NFL Week 1 Questions: 25 Most Important Things To Consider

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2010

NFL Week 1 Questions: 25 Most Important Things To Consider

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Kerry Rhodes #25 of the New York Jets celebrates his second interception of the game against the Carolina Panthers with teammate Darrelle Revis #24 on November 29, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Move over baseball, step aside soccer, the NFL is back.

    This Thursday, the real action will kick off as the Minnesota Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the classic battle each and every one of us witnessed earlier this year in January.

    With the season kicking off, there is a lot to look forward to: new faces in different places, a handful of new head coaches attempting to rewrite history, and of course a number of Super Bowl-caliber teams trying to jump that last hurdle and gain an invite to the big dance this February.

    But before we get to the positive aspects of what the 2010 season brings, there are of course many remaining questions that have been left unanswered so far this preseason.

    For the likes of some players and teams, these questions will be unwelcome. 

    While for others, they will propose a new challenge and task that will perhaps fuel them for the entire regular season.

    So what are the key questions that we should all keep in mind when watching the action on the field this weekend?

    Well there are a lot of them, but the following 25 should give you all a rough idea of what to think about come Thursday night.

25. Will the Bears' Offseason Moves Turn Out To Be Meaningless?

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    CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns on September 2, 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bears 13-10. (Photo by Justin K. Aller
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    The Bears have notably struggled to gain any motivation this preseason, as Lovie Smith's men have successfully posted an 0-4 record in preseason play, and have now dug themselves a minor hole when it comes to Week 1 of the regular season.

    For the most part, Chicago's offseason campaign has been an ideal success.  Sure they didn't enjoy the luxuries of the NFL Draft that most teams did, but they did however manage to gain big time defensive play maker Julius Peppers, in an attempt to bring back the biff in The Windy City this season.

    However, as great as all of this seems, the Bears have yet to put all of this progress to good use.  Jay Cutler still has trouble written all over him, and with the Bears wide receiver race still ongoing, perhaps Chicago's offense will be distinctly similar to their poor 2009 form last season.

    Luckily for all of us, Week 1 should highlight how the Bears season may unfold.  While it won't give us a definite answer, it should point us in the right direction when it comes to judging the Bears, along with their offseason moves.

    It isn't time to panic just yet in Chicago, but lets face it, the fans are getting restless.  We all know that preseason football is meaningless, yet it still proved to just about everybody that the Bears do have some concerns and problems to face.

    The regular season may be a different story entirely, but Week 1 is the perfect indicator, as Chicago takes on Detroit in their home opener.

24. Can the Cowboys Get Their Possible Super Bowl Season Underway with a Win?

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    HOUSTON - AUGUST 28: Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys looks fora receiver as he receives some pressure from defensive tackle Amobi Akoye #91 of the Houston Texans during a football game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    All eyes will be on the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening, as Jerry Jones and the boys in blue travel to the nations capital, and take on the Washington Redskins in what is shaping up to be a classic NFC East affair.

    When it comes to expectations, the faith in Dallas is high right about now.  The team looks about as good as they have in the past ten years, and with an explosive offense that features the likes of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant, you can't help but like their chances this season.

    But more importantly for Dallas this season, is the fact that if it heads to the Super Bowl, it will be indeed playing the big game on their home turf, which is an obvious momentum swinger.

    Last season the Cowboys ranked 17th in passing yards overall, a reasonably low statistic considering how much talent this team possesses.  However, now the Cowboys possess Dez Bryant, and there is no denying that this is a heavily motivated passing team.

    Be sure to tune into the Cowboys game this weekend at FedEx Field.  Not only will it be a cracking game, it will also indicate whether or not the same old Cowboys are still in town, or whether or not they really are that much better.

    The Cowboys were 3-2 in preseason play this season, so maybe that says where their season is heading.  Still, it's a new decade and a new season, and God knows that the Cowboys are due for a performance.

23. Will the Absence of Sidney Rice Affect The Vikings Offense?

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    MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17:  Wide receiver Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minn
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Maybe this is a silly question to ask, seeing as though it is obvious to all that Sidney Rice's absence will affect the Vikings offense in at least the most simplest of ways this season.

