Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...
Key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted.
Rex Ryan is cautiously optimistic about Shady playing Sunday, but hamstrings are fickle. Is beating the Patriots worth possibly jeopardizing multiple weeks if he's not fully healthy?
Both backs were slated as full participants in practice all week. Coach Jeff Fisher has insisted a decision on either playing won't take place until just before kickoff. On Sunday morning, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Gurley is indeed a game-time decision and it will all come down to, how does he feel?
Update: Mason is listed as active, while Gurley is inactive for Sunday's game vs. Washington.
Last week it was a calf for Jeffery, now it's a hamstring. Neither player practiced on Friday. Rapoport reported Sunday morning Jeffery will miss the Cardinals game.
Update: Jeffery is inactive for Sunday's matchup.
Reed was limited Thursday and Friday. Kirk Cousins needs all the help he can get, especially from the tight end that was his security blanket Week 1.
Evans insists he's fine, but the tall target was limited in practice all week. Rapoport reports Evans will give it a go Sunday.
Spiller was limited all week, but Rapoport reported Sunday morning he will play against the Buccaneers.
Both defenders were limited in practice on Friday.
Walker was a full participant in practice on Friday. NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon reported Walker is out against the Browns.
Lee could see his first action of the season. Joeckel missed practice all week.
Cobb will likely play, but he didn't look fully like himself in Week 1.
Jones is on here, just to remind fans that he will, indeed, play. Have no fear.
Kuechly has not missed a game in his career (49 straight) since being drafted in 2012. The team announced Saturday that Kuechly has been downgraded to out for Sunday's game vs. Houston. Star is questionable, but Rivera didn't sound very optimistic.
Carr is on pace to play. Woodson wants to play if the staff deems he's physically fit enough.
Stafford is fine. Levy likely will miss his second game -- but not because of a parasite from Chile. The Lions' defensive front will be in trouble if Ngata and Reid are both unable to play.
Brown did not practice all week.
Floyd practiced in full all week and should see his first game action. Ditto for Gresham.
Hilton practiced on Saturday. Coach Chuck Pagano said he was optimistic about Hilton's chances of playing on MNF.
Mathis could play for the first time after missing all of 2014.
Coach Todd Bowles sounded confident on Friday that Ivory would play. Smith looks like he'll make his first appearance of the season, his snaps will likely be limited.
So far, all Week 2 forecasts are in the clear, with sunny or party cloudy weather across the great USA. We will update as prognostications drift closer to game time.
Three matchups that intrigue
Rex Ryan won't have King Kong to deploy on Rob Gronkowski, so it will take a team effort for Buffalo to slow down the NFL's top demolition man. Gronk has been unstoppable when healthy and opened the season with three touchdown grabs -- that's a 48-touchdown pace, friends. The Bills have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends since the start of last season. If Buffalo can slow down Gronk, it will discombobulate the Pats' offense.
Only Rodgers makes a three-touchdown day seem ho-hum, like he did in Week 1. The Packers QB will face a Seahawks secondary that will again be without Kam Chancellor. Seattle gave up 276 passing yards to the Rams and Nick Foles last week. Rodgers and his plethora of weapons will make it much tougher on Richard Sherman and a remade secondary. Since 2012, Rodgers has thrown for just 196.7 yards per game, two touchdowns and three interceptions for a 73.2 passer rating in three games versus the Seahawks. The Green Bay signal-caller has a great chance to blow out those averages Sunday night at Lambeau.
The storyline is deep here: Murray will become the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,500 yards, change teams and then face his former team the following season. In Week 1, the Philadelphia Eagles running back rushed for just nine yards on eight attempts, but scored two touchdowns (one rushing). Murray looked slow through the hole last week, but will have plenty of reasons to want to hammer the Cowboys after they let him walk this offseason. Dallas allowed 99 yards rushing to a questionable Giants offensive line last week and will have its hands full with Chip Kelly's speed offense. Cowboys fans have to be dreading the thought of seeing Murray potentially gash their squad in an Eagles uniform.
Did You Know?
In 2014, four of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs started 2-0: ARI, CAR, CIN, DEN; seven of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs started the season 1-1: BAL, DAL, DET, GB, NE, PIT, SEA; and one of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs started the season 0-2: IND.
Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 63.1 percent of teams (128 of 203) that started the season 2-0 went on to make the playoffs.
Three rookie offensive linemen played more than half of the Patriots' Week 1 snaps: center David Andrews (100 percent), left guard Shaq Mason (59 percent), and right guard Tre Jackson (57 percent). None of them allowed a single sack. Their challenge is much stiffer against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
The Patriots are 40-1 since 2000 when they have a 100-yard rusher. A Rex Ryan defense has only allowed 19 100-yard rushers in 160 games.
The Bills rushed the ball on 65.5 percent of offensive snaps in Week 1 (most in NFL). Ryan ranked in the top six in rush percentage in five of six seasons with Jets. Ryan's highest rush percentage in a given season was 58.9 in 2009. Buffalo had four rushing plays of 10-plus yards in Week 1 (on pace for 64 in 2015) after compiling just 27 rushing plays of 10-plus yards last season (fewest in NFL).
The Bills have allowed 20-plus points in nine of the last 10 games versus the Patriots (34.4 points per game) and have been outscored by 117 points in that span (11.7 PPG). Buffalo has forced just 12 takeaways in its last 10 games against New England with a negative 18 turnover differential in that span.
DeAndre Hopkins' Week 1 stats: nine receptions, 98 receiving yards, 2 TD. It's notable that Week 2 starter Ryan Mallett targeted Hopkins at a higher rate than Brian Hoyer. Hopkins caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on Mallett's two fourth-quarter drives (38.5 percent of the targets). With Hoyer in the game, Hopkins caught four passes on eight targets for 39 yards and a TD (24.2 percent of Hoyer's targets).
Mallett's Week 1 stats: 8/13, 98 pass yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 110.4 passer rating -- sacked once.
The Dominance of J.J. Watt: Week 1: nine tackles, 2.0 sacks, three QB hits, six tackles for loss. One of eight players to start the season with 2.0 sacks. Watt faced Cam Newton once in Week 15, 2011 (CAR 28, HOU 13): seven tackles, 0 sacks, one QB hit, one TFL. He has six straight games with at least one sack (longest streak of career).
The Panthers' defense has earned three takeaways in two straight games going back to Week 17, 2014. Carolina has not had three-plus takeaways in three straight games since Week 16 and 17, 2009 to Week 1, 2010.
Bruce Arians owns a career record of 22-11 (.667 win percent) as head coach. Since Arians took over the Cardinals in 2013, only three teams have more regular season wins: Broncos (26), Seahawks (25) and Patriots (25). He is one of only 21 coaches to begin his career with back-to-back 10-win seasons.
In Week 1, Arians' offense netted 427 total yards of offense (307 passing, 120 rushing) for 7.49 yards per play, the most in the NFL.
Carson Palmer, in his first game back from torn ACL: 19-of-32 passing, 307 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 122.8 passer rating. Palmer has earned multiple pass TDs in seven of his last eight games (16 TDs, 3 INTs in span) and won seven straight starts.
Matt Forte's Week 1 stats: 141 rushing yards (second most in NFL) and 166 scrimmage yards (tied for second most in NFL).
Jay Cutler's Week 1 stats: 18-of-36 passing, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 67.5 passer rating. It marked his lowest completion percentage since Week 7, 2013 (at WAS).
The woebegone Bears defensive stats of the week: Chicago had zero takeaways and zero sacks in Week 1. The last time that happened to a Chicago defense was Week 6, 2010 versus Seattle. The Bears allowed 133 rush yards versus the Packers. Chicago has given up 120-plus rush yards allowed in three straight and four of the last five games.
In classic Bengalian form, Cincinnati has won the previous three regular-season matchups, but lost to the Chargers in their last playoff matchup (2013).
Philip Rivers' Week 1 stats: 35-of-42 passing for 404 yards -- setting new Chargers records for completions, passing yards and completion percentage (83.3) in a season opener. Rivers became only the second QB to complete 35-plus passes and throw for 400-plus pass yards in a season opener -- Peyton Manning completed 40 passes for 433 yards in Week 1, 2010 versus HOU.
