Texas looks to future when it visits Alabama on Saturday: DeMeco Ryans makes head coaching debut at Baltimore

It’s going to be quite a weekend for football fans.

The NFL season begins its 103rd season when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions on Thursday.

On Sunday, Houston Texans first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans makes his debut as an NFL head coach when he takes his Texans to Baltimore to take on the Ravens and dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Week 1 has a number of interesting matchups as Miami will visit the Los Angeles Chargers in what could be an offensive showcase. Both teams are loaded with weapons on that side of the football so that game should be a must see for pro football fans.

The Dallas Cowboys will visit The Meadowlands to take on their NFC East rivals the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. This game will feature two teams that qualified for the playoffs a year ago as the Cowboys finished 12-5, dominated Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round, before following to their playoff nemesis San Francisco in the Division Playoffs. The Giants won at Minnesota in the Wild Card, before being blown out by Philadelphia the following week.

Week 1 concludes with Monday Night Football on the 22nd anniversary of 9-11 as the Buffalo Bills will take on Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets in an AFC East battle. In the college game, No. 23-ranked Texas A&M travels to South Beach to take on the Miami Hurricanes in an important game for both teams. The Aggies and ‘Canes both finished 5-7 a year ago and want and it’s important that both teams get off to solid starts in 2023 or their head coaches could start feeling the heat.

The Game of the Week will take place in Tuscaloosa when No. 11-ranked Texas takes on No. 4-ranked Alabama. A year ago, the Longhorns gave the Tide all it could handle before ‘Bama escaped with a 20-19 win in Austin. Texas will get a taste of what life will be like in the SEC as they move into the nation’s best football conference (along with Oklahoma) next season.

In high school action, Aldine ISD’s five varsity programs will play their final non-district games before league action begins.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what this weekend has to offer.


MacArthur vs. Cy-Lakes: Wayne Crawford’s Generals will take on Cy-Lakes on Thursday night at George Stadium in Spring ISD. The Generals suffered a heart-breaking 21-13 loss to Kingwood Park two weeks ago in their opener. This week, they take on a Cy-Lakes team that finished 2-8 a year ago and returns five offensive and four defensive starters. Look for the Generals to come out on top in their final non-district game of the season. My pick, MacArthur 23, Cy-Lakes 20

Davis vs. Westside: Kelvin Chatman’s Falcons will take on a Westside squad that finished 4-7 a year ago and returns six offensive and six defensive starters. The game will be played on Friday night at George Stadium in Spring ISD. Two weeks ago in their season opener, the Falcons fell to Katy Jordan, 39-21. My pick, Davis 26, Westside 23

Aldine vs. Houston Math and Tech: Cirilo Ojeda’s Mustangs will look to close out the non-district play against Houston Math and Tech (formerly Sam Houston High School) on Friday night at Delmar Stadium. Two weeks ago, Aldine dropped its season opener against Alvin and will look to right the ship on Friday against a team that finished 4-6 a year ago and returns five offensive and five defensive starters. My pick, Aldine 17, Houston Math and Tech 13

Eisenhower vs. Tomball Memorial: Odell James’ debut as the Eagles’ head coach was a successful one as the Eagles defeated Morton Ranch 18-16 two weeks ago. The Eagles trailed 16-6 with 6:38 left in the game and won it on a 43-yard TD pass from QB Jared Guter to wide receiver Jonathan Corbin with just 16 seconds left in the game. Guter finished the game with 134 passing yards and three TDs. Running back Ulysses Thibodeaux caught two TD passes and rushed for 67 yards. This week, they will face Tomball Memorial on Friday night in Tomball. Memorial finished 6-5 a year ago and returns eight offensive and 10 defensive starters. This will be a good test for the Eagles heading District 14-6A play in two weeks. My pick, Eisenhower 24, Tomball Memorial 21

Nimitz vs. Cy-Park: Nimitz High head coach Cornelius Harmon and his Cougars got their season off on the right track with a 20-7 win over Grand Oaks two weeks ago. Cougar QB Albert Brown tossed touchdown passes to Kamren Washington and Malachi Augustus, while defensive back Dayvieon Jackson returned an interception for a touchdown to close out the win. This week, Nimitz takes on a Cy-Park team that lost their season opener. Cy-Park finished 0-10 a year ago and returns seven offensive and seven defensive starters. My pick, Nimitz 31, Cy-Park 18


