The NFL season gets underway this weekend with a full slate of games on Sunday and with Monday Night Football getting started. Here is a quick look at the games this weekend with former NC State football players involved.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets – In this AFC East showdown defensive end Mario Williams will try to regain his All-Pro form after missing most of last season with an injury after coming over from the Houston Texans. Rookie T.J. Graham in his first NFL game will look to get in the game and use his speed to provide a deep ball threat for quarterback Ryan Fitapatrick.
St Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions – The Lions will have two former Pack players contributing to their defense in this contest. Starting middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is a leader and quarterback of the defense. Defensive end Willie young will look to continue his impressive play in the preseason in this first game.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings – Seventh round draft pick inside linebacker Audie Cole not only made the roster, but has positioned himself as second team middle linebacker behind Jasper Brinkley. Cole could see some action on defense and on special teams.
New England Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans – The Titans offensive line will be anchored by starting right guard Leroy Harris. The sixth year pro has played all the offensive line positions during his career with the Titans.
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers – Rookie linebacker Terrell Manning who played outside linebacker while at NC State made the roster as the reserve middle linebacker. Look for Manning to see most of his playing time on special teams.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers will start a new era under new head coach Greg Schiano and with offensive lineman Ted Larsen moving into the starting lineup. Larsen a third year pro will be the starting right guard when Tampa Bay faces off against division rival Carolina Panthers.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos – For the Steelers nine year veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery will provide veteran leadership to a young receiving corps while the team adjusts to first year offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s scheme. Second year reserve linebacker Nate Irving for the Broncos looks for his playing time to increase after seeing action all sixteen games last season.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens – Veteran outside linebacker Manny Lawson enters his second season with the Bengals. Lawson will provide leadership to the young upstart team.
San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders – Quarterback Philip Rivers look to bounce back from a subpar season last year and return to his Pro Bowl form. Rivers will be helped by the return of his favorite target tight end Antonio Gates.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals – The Seahawks will start the season with rookie Russell Wilson at quarterback. Wilson might not possess the ideal height for a pro quarterback but his maturity, accuracy, and athleticism more than makes up for his lack of size. Wilson will not be the only rookie starting for the Seahawks rookie J.R. Sweezy will start at right guard. Sweezy a defensive tackle in college has made the transition to offensive lineman successfully. Kicker Steven Hauschka handles the kickoff, extra point, and field goal duties for the Seahawks. The Cardinals looking to get back to their Super Bowl form or the 2008-09 season will lean on the leadership of starting safety Adrian Wilson. Wilson entering his twelfth year in the league will look to show he has not lost a step and he is still a playmaker.