Keenan Allen accounted for 40.5 percent of the Chargers' targets in Week 1 (highest percent in NFL), hoarding 15 receptions for 166 receiving yards. It was the most receptions in Week 1 since at least 1960 -- Andre Rison (1994) and Marshall Faulk (2002) had 14 each -- and tied a single-game Chargers franchise record for receptions set by Kellen Winslow Sr. (1984).
Jeremy Hill's Week 1 stats: 19 rushes, 63 yards, two TDs, marked the third career multi-TD game, which happened twice in his last four contests. Hill has six rushing TDs in his last five games, including playoffs.
Improving Cincy defense? The Bengals held Oakland to 63 rushing yards in Week 1, after allowing 116.3 rushing yards per game last season (20th in NFL). Cincinnati held the Raiders to 3 for 12 on third-down conversions in Week 1 -- last season, the Bengals allowed opponents to convert 36.7 percent of third downs in 2014 (seventh in NFL).
Remember That Day Flashback: The Brian Hoyer-led Browns pulled off the largest road comeback in NFL history last time these teams met (Week 5, 2014). The Titans led 28-3 in the second quarter, but the Browns scored 26 unanswered points and won 29-28 -- Cleveland had 460 yards of total offense in the contest, second most of the entire season.
Marcus Mariota became one of four QBs since 1960 to register three-plus TDs and zero interceptions as a starter in his NFL debut. Jim Kelly, Todd Marinovich, and Marc Bulger all did so -- and then failed to throw multiple touchdowns in their follow-up game. All three also threw at least one interception in their next game.
Mariota's debut was the best by a starting QB since 1960 by almost every significant measure. First in: passer rating (158.3 - perfect), TD passes (4), TD passes without an INT (4) and completion percentage (81.3).
Manziel is making his first start of the 2015 season. His 182 passing yards in relief last week were more than he compiled all of last season (175).
With Manziel starting for the Browns, Mariota will be the first Heisman-winning quarterback in NFL history to face two former Heisman-winning QBs in back-to-back games at any point, let alone in his first two NFL games.
Cleveland's defense did not record a sack in Week 1 -- one of seven teams without a sack.
In his last eight road games, Megatron has only 32 receptions for 55.6 yards per game, two touchdowns and just one 100-yard game.
The Lions' defense allowed a league-high 388 passing yards and 483 total yards -- most total yards allowed since Week 12, 2012 versus HOU (501) -- most pass yards allowed since Week 17, 2011 (Jan 2012) at GB (469) -- a.k.a the game that got Matt Flynn paid. Detroit has allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards in 12 of its last 13 games (95 vs. SD).
Teddy Bridgewater's Week 1 stats: 23-of-32 passing, 231 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 79.0 passer rating, three carries, 16 rushing yards and sacked five times.
Adrian Peterson's Week 1 stats: 10 carries, 31 rushing yards, three receptions, 21 receiving yards -- fewest rushing yards in a Week 1 game in his career. Peterson has scorched the Lions during his career: 121.2 scrimmage yards, 5.4 yards per touch, seven 100-yard rushing games, 12 total touchdowns -- 10 total touchdowns in last eight meetings.
The Vikings' defense allowed 230 rushing yards last week, its most since Week 9, 2003 versus Green Bay.
Jameis Winston's Week 1 stats: 16-of-33 passing, 210 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 64.0 passer rating. His first NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown -- the only other player since 1991 to throw a pick-six on his first career pass is Brett Favre (November 10, 1991).
Poor Doug Martin looked spry going for 52 rushing yards on 11 carries last week without getting many holes from the worst offensive line in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay defense allowed 309 total yards (185 passing, 124 rushing) in Week 1 versus the Titans -- one takeaway and two sacks.
No more home-dome advantage? From the start of 2013 to Week 8, 2014, the Saints won 11 straight home games. Since then, they have lost five straight at home -- tied for the NFL's second longest active home losing streak. The only team that's been worse at home? The Buccaneers, who have lost 10 straight in Tampa.
Mark Ingram saw just nine carries for 24 rushing yards, but earned eight receptions for 98 receiving yards (both career highs).
Week 1 marked the first time since Week 3, 2013 (at Miami) that Atlanta ran for 100 yards and did not give up a sack.
