With the regular season NFL schedule being announced tonight, I think every football fan is excited and their reactions are similar to Tom Brady’s in this picture:
I’m going to try to take a stab at who I believe will be some notable Week 1 match-ups. For people who don’t know, the opponents for every team have already been announced, it’s just uncertain when each team will play other teams. I’m only going to pick match-ups that I believe people will want to see.
Let’s start with the NFL Kickoff Game on Thursday night. It’s already been announced that the New England Patriots, the defending champions, will host the NFL Kickoff Game for the 2015 season. Who will be their opponent? Here’s a look at their home games for 2015:
New York Jets*
*AFC East opponent
Usually, the NFL Kickoff Game is between the defending champs and a team that is supposed to be a contender. That being said, I think you can go ahead and cross off the Jaguars, Titans, and Redskins. No one would be interested in watching the Patriots destroy those three teams in Week 1. It’s very possible the matchup could come within the AFC East division.
The Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan matchup has had led to some good games in the past when Ryan was with the Jets. It could lead to some viewers, but now that Ryan is now with the Bills I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s also possible the Jets could be New England’s opponent Week 1. Darrelle Revis just left New England to return to the Jets where he played for the first six seasons of his career, but that’s really the only sexy thing about that matchup. I’ll be shocked if either the Jets or Bills are the opponent for New England in Week 1. Nobody is expecting those teams to be contenders, despite the fact those teams were very active in free agency last month.
If it came down to an AFC East opponent, Miami would be the most likely to play New England. They’re probably going to be the second place team in the AFC East by the end of the upcoming season. However, I’ll be shocked if New England’s Week 1 opponent comes inside the division. No one in the AFC East, other than New England, is supposed to be serious contenders to win the Super Bowl. I don’t think football fans would be interested in watching New England vs. an AFC East opponent to start the NFL season anyway.
That leaves the Eagles and Steelers. The Eagles are probably the sexiest pick. They made a lot of moves in the offseason and signed a lot of new players. I think people would want to see a Belichick vs. Chip Kelly game to start the season. It’s a possibility, but I wouldn’t count out the Steelers. The Steelers at least made it to the postseason last season, they have a dynamic offense, and a franchise quarterback that has won two Super Bowls. I think more people would want to watch two organizations that have been successful, like Pittsburgh and New England have been in the past. Plus, people will tune in to watch Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tom Brady instead of Sam Bradford/Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow vs. Tom Brady.
2015 NFL Kickoff Game Prediction:
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
Sunday Night Football:
The Dallas Cowboys have to play in Green Bay against the Packers. I think that’s an intriguing match-up for the first Sunday Night Football match-up this season, especially after the game that these two teams played last year in the playoffs. The memorable Dez Bryant “catch” on the goal line on a 4th and 2 play with 4 minutes in the game, the call was reversed and Green Bay went on to burn out the clock and win a close game. These two organizations are very successful and it used to be a great rivalry. I think people would want to watch these two teams play in Week 1, especially after that playoff game in January. Bottom line, these are probably the largest fan bases in the NFL. There will be a lot of viewers either way if this happens.
Another option that I find intriguing is that the Denver Broncos have to play the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. It’s Peyton Manning against his former team and the young star, Andrew Luck. The problem with that is that these two teams played on Week 1 Sunday Night Football last year. Even though it was in Denver. Either way, unlikely to happen back to back seasons.
Sunday Night Football Prediction for Week 1:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers
Sunday Afternoon “Game of the Week” Match-ups:
I’m going to try to come up with some possible match-ups for the afternoon games on Week 1. There’s almost always two games on both FOX and CBS that have games between two teams that are pretty good every week. I’ll try to come up with the “Game of the Weeks” for both networks.
There are quite a few match-ups that appeal to me that I think fans will want to watch. First off, the obvious choice is Denver-Indianapolis. Since I don’t have that game on Sunday Night Football and CBS is in charge of handling the AFC match-ups, I think it’s a lock as the “Game of the Week” afternoon game on CBS.
Since FOX is in charge of airing NFC teams, I looked at match-ups amongst NFC teams. The Eagles have received a lot of hype this offseason because of the moves that they have made this offseason. I think a lot of fans will want to watch and see how good this Eagles team is after their roster turnover. This Eagles team is going to have an interesting offense, and what is a great way to see an offense like Philly’s? By facing a great defense. They play a very good Carolina Panthers defense on the road this season. That defense will definitely test Chip Kelly and his offense.
Sunday Afternoon “Game of the Week” Predictions:
FOX – Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers
CBS – Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts
Monday Night Football Games:
Lastly, is the Monday Night Football games. Since 2006, the NFL has started airing two games on Monday Night Football on Week 1. It usually means a game on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. Therefore, I will be giving two predictions.
The first Monday night game is usually an East Coast game, and I looked around the schedules of East Coast teams. The Baltimore Ravens are a likely option, they’re a pretty good team, so I looked at their home schedule. They played the Cincinnati Bengals on Week 1 last season, so I decided to not make that an option this year. Like I said, I already have Pittsburgh on Thursday against New England. No one will want to watch Cleveland get killed by Baltimore on primetime TV. Baltimore plays Miami this year in Baltimore. I really like that match-up. That fierce defensive line in Miami against a quarterback that’s a Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco. Miami has a pretty good young quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, I know I’d be tuned in to watch it.
Since I made the East Coast game between AFC teams. I wanted to make the West Coast game involving NFC teams. Even though I ruled it out for the Sunday night game, I automatically thought of Seattle. That place will be a great venue for a Monday night game. However, the Mariners play at home that day. I don’t think the NFL will choose Seattle to host Monday Night Football if the Mariners are also in town. They could take away fans that could be watching the Seahawks. I had to look elsewhere.
San Diego has been involved with Monday Night Football on Week 1 for the last three seasons, unlikely to happen again. The next likely option is San Francisco, since the Giants are out of town. Especially if it’s a game that people will want to watch out west and stay up to watch on the East Coast. I know I ruled out Seattle on primetime TV for both Sunday and Monday night games, but that was because of the home venue. If they play San Francisco on Monday Night Football at Levi’s Stadium, I think the game will get viewers
Monday Night Football Games Prediction:
East Coast – Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens
West Coast – Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
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