The New Orleans Saints were able to upset the Green Bay Packers in their first game of the season. The victory was a huge surprise, but it was not without some controversy.
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Green Bay Packers, 28-18. Drew Brees threw for 4 touchdowns and Mark Ingram ran for another.
Here’s what you should be aware of:
During the first three quarters of Sunday’s divisional playoff rematch against the Chiefs, the Browns committed few errors. It didn’t make a difference.
With a little more than a minute remaining in the game, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a risky throw that Chiefs defensive back Mike Hughes grabbed out of the air, snatching away Cleveland’s hopes for a season-opening road victory against an A.F.C. opponent it is eager to defeat.
At Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat the Browns 33-29.
The Browns nearly seemed like they could pull it off without Odell Beckham Jr. (who was out with an ACL injury sustained last October) and a need to show they could keep up their offensive output from previous season.
Mayfield had been given the time he needed to hit his receivers by the offensive line. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, their running back combo, both scored touchdowns before the fourth quarter’s midway mark. In the first half, the Cleveland defense had limited the Chiefs to a solitary score.
With approximately 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Cleveland’s fortunes began to deteriorate. Browns punter Jamie Gillan mishandled a kick, giving Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his offense control at Cleveland’s 15-yard line, perhaps as a result of a raucous crowd at Arrowhead who launched the Tomahawk chop cry despite requests from Indigenous organizations for the club to prohibit it.
Mahomes connected with tight end Travis Kelce three plays after scoring a 75-yard touchdown on the Chiefs’ last drive. Kelce scored his second touchdown of the day after crashing past two defenders. He has six receptions for 76 yards in the contest. Mahomes completed 337 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns (one rushing, three passing).
Tyreek Hill, who caught Mahomes’ 75-yard touchdown pass, has 197 yards on 11 receptions.
In the first half, a game Cleveland had in hand became a battle.
Early in the game, the Browns took advantage of a Chiefs defense that was without safety Tyrann Mathieu, who was activated from the reserve/Covid-19 list on Saturday but was declared out before the game.
Browns running back Nick Chubb received a handoff from quarterback Baker Mayfield and dashed into the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown with three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Chiefs’ defense did not get a single hand on Chubb, and the play was emblematic of the Browns’ near-perfect first half of offense.
Chubb rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts, scoring the Browns’ first score on a 4-yard carry on Cleveland’s first possession.
In the first half, the Browns had four possessions and scored touchdowns on three of them. Jarvis Landry ran an end-around into the end zone for their second touchdown, muscling his way to the goal line for a 4-yard score on fourth down.
Mayfield’s 2021 debut would have been blemish-free if but for a late-game interception. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 321 yards. He was fired twice in his career.
However, the game began with some controversy. After an incident with a Chiefs sideline member, Browns safety Ronnie Harrison was dismissed in the first quarter.
Saints’ defense In the second half, Marcus Williams intercepted an Aaron Rodgers ball intended for Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Credit… Associated Press/Stephen B. Morton
With a few exceptions, the New Orleans Saints have relied on their offense to win for more than a decade. The defense is carrying the club in the first game of the post-Drew Brees era.
Make no mistake, quarterback Jameis Winston is having a good day, completing 14 of 20 passes and delivering five touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers. The Saints’ 38-3 advantage is due to their suffocating defense.
The offensive line of the Packers has been unable to contain the Saints’ front seven. The Packers only gained 29 running yards as a consequence, forcing Coach Matt LaFleur to rely heavily on the throw. Even that tweak hasn’t paid off, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has only passed for 133 yards all season. Jordan Love, a second-year quarterback, entered the game with over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
At least eight different Saints defenders have two or more tackles, with linebacker Demario Davis leading the way with four. Marcus Davenport, a defensive end, also had a sack.
Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, spent at least $5 billion to privately fund the building of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Getty Images/Harry How
As the coronavirus raged, the stands in the newly built billion-dollar stadiums remained empty for an entire season, gathering dust as spectators watched games from home.
Now that the Covid limitations have been lifted, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will both open their doors to the faithful in prime time.
