

The first week of the NFL season is finally here. Yeah, technically we saw the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers kick things off on Thursday, but only technically. That game is basically a teaser for the feature film (and dear God, let’s hope the film is better than the teaser).

With 13 games on the slate for Sunday, here’s what I’m looking forward to seeing:

  • I can’t wait to see the Cleveland Browns finally play a football game. After all the moves general manager John Dorsey made this offseason — signing Sheldon Richardson, trading for Olivier Vernon and Odell Beckham Jr. — just how good are these Browns. Cleveland has a first-time head coach in Freddie Kitchens, making his debut against a tough Tennessee Titans team. Should be a fun one.
  • What do the Steelers do in Foxborough? Look, smart money says they lose because nobody beats the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium, and least of all the Steelers. Pittsburgh typically struggles horribly with the Pats, although it did beat them last season at Heinz Field. After losing Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell this offseason, dirt has been thrown on the Steelers from all corners. I think they’ll surprise.
  • Can Patrick Mahomes have an even better season? It’s almost statistically impossible for Mahomes to be better than the 2018 version, after he threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns en route to winning the MVP. Then again, this Kansas City Chiefs offense is loaded. They brought back all the important pieces from a year ago and then added LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Mecole Hardman. They’ll have a tough test right away in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • The Vikings-Falcons game in general. Minnesota and Atlanta are both teams with Super Bowl dreams coming off tough campaigns. They link up in Week 1 at U.S. Bank Stadium, with each hoping to get off to a hot start. Both teams also have tough Week 2 matchups, with the Falcons hosting the Philadelphia Eagles and the Vikings taking on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. This is the most important Week 1 game on the docket.
  • Finally, how do the Los Angeles Rams look in their first action since scoring three points in the Super Bowl? How does Todd Gurley and his troublesome knee look? Los Angeles has quietly remained a threat in the NFC. If the Rams hang 30+ points on the Carolina Panthers, people will talk about them much more in the contenders conversation.
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