The NFL’s regular season began on Thursday night with the defending champion New England Patriots beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21 in Foxborough, Mass.
Tom Brady completed 25 of 32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns, three to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady also set a franchise record by completing 19 consecutive passes. Julian Edelman caught 11 passes for 97 yards.
The bulk of the schedule picks up on Sunday (and there are two games on Monday night). And of course college football rules on Saturday. If you can’t watch them all (and you can’t), here’s a quick viewer’s guide:
No. 7 Oregon (1-0) at No. 5 Michigan State: The Ducks beat the Spartans last year in an early meeting, and here they are again. Oregon scored 61 points in its opener, but the Spartans are a far tougher defensive team than Eastern Washington.
No. 23 Tennessee (1-0) vs. No. 19 Oklahoma (1-0): Tennessee must stop Samaje Perine and the Oklahoma rushing attack but that’s only half the battle. The Vols gave up 430 passing yards to Bowling Green. Baker Mayfield passed for 388 yards and three touchdowns in OU’s 41-3 win over Akron, his first start as a Sooner.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills: Buffalo’s aggressive defense will only be augmented by new coach Rex Ryan’s blitz schemes. The Bills have not made the playoffs this century.
Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders: The Bengals have gone one-and-done in the playoffs for four straight years and are 0-10 in Oakland. Their offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, was fired as the Raiders coach after one season (8-8 in 2011). The Raiders are starting over (and over and over) under new coach Jack Del Rio.
Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The quarterbacks are rookies who went 1-2 in the draft (Jameis Winston to Tampa, Marcus Mariota to Tennessee) and Mariota also followed Winston as the Heisman Trophy winner.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .
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