    But when we dig deeper, how will the absence affect Minnesota in Week 1, as the Vikings take on the Saints on Thursday night?

    Well firstly, there is one positive for the Vikings.  Darren Sharper is out.  Not only is this one less defensive playmaker that Brett Favre has to worry about, it also gives the old timer that much more freedom when it comes to expressing his deep ball toward the Saints' secondary.

    Secondly though, there are some concerns.  The biggest one is that the Vikings are of course down a receiver, and seeing as though Brad Childress failed in attaining T.J Houshmandzadeh earlier this week, much of the Vikings offense will rely on Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin.

    Now for those of you reading this and thinking that this is a huge disadvantage, think again.  These two wide receivers are amongst the best in the game, and lets face it, we have seen worse scenarios in at the receiver position in past years.

    Bit still, with no Sidney Rice and an opponent that beat you last season, the Vikings are down a playmaker that they could have definitely done with, if things actually went right.

    Much of this game will come down to Brett Favre, as he is the heart and soul of the Viking offense.  On the other hand though, it is also vital that Adrian Peterson brings his running shoes, as no run game will add that much more pressure on the passing game.

    It's not fair to say a whole lot is riding on this game, but both teams want to get off to a hot start.  Whoever wins will look great, but the loser may have questions written all over them.  Sidney Rice out is a disadvantage for the Vikings no matter what way you look at it, but if any team can cope, it is Minnesota.

22. Was Alex Smith’s Preseason a Fluke?

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers passes against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Stand up and applaud the San Francisco 49ers, they've had a very impressive preseason. 

    Not only did the 49ers manage to go 4-0, they also showed signs of much improvement, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.  For those that have been following San Francisco closely, I think you'd agree in saying that perhaps the most impressive player of all was quarterback Alex Smith, who has endured several years of criticism toward his overall ability.

    Stats wise, Alex Smith hasn't been that great in preseason play, but what starting quarterback is, right?

    No, where Alex Smith was downright decent, was in both his protection and his confidence, as he was not only throwing complete and accurate passes, he was successfully keeping drives alive, and stepping up each time the 49ers looked down.

    For 49er fans, this is a welcome site.  It seems now that the days of interception and sack prone Alex Smith are gone, and in come the new and impressive ways, that could perhaps push San Francisco deep into the postseason.

    Those that know me know that I am a big fan of the phrase "jumping the gun." While it is questionable that Alex Smith may totally fall away from his new found preseason play this season, it is also right that we commend his efforts, as it's taken a long time for him to develop.

    Much of this can be credited to Mike Singletary and his fantastic plan to draft Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati.  But still, those guys don't make the passes, and Alex Smith is now showing his true colors.

    Let's hope this bandwagon doesn't come to a complete stall, as it has been quite fun and exciting so far.  Those doubters out there though, Week 1 will be Alex Smith's stage, and whether he prevails or fails, we should get a rough idea of how his year may turn out.

21 Are the Colts Destined to Hit the Ground Running, As They Always Do?

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    INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts watches from the sidelines during the NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Ge
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Any NFL fan knows that the Colts and winning go hand in hand these days.  Indianapolis is a powerhouse when it comes to the regular season, and I think it's safe to say, go ahead and bet your house on them, the Colts should make the postseason.

    Funnily enough though, this season has a weird edge for the Colts.  They are fresh off a Super Bowl loss, and all of a sudden the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans have snuck up on them in the division.

    Therefore, it would be fair to say that the Colts won't have the usual stroll to the playoffs, that they have become so well known for in the past five years.

    But before we go ahead and look toward January, the regular season opener is now here.  In Week 1 the Colts are set to take on that very divisional foe, the Houston Texans, in what should shape out to be a very offensive game, considering how explosive Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub are.

    I'm not willing to say that the Colts won't win their opening game, as they normally do.  But I am willing to say it won't be easy.  The Texans are no longer a rollover team and they can quite easily match the Colts in most departments.

