By Joseph Fazio
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (7:30 p.m., Thurs., NBC)
How can you not have the reigning Super Bowl champions be part of the games of the week? The New England Patriots will be looking to make an early statement as they play the Chiefs on Thursday. Coming into his 17th season in the NFL, Tom Brady feels more alive than ever and is thirsty for another Super Bowl trophy. The receiving core for the Patriots will have to step up with the loss of Julian Edelman, who suffered an ACL tear in the preseason. With the addition of Phillip Dorsett and Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and the returning Rob Gronkowski will be a great threat to the Chiefs’ defense.
For the Chiefs, rookie running back Kareem Hunt will be getting the majority of carries after Spencer Ware suffered a knee injury in the Chiefs’ third preseason game. The big threat the Chiefs have against the Patriots will be their incredibly deep defensive rotation. Players include Justin Houston, Marcus Peters and Eric Berry, who look to stop the No. 1 offense in the AFC last season. If the Chiefs want to put up a fight against the Patriots, they will have to start with their defense.
New England 41, Kansas City 27
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (7:30 p.m., Sun., NBC)
The New York Giants are seventh in the power rankings, according to NFL.com. Last season, the Giants made a miraculous jump in wins, finishing with an 11-5 record compared to the 6-10 in 2015. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be given a major role alongside Odell Beckham Jr. in the Giants’ offense. Beckham, meanwhile, is still dealing with an ankle injury and did not practice Wednesday. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. This first game will be an early challenge for the Giants, who are looking to reclaim the NFC East.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension for concern of domestic violence has been upheld by an NFL arbitrator. Elliott and the NFL Players Association has since sued the NFL and the case of Elliot’s suspension will likely go to court. The suit will delay Elliott’s suspension, so he’s eligible to play against the Giants on Sunday. Other than the conflict of the Elliott case, the Cowboys are looking to repeat as NFC East champions. Quarterback Dak Prescott is coming off of a historic rookie season and will look to replicate his numbers. New York’s defense will be the greatest threat to Dallas, but with the many weapons the Cowboys possess, it will be an exciting game to watch.
Dallas 38, New York 30
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (3:25 p.m., Sun., FOX)
We may have a sneak peek at the possible NFC Championship game in Week 1 as the Seahawks travel to Green Bay to play the Packers. The Seahawks will have to rely on their outstanding defense if they want to stop Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Legion of Boom will have to cover the Packers’ receivers every play. The Seahawks’ defensive line, led by Michael Bennett, will play a crucial role at pressuring Rodgers. Seahawks Running back Eddie Lacy will make his first appearance in a Seahawks’ uniform going up against his former team. The Seahawks will look to capitalize against Green Bay’s defense from the start with players such as tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Doug Baldwin racking up yards from quarterback Russell Wilson.
The Green Bay Packers are looking to start off the season with a win after a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons in last year’s NFC Championship. What better way to start than playing one of the best teams in your conference? Rodgers and the Packers’ offense will look to walk over the Seahawks in their first matchup. Rodgers will have an MVP-caliber season as his greatest target, Jordy Nelson, returns to the team. Running back Ty Montgomery will be picking up slack after Lacy’s departure to the Seahawks. This game could well be a candidate for game of the season, as both teams are hopeful to make a Super Bowl appearance this season.
Green Bay 34, Seattle 24