The best one-on-one matchups in every Week 1 NFL game

Check out the individual battles that will determine every Week 1 game.

| 2 weeks ago
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The best one-on-one matchups in every Week 1 NFL game


The first week of the 2016 NFL season is already underway, with the Broncos’ 21-20 victory over the Panthers Thursday, and 15 more games will take place over the course of Sunday and Monday.

For each of those games, we have singled out the most critical one-on-one matchup using our PFF grades and information. Check them all out below:

Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Packers nose tackle Letroy Guion, the No. 65-ranked player at his position last season with a grade of 74.5, will play a key role in trying to limit the Jaguars running game and starting back T.J. Yeldon, PFF’s sixth-ranked running back with a grade of 79.1 last season.

guion-yeldon_matchup

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor ranked seventh in PFF’s quarterback grades last season, at 88.3. Can the Ravens secondary, led by free-agent pickup Eric Weddle (No. 14 safety with a grade of 81.8), slow him down in Week 1?

taylor-weddle_matchup

Chicago Bears at Houston Texans

Houston’s free-agent signing of PFF’s fifth-ranked running back from 2015, Lamar Miller (79.7), was one of the biggest acquisitions of the offseason. Can the Bears shut him down on Sunday, with the help of fifth-ranked linebacker Jerrell Freeman (89.3)?

[Check out PFF’s grades on every NFL player, complete with positional rankings, right here.]

miller-freeman_matchup

Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is quietly one of the league’s best defensive linemen, having earned a 89.9 grade in 2015, fifth-best at his position. Browns right guard John Greco (76.3, ranked 32nd) and the entire offensive line will have its hands full.

cox-greco_matchup

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Jameis Winston earned the 20th-best QB grade as a rookie last season, at 78.3. Desmond Trufant (82.2), PFF’s No. 19 cornerback a year ago, leads a Falcons secondary that will look to shut him down.

winston-trufant_matchup

Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson didn’t grade as high as he usually does last season (74.9, which ranked 18th among RBs), but he is still one of the best runners in all of football. Can the Titans’ front seven, including ninth-ranked linebacker Wesley Woodyard (85.9), limit him in the season opener?

woodyard-peterson_matchup

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets

The Bengals will be without star tight end Tyler Eifert in this one, but QB Andy Dalton still has A.J. Green at his disposal, the fifth-ranked wide receiver in football last season (90.4). Can CB Darrelle Revis (78.4, ranked 35th) and the Jets secondary lock him down?

green-revis_matchup

Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints

There wasn’t a better edge rusher in the NFL last season than Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who ranked first at his position with a PFF grade of 95.9. The good news for New Orleans in Week 1 is that left tackle Terron Armstead is developing into a young star in his own right, ranking third at his position last season with a grade of 90.8.

mack-armstead_matchup

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

San Diego’s Jason Verrett is quietly one of the league’s best cornerbacks, ranking second at the position last year with a grade of 89.7. He draws a tough assignment in Week 1, traveling to Kansas City to face the Chiefs and star wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (81.2 grade last season, which ranked 23rd in the NFL).

maclin-verrett_matchup

Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks

A lot of fans wanted to put the blame for Miami’s struggles last season on big-money free-agent signing Ndamukong Suh, but he actually earned the highest PFF grade of his career at 91.1, which ranked third among all defensive tackles. Can he exploit a vulnerable Seattle offensive line and disrupt Russell Wilson, who ranked fifth in QB grades last season at 91.7?

[Check out PFF’s grades on every NFL player, complete with positional rankings, right here.]

suh-wilson_matchup

Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ offensive line was a question mark last season, and if they are to have success against the Detroit defense in Week 1, left tackle Anthony Castonzo (79.2 grade, which ranked 26th at his position) will need to handle Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (81.3 grade, which ranked 29th at his position).

ansah-castonzo_matchup

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

The Giants paid big money this offseason to lure defensive end Olivier Vernon to New York from Miami. Vernon, who ranked third in the NFL at his position last season with a PFF grade of 92.3, will be put to the test right away with a matchup against the No. 1-graded left tackle in football, Dallas’ Tyron Smith (94.8).

vernon-smith_matchup

New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals

Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu is one of the top slot weapons (offense or defense) in the NFL, and last season ranked first among all cornerbacks in PFF grades at 92.8. He’ll look to shut down productive Patriots slot receiver Julian Edelman (84.5 grade, 16th among all WRs last year) in their “Sunday Night Football” matchup.

edelman-mathieu_matchup

Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins

PFF’s top-graded wide receiver Antonio Brown (96.4) meets PFF’s No. 4-graded cornerback Josh Norman (87.9) in the Steelers’ “Monday Night Football” showdown with the Redskins.

brown-norman_matchup1

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

NFC West rivals Rams and 49ers close out Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season with the second half of the “Monday Night Football” double-header, and the key matchup to watch will be whether San Francisco slot cornerback Jimmie Ward (78.3 grade, 36th among all CBs) and the Niners’ secondary can contain dynamic Rams slot receiver Tavon Austin (76.0 grade, 41st among all WRs).

austin-ward_matchup

 

From Thursday night:

Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos

While it wasn’t as lopsided as their Super Bowl matchup, Broncos edge rusher Von Miller (92.7 PFF grade last season, which ranked second among all OLBs) again got the better of Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers (68.8 grade, ranked 42nd).

Von Miller versus Mike Remmers

 

[Check out PFF’s grades on every NFL player, complete with positional rankings, right here.]

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