Texans vs. Chiefs
The 2020-2021 NFL season kicked off last Thursday with a marquee matchup between the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. This was a rematch of the AFC Divisional Round from last postseason and there were high expectations for both teams this year. The Texans capitalized on their first drive with a huge touchdown run by former Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson who was acquired for star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. After the early Texans TD it was all Chiefs after that. Former Super Bowl MVP and regular season MVP Patrick Mahomes picked up right where he left off with a strike to tight end Travis Kelce to tie it up at 7. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU showed why Andy Reid’s comparisons to Brian Westbrook are very promising. He ran for 139 yards and had a TD. The Chiefs won convincingly 34-20. The Chiefs will play the L.A. Chargers next on the road. The Texans will host the dangerous Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson next week.
Dolphins vs. Patriots
The second featured game was the New England Patriots hosting the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots are fresh off an 11-5 season ending abruptly against the Tennessee Titans. The Dolphins coming in don’t have playoff expectations but expectations of being on the upswing as far as the rebuilding process. The Patriots had the most opt-outs for the season due to COVID-19 with eight. They also lost six-time Super Bowl Champion and three-time MVP Tom Brady to Tampa Bay. The Patriots have a whole new looking roster and for the first time in 20 years they don’t have very high expectations. New QB for the Patriots Cam Newton signed from the Carolina Panthers scored the first TD of the game on a red zone TD run. He later found the end zone again on another QB keeper. New England dominated time of possession and was able to capitalize on 3 turnovers from Ryan Fitzpatrick giving Patriots fans deja vu from last season. The Patriots won their first game 21-11. The Dolphins will face the AFC East favorites in the Buffalo Bills at home next week while New England will go up to Seattle for a Sunday Night clash against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Cardinals vs. 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are fresh off a Super Bowl run appearance. They came up short and are hoping to return to Super Bowl form this year. The Arizona Cardinals, on the other hand, are hunting for a playoff spot with a young talented roster. San Francisco opened the scoring early with a huge Raheem Mostert TD run to put them up 10-0 in the first. Later in the first quarter second-year quarterback Kyler Murray found Chase Edmonds out of the backfield to cut the deficit to 3. After a field goal apiece from Zane Gonzalez and Robbie Gould the score was 13-10 49ers. In the fourth quarter, after a scoreless third the electrifying Kyler Murray bobbed and weaved for a 22-yard TD run to make the score 17-13. After a Jerrick McKinnon receiving TD made the score 20-17 the Cardinals were smelling an upset in the water. A one yard Kenyan Drake TD run made the Cardinals regain the lead. The Cardinals stopped San Francisco and held on to win 24-20. The 49ers face the Jets in New York next week while the Cardinals will host the Washington Football Team.
Buccaneers vs. Saints
The NFL on Fox game of the week was the New Orleans Saints hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A matchup like this is one NFL fans dream of with two all-time great quarterbacks going head-to-head for the first of two times this year for the NFC South crown. The first matchup between the two didn’t go as expected for Tampa Bay. After an early first quarter TD drive that finished with a signature Tom Brady QB sneak the Saints showed why the Buccaneers have to go through them if they want to win the division. The star running back for the Saints, Alvin Kamara, scored a pair of touchdowns to propel the Saints to an early first half lead. After a rocky first half, Tom Brady threw a pick-six to former Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins to make the score 24-7 right out of the halftime locker room. Brady answered back by finding O.J. Howard in the back of the end zone to get Tampa Bay back in it. The Saints were able to add to the point total in the fourth making the final score 34-23 Saints. Tom Brady’s Buccaneers debut was one to forget, but like every year Brady will look at the doubters and turn that into motivation on a quest for a potential record-setting seventh Super Bowl ring. The Buccaneers will host the Panthers next week at home while the Saints go to Los Angeles to face the Rams.
Cowboys vs. Rams
The Cowboys with a new head coach in Mike McCarthy take on the LA Rams in Stan Kroenke’s new 5 Billion dollar home in SoFi Stadium. The Rams who are looking for a new running back after the releasing of Todd Gurley may have found their guy in Malcolm Brown. Brown finished the game with 2 touchdowns with 110 yards from scrimmage. A lot of controversy is the headline for this SNF matchup after Dallas Wide Receiver Michael Gallup was called for an offensive pass interference on Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Gallup caught the ball down the sideline with about a minute left in regulation that would have set Dallas up for a field goal to send the game to Overtime. Dallas later turned the ball over on downs with about 20 seconds left and LA held on to win. The Rams will face the Eagles in Philadelphia and the Cowboys are looking to bounce back with some confidence with a game against Atlanta at home.
Steelers vs. Giants
The Steelers, fresh off a 8-8 season despite having a fourth string quarterback in Devlin Hodges, are looking to regain playoff supremacy, while the New York Giants are looking for major improvements in their second year quarterback Daniel Jones. Ben Roethlisberger is back after missing 15 games last season from Tommy John surgery (elbow surgery). The Steelers came out attacking on defense, clogging any hole Saquon Barkley tried to attack. Pittsburgh proved again and again why their young defense is one of the very best in the NFL. The Steelers were able to gain huge separation in the fourth quarter after an 8-yard touchdown reception from young star receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, making the score 26-10. The Steelers secured their first win of the year and hope for many more after missing the playoffs each of the past two seasons. The final score was 26-16. The Steelers will take on the Denver Broncos at home, and the Giants will face the Chicago Bears on the road in Week 2.
The scoreboard of the other Week 1 games is below:
Seahawks 38, Falcons 25
Jets 17, Bills 27
Bears 27, Lions 23
Packers 43, Vikings 34
Eagles 17, Washington Football Team 27
Raiders 34, Panthers 30
Colts 20, Jaguars 27
Browns 6, Ravens 38
Chargers 16, Bengals 13
Titans 16, Broncos 14