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NFL's must see games: Week 1

NFL's must see games: Week 1

By Andrew Devey, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Sep. 8, 2011 at 5:42 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

We've reviewed every game to kickoff the NFL season and given you our reasons to watch the games. As a nation we're all excited for the season to start, but you will see that some teams will wish that the lockout never ended.

Each game is accompanied with a rating that tells you whether to tune in or not. 10 = Must see TV. DO NOT MISS. 0 = Don't even bother setting your DVR.

Saints @ Packers - 9.3The 2011 Super Bowl Champions host the 2010 champions to kick off the regular season on prime time national network TV. Green Bay returns ten starters from last year's championship defense to clash with Drew Brees and the Saints high-powered offense. The last time these two teams met in 2008 the New Orleans whipped Green Bay 51-29. Roger Goodell couldn't ask for a better season opener for the NFL between two well-loved franchises.

Steelers @ Ravens - 9.0The AFC North rivals aren't used to facing each other this early in the season but that won't kill the intensity when Pittsburgh and Baltimore take the field. The Ravens added Lee Evans to be another target for quarterback Joe Flacco and speed up their receiving corps. The Steel Curtin defense was first against the run last year and hopes to continue that tradition throughout this season. It will feel like a late season match-up when they faceoff Sunday afternoon.

Cowboys @ Jets - 8.9Sunday night prime time will be full of drama when the Cowboys and Jets take the field in the Meadowlands. The Jets' Plaxico Burress returns to the NFL after a three-year absence as Mark Sanchez breaks in a new receive corps after losing key contributors Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith. Tony Romo returns to the field after breaking his clavicle last year, as the Cowboys will try to lasso and ground the Jets.

Patriots @ Dolphins - 8.2New England added Albert Hansworth and Chad Ochocinco to upgrade at defensive line and wide receivers. Tom Brady led the league quarterback rating and touchdown passes and is poised to have another outstanding season. The Dolphins were in the top ten in the league's defensive categories last year and hope that the offense catches up this season. Miami will be wild as the AFC East rivals kickoff Monday Night Football.

Giants @ Redskins - 8.0John Beck lost the battle for quarterback to Rex Grossman who now has a chance to backup his prediction that Washington will win the NFC East. Running back Tim Hightower has been impressive in preseason play and will be the main ball carrier for the Redskins. Eil Manning will have better stats than his brother this season, but does he have the tools around him to lead the Giants back to the Super Bowl? Whoever wins will have a head start in the NFC East divisional race.

Raiders @ Broncos - 7.4Oakland and Denver always play a physical game. Hopefully the pregame focus won't be on the backup quarterbacks for each team (Pryor, Tebow). The Raiders were second in the league in rushing last year riding the legs of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. The Broncos can only hope to contain them. Kyle Orton won the quarterback battle and head coach John Fox hopes that he performs well enough to squash any quarterback controversy talk.

Falcons @ Bears - 7.1Both teams tasted success throughout most last season but were left with a bitter, unsettling taste in their mouth. The Falcons finished the regular season with the best record in the league but lost after a first round bye and the Bears lost the NFC championship. Success for both teams hinges on the play of their quarterbacks. Matt Ryan enters his fourth year and is quickly becoming an elite quarterback. Jay Cutler's gunslinger style of play is high-risk but high- reward. Both teams expect to compete in the postseason.

Panthers @ Cardinals - 6.9Cam Newton makes his NFL debut in the same stadium where he played his last college game. Carolina has plenty of offensive weapons. If Newton can play a clean game, they may be able to escape with a victory. Kevin Kolb hopes to find success in the Valley of the Sun and lead the Cardinals to a NFC West division title. Larry Fitzgerald signed a new contract over the summer and will earn every penny with each highlight reel catch.

Lions @ Buccaneers - 6.2 Detroit and Tampa Bay are both young teams with a lot of potential. The Lions start a former college All-American at almost every position. If Matt Stafford can stay healthy the Lions still won't have a shot at the division title because the NFC North is so tough. But, they will compete with every team they play. The Bucs play team football so well because they don't have any stars on the team. Josh Freeman looks to build on his success from last season.

Colts @ Texans - 6.0If Peyton Manning were playing this game would be much higher on the list. However, because of Manning's absence you might save some time and just watch the highlights. Indianapolis' quarterback play has been atrocious in the preseason without Manning. Houston gladly welcomes the shorthanded and distracted Colts to town for an AFC South matchup. The Texans' offense is as explosive as any with Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson.

Seahawks @ 49ers - 5.6This may be Alex Smith's last chance. Rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh is giving Smith another opportunity and even signed Braylon Edwards to help his quarterback out. Frank Gore looks to have a greater impact on the offense after signing a new contract in the offseason. For the first time in 10 years Matt Hasselbeck isn't in Seattle. The Seahawks turn to Tavaris Jackson to lead them in the NFC West. Marshawn Lynch will be called on to carry a heavy load as no one is quite sure what Pete Carroll was thinking with all of the offseason moves made by the Seahawks.

Eagles @ Rams - 5.0 Philadelphia has plenty of talent but if they can mesh that talent into cohesive team play still remains to be seen. Michael Vick recently signed a contract worth $100 million. Perhaps some that money would've been better spent on finding an offensive line to block for Vick. It will be interesting to see how Andy Reid will handle all of the talent and egos on his team. If he's successful he may want to advise other teams on how to do it. The Rams Sam Bradford looks to improve from his rookie year in which he threw for 18 touchdowns but 15 interceptions.

Bengals @ Browns - 4.6Cleveland last won a season opener in 2004. Colt McCoy will try to change the Browns week one bad luck with the help of Madden 2012 cover boy Peyton Hillis. Cincinnati is struggling to stay above water and may start three rookies on Sunday. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be counted on to produce much in the passing game this season. Cedric Benson is back with the team after serving five days in an Austin, Texas jail. He will be relied on to carry the ball a bunch.

Vikings @ Chargers - 4.5Donavan McNabb will make his Viking debut in San Diego on Sunday. He will rely on Adrian Peterson to provide much of the offense. Last time Peterson met the Chargers he ran for a league record 296 yards. San Diego will counter with their high-powered offense that finished first in the league last year. Phillip Rivers will have a shot at the MVP if his team can win a game or two in the playoffs.

Bills @ Chiefs - 4.1The Chiefs hope that Matt Cassel will be able to play after suffering a rib injury in the preseason. If not, Kansas City will turn to Tyler Palko who has 35 career passing yards. Buffalo will look to Ryan Fitzpatrick again who threw for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns last year to lead the offense. Don't expect to see a very clean game between these two teams Sunday, but tune in just to see the new Bills uniforms.

Titans @ Jaguars - 3.0Jacksonville cut returning quarterback David Garrard earlier this week and will turn to Luke McCown to lead them this weekend. The Titans finally came to a contract agreement with Chris Johnson last week as he ended his hold out and joined the team. Unless you have a vested interest in either one of these team don't bother tuning in to this game. There are too many uncertainties with each team to make good TV. Email: onlinesports@ksl.com

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Andrew Devey

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