Julio Jones' Week 1 stats: nine receptions, 141 yards, 2 TD -- seventh career multi-TD game. Jones has six-plus receptions in each of his three career games versus the Giants (incl. playoffs). Jones has registered 50-plus receiving yards in 25 consecutive games -- Week 13, 2012 at NO: five receptions, 48 receiving yards -- second longest streak in NFL since 1960.
Atlanta's defense forced two takeaways and had eight quarterback hits in Week 1, but earned zero sacks after finishing 30th in the NFL in quarterback takedowns in 2014.
Eli Manning's Week 1 stats: 19-of-34 passing, 171 pass yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 70.7 passer rating -- fewest pass yards since Week 6, 2014 at PHI -- snapped 10-game streak with at least one passing TD.
Manning in two career games versus Dan Quinn defenses: 8.5 points per game, 219.5 passing yards per game, 1-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio, 49.8 passer rating.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s Week 1 stats: eight targets (led team), five receptions, 44 receiving yards, snapped streak of nine straight games of 90-plus receiving yards.
The Giants' defense allowed 436 total yards (356 passing, 80 rushing) -- three takeaways, zero sacks.
Colin Kaepernick's Week 1 stats: 17-of-26 passing, 165 passing yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 83.0 passer rating, seven carries, 41 rushing yards. He has not thrown an interception in four straight games as starter, which ties the longest streak of career.
The Niners' defense allowed 248 total yards of offense (177 pass, 71 rush) and earned five sacks in Week 1. It has not allowed fewer than 250 yards of total offense in two straight games since Weeks 4-5, 2012.
The Steelers' defense has allowed two-plus pass TDs in 10 of its last 11 games. Kaepernick has two-plus pass TDs in one of his last 11 games.
Antonio Brown has one receiving TD in three straight games dating back to last season -- his longest career TD streak is four games in Weeks 14-17, 2012. The longest such streak since 1960 with at least one TD reception by a Steeler is eight by Buddy Dial in 1960. Brown has 33 straight games with five-plus receptions and 50-plus receiving yards, an NFL record.
DeAngelo Williams' Week 1 stats: 21 carries, 127 yards. Williams has not had two straight 100-yard games since Weeks 8 and 9 in 2009 (with Carolina).
The Rams and Redskins will face off over three years after a trade between the two teams brought Robert Griffin III to Washington. Griffin has made 35 career starts with the Redskins, while the eight players the Rams ultimately acquired using the picks from the deal (including current starters CB Janoris Jenkins, DT Michael Brockers, LB Alec Ogletree and LT Greg Robinson) have made a combined 158 starts for the team.
Nick Foles' Week 1 stats: 18-of-27 passing, 297 passing yards, TD, 115.8 passer rating. He also two lost fumbles -- Foles has nine fumbles lost in 25 career starts.
Tavon Austin's Week 1 stats: four carries, 17 yards, TD, two receptions, -2 receiving yards, 75-yard punt return TD (third of career).
Since 2012, Kirk Cousins has averaged a turnover once every 30.8 offensive plays, most among all NFL quarterbacks with at least 500 plays. Cousins has thrown at least one INT in nine of 10 career starts, the highest rate of games with an interception by any player that has started 10-plus games since 2012. Rams defensive backs displayed tremendous balls skills in Week 1 and could push Cousins' interception streak.
Alfred Morris' Week 1 stats: 25 rushes, 121 yards. Morris had a career-low six rush yards on eight attempts in his last meeting with St. Louis.
Lamar Miller's Week 1 stats: 13 carries, 53 yards, one reception, 22 yards. He has never had a 100-yard rushing game on the road.
Jarvis Landry's Week 1 stats: 8 receptions, 53 yards, 69-yard punt return -- first career return TD.
The Jaguars have allowed at least four sacks in eight straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. No other team has even allowed four-plus sacks in their last two games. Blake Bortles has been sacked more in that span of eight games (41 times) than Peyton Manning has been sacked in his last 35 games combined.
T.J. Yeldon's Week 1 stats: 12 carries, 51 rushing yards (4.3 yards per carry), three receptions, 16 receiving yards.