On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Rams take on the Chicago Bears in a preview of what fans may anticipate when the stadium hosts Super Bowl LVI in February.
Stan Kroenke, the Rams’ owner, spent at least $5 billion to privately fund the project, which is 100 feet below street level and includes a man-made lake. The plan to move the club from St. Louis to Los Angeles — giving the city its first pro franchise since 1995 — was accepted by N.F.L. team owners in January 2016, based in part on the promise of a new stadium. In November 2016, crews began construction on SoFi.
The Raiders’ attempt to construct and share a stadium with the Chargers in Carson, Calif., was defeated by the proposal. The Chargers and Rams eventually decided to share SoFi Stadium. The Raiders’ proposal to move from Oakland, California to Las Vegas was authorized by team owners in 2017.
When the Raiders take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, Mark Davis’ club will open Allegiant Stadium to the public. The “Death Star,” a $2 billion jet-black and silver structure, is approximately three miles from the Las Vegas Strip. In January, it will host the Pro Bowl.
In the first half, Alvin Kamara of the Saints had 64 yards running and a receiving score. Credit… Getty Images/James Gilbert
New Orleans could have made a lot of reasons for their poor performance in the season’s opening game.
The Saints’ players and personnel moved from Louisiana to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, and they are now the official home team of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field.
Sean Payton is coaching a quarterback who isn’t Drew Brees in a regular season game for the first time since 2005. And he’s doing it against Green Bay, a club that might have easily reached the Super Bowl last year and is eager to do it this year in what may be quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ last season with the franchise.
However, the Saints lead the Packers 17-3 at halftime, thanks to quarterback Jameis Winston’s responsible play and their defense’s ability to limit one of the league’s most dynamic offenses. Winston has completed 9 of 12 throws for 65 yards and two touchdowns since taking over for Brees, who retired in the off-season. More importantly, he has not turned the ball over, a flaw that led his previous club, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to release him in 2019. Alvin Kamara, the running back, added 64 yards on the ground and a touchdown reception.
The Packers have failed to establish the run, only gaining 12 yards on the ground. Rodgers has completed 7 of 12 ball attempts for 69 yards and has taken a sack.
After sharing one of the most brilliant quarterback rooms in recent college football history, former Alabama teammates Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa will face off on the field on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, Massachusetts, when Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins take on Jones’s New England Patriots.
With Jalen Hurts taking over as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Alabama’s last three quarterbacks will start for NFL teams in Week 1. The fact that each made the N.F.L. schedule on Sunday validates the quarterback battles that took place while they were there. Hurts lost his starting position to Tagovailoa in 2018 after winning a national title with the Crimson Tide at the conclusion of the previous season. Jones took over after Tagovailoa fractured his hip in 2019, starting two games to finish the season.
Hurts kicked off the Alabama alumni reunion with a 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie DeVonta Smith, the former Alabama receiver’s first pro touchdown. Hurts completed 27 of 25 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons.
Jones was selected at No. 15 in the draft after leading an unbeaten Alabama team to a national title in 2021. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was so pleased by his poise in training camp and preseason games that he named the rookie quarterback No. 1 and released last year’s starter, Cam Newton, who is now a free agent.
Tagovailoa has failed to establish himself as the Dolphins’ future quarterback after only one season in Miami. Coach Brian Flores put his support behind Tagovailoa as training camp concluded, despite reports that the club was looking quarterback other alternatives during the off-season, including the Texans’ Deshaun Watson.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban wished both of his former quarterbacks well. “I wish them both the best of luck in this game and throughout their careers,” Saban added. “However, someone must win and someone must lose.”
Against the Titans, Chandler Jones recorded five sacks. Credit… Reuters/Andrew Nelles/USA Today Sports
The typical suspects spring to mind when considering possible Defensive Player of the Year Award winners: Aaron Donald of the Rams, T.J. Watt of the Steelers, and Myles Garrett of the Browns.
However, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones added his name to the way-too-early debate in the opening game of the season. Jones, a three-time Pro Bowler, had five sacks and two fumble recoveries in a 38-13 victory against the Tennessee Titans. The new-look Titans offense, which thought that acquiring receiver Julio Jones would put opponents into a no-win scenario of defending the pass while accounting for rushing back Derrick Henry, who ran for over 2,000 yards last season, had an awful performance as a result of his continuous pressure.
