New digs for Falcons as they welcome formidable Packers
Green Bay (1-0) at Atlanta (1-0)
Green Bay completely shut down Seattle—yet another highly touted NFC contender—at Lambeau Field. Atlanta struggled with lowly Chicago before a goal-line stand, helped by a dropped pass that should have been a touchdown, allowed it to survive.
Now, the Falcons, who followed that NFC championship win with a Super collapse against New England, open their new digs officially. The roof will even be open for the first time during a game, it appears. So the Falcons would play their first open-air home game since 1991, their final season at Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium.
Dallas (1-0) at Denver (1-0)
After manhandling the Giants, Dallas can really prove it is an NFC power again by crossing over, heading to the Rockies and beating the Broncos. The Cowboys had the ball for so long against New York that the Giants' formidable defense withered. Denver's D is just as good, so it's a matchup of Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott, Jason Witten and that terrific offensive line against Von Miller, Aqib Talib & Co.
Dallas last beat Denver in 1995, a Super Bowl season for the Cowboys.
The Broncos might have found yet another dangerous receiver in Bennie Fowler III, who had two TD receptions as they held on to edge the Chargers on Monday night. But the run game must be sharp in this one.
Philadelphia (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)
Both come off impressive road wins. Eagles coach Doug Pederson is a disciple of Chiefs head man Andy Reid. Their forte is offense, and Kansas City was opportunistic and, at times, dominant in New England with the ball.
RB Kareem Hunt set a rookie debut record with 246 yards from scrimmage, while WR Tyreek Hill has a 60-plus yard TD in five consecutive games.
Philly's Carson Wentz, 4-0 in September matches, must watch for Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, who had 4 ½ sacks the last time the clubs met.
New England (0-1) at New Orleans (0-1)
Yes, it really did happen in the 2017 kickoff game: New England got hammered in the fourth quarter at home by Kansas City.
Usually, the Patriots respond after a loss, especially one in which Tom Brady struggled. Since 2003, the Patriots are 42-6 in the regular season after a loss.
“What you are in September is different from what you're gonna be as the season goes on,” Brady says. “You're trying to see where your deficiencies are and you're trying to make improvements. Obviously what we did the other night is not good enough, by any means.”
New Orleans had far too many deficiencies at Minnesota, and its loose coverage of receivers could be its
demise against Brady. But Drew Brees can make up for some issues.
Minnesota (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
The Vikings, particularly second-round running back Dalvin Cook (127 yards rushing) were impressive on Monday night against New Orleans, but a short turnaround for a trip to the Steel City is never enviable. Their last win in Pittsburgh came on Sept. 24, 1995.
Cleveland kept it close against archrival Pittsburgh, which seemed out of synch. Maybe star RB Le'Veon Bell will be more impactful after not reporting until Sept. 1; he had 32 yards on the ground last week, tying a career low.
Of note is how the Steelers appear to be building a defense to complement their all-world offense led by Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger.
Chicago (0-1) at Tampa Bay (0-0)
It's impossible to know what the Bucs have after being forced by Hurricane Irma to move their bye up to opening week. They could be dynamic on offense and improved on defense, which would put them in the mix.
“We are playing a game on Sunday, so it doesn't matter what it's like. It's probably going to be hard on them, but I don't think anybody is going to be feeling sorry for us,” coach Dirk Koetter says. “I know the Bears aren't going to be feeling sorry for us.”
Former Bucs QB Mike Glennon played well in his first outing for Detroit and was a dropped pass away from an upset of the Falcons.
“We all knew his time was coming,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans says. “He's too good of a player to be on the bench.”
Miami (0-0) at
Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)
It's impossible to know what the Bucs have after being forced by Hurricane Irma to move their bye up to opening week, too. They've spent the week in California and figure to be rusty.