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  • Josh Scott

Football Is Back: NFL Week 1 Key Matchups

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Buccaneers at Cowboys

Tom Brady’s Buccaneers' journey to win back-to-back Super Bowls, the first team since the Patriots in 2003-04, begins Thursday night against “America’s Team”. Brady returns to Tampa Bay, along with 21 other offensive starters, looking poised as ever to capture another Lombardi Trophy. Dak Prescott returns as well after sustaining a gruesome injury last season. If the former fourth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State can stay healthy, Dallas believes they can be a threat to win the NFC East.

8:20 PM ET, NBC

Cowboys lead series 15-4

Spread: TB -9.0

Bills vs Steelers

Many believe 2021 could be the year where Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of a loaded Buffalo Bills roster snag their first Lombardi Trophy. They'll first have to go through a good Steelers team who has many questions surrounding their offensive line. Many eyes will be set on rookie running back Najee Harris to see what impact he can bring to a Pittsburgh team wanting desperately to put the end of last season behind them. Signing linebacker TJ Watt to a four-year, 112 million dollar extension should help.

Sunday, 1 PM ET, FOX

Steelers lead series 16-11

Spread: BUF -6.5

Vikings at Bengals

Like the Cowboys, the Bengals are glad to see their starting QB return to the field. Joe Burrow will look to have a strong sophomore campaign now with Ja'Marr Chase, his favorite target from LSU, joining the wide receiver room in Cincinnati. They host a Vikings team looking to utilize the success of fourth-year running back Dalvin Cook, who ran for over 1,500 yards and had 16 touchdowns last season.

Sunday, 1 PM ET, CBS

Vikings lead series 7-6

Spread: MIN -3.0

Colts vs Seahawks

By utilizing a strong offensive line led by standout guard Quenton Nelson, the Colts will look to "fix" former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. However, with talented wide receiver T.Y. Hilton sidelined, Wentz will have to rely on other weapons around him, such as Jonathan Taylor and Zack Pascal. They host Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, and a talented Seahawks team who will look to reach the postseason for the ninth time in 10 years.

Sunday, 1 PM ET, FOX

Colts lead series 7-5

Spread: SEA -3.0

Jets at Panthers

Sam Darnold has found a new home in Carolina, and he'll immediately have the chance to prove whether or not he belongs there by facing the team that drafted him. The Jets once hailed Darnold as the "savior of New York". Four years later they drafted BYU standout Zack Wilson, who will not have key weapons Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole on the field with him. Darnold, on the other hand, has a full list of healthy weapons including DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, rookie Terrace Marshall Jr., and Christian McCaffrey. Both teams expect much of their offensive lines to protect their QB's.

Sunday, 1 PM ET, CBS

Panthers lead series 4-3

Spread: CAR -4.0

Chiefs vs Browns

Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, and the Browns will look to redeem themselves against a Chiefs team who bested them in a thrilling AFC championship game last season. With a healthy Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs look to return to the Super Bowl for the third straight season. However, with Odell Beckham Jr possibly returning and one of the best offensive lines in football, Mayfield and the Browns have plans of their own.

Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS

Chiefs lead series 14-11-2

Spread: KC -6.5

Packers at Saints

Aaron Rodgers, who returns for his 17th season, Aaron Jones, Devante Adams and the Packers face off against a Drew-Brees-less Saints team who have now handed the keys to former Bucs QB, Jameis Winston. Like the Browns, New Orleans is also looking for revenge after being bested in a shootout game by the Packers in the Super Dome last season.

Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, FOX

Packers lead series 17-9

Spread: GB -3.5

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