Steve Smith Sr. caught two of seven targets for 13 yards. The wideout hasn't scored a touchdown in four straight games and nine out of his last 11.
The Raiders' defense allowed 396 total yards (269 passing, 127 rushing) with zero takeaways and zero sacks.
DeMarco Murray will become the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,500 yards, change teams and then face his former team the following season. Murray led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards last season.
The Cowboys ran the ball on 23 of 68 plays (33.8 percent) in Week 1, which is a lower percentage of run plays than Dallas had in any single game all of last season.
Tony Romo's Week 1 stats: 36-of-45 passing, 356 pass yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 103.3 passer rating -- his most pass attempts since Week 15, 2013.
Murray rushed for just nine yards on eight attempts in Week 1. That's fewer yards than Murray gained on the ground in any of his 47 career starts for the Cowboys. Murray's previous low was 24 yards (11 rushes) in Week 4, 2012 versus Chicago.
The Eagles had only 16 rushing attempts in a Week 1 loss at Atlanta -- the third fewest of the Chip Kelly era. Philly is 0-7 under Kelly with 22-or-fewer rushing attempts.
Sam Bradford's Week 1 stats: 36-of-52 passing, 336 pass yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 77.1 passer rating -- fourth-most attempts in his career.
This offseason, the Seahawks acquired tight end Jimmy Graham in part for his effectiveness in the red zone. The Seahawks ran 14 plays inside the red zone in Week 1: four were passes to Graham (29 percent), one was a run to Marshawn Lynch, two were scrambles by Russell Wilson, 7 were passes or runs to other players.
The Seahawks allowed 352 total yards (276 passing, 76 rushing) with three takeaways and two sacks in Week 1. The 34 points allowed in Week 1 were the most since Week 5, 2013 at Indianapolis and more than double the points per game given up by Seattle last season (15.9).
Seattle's defense has held Green Bay under 200 passing yards in all three meetings since 2012, including the playoffs. The Packers have been held under 200 passing yards in just nine of 51 games against other opponents since 2012 (including playoffs).
Rodgers is currently in the middle of the longest streak of TD passes and attempts at home without throwing an INT. His last INT at Lambeau came in Week 13, 2012 versus Minnesota. Since then, he has thrown 36 TD and gone 418 attempts without throwing a pick.
Just how freaking good is Rodgers? I'm glad you asked: For his career, the Packers quarterback has now thrown 229 touchdowns and just 57 interceptions -- or 4.02 TDs for every INT. He is the only player in NFL history to throw three TDs to every pick, let alone four. The second highest TD-to-INT ratio in NFL history belongs to Tom Brady at 2.77.
Eddie Lacy's Week 1 stats: 19 carries, 85 yards, TD. Lacy has scored a rushing TD in four of his last five games dating back to Week 14, 2014.
The Packers' defense allowed 402 total yards (189 rushing, 213 passing) in Week 1 -- one takeaway, 2.0 sacks. Most rushing yards allowed (189) since Week 4, 2014 (CHI, 235).
Brandon Marshall's Week 1 stats: six receptions, 62 receiving yards, 1 TD. Marshall's 1,194 receiving yards on Monday Night Football are the most among active players.
Gang Green's defense in Week 1 allowed 321 total yards (217 passing, 104 rushing), five takeaways and three sacks and scored 24 points off takeaways. The Jets had 13 takeaways in 2014 (worst in NFL) and 15 takeaways in 2013 (second worst in NFL).
Andrew Luck's Week 1 stats: 26-of-49 passing, 243 pass yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 63.6 passer rating. Luck threw an interception in 11 of 16 games last season and has multiple interceptions in each of his last three games (including playoffs).
Frank Gore's Week 1 stats: eight carries, 31 yards -- his fewest carries in a game since Week 3, 2014.
T.Y. Hilton's Week 1 stats: seven receptions, 88 receiving yards -- 14 targets, second most in NFL during Week 1 (Keenan Allen) before leaving the game with a bruised knee in the third quarter. In three career games on MNF, Hilton has 14 receptions, 179 receiving yards and one TD. Hilton is questionable to suit up Monday.
The Colts' defense at Buffalo had zero sacks and zero takeaways -- Indianapolis did not have any games last season with zero sacks and zero takeaways.