    It isn't vital for Indianapolis to hit the ground running, yet it is for the Houston Texans.  If the Colts win, same old same old.  If the Texans win, well, look out AFC.  This is a sleeper game that hasn't received much attention just yet, but it soon will.

    Historically the Colts are the favorites, but even that may not be enough to get them over the line in this blockbuster game.

20. Can Sam Bradford Put His 'Up and Down' Preseason Behind Him?

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    FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 26:  Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams looks on before the game against the New England Patriots on August 26, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    In Week 1 of preseason, Sam Bradford looked a little off.  He didn't complete many passes, and he seemed to be totally out of confidence from the very first whistle of the game.

    Luckily for Rams fans, things went on to change throughout the four game season, as Bradford began to develop his rhythm and accuracy, similar to what we had become accustom to during Bradford's time with the Oklahoma Sooners in his college days.

    The bottom line of this story is that Sam Bradford is a rookie.  He won't perform wonders this season, and in fact I think just about everybody would be more than just surprised to see St. Louis post an above .500 record.

    Yet with this in mind, people seem to place unfair expectation on his shoulders.  Yes, Bradford is a professional quarterback now.  But that doesn't mean he should be shifted out of town if he has a rough half year.

    The criticism was happily shared around the table when Sam Bradford failed to show up in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.  Some of it was justified, and some was a little unfair.

    Lets no forget that the Rams went 3-1 this preseason, and looked good at times, despite their obvious troubles that the team are still yet to face this season. 

    Will Sam Bradford have a hot and cold regular season?  Quite possibly.  But that is no reason to call him a bust, and say it's all over.  There will be some good games, and there will be some bad.  For now, let's just say that Bradford is in the right state of mind to put his up and down preseason ways behind him.

19. Matt Moore Vs Jimmy Clausen, Will We Know Any More After Week 1?

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 28:  Quarterback Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers looks to throw to his recievers during their preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Bank of America Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by M
    Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images

    From one struggling team to another, it is now the Carolina Panthers' turn, as they have a major question to face this season at the quarterback position.

    Unlike the St. Louis Rams, the Panthers have been able to turn their preseason misfortune around.  The team has notably struggled, and with Jimmy Clausen struggling with a toe injury, and Matt Moore proving to be inconsistent on the field, the Panthers have trouble written all over them in every aspect right now.

    This Sunday the Panthers are set to take on the New York Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium.  Not only is this a tough game against a rather tough opponent, it is also a test that the Panthers must face, particularly when it comes to determining who really is the best starter for this team in the coming weeks.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, these type of issues never end well.  Don't be surprised to see this war continue late into the season, as both players have quite a resume of potential right now.

    At the end of the day though it comes down to who is right for the job, and if somehow the Panthers pull off a win against New York, then it is likely that the starter at the time will be the favored player.

    As of now it appears that Matt Moore will start the game, and rightfully so.  He doesn't have a ton of experience to his name, but this is oppose to a rookie starting in an opening fixture.

    Times have changed for the Panthers, and they need to get the starting position sorted.  If not, then it may become a problem that each and every Panther fan will have to endure, over the span of this years regular season.

18. How Will Jahvid Best Handle the Starting Role in Detroit?

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    DETROIT - AUGUST 28: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions looks for open field during a first quarter run against the Cleveland Browns during a preseason game on August 28, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Detroit fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief earlier this week, as head coach Jim Schwartz chose to hold on to backup running back Kevin Smith, just in case Jahvid Best went down with an injury, or a collapse in performance this season.

    But away from what could happen, the surprising news that is still unbelievable to some, is that Best will start for the Lions this week against the Chicago Bears, in what he hopes to be a highly successful opening career game.

    So with this all said, how will Best handle the pressure?

    Well firstly, Jahvid Best is no stranger to expectations.  He was constantly under the gun in his college days, and although the NFL is a little different, playing for a struggling team like the Detroit Lions will always make you more aware of your overall performance.

    On that note, Jahvid Best will be expected to play well.  He's had a highly successful offseason, especially in team training camps, and will be watched by all Detroit fans closely as they get a glimpse into their possible future star running back.

