It is the day New England Patriots fans have all been waiting for. Opening night.
Unfortunately for fans and fantasy owners wanting some Antonio Brown action, you will literally not see him at all as he cannot play or be on the sideline with the team.
With that being said, here are the five players to watch on banner night.
Josh Gordon is playing his first snaps of meaningful football since his indefinite suspension in the middle of last season.
Gordon adds an entirely new dimension to the Patriots with his size and speed as a deep threat. Outside Joe Haden, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary is shaky with Steven Nelson and Artie Burns being mediocre at best.
Look for Gordon to have at least a touchdown tonight as he is a player to watch trying not just to rebound on the football field but in life as well.
Whoever Comes out at Tight End
With Lance Kendricks and Benjamin Watson both suspended, the Patriots are pretty short at tight end.
Even their starting tight end going into this season Matt LaCosse is a question mark for tonight which means the Patriots could potentially come out with one tight end in Ryan Izzo.
Do not be surprised to see James Develin take some snaps at tight end or the Patriots using an extra offensive lineman as an eligible receiver.
For the first time in quite a while, the Patriots’ biggest weakness is tight end and it will be interesting to see who gets the nod there tonight.
The sophomore running back looks to carry the momentum he built starting in the middle of last season.
For the first time, the Georgia alum will have a chance to put together a full NFL campaign as the premiere running back for the Super Bowl champions.
Michel’s knee looks healthy as evidenced in his rushing in the preseason that seemed faster and smoother.
Look for the Patriots to try and control the clock with their rushing attack. It would not be surprising to see him pass the century mark in yardage or have a touchdown or two.
Watch for him tonight fans.
Jackson had a few choice words for Juju Smith-Schuster in an interview leading up to the game.
“In my opinion, I don’t think so. There’s a lot of good receivers in the NFL,” Jackson told reporters. “I mean, he’s a great receiver. I’m not saying that. He’s a good football player. He’s physical. He’s a good route runner and he has strong hands. He makes a lot of plays on the ball.”
Smith-Schuster will undoubtedly use that to fuel the fire coming out against Jackson who blanketed him last season.
Jackson had a stellar rookie campaign allowing only 22 catches on 42 targets for 262 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
Sophomore slump or sophomore jump? Jackson will begin to answer that question tonight.
He is a 42-year old quarterback entering his 20th season. Do the math.
The six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback will take the field with a plethora of weapons looking to fend off time for another year.
Brady could have a bit of a decline this season not in ability but in statistics as the Patriots may choose to run the ball a bit more with a balanced offense.
It will also be interesting to say the least what will happen Brown comes to town.
Same old Brady or showing a bit of age? That is why he is a player to watch tonight.