The NFL’s Opening Day

The NFL season is rapidly approaching, and the countdown to Week 1 has begun for lots of fans. It’s the first real impression everyone gets of their team (apologies to the preseason) and it could set the stage for the other 16 weeks of the regular season. Let’s take a look at a few of the more interesting games of Week 1 and i’ll preview what we can expect and what we might learn from the opening day of the 2014 NFL season.

Packers vs. Seahawks

The NFL was smart when they schedule this as the first game of the season, so get around your TV to watch some primetime football on Thursday night. The Seahawks are coming off an incredible run that ended with a Super Bowl beatdown of the heavily-favored Denver Broncos. The Seahawks have a huge target on their backs and the Packers were very close to playing them in the NFC Championship last season. Green Bay bolstered its defense in the draft and should be a big-time contender once again. These could be the NFC’s two best teams going at it in Week 1. This one ain’t cheap — tickets from $257.

Browns vs. Steelers

How exciting this one ends up being will probably have a lot to do with who is under center for Cleveland. Johnny Manziel has been the talk of the league since being drafted by the Browns towards the end of the first round, and he’s currently 2nd on the depth chart. I expected him to be the Week 1 starter and going up against a Steelers defense is never fun. This Pittsburgh team will also be interesting, as I truly don’t know if they’re closer to 11-5 or 5-11. Tickets from $99.

Clowney is the new big show in Houston. (Houston Chronicle)

Redskins vs. Texans

Two teams that were very, very bad last season. Both will be better in 2014. The Redskins are much better than they let on last season, and RG3 is poised to rebound with the help of newly-signed receiver DeSean Jackson, who was given the boot by divisIon-rival Philadelphia. The Texans drafted Jadaveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick  in the draft, and the entire NFL will be watching as he takes his first snaps against professional competition. Tickets from $78.

49ers vs. Cowboys

We all watched as Richard Sherman tipped the ball away for an INT to end the 49ers season in the NFC Championship game, and now we’ll see how they respond to another heartbreaking end to another very good season. Colin Kapernick has proven to be a rising star in the league, and they 49ers have continued to add to his arsenal of receivers. The Cowboys will have a healthy Tony Romo back after he was sidelined late in the season, but it’s the defense that will need to improve for Dallas to have a shot at the playoffs. Trying to contain this smashmouth 49ers attack will be a good first test. Tickets start at $163.