    When it comes to yards and touchdowns, the Lions pretty much know what they are getting out of Best.  But it is still important that the pressure doesn't reach a height that is unachievable, as it could make the young rookie look bad in the long run.

    As mentioned, Jahvid Best is no stranger, he's sailed on this ship before.  However, the Lions want him to perform well, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the city of Detroit is relying on him.

    If all eyes are on the Cowboys this week, then all mouths will be speaking about Best one way or another.  Whether he shows up and plays well is one thing, but whether he can handle the starting role for an entire season is another.

17. Is There Room for TJ Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin in Baltimore?

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 28:  Anquan Boldin #81 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a touchdown against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Giants 17-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Although the news has just broke that TJ Houshmandzadeh will be joining Anquan Boldin in Baltimore this season, already the debate of the two playing on the same page has sparked some conversation in Raven Nation.

    Firstly, Boldin is no stranger to playing with a star receiver.  While Houshmandzadeh is no Larry Fitzgerald, he is a very capable player, and seeing as though Boldin has experienced all of this himself, this is already a very likable duo.

    Secondly, Houshmandzadeh has experienced the very same relationship in his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, as he to shared the field with a higher caliber player in Chad Ochocinco, back in Houshmandzadeh's glory days.

    But how will it all turn out?

    Well considering that the two have the experience of playing on the same page with another player, along with the fact that this is both players first year in Baltimore, it is already shaping out to be a Batman and Robin type duo, only less fancy.

    Stats wise Anquan Boldin is the better player.  TJ Houshmandzadeh struggled in Seattle last year, and didn't post over 1,000 yards.  On the other hand, Anquan Boldin was successful in achieving this feat, although he did have Kurt Warner as his quarterback.

    Realistically this duo will do just fine.  Players have coexisted like this before, and it's not like the two are sworn enemies.  It may take a little time to get used to, but if all things go to plan, this duo could actually go quite far considering how impressive the Ravens offense now is.

16. The Tim Tebow Show: Will We Even See a Glimpse of It In Week 1?

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos congratulates quarterback Tim Tebow #15 following his fourth quarter touchdown pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.
    Justin Edmonds /Getty Images

    It's the question on everybody's mind: When will we see the Tim Tebow show?

    Well, luckily for all of Tebow's fans out there, we have seen glimpses of it this season that have fortunately resulted in positives for the Denver Broncos.

    However, what are the chances that Tim Tebow steps in at one point in time in Week 1 this season?

    To be perfectly honest, the chances are slim.  Firstly, head coach Josh McDaniels will be looking to establish Kyle Orton's confidence early.  Last season saw Orton throw for 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 3,802 yards, impressive stats for a team that missed the postseason.

    Unfortunately though things have changed in Denver since then, and not only is the pressure on the team, it is on Kyle Orton to maintain the starting role.

    The other reason that Tim Tebow may not make an appearance, is that the Broncos are taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that the Broncos should beat this season.  Although a rookie could get the job done in this game, it is more favorable for Kyle Orton to start off the season right.

    Tim Tebow fans, this is disappointing news, but stay positive, I'm sure we'll see Tebow somewhere along the track this season.

15. How Will Darren Sharper’s Absence Affect the Saints Defense?

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:   Saftey Darren Sharper #42 of the New Orleans Saints warms up on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty I
    Elsa/Getty Images

    As mentioned earlier, the absence of Darren Sharper will help the Minnesota Vikings this Thursday night as they take on the Saints in the regular season opener.

    On the other side of the ball though, the Saints will feel the absence early, as they are without one of the better safeties in the league, for an extended period of time.

    When it comes to Darren Sharper, we all know that he is a talent.  He was one of the main reasons the Saints went as far as the Super Bowl, and his 71 tackles and nine interceptions set the bar in New Orleans when it came to what was expected.

    Unfortunately for a fan point of view, we'll be without Sharper for a little while. 

    As for the Saints' point of view, they will also be without their leader and defensive presence.

