New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings – 7:10 PM ET
Adrian Peterson returning to Minnesota after a somewhat acrimonious departure is probably the most interesting aspect of this game. The hard-running back has been with the Vikes since 2007, but Peterson was still quoted as saying that ‘I can’t wait to stick it to the Vikings’, meaning that this match-up is going to make for an exciting view. This looks like being an extremely physical game either way, with both teams out to make a good start to the season. It will be the first time that the Vikings D will be able to test themselves against Peterson with pads on, and we wait to see whether the 32-year-old running back still has enough gas in the tank.
Last year New Orleans defense struggled mightily, and their high-powered offense wasn’t enough to propel them into the play-offs. Now with the NFC South looking more competitive than ever, they won’t want to get off to a losing start to the season. The 2016 season saw the Vikings blaze to a 5-0 start, only to fall off a cliff soon after. In that sense their season mirrored that of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, and they certainly pushed on the following year. Protecting Drew Brees will be the key to allowing the Saints’ offense to fire on all cylinders, but this looks like being an intriguing match-up either way.
LA Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 10:20 PM ET
We mentioned Peterson leaving the Vikings, but that pales into insignificance compared to the heart-ache suffered by the fans in San Diego when the whole team upped sticks and moved to LA. They are beginning with a difficult trip to Mile High to take on what has been one of the best defences in football. One aspect to look out for here is how well the Denver tackles Garret Bolles and Menelik Watson do against the Chargers dangerous edge rushers. Philip Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but he will be expecting pressure from Von Miller and the Denver defense. If that pressure does not materialise, expect good things to happen for the Chargers.
Brock Osweiler has caused a commotion with his comings and goings, but how long he stays with Denver remains to be seen. Trevor Siemian has the starting job, and if the Bronco’s O-line holds strong it will be interesting to see if he can deliver on the promise he has shown only sporadically. Joe Woods is the new defensive co-ordinator at Denver, so his first challenge will be to lock down the Chargers’ dangerous aerial attack.
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