Due to a contract disagreement, Jones did not participate in the Cardinals’ off-season program, but he reported to training camp on schedule. If he keeps performing like he did Sunday, he’ll be paid well by another club if the Cardinals don’t. On social media, his efforts garnered acclaim, notably from Titans tackle Taylor Lewan, who praised Jones for “exposing” him and claimed it would inspire him to better.
In a victory against his former club, Sam Darnold, who was traded to Carolina before the draft, passed for 279 yards and a score while completing 24 of 35 passes. Credit… Getty Images/Grant Halverson
In a 19-14 Panthers victory, Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson proved why he was chosen second overall this spring, but it was his predecessor, Sam Darnold, who showed his former club what might have been.
Darnold, who was dealt to the Panthers before the draft, passed for 279 yards and a score on 24 of 35 passing attempts. Wilson threw a 22-yard touchdown throw to Corey Davis and an eight-yard touchdown pass to Davis, and he also scrambled for a two-point convert. Wilson, though, was forced to improvise for the most of the day due to shoddy coverage, and he took six (!) sacks. Brigham Young’s rookie quarterback completed 20 of 37 passes for 258 yards and one interception.
Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase (left) and quarterback Joe Burrow (right) celebrate their 50-yard touchdown in the second quarter. They were college teammates at L.S.U. Credit… Getty Images/Andy Lyons
Favored San Francisco led Detroit by 21 points in the fourth quarter and seemed to be on its way to a first regular-season victory.
Not so fast, my friend.
The 49ers’ advantage had shrunk to eight points by the final minute, and the squad had to stop a possible game-tying drive by the Lions before exhaling with a 41-33 victory.
On Sunday, Minnesota kicker Greg Joseph’s 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation forced overtime in Cincinnati after the Vikings overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. At home, the Bengals pulled off a 27-24 shock.
Both finishes were influenced by late fumbles.
Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook’s fumble was recovered by Cincinnati at their own 39-yard line on the first play after the two-minute warning in overtime, with neither the Bengals nor the Vikings having scored. On fourth-and-1, the Bengals got into field goal range thanks to a 32-yard throw from Joe Burrow to C.J. Uzomah, and Evan McPherson converted the game-winning field goal as time expired.
With fewer than two minutes remaining in Detroit, the Lions had scored on a touchdown run and converted a 2-point attempt, but they were still behind by 19 points. Then they recovered a ball that had rebounded off San Francisco tight end George Kittle’s head on an onside kick.
Detroit took advantage, scoring another touchdown and converting a 2-point conversion, both on Quintez Cephus catches, to cut the deficit to eight points.
However, when it was San Francisco’s time to recover an onside kick, instead of running out the clock, receiver Deebo Samuel fumbled, giving Detroit one last opportunity. The Lions’ offense got to the San Francisco 24-yard line thanks to quarterback Jared Goff, but they ran out of magic.
Miles Killebrew was all smiles after blocking a Bills fourth-quarter punt that was recovered for a score by the Steelers. Credit… Getty Images/Bryan M. Bennett
The Steelers’ offense limped through the first half of their season opener against the Bills, scoring 0 points and gaining just 54 yards.
Miles Killebrew’s blocked punt and linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III’s scoop-and-score in the fourth quarter shocked the Bills and turned the game around for the Steelers, who won 23-16 at Highmark Stadium.
The Steelers’ special teams performance swung the game in their favor, as they scored 20 points in a row in the second half before the Bills replied. In the fourth quarter, receiver Diontae Johnson made a juggling grab in the back corner of the end zone for Pittsburgh’s first score.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed the game with 270 yards on 30 of 51 passing after being disrupted all day by a scorching Steelers defensive front. T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacked him three times. Stefon Diggs, the Bills’ premier receiving threat, topped all Buffalo receivers with 69 yards on nine receptions, despite the fact that he and recently acquired receiver Emmanuel Sanders were both subjected to strong covering throughout the game. Gabriel Davis scored the lone touchdown for Buffalo in the first half.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 18 of 32 passes for 188 yards. Pittsburgh’s rushing offense, which was practically non-existent last season, didn’t appear to have much of an impact. On the ground, the team gained 75 yards against the Bills on Sunday.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the Saints’ Week 1 matchup against the Packers was relocated to TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville. Credit… Associated Press/John Raoux
No, it isn’t a typo. The end zones of TIAA Bank Stadium, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, actually read “SAINTS” on them.
