NFL 2016 has officially started and Monday Night Football kicks off tonight with a season opening double-header.
First up, the Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field at 7:10 p.m. ESPN’s matchup predictor says that the Steelers will take the first game, but let’s take a brief look at their preseasons. The Redskins, who went 9-7 in 2015, won three of the four games they played, only falling short to the Falcons. The Steelers, who went 10-6 in 2015, had the opposite record and only conquered the Saints in week three. Even so, most bets are on the Steelers, possibly due to QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is notoriously difficult to take down. Last season, he threw 3938 yards for 21 touchdowns.
A big matchup to look for tonight? Cornerback Josh Norman and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Norman referred to Brown as a “tall task to take on.” As far as injuries, wide receiver Markus Wheaton is out with a shoulder injury, leaving Sammie Coates as the likely starter. Also out for the Steelers are—Roosevelt Nix, Senquez Golson and Cody Wallace. The Redskins have a lot of questionable statuses, including Kendall Reyes, Matt Jones, Spencer Long, and Kedric Golston. There are reports that wide receiver Josh Docton’s achilles injury that sidelined him for a majority of the offseason may have healed enough to put him in.
Josh Doctson may play tonight. I doubt he'd play a lot or play big role, but that's a huge win if so. Has been dinged all summer. #Redskins
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) September 12, 2016
After that game we have a California face off, with the Los Angeles Rams taking on the San Francisco 49ers at 10:20 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium. The Rams went 2-2 in preseason, and in 2015 had a 7-9 record. The 49ers had the same preseason record and went 5-11 in 2015. The Rams are expected to utilize Todd Gurley, an explosive running back who rushed for 1106 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. The Rams are also knowing for having one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, with defensive tackle Aaron Donald and defensive end Robert Quinn. That’s something that 49er’s QB Blaine Gabbert needs to try and work around.
On the injury report for the 49ers is Quinton Dial, Chris Davis, Arik Armstead, Nick Bellore, Glenn Dorsey and Keith Reaser. Right guard Anthony Davis reportedly missed Saturday’s practice for non-injury related reasons(there are existing rumors that he’s considering another retirement.) The Rams have ruled out Pharoah Cooper, Nelson Spruce and EJ Gaines for the first game. Rob Havenstein has a questionable foot injury.