    Realistically this question is an easy answer, as the loss of Darren Sharper will affect the Saints heavily.  But still, they've coped without him before, and with Drew Brees leading the way, there's no reason they can't pick up the win.

    Perhaps for a few weeks the Saints will have to turn into a offensively driven team.  I'm not saying it will be easy, and they may lose a couple of games, but the loss of Sharper isn't the end of the world.

14. Are Albert Haynesworth’s Improvements for Real or Just an Illusion?

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Surprise, surprise, Albert Haynesworth has actually improved this offseason.

    From what went from a concern for Haynesworth's overall fitness condition, to a controversial spat at the coaching staff, now turns into praise for Haynesworth, as the season is now drawing ever so near for a hopeful Redskins team.

    And what has Haynesworth improved on?

    Well firstly, it must be noted that Haynesworth's status is still unclear right now.  But what has impressed head coach Mike Shanahan is Haynesworth's improved physical condition in comparison to Week 1 of preseason football, as Haynesworth now appears to be in game shape.

    Unfortunately for all of us, this may not be good news.  We've all seen in the past that Haynesworth can perform the complete opposite in a game, so this news is to be taken lightly.

    However, whether or not it is an illusion or not, or just a cover up to give the Redskins a little more confidence heading into their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys, remains to be seen.

    Let's give Haynesworth some credit though, he's tried.  He did barely make the team nearly a month ago, and through it all he has stuck with the Redskins, and worked hard at becoming better at not only his position, but improving his fitness.

    It takes a lot to impress Mike Shanahan, so this fact speaks for itself.  Week 1 should prove to us all if this is an illusion or not, depending on if Haynesworth does play.  If he does though, take an eye off the Cowboys for a second and check him out, it would be great to see him back in full swing like the old days.

13. Chad Henne And Brandon Marshall, Will It All Work Against the Bills?

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins  during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    It is by far not the biggest game this week, but it still does have implications, considering that this is the first time we will see Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne in four-quarter action this season.

    From the minute this signing was complete, it appeared that it was destined to work.  Chad Henne is a great quarterback, and Brandon Marshall is a great receiver, so what better way to keep the Dolphins offense rolling than by bringing to the two together?

    Well unfortunately for Miami fans, it isn't all smiles, as things could go wrong fast, if this duo doesn't live up to expectations.

    Firstly, the No. 1 concern is the Wildcat.  The Dolphins just lost Wildcat specialist Pat White to roster release, and now Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall have to make it all work this season.

    Secondly, Marshall is known for his controversial ways.  He pulled it off in Denver, and if he doesn't get the ball a considerable amount of times in a game, he isn't shy to let the team know in the dressing room later on.

    Aside from these issues though, the duo can make it work.  Marshall managed 10 touchdowns and 1,120 yards last season, while Chad Henne completed the year with 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 2,878 yards.

    Combine the two together and what do you get?  Normally a great combination.

    Week 1 should highlight the positives and negatives in this match up, along with where their future is heading.  Brandon Marshall is set for a stay in Miami, so chances are he makes it work.

12. Will Donovan McNabb’s Debut Be Successful?

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    LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 13:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins motions for a facemask call during the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at FedEx Field on August 13, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    One of the lest recognized questions on everybody's mind is in regards to Donovan McNabb's debut, and whether or not he will be a success.

    Of course, technically this isn't McNabb's original debut.  He did play in preseason games, and although he only took a certain amount of snaps, he did look solid at times behind center in Washington.

    But as we all know, the regular season is a different story, and a lot can happen in the span of just one game.

    For head coach Mike Shanahan, the team must determine whether or not Donovan McNabb will play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.  There has been some doubt recently in regards to McNabb's status, and if he will or will not suit up for Week 1.

    If McNabb does decide to make his debut in proper fashion, rest assured the pressure will be on.  Not only are the Redskins looking to make their way into third position in the NFC East, they are also hoping to have a successful quarterback, that can carry the team.

    Is McNabb that guy?

    Well he was in Philadelphia, so there is no reason why he can't be in Washington. 