The New Orleans Saints, who were displaced by Hurricane Ida, will open the season against the Green Bay Packers in the teal-tinged wilderness of Jacksonville, Fla., rather than the black-and-gold clamor of the Superdome. Because the Jaguars play on the road, the stadium was available, but it wasn’t selected at random.
The Saints relocated to North Texas after fleeing New Orleans on Aug. 28, initially training at AT&T Stadium in Arlington before moving to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Because AT&T was unavailable due to a conflict on Sunday, the Saints chose Jacksonville from among Florida’s three N.F.L. cities because of its “relative inaccessibility and unattractiveness as a tourist site,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The Saints went so far as to look into flights to Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville, and found that the most difficult — and costly — alternative for Packers supporters was to go to Jacksonville.
Last week, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis told reporters, “We’re aware of everything, I believe, when it comes to preparing for an opponent.” “The most important issue is that we have to build an NFL-ready stadium. There are just too many variables. I won’t get into all of the factors, but the most important thing is that both teams have access to a proper playing field.”
This is likely to be the Saints’ last home game away from New Orleans. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that the Superdome should be ready to host the team’s Week 4 game against the Giants, despite the fact that it sustained minor damage.
The Panthers’ defense has put a lot of pressure on Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Credit… Getty Images/Grant Halverson
Zach Wilson, the Jets’ rookie quarterback, scrambled all day behind shoddy coverage, trying to find an open guy outside the pocket. Until late in the third quarter, the approach failed for the most of the game against the Carolina Panthers. He eluded the pressure and escaped the pocket to the right on the brink of the red zone, then lofted a 22-yard throw to receiver Corey Davis in the corner of the end zone. Wilson’s first career touchdown pass was thwarted by offensive lineman Mekhi Becton, who stayed on the ground in agony after sustaining a lower leg injury.
Because their former quarterback, Sam Darnold, has passed for 252 yards and a score for the Panthers, the Jets are still behind 16-8. Christian McCaffrey, the dynamic running back who returned from a number of ailments last season, has 152 total yards.
Through three quarters, Russell Wilson has thrown three touchdown passes against the Colts. Credit… Associated Press/Aj Mast
Russell Wilson looked like, well, Russell Wilson in the Seahawks’ 2021 opener.
In three quarters against the Colts, the 32-year-old quarterback, who has been a steady productive thrower during his nine-year NFL career, threw three touchdowns and passed for almost 200 yards. Going into the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had a 21-10 advantage.
Wilson’s first score of the day was a 23-yard pass to Tyler Lockett, completing the Seahawks’ nine-play, 81-yard opening drive.
At the conclusion of the first half, Wilson hit Lockett for another 69-yard bomb.
With 96 yards and two touchdowns entering the fourth quarter, Lockett led Seattle’s receivers. Gerald Everett, the Seahawks’ third touchdown receiver, gained 20 yards on two catches.
Chandler Jones of Arizona sacked Ryan Tannehill three times and caused a turnover in the first half. Credit… Reuters/Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports
The Tennessee Titans’ offense should, in theory, put defenders in difficult positions. With All-Pro receiver Julio Jones joining the team, opponents will have to pick between stopping him, receiver A.J. Brown, and running back Derrick Henry, who ran for over 2,000 yards last season.
But, at least in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, this new experiment has failed, as the Titans trail 24-6 at halftime. The Titans only racked up 116 yards of offense, with wide receiver Chester Rogers accounting for 43 of them. On three targets, Henry has run for just 8 yards and Jones has caught only one pass for 9 yards.
