Monday Night Football is an American institution, so what better way to start an NFL season than with a double-header on the season’s first Monday night?
The action starts at 7:10 pm (ET) with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings. Then at 10:20 pm (ET), the Los Angeles Chargers are in Denver to battle the Broncos.
Here is a preview of those two contests . . .
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
The Saints spent the off-season trying to assemble a defense that won’t continue to drag down their high-powered offense. Their new-fangled defense was dominant in the preseason, for what it’s worth.
The Vikings spent the off-season trying to fix an offensive line that was problematic last year, including the addition of new bookend offensive tackles – Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.
We will start to find out if either plan will work starting Monday night.
As if the Saints didn’t have enough offensive weapons, the additions of future Hall-of-Fame running back Adrian Peterson, along with one of the NFL’s fastest receivers, Ted Ginn, make them even more potent.
A big question in Minnesota is how they replace their long-time standout Peterson, but it looks like rookie running back Dalvin Cook can be special.
While this should be a close game, we give a slight edge to the Saints.
You give offensive mastermind Drew Brees and Sean Payton four months to prepare for a game, they are going have nonpareil game plan.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
This is Chargers first real game representing Los Angeles, after moving from San Diego this off-season.
San Diego’s reworked offensive line will face quite a challenge in Denver against the NFL’s best pass rusher, Von Miller
“I don’t think there is any questions he’s one of the best players in the league,” said Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. “They do a good job of moving him around to create mismatches, so at some point, you have to block him one on one. That is what they are trying to do.”
The Chargers have some good pass rushers of their own with ends Josy Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who will present a big challenge for the Broncos rookie left tackle, Garrett Bolles.
This game could go either way, but we will give the slight edge to Denver, playing at home in the rarefied air of Sports Authority Stadium.
It’s a great home field advantage, even if it is still named after a company that went out of business.