11. How Will the Vincent Jackson Saga Affect San Diego on the Field?

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    SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball after a catch against the New York Jets during  AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo b
    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    As great as it has been to see Darrelle Revis end his own saga, the Vincent Jackson dilemma is still ongoing in San Diego right now.  Teams have been interested in what Jackson has to offer, yet he still has been unable to find a new home, and sits idly by whilst holding out on the San Diego Chargers.

    For the most part, this is nothing we aren't all used to.  Players have been pulling this strung for years, and it is nothing out of the norm this season either.

    But if there is one other thing we know, it is that a holdout can affect a teams chemistry off the field, and create quite a stir in the locker room.

    The problem for the Chargers in this type of situation is simple.  They haven't been the most well known team to get off on a hot start in recent years.  Slow starts have plagued the Chargers, and perhaps an off-field distraction such as this one may cause the same circumstances to play out this year.

    Despite what the players say about Jackson, there is no doubt that he is the buzz around town.  If this issue spills over into the regular season, not only will it shine a light on the Chargers, it may also cause some issues, particularly on the field.

    It may not come to that just yet, but after Week 1, we may be looking at a shock Chargers loss to the Chiefs, and blaming the holdout problem. 

    Seeing San Diego lose to the Chiefs would not only be monumental, it would also be quite a shock.  It shouldn't come to this, but if it does, Vincent Jackson could be partially to blame.

10. Can Kevin Kolb Lead Philadelphia to Its First Home Win?

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 27: Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass as he rolls out against the Kansas City Chiefs during a preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium on August 27, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Gett
    G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

    Like Donovan McNabb, all eyes will be on Kevin Kolb this week as he tries to deliver the Eagles their first home win of the 2010 regular season.

    The unfortunate occasion that faces Kevin Kolb is that the Eagles must face a strong Green Bay Packers side, that is determined to start the season hot with a bubbling offense that is perhaps amongst the scariest in the league right now.

    Although this thought is most likely in the back of Kolb's head, it shouldn't frighten him.  If anything, it should act as motivation, and it is likely that the Philadelphia faithful will see it that way too.

    The Eagles are facing an uphill climb all season long.  They have the toughest schedule in the league, and this only further adds salt to a new starting quarterback wound.

    Stranger things have happened, but this is a question we all want an answer to.  If the Eagles fall to Green Bay, it won't be the end of it all for Kevin Kolb, but it may just lower his confidence a little, particularly if the Eagles struggle to produce anything at all.

9. Which Rookie QB Will Prove to Be the Most Impressive?

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 2: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL preseason game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Watching rookie quarterbacks play in the regular season is one of the most exciting aspects of the entire season.

    Not only is it great to see the young guns shoot it out, it is also good to see younger players try and help their team, and bring their talents together to post a win on the board.

    Unlucky for most NFL fans, not every rookie is starting this week, or in the near future.  So therefore, it is likely that Sam Bradford will win this award. 

    However, we may also see players like Jimmy Clausen suit up for a handful of snaps, and attempt to perhaps post a touchdown or two on the board, is his team should need it.

    Select rookie quarterbacks were cut this week, and the likes of Dan LeFevour and Jevan Snead were sent to the chopping block, much to the tears of some fans.  On the other hand, this makes it all eyes on Bradford, which is what he strives off of.

    Don't only keep an eye on rookie quarterbacks, keep an eye on all rookies in general.  They are always good for a show, whether it be good or bad.

8. How Will Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco Function?

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Terrell Owens #81 and Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals look on during the preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The preseason has been all laughs and giggles for Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, but we all know how seriously these two take the regular season.

    In the past, both players have been known for their controversial ways.  If the team isn't playing well, it is easy for either to blame it on fellow teammates, but perhaps that theory won't work this time around, as both men will have met their match on the opposite side of the field.

    Back on the playing field though, the question of how the two will function will plague the entire season. 

    Will they get in each others way?  Can they stay calm if the going gets tough?  How will they react to a loss or a mistake?

    These are all questions that fans want answers to, and Week 1 may provide some, very quickly. 

    The Bengals are set to take on the New England Patriots, a team that Cincinnati is all too familiar with.  Both players will need to be sharp and quick witted, as it is likely that the Patriots will answer every Bengals touchdown with some points of their own.

