NFL Week One Preview
The first full weekend of NFL action is upon us. And with more gridiron on British TV than ever before, including a new BBC deal to broadcast Monday Night Football, it is an exciting time to be a British American Football fan.
Here’s a look ahead at the five live games broadcast on UK TV this weekend:
Sunday, 1pm ET/6pm BST
Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears
The Colts have a shiny new quarter back in the form of first round pick Andrew Luck. Colts fans implored their team to “Suck for Luck” last year so they could nab the highly touted QB with the first overall pick of the 2012 draft. It may be some time before we find out if it was worth it. No one is expecting - aside from the more delusional Colts fans - the playoffs for Indianapolis in Luck’s rookie year. But Indianapolis must improve on last year’s two measly wins.
The Bears will want to welcome Luck to the NFL in the traditional manner. Beat him up. Pound him with defence and let Matt Forte open up some holes with his punishing running game. It could be a glorious start to a storied NFL career for Luck. Or it could get ugly. Fast.
Sunday, 4.25pm ET/9.25pm BST
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers
The San Francisco 49ers picked QB Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft. The 49ers were Rodgers’ boyhood team, he was supposed to play for them, it was destiny. But the Niners went with their gut. They picked Alex Smith.
How did that work out for you?
One Super Bowl later Rodgers can afford to look back on the 2005 draft from the position of a future hall of famer. Smith is more concerned about keeping his job than joining the immortals.
But the 49ers have one of the best coaches in the league in Jim Harbaugh and a defence that lives up to his high expectations. Rodgers will want revenge. But he may not get everything his own way.
Sunday, 8.20pm ET/Monday 1.20am BST
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Sunday night is the Peyton Manning show. The Colt’s former four time MVP replaced Tim Tebow as the Broncos quarter back. He’s had a year out, and multiple neck surgeries, since we last saw him sling the pigskin. For all we know he could be a mess out there. But this is Peyton Manning we’re talking about. And would it really surprise anyone if the old dog still had some tricks up his sleeve? I think that’s the saying.
This will be no easy return for Manning up against one of the league’s toughest D’s. We’ll know a lot more about Peyton Manning when all is said and done on Sunday night.
Monday, 7pm ET/Midnight BST
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals greatly improved last year under rookie QB Andy Dalton. But still, they never managed to beat a team with a winning record. You can bet Ray Lewis’ Ravens will have a winning record at the end of this season. So, what better time for Dalton and co to step up and defeat a real contender than week one? They need to beat a good team early to prove their playoff aspirations aren’t just wishful thinking.
Monday, 10.15pm ET/ Tuesday, 3.15pm BST)
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
The AFC West is the tightest division in football. With any of the teams involved capable of winning it and therefore progressing to the playoffs.
Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers is coming off a poor year, for his usually high standards. They are also stuck with perennial bottler Norv Turner in the coach’s position. But after a dreadful 2011, and with the talent on the team; 2012 should see some improvement for San Diego.
The Chargers are slow starters but they’ll need to come out of the blocks flying to dispatch one of their toughest division rivals. Anything could happen in this game that typifies the most unpredictable division in football.
Remember you can watch all these events live on your computer or mobile. Need a UK IP address? Click Here
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