Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...
Sunday's key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted
Coach John Fox was optimistic all three wideouts would play Sunday. UPDATE: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Jeffery is expected to play.
Lovie Smith said Evans "looked good" Friday in a walkthrough. UPDATE: Evans will not play Sunday, according to NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon.
Cleared from a concussion, Johnson is in line for a solid-sized role with just a few backs available.
Mathis was trying to come back from his offseason Achilles surgery in time for Week 1 but was ruled out.
Green fully practiced on Friday, which is a positive step toward being on the field Sunday.
Did anyone really believe Cobb wouldn't be ready?
Jernigan sat out Friday and it looks like he'll miss Week 1. The Broncos' offensive line will breathe a little easier with the penetrating tackle out of the game.
Gerhart was limited Friday. Marqise "Albino Tiger" Lee likely won't see the field.
All three were limited Friday. UPDATE: Rapoport reported that Bowe would be inactive.
Limited all week, he could see the field for the first time in more than a year.
The former No. 1 overall pick looks poised to make this his season of redemption.
Coach Jay Gruden declined to say if RGIII would be active or where he'd stand on the depth chart after the quarterback was cleared from his concussion Friday. NFL Network's Jeff Darlington reported Saturday that Colt McCoy will be listed as the Redskins No. 2 quarterback vs. the Dolphins, per sources informed of the situation.
Floyd was limited all week, but he is poised to play Sunday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Ertz was a full participant in practice Saturday. Barring a setback, he should play Monday night.
Both practiced in full Saturday. Tevin Coleman is set to get the start at tailback, but Freeman should see plenty of snaps.
Forecasts will be updated as prognostications drift closer to game time.
Three matchups that intrigue
Not only is Peyton Manning learning a new offense with what appeared to be a "diminished" throwing arm during the preseason, he's also being protected by a new group of blockers. Rookie Ty Sambrailo is on his blind side, veteran Evan Mathis hasn't taken a snap for the group. Over the last two seasons, the Ravens' pass-rushing duo of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs have combined for 48.5 sacks (second in the NFL). The Broncos' revamped line will need to corral the duo to ensure the new offense is allowed to gallop Week 1.
Surrounding Andrew Luck with more weaponry than a young quarterback could ask for. (T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, rookie Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener and Frank Gore) represent the deepest pool of offensive assets on display this week. However, Rex Ryan loves stomping on offensive parties. The Bills might just possess the perfect defensive system to cripple Luck's weapons. The key will be Luck maneuvering around Ryan's multitude of blitz packages and finding the weak spots in the Bills' back end -- rookie corner Ronald Darby could become a target for Luck to pick on.
Yes, matchup is technically the wrong word. Nevertheless, if the prospect of watching the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks go back-and-forth on a 100-yard slate of green grass doesn't get you pumped, you've picked the wrong website. Mariota has looked every bit as good as advertised during offseason workouts. The unflappable Titans quarterback has displayed great instincts and an ability to make NFL throws both in and outside the pocket. If Gerald McCoy doesn't decapitate him, Mariota could have a good day against a questionable Bucs secondary.
Winston has been more boom or bust, but when he's been on, he's displayed the raw talent scouts drool over. With Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson on his side, Winston has potential for big plays Sunday. However, with one of the worst offensive lines, against a Dick LeBeau-led defense, Winston will have to deal with plenty of rushers in his face. How he reacts will be something to keep an eye on.
Did You Know?
The Chiefs were the only team to go undefeated this preseason. The last time the Chiefs went undefeated in the preseason (6-0 in 1969), they went on to win their only Super Bowl title in franchise history (Super Bowl IV over the Vikings). The previous time the Chiefs went undefeated in the preseason was 1966 (4-0) -- their only other Super Bowl appearance in franchise history (lost Super Bowl I to Packers).
The Seahawks are trying to become the first team in NFL history to lead the league in scoring defense and total defense in three straight seasons. The 1985-1986 Bears, the 1969-1970 Vikings and the 1954-1955 Browns are the only other teams to do so in back-to-back seasons. In their bid for three straight, both the Vikings and Browns finished first in scoring but second in total defense.
In 2014, seven of the 12 teams that reached the playoffs won in Week 1: ARI, CAR, BAL, PIT, CIN, IND, DET, DAL, NE, SEA, GB, DEN.
2014 playoff teams that lost in Week 1: BAL, IND, DAL, NE, GB -- three of the five lost to other playoff teams (BAL vs. CIN, IND at DEN & GB at SEA).
Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 53.1 percent of teams (204 of 384) that won their season openers went on to make the playoffs.
At least one team has gone from worst to first in its division in 11 of the last 12 NFL seasons (includes teams that tied for last). Nineteen teams have gone worst to first in the last 12 years -- no teams did it last season. Last-place teams in 2014: Jets, Browns, Titans, Raiders, Redskins, Bears, Buccaneers, Rams.
Buffalo had only 27 rushing plays of 10-plus yards last season, fewest in NFL in 2014.
The Bills led the NFL with 54 sacks last season. In 2013 under Rex Ryan's protégé, Mike Pettine: second in NFL with 57 sacks.
Since Luck joined the Colts in 2012, they have had just one game (out of 54, including playoffs) in which a player rushed for 100 yards -- the lowest such total in the NFL.
Since 1960, only one player has more 100-yard receiving games than Hilton's 16 in his first three NFL seasons: Randy Moss, who had 19 such games for the Vikings from 1998-2000.
Indy owned the NFL's No. 3 total offense and the top passing offense last season. The Colts ran more passing plays than any team last season (690).
Luck has not played well in season openers, posting a 1-2 record with five touchdowns and five interceptions.
Green Bay led the NFL in scoring last season -- 30.4 points per game (second-highest in franchise history). It was just one of two teams to average over 30 PPG in 2014 (DEN, 30.1).
Rodgers is 12-3 versus the Bears in his career, including playoffs, compiling a 68.1 completion percentage, 246.1 passing yards per game, 31-10 TD-to-INT ratio and 106.2 passer rating.
In 2014, Bears running back Matt Forte became the second player in NFL history to record 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a season. Forte had 1,038 rushing yards and 102 receptions (most ever by a running back). Expect the receptions to come down, but Forte should still be the focal point of Chicago's offense.
Jay Cutler, in eight NFL seasons as the primary starter, never had a passer rating over 90 -- only three players in the Super Bowl-era have gone nine straight seasons with 10-plus starts and a passer rating under 90. Cutler had a career-high in TD passes (28) and completion percentage (66.0) in 2014.
Brian Hoyer's 2014 season: 3,326 yards, 12 TD, 13 INT, 76.5 passer rating. He went 7-6 as starter with the second-lowest completion percentage of any quarterback to throw 100-plus passes in 2014.
The Chiefs connected on the fewest passing plays of 25-plus yards of any team in the last two seasons (43).
K.C. has gone 19 straight games without a receiving TD by a wide receiver -- since 1940, the most consecutive games without a receiving TD by a WR is 20 (1958-59 Redskins).
Chiefs had the NFL's No. 2 scoring defense in 2014 (17.6 PPG). However, ranked T-30th in takeaways (14) and 28th in total rush defense in 2014, while only allowing four rushing TDs all season -- best in the NFL in 2014.
Last season, Cam Newton posted the fewest TD passes (18), lowest passer rating (82.1), fewest passing yards (3,127) and lowest yards per attempt (7.0) of his four-year career.
The Jags owned the NFL's worst-scoring offense (15.6 PPG) and No. 31 total offense (289.6 YPG) last season.
Blake Bortles was sacked 55 times last season, third-most for a rookie since 1963 when the league started keeping track of times sacked -- David Carr (76 in 2002) and Tim Couch (56 in 1999).
The Jacksonville defense tied for sixth-most sacks in NFL last season (45). The Jaguars gave up 25-plus points in eight games last season. Since Gus Bradley took over as head coach, the Jags have the fewest interceptions in the NFL (17).
The Browns have lost 10 straight season openers, the NFL's longest active streak of Week 1 futility. Cleveland's last Week 1 win came in 2004 when Jeff Garcia led the team to a 20-3 victory over the Ravens. They've had eight different starting QBs in those season-opening losses: Trent Dilfer (2005), Charlie Frye (2006 & 2007), Derek Anderson (2008), Brady Quinn (2009), Jake Delhomme (2010), Colt McCoy (2011), Brandon Weeden (2012 & 2013) and Brian Hoyer (2014). Josh McCown will start Sunday.
The Browns had the NFL's No. 27 scoring offense last season (18.7 PPG). Cleveland hasn't had a top-10 scoring offense since 2007.
2013: No. 7 scoring defense (20.3 PPG)
2014: No. 5 scoring defense (18.7 PPG)
The Jets ranked third in rushing last season, but last in passing. New York has not had a top-10 total offense since 1998, when Bill Parcells was head coach.
Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with a 95.3 passer rating in 2014, his highest ever. He completed 51.5 percent of 20-plus air-yard passes in 2014 -- highest among all QBs with at least 20 such attempts.
The Rams' defense allowed two TDs to opposing tight ends last season (T-2nd fewest in NFL). Graham has 35 TDs since 2012 (most in NFL among tight ends).
The Seahawks are the only team in the NFL to run the ball on over half of their offensive plays in each of the last three seasons -- top rushing offense last season (172.6 YPG); top-five rushing offense in three straight years.
Wilson threw only one INT on the road last season (14-1 TD-INT ratio on road).
Wilson has been sacked 25 times in six career games versus St. Louis.
St. Louis has not had a top-15 rushing offense since 2001 (finished fifth), back when QB Kurt Warner and RB Marshall Faulk were on the team, with Mike Martz roaming the sideline.
The 2014 Redskins allowed the second-highest passer rating in NFL history to opposing QBs (108.3), better than only the 2008 Detroit Lions, who went 0-16 (110.9). This offseason, the Redskins replaced defensive coordinator Jim Haslett with Joe Barry. Barry's last season as a defensive coordinator? In 2008, for the 0-16 Lions.
Kirk Cousins' completion percentage and passer rating in the first half of 2014: 64.9 percent and 104.2 rating. In the second half of games -- after teams could make adjustments -- those numbers fell to 57.8 percent and a 63.9 passer rating.
Cousins threw an interception on 4.4 percent of his pass attempts last season -- highest percent in NFL among QBs with 200-plus pass attempts. Since 2012, Cousins has thrown 19 interceptions, most in the NFL among QBs with fewer than 450 pass attempts.
DeSean Jackson's 2014 season: 56 receptions, 1,169 yards, six TDs. Since entering the NFL in 2008, no player has more receptions of at least 25 yards than Jackson.
Miami earned the NFL's second-best rushing average last season (4.69 yards per carry), behind only the Seahawks (5.3) -- it marked the fifth-highest rushing average in franchise history.
The Dolphins are scheduled to start the season against six starting QBs who have a combined .379 winning percentage and zero playoff wins -- Cousins is first.
Since 2012, the Saints are 10-14 on the road, scoring 5.5 fewer points per game with a -13 turnover differential.
Jimmy Graham -- traded to Seattle -- accounted for 32.1 percent of Brees' end-zone targets since 2011. Since that time, New Orleans' offense has relied on tight ends more than any other team except the Patriots, ranking second in targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns, red-zone targets and red-zone touchdowns.
John Brown's 2014 season: 48 receptions, 696 yards, five TDs -- All the touchdowns came in the first nine games (none in final seven games).
Patrick Peterson allowed a passer rating of 95.5 in coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus (career worst).
Matthew Stafford is 0-18 on the road against teams which finished the regular season with a winning record, including playoff games. He is 3-32 in all games against teams finishing with a winning record, including playoffs.
Detroit had the NFL's No. 3 scoring defense in 2014 with the now-departed Ndamukong Suh. The Lions haven't had a top-10 scoring defense in back-to-back seasons since 1975-1976. Last season, Detroit tied an NFL record for the most games (14) holding opponents under 100 team rushing yards in a season.
San Diego earned the NFL's 30th-ranked rushing offense in 2014 (85.4), along with the 31st ranking in yards per carry (3.4), and scored just six rushing touchdowns (T-29th).
The Chargers were top 10 in total defense (yards allowed) in two of the last three seasons, and the NFL's No. 4 passing defense in 2014 (214.2 YPG).
The Ravens did not allow a single 100-yard rusher last season -- only team in NFL that did not allow a 100-yard rusher.
Good news for C.J. Anderson: Kubiak has had a 1,000-yard rusher in 15 of his 20 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator, including eight different players to accomplish the feat.
In Kubiak's offense, Peyton Manning is expected to take more snaps under center. Manning has taken 70-plus percent of his snaps from the shotgun in each of the last two seasons with the Broncos. Last season under Kubiak, Flacco took only 23 percent of snaps from the shotgun (77 percent under center).
Four of the five offensive linemen to start eight games for the Broncos last season are now injured or off the roster.
Manning had the quickest average time-to-throw of any quarterback last season, 2.25 seconds per throw. Peyton has the lowest sack percentage of any QB in Super Bowl era (3.1 percent).
Latavius Murray averaged 1.93 more yards per carry than his fellow Raiders running backs last season (Murray 5.17 yards/carry, other RBs 3.24 yards/carry). Among all running backs with at least 80 carries last season, Murray had the biggest increase in yards per carry over his running back teammates.
