1Is Seattle offense line really any good?
That’s what line coach Tom Cable says, calling it the best in five years. But how can it be? Three starters in new spots as of three weeks ago. Two of them, center Drew Nowak and right tackle Garry Gilliam, are making their first career starts in the opener. Yet Cable says these five blockers are sharper and more athletic than he’s had. We’re about to find out. The Rams have the best defensive front Seattle will see.
2 Does New England cheat at everything?
The Steelers must have been wondering that Thursday. Pittsburgh’s coaches spent half the opening game listening to the Patriots’ radio broadcasts on their headsets instead of each other. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says that kind of stuff happens every time his team plays in Gillette Stadium. If you are a conspiracy theorist, the league’s most successful franchise is also its most treacherous.
3 Is Green Bay as good as everyone thinks?
Opening at Chicago, a division rival Green Bay has owned recently, may not be the best indicator. Aaron Rodgers threw by far more to Jordy Nelson (out for the season/knee injury) than anyone else last season. Randall Cobb and the running game will need to do more. And remember: The Packers’ defense was blanking the Seahawks in Seattle deep into the second half before a legendary collapse in that NFC championship.
4 How good are
Mariota and Winston?
The quarterbacks and top two picks in May’s draft are playing each other in the opener when Tennessee plays at Tampa Bay. Marcus Mariota wowed the Titans and everyone else with his poise and accuracy. Jameis Winston was erratic for the Buccaneers — then again, who isn’t erratic for the Buccaneers? Folks are going to assign all kinds of premature conclusions on each QB’s careers after this opener.
5 Will Carson Palmer remain upright?
This week he should be OK. The Cardinals host New Orleans, which last year had a defense that couldn’t knock down a bowling pin if it was on its side. Arizona had just one loss into last November before Palmer went down and Ryan Lindley had to happen. If the Cardinals find a running game, they have Palmer and a defense to give the Seahawks a stern test.