On paper, the Titans’ roster did not seem to be a threat to the Cardinals’ defense. In the first half, outside linebacker Chandler Jones sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times. While the Titans’ offense struggled, Arizona’s performed well. Kyler Murray has passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns while also scoring on the ground.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, a journeyman quarterback, began for the Washington Football Team, his eighth NFL team, before exiting the game in the second quarter with a hip injury. Credit… Getty Images/Patrick Smith
FedEx Field’s curse persists.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was the most recent quarterback to be added to the list of quarterbacks who have suffered possibly severe injuries in that stadium on Sunday.
In the second quarter, Fitzpatrick, a journeyman who joined with Washington, his eighth NFL club, in free agency this off-season, was hit by Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Uchenna Nwosu. Fitzpatrick was officially declared out with a hip injury and went off the field accompanied by club officials. Before leaving, he completed 3 of 6 throws for 13 yards.
The extent of Fitzpatrick’s injuries is unknown. Regardless, it continues a pattern of passers-by limping or being taken from the field in agony. In a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, Robert Griffin III tore two ligaments in his knee, while Alex Smith sustained a complex fracture to his right tibia and fibula in 2018, necessitating 17 surgeries and almost requiring amputation.
Meanwhile, in the grandstand, spectators in a lower bowl shared a video of what seemed to be sewage seeping into their seats on social media.
Against Steelers CB Cameron Sutton, Bills receiver Gabriel Davis grabbed a 3-yard touchdown pass. Credit… Associated Press/Adrian Kraus
With fewer than 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Bills receiver Gabriel Davis caught a 3-yard touchdown catch from Josh Allen in the back of the end zone over Steelers defensive back Cameron Sutton to put Buffalo up 10-0.
The touchdown completed a 91-yard Bills drive and concluded a first half in which Buffalo gained only 42 yards on the ground while mainly laboring against the Steelers defense. Josh Allen completed 16 of 26 passes for 152 yards in the first half.
After just 54 yards of total offense in the first half, the Steelers are down at halftime. Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback, completed 6 of 12 passes for 58 yards and was sacked twice. Najee Harris, a rookie running back, had seven touches for eight yards.
Matthew Stafford, the Lions’ starting quarterback for the last 12 seasons, is replaced by Jared Goff. Credit… Getty Images/Gregory Shamus
Dan Campbell, the first-year coach of the Detroit Lions, made news this offseason for remarks about biting opponents’ kneecaps and revealing that he consumes two venti-sized Starbucks coffees with two extra espresso shots each morning.
Now, his club is putting up a strong fight against a genuine N.F.C. contender.
The Lions are down 28-10 to the San Francisco 49ers, a respectable score in what most expected to be a blowout victory for the 49ers.
Jared Goff, the former Los Angeles Rams franchise quarterback who was dealt to the Lions in the off-season for Matthew Stafford, has performed well, completing 14 of 19 ball attempts for 76 yards and a score. Goff had controlled the ball for nearly the entire first half, but just after the two-minute warning, he threw an interception that 49ers defender Dre Greenlaw recovered for a score.
Meanwhile, San Francisco’s offense has distributed the ball among its playmakers. Five different players have caught the ball, and five different players have attempted to rush the passer. Coach Kyle Shanahan chose veteran Jimmy Garoppolo over youngster Trey Lance to start the game, although both quarterbacks have experience. Garoppolo has completed all of his throws for 104 yards, but it was on his first career attempt that he delivered the team’s lone passing score — a five-yard dart to Trent Sherfield.
Steelers’ defense During the first quarter, Bills’ Stefon Diggs was tackled by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Credit… Reuters/Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports
The Bills face a tough T.J. Watt-led Steelers defense in their opening game of the 2021 season, after boasting one of the league’s most explosive attacks previous season.
The Steelers’ defense wasted no time in demonstrating why it is one of the best in the league, enabling the Bills to gain almost no yardage.
With just seven minutes left in the first half, quarterback Josh Allen had limited time to get the ball out, and the Bills’ most coherent drive included a single deep pass — a 16-yarder to receiver Emmanuel Sanders that placed the club near midfield. Receiver Cole Beasley dropped the would-be third-down conversion throw, which would have been nullified by an offensive holding penalty against guard Jonathan Feliciano.
