Ten battles to watch in NFL Week 1
There are a lot of great battles in games this week, but here are 10 I really like.
|Eugene Monroe will have his hands full with 2011 sacks leader Jared Allen. (US Presswire)|
Here are some matchups from this week's NFL games that should be intriguing to watch:
Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker vs. Bill Belichick's defense -- It can be tough for a quarterback facing a Belichick defense even after five years. Locker is a first time starter this season and seeing it for the first time Sunday. He will see a ton of looks that the New England Patriots haven't shown at all this summer. Locker is mobile, so that could help him buy time.
Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson vs. New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis -- These two get after it in man coverage and Johnson is one of the few who has had success against Revis. Johnson is banged up with a sore groin, which could be a factor here if he can't get up and go.
Jacksonville Jaguars LT Eugene Monroe vs. Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen -- Monroe quietly had a very good season and appears to be on the verge of potential Pro Bowl season. But he will be in for an all-day battle against Allen, who led the league in sacks in 2011. Allen is relentless. This could be a benchmark game for Monroe.
Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley vs. San Francisco 49ers safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner - -- The 49ers safeties played well in 2011, but I still think they can be coverage liabilities. Look for the Packers to get Finely matched up on them as much as possible to try and get some big plays down the field.
Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins vs. Ravens RG Marshal Yanda -- This is a battle of two of the top players at their respective positions. Atkins dominated Yanda when they played in Baltimore Ravens last year. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens try and give him more help. Or can Yanda even the score?
Ravens CB Lardarius Webb vs. Bengals WR A.J. Green -- Webb had his best season in 2011 and is considered a top cover corner. Green had an impressive rookie season, but should be even better now that he knows the offense. He has a size advantage on Webb.
Indianapolis Colts OLB Dwight Freeney vs. Chicago Bears LT J'Marcus Webb -- Freeney is moving to an outside 3-4 rush player, but he will still be going forward most of the time. Webb has a lot of athletic ability, but has yet to put it together. He can't let Freeney get going.
Pittsburgh Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley vs Denver Broncos RT Orlando Franklin -- Woodley is a powerful pass rusher who also plays the run well. Franklin was good as a run blocker as a rookie, but now must improve in pass protection with Peyton Manning under center. This is a good first test in the new system.
Los Angeles Rams C Scott Wells vs. Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh -- When Wells was with the Packers, Suh gave him a punch at the end of a game, according to some Packers players. That should make for a fun day here as Wells battles Suh, who can be dominant at times.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner -- Fitzgerald can be an overpowering receiver at times, but the Seattle Seahawks have two big corners who like to play press-man coverage. They are both physical players, but Fitzgerald has to be salivating at the idea he might see some single coverage.
'I want to score a lot of touchdowns. I want to see a lot of celebrations,' Harbaugh said
The 2015 first-round pick has 33 career receptions
Sherman reportedly thought about playing for the Cowboys or Patriots
One of the league's best wideouts had just four catches for 28 yards against Green Bay
The Browns selected Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft
Talk about a great Christmas present