By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
It’s the first Monday Night Football of the 2019 season, it will be a doozy of a doubleheader, and not just because of the play on the field.
One team starts their quest to revenge what they see as a stolen NFC Championship, and two teams that had some offseason drama. And then there are the Broncos, who are just trying to right the ship. Add to this what will hopefully be great games on the field, and we should have a fantastic kick-off to Monday Night Football.
Houston Texans vs New Orleans Saints
I’m sure when the powers that be scheduled this matchup, they saw a team that felt cheated out of a possible Super Bowl, the Saints, and a team with a young, talented quarterback and a stout defense going head to head. And we could still get that game, but a few things have changed.
The Saints are definitely playing with a chip on their shoulder after the disastrous non-call in the NFC Championship game against the Rams. But, they are also playing knowing their window to get to a Super Bowl might be closing. While I have no question that Saints quarterback Drew Brees is still one of the best in the league, we also know he is 40 years old and probably has just a couple of years left in his career. However, the Saints have a super talented team around Brees and should be a contender for the Lombardi this year.
The Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, completely changed the course of this team with a couple of blockbuster trades just last week. The Texans, who had been a strong defense, good offense team, has now put their offense first. Houston traded Pro Bowl pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks, and then picked up two offensive prizes from Miami, left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Its obvious the focus is now completely on QB DeShaun Watson and keeping him healthy.
The Texans did get a bit of a break with the retirement of Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, which made the Texans the favorite to win the division. However, after the Colts game yesterday against the LA Chargers, the Colts may not be out of the picture like many thought.
Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders
Boy howdy, talk about some drama! Now I’m not going to go back over the WR Antonio Brown saga, as we have all heard about it ad nauseam, but I will say this… we knew there would be fireworks from the Raiders camp this offseason, and boy did they deliver.
However, I wouldn’t count the Raiders out of the running just yet. Their transaction list is one of the longest in the NFL this offseason and I’m thinking a few of those new pieces will really fit. The real question is can they let their lockerroom settle down and get down to the business of football.
As for the Denver Broncos, they added former Ravens QB Joe Flacco to their roster to bolster a lagging offense. We know that since the departure of Peyton Manning, the Broncos just couldn’t seem to get it right in the QB position. Flacco could be that guy for at least the next few seasons.
The Denver defense still has linebacker Von Miller as its leader and that should make most Broncos fans very happy. The defense has been the star for Denver over the last few seasons and should continue to be so this year.
Basically, this is a must-win for both of the AFC West teams. The Broncos have to prove they have gotten past the offensive woes of the last few years, and the Raiders have to show they are more than a TV show. It should be a good game to watch.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG