It’s officially Week 1 of the 2023 NFL Season, and the opening day victory is the ideal way to kickstart a season. However, a loss can carry significant consequences. While some teams have managed to bounce back from a 0-1 start to have successful seasons, they would undoubtedly prefer to begin the year with a win.
Regrettably, only 16 teams can secure a victory, unless, of course, a tie occurs, which is not common but not unwelcome either. In Week 1, there are instances where a favored team may find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard by the end of the game.
Let’s delve into three teams that could potentially start the season 0-1 despite being considered favorites:
Green Bay’s Reign in Chicago Could Face a Challenge
Why would Green Bay face trouble in Chicago, you ask? They have dominated the Bears for the better part of the past decade. However, it’s important not to rely solely on past performance and the 2022 season. Yes, Chicago had the worst record in the NFL in 2022, but it’s worth noting that Green Bay also missed the playoffs.
This time, Justin Fields will lead the charge against Jordan Love, equipped with new offensive weapons. Wide receiver DJ Moore has already showcased his potential, and the Bears have strengthened their offensive line with additions like guard Nate Davis and rookie tackle Darnell Wright. Chicago has also bolstered their defense with linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards.
While Green Bay boasts a stronger overall roster, and despite pass rusher Rashan Gary’s recovery from last season’s injury not being at 100%, the Packers still possess enough defensive firepower to challenge the Bears. Don’t be surprised if Chicago manages to secure a Week 1 victory against their long-standing rival.
The 49ers Face an Explosive Steelers Team
On paper, the San Francisco 49ers appear to possess one of the NFL’s most well-rounded rosters. However, the quarterback situation remains uncertain, even with Brock Purdy listed as the starter. The Trey Lance saga was a debacle, but the 49ers still have a Super Bowl-contending team.
Their matchup against the Steelers becomes crucial. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, now with a full offseason as the starter, has weapons like running back Najee Harris and talented wide receiver George Pickens at his disposal. Despite an injury-riddled offensive line, the Steelers’ offense remains potent.
Defensively, TJ Watt and company have something to prove, especially with the newly acquired Nick Bosa bolstering the opposition’s defense. San Francisco’s defensive line is expected to dominate, but the loss of Mike McGlinchey leaves significant gaps in their offensive line. Pittsburgh’s front seven could make a statement and tilt the game in their favor.
Eagles Must Stay Alert Against the Patriots
In Foxborough, it’s set to be “Tom Brady Day,” and the New England Patriots are prepared for the challenge. However, facing the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles as underdogs is no easy feat. The Eagles are a formidable force, starting with their offense.
Jalen Hurts, coming off a Super Bowl loss, remains a brilliant quarterback. He has AJ Brown and Devonta Smith as targets, along with a veteran offensive line led by Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Defensively, the Eagles are strong across the board, and rookie Jalen Carter is expected to be a dominant presence.
So, why should we watch the Patriots closely? They boast a formidable defense led by Matthew Judon and rookie Christian Gonzalez. Although the retirement of Devin McCourty leaves a gap in the secondary, Kyle Dugger is expected to step up. Offensively, New England is better equipped with weapons than in the previous year, giving Bill Belichick an opportunity to gain an early edge in the AFC East.
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