Buffalo’s next four drives ended in punts after kicker Tyler Bass put the Bills up 3-0 on a 37-yard field goal. Allen was only able to complete 6 of 12 throws for a total of 42 yards.
Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt sacked Allen at the Pittsburgh 45-yard line, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Cam Heyward on Buffalo’s second drive of the second quarter.
On his debut N.F.L. drive, Zach Wilson completed one of two throws for 11 yards. Credit… Associated Press/Jacob Kupferman
Two pre-snap penalties, a sack, and a drop by one of Wilson’s receivers marred Zach Wilson’s debut drive as the Jets’ starting quarterback. To put it another way, it was sloppy.
On the drive against the Panthers, Wilson only tried two throws, one of which he completed on a seven-yard flare route to tight end Ryan Griffin. An improper formation and a holding penalty, on the other hand, stymied any attacking momentum. Defensive end Brian Burns of the Panthers sacked him for nine yards.
Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ running back, is set to play for the first time since Week 2 of last season. Credit… Associated Press/Noah K. Murray
Most clubs’ confidence heading into Week 1 is predicated on the health of their rosters. A few key players, including Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, and Colts guard Quenton Nelson, have been cleared to play.
Injured players will modify their teams’ game plans in other places.
Injuries to watch in the Eastern matchups at 1 p.m.:
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets
Jamison Crowder (reserve/Covid-19) will miss the Jets’ season opener on Sunday, while receiver Keelan Cole (knee) is a game-time decision. The Panthers will also be missing receiver Shi Smith, who has been sidelined with a shoulder issue this week.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Redskins
Curtis Samuel, a wide receiver with the Washington Football Team, was put on the injured reserve list earlier this week and will be out for at least three weeks while he recovers from a groin injury.
Tennessee Titans vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Titans will be missing kicker Sam Ficken, who is out with a groin injury and is on the injured reserve list.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Colts will be without veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes (calf) and receiver T.Y. Hilton, who exacerbated a nagging neck issue during practice last month. The Colts’ leading receiver, T.Y. Hilton, is likely to miss the start of the regular season.
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Deshaun Watson, the Texans’ quarterback, is out for the season opener against the Jaguars. Watson isn’t expected to play for Houston this season, despite the fact that he’s been named in 22 legal cases claiming sexual assault. (He has vehemently rejected the allegations.) In his stead, Tyrod Taylor will take the field. Houston will also be without kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn and defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. due to injuries (thigh).
Tre Herndon, the Jaguars’ cornerback, will be sidelined with a knee injury.
Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Zack Moss, the Bills’ running back, was not included on the team’s injury report before to Sunday’s game against the Steelers, but he will miss the team’s first game.
Injuries to watch in the Eastern matchups at 4:25 p.m.:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns
Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will not play against the Chiefs after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season. Beckham had been a game-time decision, but after hitting the field for warm-ups about an hour before kickoff, he was scratched. Despite being reinstated off the team’s injured reserve/Covid-19 list on Saturday, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu will miss the game.
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins
Preston Williams, a Dolphins receiver who has been dealing with a foot issue, is reportedly not expected to play against the Patriots.
New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers
After undergoing ankle surgery in June, the New Orleans Saints will be without receiver Michael Thomas for the start of the season. Tre’Quan Smith, the receiver, will be missed as well (hamstring).
New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos
Evan Engram, the Giants’ tight end, is out with a calf injury.
During Wednesday’s practice, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, left, joined teammates including safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Credit… Associated Press/Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
T.J. Watt may have grown up in Wisconsin and now plays for the Steelers, but he is simply a “visiting from another planet,” according to Coach Mike Tomlin. Watt had a league-leading 15 sacks last season, according to Tomlin, who stated this towards the conclusion of the season.
Watt’s extraordinary skill was recognized by the team’s front management with a four-year contract for $80 million guaranteed, according to numerous sources. Watt, fresh off that deal, will lead a Steelers defense into Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, in what will be an instant and harsh test for the Buffalo Bills and their outstanding quarterback, Josh Allen.
