Monday Night Saints Vs Vikings
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
There are only two words needed to describe this matchup: Adrian Peterson. That’s right, in the very first week of the year, AP returns to Minnesota to do battle with his former team. Talk about a quick turnaround! The 32-year old is coming off just the second injury-riddled season of his career where he played just 3 games and ran for less than 100 yards. After suffering a knee injury in mid-September, Peterson played in just one more game for the Vikings, in mid-December, before being shown the door. Now he’s back and if you don’t think he wants to have the game of his career, I’d say you’re out of your mind.
Keys to the Game
If the Saints are able to play any sort of defense on Monday night, they should walk away with a victory here. Minnesota’s offense was embarrassing last year and likely won’t be much better this year, either. New Orleans needs to take advantage of that by making a few stops and letting Peterson and Drew Brees get out to an early lead. Forcing Minnesota to throw the ball will yield great benefits for New Orleans.
As good as the Vikings’ defense is, they can only hope to slow down Brees and the Saints. That offense simply has too much power. The key for Minnesota will be forcing turnovers and capitalizing on them. Both Peterson and Brees have been prone to turning the ball over in their career and the Vikings are more than good enough to take the ball away two or three times on Monday night. If they can do that and create points off the turnovers, they’ll come out on top.
Sunday Night Giants Vs Cowboys
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
We’ve got an old classic on our hands to kick off Sunday Night Football in 2017. Though this rivalry already had plenty of fuel for the fire, the competitiveness in 2016 only made these games that much better. The Giants were the only team to beat Dallas twice in 2016 and one of only two teams to beat them at all during the regular season. You know the Cowboys will remember that coming into this one. They’ll be seeking revenge while the Giants look to take back the NFC East.
Keys to the Game
The Giants need to walk the fine line of protecting the football while pushing the envelope offensively. Basically, they need Eli to make big plays down the field with Odell Beckham Jr and company without throwing interceptions every other drive. New York has the offensive weapons to win a shootout with anyone in the league, including Dallas, but won’t happen if they give up 3 interceptions and a fumble. They need to score early and often and force Dak to throw the ball down the field.
This is an important game for Dallas as they need to get the Giants out of their heads. Long, sustained drives with a mix of Zeke Elliott and the passing game is just the way to do that. The longer they keep OBJ on the sideline, the fewer points New York will be able to score, plain and simple. Between Prescott, Elliott and Bryant, Dallas can score with the best of them, but ball control will be their best friend on Sunday Night. Frustrate the Giants by keeping their offense on the sideline and Dallas will roll to an easy victory.
Sunday Afternoon Seahawks Vs Packers
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
On Sunday afternoon we’re treated with what has come to be a classic rivalry in the NFC over the last few years. Between the playoff matchups, close games and featuring two of the best quarterbacks the game has to offer, Seahawks vs Packers has become must-watch football. This season will be no different. Both squads will be looking for a little redemption in 2017 and an early victory over this opponent would certainly start the season off on a good note.
Keys to the Game
As always, the key to beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is to try and contain Rodgers. Easier said than done. However, if anyone has the defensive talent to do such a thing, Seattle would definitely be on the short list. The Seahawks excel at getting pressure from their D-line and have one of the best secondaries in all of football. Slow Aaron Rodgers down and it will be Seattle’s game to lose.
The Pack is going to have to pressure Russell Wilson in order to win this one. Their pass defense was horrendous in 2016 and it’s hard to predict any drastic improvements for the start of 2017 when they return similar personnel. Forcing Seattle to settle for short, quick passes and running the ball will keep Green Bay in the game and give Aaron Rodgers a chance to work some magic on the offensive side of the ball without being forced to throw it every down.
Thursday Night Chiefs Vs Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The Super Bowl champs help kick off the 2017 campaign as they host the KC Chiefs in Foxboro. The Chiefs’ defense will be the perfect test for New England’s new, speedy offensive weapons Brandin Cooks and Andrew Hawkins. We’ll get to see just how potent this Patriot offense will be right out of the gate.
Keys to the Game
It’s simple for Kansas City: keep it close and give yourself a chance. The Chiefs just don’t have the firepower to stage a big comeback against a team like NE. Their defense is going to need to contain Brady and company and keep the game close. If that happens, it will give Alex Smith a chance to make some plays and take down the reigning champs.
The Patriots’ main priority will be putting points on the board. They know that KC’s offense won’t be able to keep up with them, so turning this game into a track meet will give NE the undoubted upper hand. As much as Brady has proven he can slice and dice the best of defenses, the Chiefs have some tremendous talent and won’t make it easy for him. Throwing away from Marcus Peters will serve the Pats well, here.