NFL Week 1: The Games You Can't Afford to Miss

A winless preseason has everyone in Washington worried. Joe Gibbs is trying to calm down the panic. New offensive coordinator Al Saunders barely opened the playbook, so it's hard to see what is right or wrong with the Redskins. The biggest worries for Gibbs are how well halfback Clinton Portis can hold up with a dislocated shoulder and whether Portis even can play.

If he does, can he hold up against a physical defense? Say what you want about the Vikings, they are physical. It's hard for any blockers to handle an interior defensive line featuring Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Pat Williams is one of the best run stoppers in the league. This will be an interesting game for Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson. The Redskins let him go in 2000. He's won a Super Bowl and been a good quarterback ever since. This is an important game for Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell to show he still has the legs to go 16 games and take the Redskins to the playoffs.

1. Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions

The Rod Marinelli years begin Sunday in Detroit.. He's made practices tougher. He made the team fly to Oakland the same day as a game. He's worked the team tirelessly. Finally, he and president Matt Millen find out if the team is any good after all the changes and all the tough love.

The Seahawks nursed a lot of injuries in training camp, and they might not be poised for a fast start. Their best receiver, Darrell Jackson, didn't start practicing on his sore knee until last Monday, missing the entire preseason. The tight end position is thin. The defensive line didn't come together until late in the summer because of injures. But the Seahawks are on a mission to get back to the Super Bowl. Their last game was in Detroit. They failed to overcome mistakes and penalties and lost in the Super Bowl to the Steelers. This is the first step toward getting another chance to win the NFC Championship and making a Super Bowl trip to Miami.

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