NFL Schedule Week 1: Previewing The Top Ten Most Intriguing Player Matchups

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIISeptember 10, 2010

NFL Schedule Week 1: Previewing The Top Ten Most Intriguing Player Matchups

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    TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Safety Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The 2010 NFL regular season is finally underway, and after months of prolonged wait, it's time to analyze the upcoming games.

    In Week 1, there are numerous important contests, and specifically several critical player battles.

    Therefore, here are my thoughts previewing the top ten intriguing matchups of the week.

Darrelle Revis Vs. Anquan Boldin

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    SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against the San Diego Chargers during AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    In a much-anticipated Monday Night game featuring two potential Super Bowl contenders, the Baltimore Ravens will travel to New York to take on the Jets.

    The most interesting matchup, in my opinion, is cornerback Darrelle Revis vs. Anquan Boldin.

    Revis is returning from a 36-day contract holdout, and this is ultimately one of his first few days with the team in seven months.

    It'll be interesting to see if he can play at 100 percent and shut down one of the league's top wideouts. 

Julius Peppers Vs. Jeff Backus

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    SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 14:  Defensive end Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the game with the San Diego Chargers on August 14, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 25-10.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Ima
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    During the offseason, the Chicago Bears signed defensive end Julius Peppers to a record-breaking deal with the hope that he would be the elite pass rusher that they've lacked for years.

    His first test: beat the inconsistent Jeff Backus.

    Many have criticized the Detroit Lions for not drafting a left tackle, especially considering they have to face Jared Allen, Clay Matthews, and Peppers each twice a year.

    However, the Lions' coaching staff has repeatedly stated their confidence in Backus.

    This Sunday, we'll see how right they were. 

Chris Johnson Vs. Raiders Front Seven

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 14:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans rushes during the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 14, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The NFL's reigning rushing champon vs. a defense that's ranked in the bottom four in rush defense over the past four seasons. 

    This should be an easy matchup for Chris Johnson. Right?

    Well, if history repeats itself as it often does, Johnson is expected to have a down year. Furthermore, some are wondering how the new contract that he signed will affect his play. We should get a glimpse of both of those issues with his Week 1 performance.

    On the flip side, the Oakland Raiders have invested a heavy amount in their front seven and we'll find out whether or not it pays off. 

Mario Williams Vs. Peyton Manning

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Pho
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Attempting to stop Peyton Manning and the Colts offense is one of the most difficult tasks in football.

    At the same time, don't lose hope. Generating an effective pass rush has demonstrated to be a great method to containing aerial attacks.

    That being the case, Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams will be responsible for doing so against the Colts.

Troy Polamalu Vs. Falcons Offense

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    PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 18:  Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers returns an interception 40 yards for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game on January 18, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, P
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    In the NFL today, there are a select few players who have a unique, unparalleled impact on their respective teams and one of them is Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

    While sidelined with a knee injury, his absence on their defense was clearly felt. 

    I'm intrigued to see how he bounces back against a prolific Falcons offense. 

Terrell Owens Vs. Randy Moss

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    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Canton, Oh
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Matchups including two big-name players such as Manning vs. Brady or CJ vs. AP are always fun to watch. This week, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, two of the greatest receivers of all time, face off.

    Both are motivated to prove to the world that they're still able to play at a high level despite their age, and they'll have an opportunity to do so in this game. 

DeMarcus Ware Vs. Trent Williams

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9:  Linebacker DeMarcus Ware #94 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after forcing a fumble by the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    As I referenced earlier, getting pressure on the opposing quarterback is an integral key to success and DeMarcus Ware, one of the most dominant players in the league, is the best in the business at his craft.

    This week, he will be responsible for getting after Donovan McNabb, and the only player in his way is rookie left tackle Trent Williams.

    Williams was drafted with the fourth overall selection in this year's draft with the notion that he'd be able to protect their prized possession's blind side. His first challenge may just be his toughest. 

Tim Tebow Vs. Jags Fans

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    DENVER - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 29, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Heading into the draft, Jacksonville Jaguars fans were pleading the organization to draft former Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow. Instead, the Jags questionably reached for Tyson Alualu while Tebow went to the Denver Broncos.

    Since then, Tebow has dominated the headlines and many are anticipating his regular season debut. 

    While it's still uncertain how, or even if, he will be utilized it'll be interesting to see how he's greeted in Jacksonville and how they react to his possible impact. 

Sam Bradford Vs. Cardinals Defense

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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

    When the St. Louis Rams invested the No. 1 overall pick along with $50 milion guaranteed in quarterback Sam Bradford, he knew there was tremendous pressure to help a franchise that only managed to win six games in the past three years.

    After being named the starter, the football world will closely be watching his performance.

    His first challenge will be against an Arizona Cardinals defense that also has its own added pressures. With the losses of Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle, others will have to step up. 

    Moreover, they can no longer rely on an explosive offense to compensate for their mediocrity.

    So, who will beat the pressure and come out on top?

Saints Offensive Line Vs. Vikings Defensive Line

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    NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Offensive center John Sullivan #65 of the Minnesota Vikings gets set to snap the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    It's widely considered that games are won in the trenches.

    In the rematch of last year's NFC Conference Championship, the winner may be determined by whether the Vikings defensive line can overpower the Saints or vice versa.

    Note: I realize the Saints won this game 14-9. In fact here is my article with my observations on their victory.