5 Key Match-ups to look for in Week 1
Dallas Offensive Line vs Giants Front 7 – The biggest question for the Cowboys has to be whether their offensive line will be able to ‘weather the storm’ for 60 minutes. The Giants defensive line especially causes concern for any team but the Cowboys should be very nervous about this squad. Romo was sacked 36 times last year and it would be nice to see him on his feet for majority of this game. One thing the Cowboys have in their favor is Tyron Smith looks great starting at Left Tackle according to Demarcus Ware. When asked by the Dallas Morning News about Smith earlier this month Ware said he’s “the first guy that when you lock up with him, you can’t get off of him.”
Andrew Luck vs Chicago Bears Defense - This is going to be Andrew Lucks first official game in the NFL versus a really tough defense. The Bears defense has always been known to be strict and give young players a rough time. Luck is going to see plenty of things in the NFL that he hasn’t seen before in his football career and although Luck has looked spectacular in his preseason, this is now the real deal. I also don’t love the Colts offensive line against Julius Peppers and company. Expect to see Luck running a ton of bootlegs and quick passes to keep the Bears ‘D’ at bay.
Nate Washington & Kendall Wright vs New England Secondary - Last year the New England secondary gave up the 2nd most yards per game in the league with almost 294 yards per game. Most experts say that the reason the Patriots gave up so many yards is because teams were always behind last year and needed to throw the ball. The Patriots secondary last season was pitiful though and it had a lot to do with the lack of pressure up front. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are two players that are underrated, and although you’re going to see a young Jake Locker throwing them the ball, expect a ton of yardage given up by the Patriots defense. I expect the Patriots defense to be a bit better this season, but not substantial enough to stop the opposing offenses from getting tons of yardage.
Robert Griffin III vs Drew Brees – Although this is not a direct matchup it’s going to be very interesting to see the number 2 overall drafted player from this years draft going up against a Superbowl MVP in Drew Brees. Brees is going to have to carry his team in order from them to be a contender this year. The Saints defense and Redskins defense are about equal in my opinion with the edge going slightly to the Redskins so it will be very interesting to see how much these two quarterbacks differ. I’m expecting a bit of a blowout in the Saints favor, but anything can happen on Sundays.
Peyton Manning vs Pittsburgh Steelers Defense – Peyton Manning is going to be tested this week in many ways. His arm strength, patience in the pocket, and just all around nerves in his first real game back from a almost career ending neck injury. Peyton says he’s not 100% but I think he’ll need to play as close to 100% against this extremely difficult Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The one alarming thing you’ll have to look out for is the age of the Steelers defense. I don’t think it’ll be a issue in the first game of the season, but as the weeks go on it’ll be something to keep a eye on.
This article was written by contributing author Will Pyle