Five NFL Week 1 story lines: Trash-talking, an early upset and the return of Andrew Luck
Jalen vs. OBJ in the Big Apple
Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. promised he won’t be baited by trash-talking Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey when the two meet in the Meadowlands in OBJ’s first game since last Oct. 8. He even buttered up Jalen ahead of time, saying, “If he’s not 1A among corners, he’s 1B. The only other guy I know like him is Patrick Peterson.” OBJ is trying to help the Giants bounce back from a 3-13 season that ushered in the Pat Shurmur era.
LA’s Dream Team vs. Gruden
The Rams loaded up on more star players while keeping their best one (Aaron Donald). The Raiders loaded up at head coach while trading their best player (Khalil Mack) to Chicago. They meet in Monday’s nightcap in Oakland. Coming off a turnaround playoff season, the Rams went all out trying to win their first playoff game since 2004. The Raiders, 6-10 last year, coaxed Gruden out of the MNF booth with $100 million over 10 years.
Which Luck will the Colts have?
Colts coach Frank Reich inherits a 4-12 team. But there’s a big but that follows, obviously. Andrew Luck, who missed all last season and 26 of the past 48 games, is back from shoulder surgery and ready to ease in with a home season opener against Cincinnati. Since 2012, when Luck was selected No. 1 overall, the Colts are 42-27 with Luck and 10-16 without him. Luck, however, is only 10-12 the past three years.
it’s 2016, Norv
Norv Turner is back in the NFL for the first time since resigning abruptly as Vikings offensive coordinator in October 2016. And, as Carolina’s offensive coordinator, there has to be a feeling of déjà vu as Turner’s offensive line collapses in front of him, a la the Vikings two years ago. Once again, it’s starting left tackle Matt Kalil on injured reserve as Turner prepares to open the season against the Cowboys at home.
turning Hard Knocks into a win
It’s bad optics when your head coach has to jump into Lake Erie because he said he would if his team went 0-16 after going 1-15. But there’s a new HBO-created buzz around Hue Jackson and the Browns. They were fun to watch on “Hard Knocks.” But will they actually start winning when they host the Steelers in Week 1? In their “rivalry” against the Steelers, the Browns have lost six straight, 10 of 11 and 26 of the past 29 meetings.
With J.J. Watt, above, back and well-rested, the Texans defensive line will be too much for New England’s offensive line to handle. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will lose their home opener and the vultures will swirl before the Patriots right the ship. Texans 24, Patriots 17