Pittsburgh allowed the third-fewest points in the league last season, and they’re loaded at every position this year, from secondary (Minkah Fitzpatrick) to linebacker (Devin Bush) to defensive line (Kevin Zeitler) (Cam Heyward). Watt, on the other hand, is the greatest of them all, a fearsome left-side edge rusher who avoids double teams to torture quarterbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, only Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barrett (76) had more pressures than Watt (73) in the 2020 season.
Watt did not practice with his teammates for the most of training camp as he awaited the outcome of his contract negotiations. He eventually joined them on Wednesday, and he seems to be in good shape. The Bills had best be as well.
After tearing his ACL in a preseason game against the Washington Football Team, Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins was carried off the field. Credit… Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster
The Baltimore Ravens lost their top three rushers on the depth chart to season-ending injuries in only 12 days.
Gus Edwards tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during practice this week, becoming the second Ravens running back to do so since starter J.K. Dobbins tore his in the preseason finale against Washington on Aug. 28. They joined Justice Hill on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles tendon in practice. At the same session as Edwards, cornerback Marcus Peters tore his ACL.
Coach John Harbaugh told reporters Friday, “I believe you grieve for a day, and we fight today.” “We’re good to go.” He said that the playing surface had nothing to do with the increase in non-contact injuries.
The Ravens signed Latavius Murray, a former New Orleans Saints backup, after he was dismissed for refusing to accept a salary cut, in response to the carnage. Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, two players who had previously had 1,000-yard running seasons, were both signed to the practice squad with the aim of being promoted to the active roster.
Bell was dismissed by the Jets halfway through the season due to his lack of performance. He was a three-time Pro Bowl pick during his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He joined with Kansas City for a short stint, sharing carries as a reserve, and subsequently chastised Coach Andy Reid on social media this off-season.
Freeman, an elusive runner and pass receiver, ran for 1,000 yards twice in his first six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, but his productivity dipped when a groin injury held him out of all but two games in 2018. Last season, he signed a one-year contract with the Giants and played in just five games, running for 172 yards. After signing a one-year deal this off-season, the Saints dismissed him during training camp.
Justin Herbert has the most throwing touchdowns (31) and completions (396) of any rookie in league history in the 2020 season. Credit… Associated Press/Jae C. Hong
If Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert wants to make a jump in Year 2, he’ll have to face Washington Football Team’s great defensive end Chase Young. Young, the 2020 defensive rookie of the year, will face the Chargers on Sunday. The reigning offensive and defensive rookies of the year will face in their season opener for the second consecutive year: Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals met Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 of last season.
Young was a key member of one of the league’s top defenses in 2020, allowing just over 300 yards a game, the second fewest in the league. Herbert has the most throwing touchdowns (31) and completions (396) of any rookie in league history at the end of the season.
In a game last season, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts wore a helmet sticker that said “Black Lives Matter,” one of six league-approved social justice themes. Credit… Associated Press/Rich Schultz
Before the game, Alicia Keys and the Florida A&M choir sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” on the field at Raymond James Stadium, and players stood on the field with their arms linked.
Following the global racial justice demonstrations following the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the National Football League started playing the song, also known as the Black national anthem, as part of its TV broadcasts before games. It also featured a live performance of the song before to the April draft.
As part of its ongoing social justice initiatives, the league will continue to incorporate the song’s performance in its pregame festivities.
The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” composed by N.A.A.C.P. leader James Weldon Johnson over 120 years ago, expresses the somber optimism for African Americans’ liberation in its lyrics, which read in part:
“Sing a song full of faith, as taught to us by the terrible past.
Sing a song that expresses the optimism that the present has given us.
Faced with the dawning light of a new day,
Let us continue marching till victory is achieved.”
The NFL will allow players to wear helmet decals with one of six authorized social justice themes in addition to playing the song before games. In solidarity with social justice movements against racism and police brutality, the league will once again display the phrases “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” on end zones.
Aaron Rodgers is a free agent, and the New Orleans Saints were able to topple him in week 1 of the NFL season. Reference: aaron rodgers free agent.
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