Week 1 is only two short days away, and there are plenty of things to ponder upon. Who will come away with their first victory? Will certain teams fall back into age-old patterns? How many injuries is too many to drown out the anticipation of the new season?
A number of questions will be answered after the Week 1 matchups conclude with the final game taking place during Monday Night Football. Thankfully, the 2021 season seems to be going off without a hitch. Here's a look at five big questions going into Week 1.
What to look forward to (and what to brace yourself for) in the 2021 NFL season
Will Covid breakouts and protocols affect any games?
The NFL and the collective world are now a year removed from how Covid-19 changed the landscape of public operations. The league has a number of protocols in place to protect against outbreaks during regular-season action.
The NFL also announced that the league will not be responsible for player outbreaks. If a player decides against vaccination and the team suffers a subsequent outbreak, that team will forfeit the game. There will no longer be any leniency on games being rescheduled.
Will Hurricane Ida cause a cancelation?
Unlike Covid-19, natural disasters cannot be avoided. Severe weather can cause untold damage to cities, and that is the case with the east coast of the United States.
The New Orleans Saints are currently moving their practice and games to a different location. New Orleans is being hit by Hurricane Ida, and hopefully the damage to the city is not extensive.
The New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers Week 1 game is being moved to Jacksonville due to massive power outages and the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.
Which dark horse will make the league take notice in Week 1?
A number of teams did not make the playoffs last season but could very well be knocking on the door in 2021, especially with teams retooling their entire plan of attack. One of the most intriguing teams to look out for in Week 1 is the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos made a lot of noise in their preseason smashing of most teams. Granted, teams were playing with their second and third-string prospects, but there should be a lot of hype around the Broncos, regardless. They could end up as a wildcard playoff team to watch out for.
Will the Dallas Cowboys make some noise on Thursday Night Football?
Week 1 is always kind of a toss-up. Most teams are still waiting to see which players will gel with one another.
The Dallas Cowboys have a tall task ahead of them, taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during prime time. The returning Super Bowl champions will look to continue their late-season success with Tom Brady at the helm. If the Dallas Cowboys can show up and beat the Bucs in their own home stadium in Week 1, they will have made quite a statement heading into the season.
Which rookie quarterback will see action in Week 1?
Mac Jones and Zach Wilson have already been named starters for their respective teams. That doesn't mean they will be the only rookies to see some action in Week 1.
Take the Chicago Bears, for instance. Many analysts believe rookie quarterback Justin Fields should be the rightful starter. Coach Nagy sees things differently. Andy Dalton has the job for now, but will Fields take the field if he struggles?
The same can be said for the San Francisco 49ers. Trey Lance has impressed many around the league since his preseason showing. Jimmy Garoppolo is their rightful starter, but would his possible struggles indicate a change at quarterback?
There could be a lot of shuffling going on with starters, not just in the quarterback room, especially if teams find themselves at odd ends with players beginning to hit the Covid/reserve list.
Also Checkout: Complete NFL Week 1 TV Schedule