The Raiders' defense allowed 28.3 points per game last season (most in NFL) and forced just 14 takeaways (T-30th in NFL).
Khalil Mack's 2014 season: 76 tackles, 4.0 sacks, forced fumble, three passes defensed. Added 16 QB Hits, T-4th most among LBs.
When Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston take the field Sunday, it will be the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that quarterbacks have faced off as the No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks in Week 1 of their rookie season. It is the fifth time since the AFL-NFL merger that the No. 1 and No. 2 picks have squared off in their debuts regardless of position. The previous four pairs: Eric Fisher & Luke Joeckel (2013), JaMarcus Russell & Calvin Johnson (2007), Russell Maryland & Eric Turner (1991), and Kenneth Sims & Johnie Cooks (1982). Calvin Johnson was the only No. 2 pick to defeat a NO. 1 pick.
The Titans were one of three teams to rank 20th or worse in rushing offense, passing offense, third-down offense, and red-zone offense in 2014. Mariota will be a welcome sight.
Bishop Sankey's 2014 season: 152 carries, 569 yards, two TDs. He has yet to rush for 70-plus yards in any NFL game -- 3.74 yards per carry, 30th among running backs with at least 100 carries.
Despite finishing 27th in total defense and T-29th in scoring defense, the Titans parted ways with only two starters from last season.
The Buccaneers had the NFL's third-worst total offense (292.0 YPG) and fourth-worst scoring offense (17.3 PPG) last season.
Tampa allowed 52 sacks last season (T-third most in NFL).
The 2014 Buccaneers were the worst defense ever coached by Lovie Smith, giving up the most points per game (25.6), yards per game (368.9), passing yards per game (255.3), worst third-down percentage (43.7) and fewest takeaways (25) in his ten seasons as an NFL head coach.
The Giants made a major improvement in the red zone. They scored as many red zone TDs in 2014 as they had total red zone drives in 2013: 36.
Odell Beckham Jr. will be looking to set a new NFL record. Beckham finished his rookie campaign with nine straight games of 90-plus receiving yards, tying the NFL record set by Michael Irvin in 1995.
New York had the NFL's 29th-ranked total defense last season -- 18th-ranked passing defense, 30th-ranked rushing defense. It will be without Jason Pierre-Paul and deploy a young, remade secondary.
The Cowboys have not had back-to-back 10-plus win seasons since doing so in six straight seasons from 1991-96.
Romo earned the highest completion percentage (69.9) and passer rating (113.2) of his career last season, while throwing 34 touchdowns to just nine interceptions.
The Eagles' offense will look much different in 2015 after losing their starting quarterback (Nick Foles), starting running back (LeSean McCoy) and leading receiver (Jeremy Maclin). Since 1950, there have been nine teams to lose their leading rusher, leading receiver and a quarterback that started at least half of the team's games from the previous season. Just two of those nine teams had winning records the next season (1954-55 Redskins and 2005-06 Saints).
DeMarco Murray led the NFL with 392 carries last season. None of the last six running backs with 390-plus carries in a season followed that up with 1,000 rushing yards the next year. The last player to do so was Eric Dickerson, who followed up a 404-carry season in 1986 with 1,288 rushing yards in 1987 (while playing in just 12 games). Since then, Larry Johnson (2007), Ricky Williams (2004), Eddie George (2001), Jamal Anderson (1999), Terrell Davis (1999) and Barry Foster (1993) have all come up short.
The Falcons were last in total defense, passing defense and third-down defense last season. They won only six games despite having an eighth-ranked total offense. Welcome Dan Quinn!
Teddy Bridgewater's 2014 season: 64.4 comp percent, 2,919 yards, 14 TDs, 12 INTs, 85.2 passer rating. Fifth-highest passer rating by a rookie QB since 1990 (min. 8 starts). 90-plus passer rating in four of final five games last season, fifth-highest passer rating in NFL in last four weeks (min. 50 attempts).
Everson Griffen's 2014 season: 58 tackles, 12.0 sacks, 24 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss -- all career highs; ninth in NFL in sacks.
Kaepernick has gone 20 straight games without throwing a TD pass in the fourth quarter, the NFL's longest active streak. However, he'd need to go another 24 games without a fourth-quarter TD toss to match Troy Aikman for the longest such streak since 1950. Kaepernick's last fourth-quarter touchdown pass came in the 2013 Wild Card game versus the Packers -- 617 days prior to San Francisco's Week 1 matchup with the Vikings.