    The two are capable of performing at a high rate, but the two can also struggle.  This is a question to take notes on, as Batman and Robin may have to get themselves out of a jam, the old school teamwork way this week against the Patriots.

7. Can the Packers Maintain Balance on Defense?

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 27: Atari Bigby #20 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates one of his two interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 48-10. (Photo by Jo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    One of the bigger headlines to come from last week was the Packers loss of two key players: Al Harris and Atari Bigby.

    Although just about every Packer fan anticipated that Al Harris would miss much of this season, the loss of Atari Bibgy surprised some fans, as the team now finds itself down a leader and a playmaker, similar to the New Orleans Saints.

    Last season the Packers had the No. 2 ranked defense in the league, and with Charles Woodson leading the way they were clear favorites up until this point in time.

    But as for all of the concern, perhaps it is all for nothing, as the Packers did cope without Al Harris last season, and Atari Bigby will only be gone for 6 weeks.

    Green Bay are amongst Super Bowl favorites this season, and it is important that they avoid the injury bug.  They haven't done that successfully so far, so this may be a sign of things to come this season.

    Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but when it comes to coping without the two players, Green Bay can get the job done, after all, it is only six weeks, and Dom Capers is a great defensive coach to have at this time in the season.

6. Are the Atlanta Falcons Really Back to Their 2008 Form?

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    ATLANTA - AUGUST 13:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Kansas City Chiefs at Georgia Dome on August 13, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The hype around the Atlanta Falcons this time around has been huge.  For the most part, fans feel that the Falcons are back to their 2008 form, considering that quarterback Matt Ryan is still passing fine, and Michael Turner makes a return to the team from a knee injury last season.

    When it comes to dejavu though, the Falcons are quite familiar with this term.  Last season Atlanta were firm favorites in the NFC South due to their 2008 season, only to see it all blow up in their face early, as Michael Turner was injured, and the Saints ran away with the division.

    This season though, the hype is still here, and the Falcons look to be a real threat.

    Atlanta kicks of their 2010 season in blockbuster fashion, as they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. 

    An explosive game is expected, but a win by the Falcons would really open peoples eyes, and label them as postseason contenders once again.

    Atlanta have had their doubters this offseason, and until they notch a big win or two this season, they will continue to do so.  Beating Pittsburgh would change peoples minds though, and put the Falcons firmly in the picture of the NFC South division.

5. Will The Arizona Cardinals Regret Releasing Matt Leinart?

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Matt Leinart #7 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the preseason NFL game against the Washington Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeate
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Fresh from the press, the Arizona Cardinals released Matt Leinart, who was then signed by the Houston Texans on Monday.

    From a fan perspective, this move seems sensible.  Prior to the signing the Texans only had two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, one of whom included starter Matt Schaub.

    But away from the Cardinals next door neighbor, will Arizona regret releasing Matt Leinart after Week 1?

    Well firstly, it all depends on how Derek Anderson performs.  If Arizona gets the win over the St. Louis Rams, which many have confidence in, then great, Derek Anderson lives to fight another day.  But if Anderson fails, and the team takes a shock loss, then releasing Matt Leinart may not look all that overly smart.

    The fortunate news for the Cardinals is that Leinart isn't likely to start anytime soon in Houston.  Therefore, there will be no revenge factor this season, or in the future.

    Say what you want about Matt Leinart, he has been notably calm through all of this.  He didn't panic and didn't say anything outlandish, and for that he has landed another job.

    Arizona obviously don't regret their decision yet, but if they fall to Kurt Warner's former team, and find themselves below .500 come midseason, then they may be left scratching their heads as to why they let Leinart go in the first place.

4. Brett Favre: Yay or Nay?

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings stretches during warmups prior to an NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minn
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    Most of us knew that Brett Favre would make a return to football this season.  But what we didn't know was that he would miss training camp, play in the preseason, and take a few hard hits and sacks along the way.

