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33 Things I’m Looking For on Opening Day

opening day

Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season is right around the corner. The upcoming season provides several things to be excited for, and fans of each team have plenty to look forward to. Here are 33 things I’ll be looking for on Opening Day.

Arizona Cardinals: Hollywood Brown’s elite speed gives Kyler Murray a weapon he’s never had as a pro. I’m looking forward to seeing what Brown’s usage looks like in a potential shootout against the Chiefs. 

Atlanta Falcons: I’m curious to see what Atlanta’s front four looks like. If they surprise, the Falcons could have a better than expected pass defense. If the front outside of Grady Jarrett looks like it does on paper, Atlanta could be a sneaky shootout partner in certain matchups.

Baltimore Ravens: How aggressive will Lamar Jackson be as a runner if he and the Ravens don’t sign an extension before the season?

Buffalo Bills: I, like Chris Long, will have my eyes on the Bills’ young group of cornerbacks on Opening Day in Los Angeles. 

Carolina Panthers: Does Christian McCaffrey get a full bellcow role, or will Carolina manage his usage more than it has in the past?

Chicago Bears: The Bears are rebuilding and this season is primarily about the development of quarterback Justin Fields. With that in mind, my eyes will be on the Bears’ new coaching staff. Their ability to help manage the 49ers’ dangerous front through scheme will be interesting to watch.

Cincinnati Bengals: You could argue that the Bengals have the most complete, possibly even the most talented offense in the league. Now that their offensive line has been bulked up, will head coach Zac Taylor be more consistently aggressive offensively?

Cleveland Browns: I’m very curious to see how the Browns’ defensive coaching staff gameplans for Baker Mayfield.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys’ offensive line has been a strength for years. This new group is going to be tested on this year’s first installment of Sunday Night Football against the Bucs.

Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson will be getting his first game action as a Bronco in his old stomping grounds of Seattle. I’m looking forward to seeing how aggressive Denver is against Wilson’s former team.

Detroit Lions: The Lions are positioned to be better than expected offensively this season. I’m more interested in how well Detroit’s defense performs against a loaded Eagles roster.

Green Bay Packers: I think Green Bay could have the league’s best defense this season. I’ll be focusing my attention on them against a talented Vikings offense.

Houston Texans: I want to see how No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr. fares against Michael Pittman.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts’ season boils down to how much Matt Ryan has left in the tank. Week 1 in Houston is a great opportunity for Ryan to start off fast with his new team.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence is the present and future of the Jacksonville Jaguars. All eyes are on how Lawrence fares this season under new head coach Doug Pederson.

Kansas City Chiefs: I’m looking forward to seeing what the Chiefs’ offense looks like without Tyreek Hill. Arizona has one of the weaker cornerback groups in the league. Therefore, we should get to see a pretty aggressive gameplan out of Kansas City on opening day.

Las Vegas Raiders: How much different does Josh McDaniels’ offense look versus what’s worked for Derek Carr and the Raiders the past few years?

Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers are ready to win right now and have a strong enough roster to be a dominant team. On opening day I’ll be looking to see if they dominate the Raiders in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Los Angeles Rams: I’ll have my eyes on Rams new left tackle Joe Noteboom, who is filling the shoes of potential Hall of Famer Andrew Whitworth.

Miami Dolphins: The Patriots are a tough opening day draw, but I want to see how new head coach Mike McDaniel helps Tua Tagovailoa get the most out of Miami’s weapons.

Minnesota Vikings: The rival Packers have a very talented defense. I’m very curious to see how Minnesota’s new coaching staff game plans against Green Bay.

New England Patriots: Long-time play caller Josh McDaniels is the new head coach of the Raiders. How will that change impact Mac Jones, who had a Rookie of the Year-caliber season in 2021?

New Orleans Saints: Losing two Hall of Fame pillars in quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton over the last two years marks a franchise altering shift for New Orleans. How much different does the Saints’ offense look without Sean Payton’s influence on Jameis Winston?

New York Giants: The primary purpose for New York’s 2022 campaign is to find out if Daniel Jones is the long-term answer at quarterback. That mission starts with a difficult matchup in Tennessee.

New York Jets: It looks like we’ll get Joe Flacco on opening day, so I’ll have my eye on the Jets’ young core on both sides of the ball.

Philadelphia Eagles: I want to see if the Eagles will come out of the gates more pass-centric after the addition of A.J. Brown, or if they will stick with the more run-heavy attack that worked last year. I’d understand either decision.

Pittsburgh Steelers: I want to see how the Steelers’ offensive line holds up against a good, but manageable, Bengals pass rush.

San Francisco 49ers: While all eyes are on Trey Lance – and rightfully so – I’ll have my eye on third-year defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw in Chicago. I loved Kinlaw’s relentless effort in college. If he takes a leap this season, the 49ers’ front four is going to be a real problem for opponents.

Seattle Seahawks: Pete Caroll has interest in running an old school football operation with Geno Smith as a game manager. How will Seattle handle matchups where an opposing offense hangs serious points on them? Solid chance we find out when Russell Wilson comes to town for Monday Night Football.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I’ll have my eye on the Bucs’ offensive line, who will have three new starters on their interior in Dallas. They’ll be tested by the Cowboys, who still have a strong pass rush despite losing difference-maker Randy Gregory.

Tennessee Titans: If the Titans’ young secondary takes a step forward this season, Tennessee could have an elite pass defense. The Titans start against a very beatable passing attack in the Giants.

Washington Commanders: If Carson Wentz is going to elevate this offense, we should at least see signs of that on opening day against the Jaguars.

The broad thing I’m looking for this week is related to survivor pools. There is a cluster of appealing road favorites playing teams with sub .500 win totals. Do the Ravens, 49ers, or Colts struggle in those matchups?

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