Strasser: NFL Preseason Preview

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The time has finally come. Many people, including myself, had their fair share of doubt that an NFL season would even happen.

But as multiple professional sport leagues started to take the proper steps to get back to playing safely, it kept the hope alive that the NFL would find a way to make this work. And seeing that the first game of the season will be played on Thursday night, it looks like they did.

So far, it seems as if the NFL has taken the necessary precautions to keep their players and coaching staffs safe throughout training camp.

Based on the latest official report, there are only six players who were on the COVID-19 injured reserve list that have not been reactivated yet. Considering the sheer number of personnel involved with a football team, as well as the struggle of making sure everyone does their part and stays home as much as possible, it’s impressive.

But with 16 weeks of regular season games to come, and no bubble format in place, the NFL have some big challenges ahead of them.

Assuming all goes well and there are no complications, the season will kick off with a Thursday night matchup featuring the reigning Super Bowl Champions the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans, who are coming off their fourth division title in five years.

The Texans have made some major changes to their team this offseason, including trading their star wide receiver (WR) DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back (RB) David Johnson and some draft picks. It will be interesting to see how their offense plays without Hopkins, since this gives room for WRs Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks to shine.

Their opponents, the Chiefs, look poised to make another run as they are pretty much returning most of their roster with a few exceptions. The one big change that most fans are excited for is the debut of rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU, who will likely have the starting role since Damien Williams has opted out of the season.

This game should be really competitive, but I think the Chiefs’ talent will outmatch the Texans,’ leading them to the first win of the 2020 season. 

The Philadelphia Eagles will kick off their season vs. the newly named Washington Football Team in Washington on Sunday. While this game may seem like a fairly easy game for the Eagles, they are dealing with some early season injuries that could end up hurting them for the opener.

For starters, rookie wideout and first round draft pick Jalen Reagor sustained a shoulder tear during training camp, and will be out for at least the season opener. Left tackle (LT) Andre Dillard will need season ending surgery on his biceps, which is another loss for this offensive line that seems to keep getting thinner.

Corner Avonte Maddox is also day to day, along with second year RB Miles Sanders, but the Eagles expect both to be ready for the game on Sunday.

On the other side, Washington looks to debut their rookie RB Antonio Gibson out of the University of Memphis. Since the team recently cut long time veteran Adrian Peterson, the stage is also set for Gibson to make a splash. They also announced second year quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be the starter to begin the year.

Even with all the injuries, the Eagles are the stronger team and should win in convincing fashion.

And finally, to wrap up this preview, here is the must watch game of the week. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Many fans are anxious to see Brady in a uniform other than a New England Patriots one and are ready to see how he does in Tampa.

The Bucs have done a great job of surrounding Brady with talent; drafting offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs and acquiring tight end Rob Gronkowski and RBs Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy.

After looking through the whole slate, this is definitely the game you should watch if you can only catch one this weekend. 

All in all it doesn’t even matter what the matchups are, football is back. If you’re like me, you’ll be glued to your couch the entire weekend with no regard for anything other than your fantasy team. Enjoy the first week of football!

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