    Of course, like the preseason itself, this may be merely meaningless.  Brett Favre is notorious for striving early in the regular season, and rivalries such as Green Bay and Chicago should certainly fuel the old timer, not that he needs it.

    But is there actual concern for Favre this season?

    Theoretically, yes there is.

    For the most part, Brett Favre is still injured.  Yes he has had successful surgery, but the ankle is a delicate part of the body, and if he is to be sacked hard, how do we know that the injury won't reoccur again?

    I guess we don't.

    The other concern is in regard to the Vikings as a team.  If Minnesota don't make the playoffs, Favre's season will be labeled as a moderate failure, as the whole reason for this begging was to push for the Super Bowl one last time.

    So will it be a yay or nay season for Favre this year?

    History says yay, but his body may say nay.  Week 1 should tell us, so let's wait and see.

3. How Will Dennis Dixon Handle the Pressure of the Starting Role?

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 02:  Dennis Dixon #10 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers after Byron Leftwich left with an injury during the preseason game on September 2, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    It was announced yesterday by the Steelers that Dennis Dixon would indeed be the starter for the Steelers, during Ben Roethlisberger's four-week suspension.

    The question that is on everybody's mind though is, how will Dennis Dixon handle the pressure for four solid weeks?

    I guess the biggest concern for Dixon, is winning.  If the Steelers get off to a shaky two loss start, then not only will the team and Mike Tomlin begin to question their decision, they may also take a look at guys like Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich.

    The other concern for Dennis Dixon is accuracy.  Every NFL fan knows that Dixon isn't the greatest pass in the game, and with no Santonio Holmes anymore, he may struggle at times to find a receiver, and have a tendency to rely on Heinz Ward heavily.

    Week 1 the Steelers play the Atlanta Falcons, who will be ready to pressure Dixon from the get go.  He can expect a ton of blitzes, and of course a few bone rattling hits.

    It's nothing Dixon can't take, but the pressure will continue to mount as each week draws on.

2. Will the Saints Continue Where They Finished off Last Season?

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    NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 02:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints, who did not play, watches during an exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on September 2, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee won 27-24.  (Photo by
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    The chances of a repeat are slim in the NFL, but the New Orleans Saints look to put that theory to the sword this season, and once again rally for the ultimate prize in football.

    For New Orleans, it needs to take it one game at a time.  That's what got Sean Payton and his men so far last season, and with the Saints taking on the Vikings on Thursday night, New Orleans will look to relive the very moment that landed it in the big dance earlier this year.

    Unlike some championship teams, not much has changed for the Saints.  They have lost a few key guys, but the same style of team is there, along with the coaching.

    More importantly, Drew Brees is still around town, and with him at his peak, you'd be stupid not to favor them a little to maybe rally for the prize once again.

    Yes, winning it all is extremely tough, let alone twice.  But the Saints have the talent to do it, and they will look to hit the ground running in Week 1. 

    A formidable opponent stands in their way, but it isn't someone the Saints are unfamiliar with, to say the least.

1. Will Darrelle Revis Perform To High Expectations?

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets runs the ball in for a first quarter touchdown after an interception against the Carolina Panthers on November 29, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo b
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    On the back end of Darrelle Revis' newfound contract, the New York Jets now happy cornerback takes home the No. 1 question prize this week, as we all tune in to see if missing months of training and practice will take it's toll on Revis' performance.

    For New York Jets fans, this doesn't seem to be a concern right now.  I guess most New Yorkers are glad that they got their man back, even though it cost them an arm and a leg to gain what some call a "greedy" player.

    Other notable happy faces include Rex Ryan, who has his man back, even though he did lose fullback Tony Richardson through the fallout.

    If there is anyone that can grab a headline in Week 1 it is the Darrelle Revis and the Jets.  New York take on the Baltimore Ravens this week, in what is set to be a blockbuster AFC match up.

    Darrelle Revis is happy, and so are most people.  So does that equal a great performance?

    We'll wait and see.

    Missing that much training will take a toll one way or another, but a truly great athlete can overcome the odds.  Now it is time for Revis to prove he is worth every cent he has squeezed out of the Jets.