Packers vs. Bears
I wouldn't want the NFL season to start any other way. I've been looking forward to this game since the schedules were released. Packers vs. Bears games are always intense and anything can happen regardless of where these teams are in the standings.
Also, this game will give us a glimpse of who gets first dibs on NFC North supremacy. It will also be the first game (of likely many) matching up Aaron Rodgers against Jay Cutler. For the Packers, we will begin to see how Aaron Rodgers follows up on his excellent first season as a starter. Also, it will be interesting to see if their defense improves from last year or if it's going to still be terrible.
For the Bears, is Jay Cutler their answer? Will he be the strong quarterback the Bears have been seeking since, forever? How will his play affect the balance of power in the NFC North?
Colts vs. Jaguars
How will the Colts play in Jim Caldwell's coaching debut? Will they still be the contenders they have been for the better part of the decade? Also, I am curious to see what number is higher....the amount of commercials starring Peyton Manning that are shown tomorrow or the number of passing yards he has.
The Jaguars are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2008. They looked to be on the cusp after a strong 2007, but it looks like they could just as easily slip back into mediocrity for a few years.
Falcons vs. Dolphins
The two most surprising teams of 2008 face off against each-other in this match-up. Will the Falcons and Matt Ryan follow up on a strong season or do they regress back into a non-playoff team?
For the Dolphins, does Chad Pennington have another career year and if not how much impact will it have on the Dolphins? Considering that they popularized the WildCat offense last year, what will the Dolphins do in 2009 that half of the league will inevitable rip off? Personally, i'd be cool with them bringing the triple-option offense back in style.
Broncos vs. Bengals
Will Brandon Marshall justify all his off-field arrests, shenanigans, etc. by producing on the field. How many more times does he need to get arrested to either a) get suspended or b) traded to the Bengals.
For the Bengals......will Carson Palmer be a factor for the Bengals and will they be relevant anytime soon? or ever?
Texans vs. Jets
Will the Texans make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history? Will Steve Slaton have the monster/epic season that I think he will have?
For the Jets, how do they recover from the mess that Mangini and that old guy from the wrangler commercials left behind? Will Mark Sanchez be the franchise quarterback that they hope/think that they are getting? Will the Jets ever get past their apparent 9-win glass ceiling?
Redskins vs. Giants
Will the Redskins on-field production match the ridiculous amounts of money spent on the team? How will the Giants be affected by the loss of Plaxico Burress? Will the Giants still be one of the elite teams in the NFC?
Seahawks vs. Rams
How will the NFL be without Mike Holmgren being a head coach? While he isn't THE Jim Mora, I like that there is A Jim Mora with an NFL head coaching job? This begs the question of how long until Jim L. Mora provides the world with a quote that can be repeated ad-naseum and never get old? On second thought, there is NO way to top both Diddly Poo AND Playoffs?!!.
For the Rams, outside of going 0-16 and/or hiring Matt Millen as a GM....there's probably no way this team can get any worse than they were in 2008....
Bills vs. Patriots
Will T.O. be the difference for the Bills and help them make the playoffs for the first time in years? How long before the team-cancer side of T.O. pops up and starts trashing Trent Edwards publicly?
For the Pats...it's a given they'll get back to the playoffs. The main question with them is whether Tom Brady will be able to replicate his record setting 2007 season? Also, will he get the Pats back to the Super Bowl?
Well as you can see, there are a lot of unanswered questions as we head into Week 1 of the NFL season. Some of them may get answered tomorrow. Most of them will probably go unresolved for awhile. This doesn't include yearly factors such as what teams will come out of nowhere to either play much better or worse. Either way this season should be a fun ride.