Texas A&M at Miami: As stated earlier, this is a key early-season game for both teams. The Aggies had a disappointing 5-7 season in 2022, while the Hurricanes finished with a similar record. A year ago, the Aggies earned a hard-fought 17-9 win at Kyle Field. There should be more offense this time around now that the Aggies have given the QB job to sophomore Conner Weigman (896 yards, 8 TDs). Weigman has two quality wide receivers in fellow sophomores Evan Stewart and Moose Muhammad II, but the key to the Aggie offense this year will be the health of speedy wideout/ running back Ainias Smith. Smith played in just four games a year ago and he is back to full speed. That’s good news for Jimbo Fisher’s team and could be bad news for the ‘Canes defense. The A&M defense will get tested by returning QB Tyler Van Dyke (1,835 yards, 10 TDs) and running back Henry Parrish Jr. (616 yards, 4 TDs). Look for the A&M defense to be the difference maker in this one as Fisher’s team picks up a big early-season road win. My pick, Texas A&M 27, Miami 20

Texas at Alabama: This should be a good one as Steve Sarkisian returns to his old stomping grounds (he served as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator before departing for the 40 Acres three years ago) with a team many think can not only win the Big 12 this year, but also contend for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. UT’s offense will go as far as QB Quinn Ewers (2,177 yards, 15 TDs) takes it. He has a stud at wide receiver in Xavier Worthy (60 receptions, 760 yards, 8 TDs) and a host of other talented pass catchers. Texas must find a replacement for running back Bijan Robinson, and Sark has a stable of backs to choose from. The Texas offense will get a big test against a solid ‘’Bama defense. That unit may have to carry Saban’s team until an inexperienced offense grows up. Saban has three choices at QB in returning backup Jalen Milroe (397 yards, 5 TDs, Ty Simpson and Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner (651 yards, 3 TDs in just 3 starts). Look for Saban to call on veteran running back Jase McClelan (655 yards, 7 TDs) to get a lot of work as the QBs settle into their roles. Look for UT to give the Tide a game, but the home crowd and ‘Bama defense will be the difference maker come Saturday. My pick, Alabama 23, Texas 20


Detroit at Kansas City: The Lions would like nothing more than to spoil the Chiefs Super Bowl celebration in front of a national TV audience on Thursday night. Good luck with that, Detroit fans. But seriously, the Lions finished as one of the hottest teams in the NFL last year, winning seven of their last nine games and closed the season with a win at Green Bay that knocked the Packers out of the playoffs. The Detroit offense will give the KC defense problems as QB Jared Goff (4,438 yards, 29 TDs) and wide receiver Aman-Ra St. Brown (106 receptions, 1,161 yards, 6 TDs) will give the KC secondary fits. The Lions have a new backfield as Jamaal Williams (New Orleans) and D’Andre Swift (Philly) have departed and have been replaced by former Bear David Montgomery (801 yards, 5 TDs) and rookie Jahmr Gibbs (926 rushing yards, 7 TDs/44 receptions, 444 yards, 3 TDs at Alabama). The Chiefs have a pretty good offense as well led by league and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes (5,250 yards, 41 TDs) and tight end Travis Kelce (110 receptions, 1,338 yards, 12 TDs). You know head coach Andy Reid will have a few tricks up his sleeve to get others involved in his offense. This should be a good season opener, with the Chiefs’ offense leading the way. My pick, Kansas City 33, Detroit 24

Houston at Baltimore: The Texans begin the DeMeco Ryans era with a tough season opener when they face a solid Baltimore team on the road. No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud will make his first NFL start in a very hostile environment. Stroud, who threw 85 TD passes in two years as the starter at Ohio State, progressed nicely in the preseason, but he will face a stern test in his pro debut against a very good Ravens defense. He will need a big day from running back Dameon Pierce (939 yards, 4 TDs) and a coming out party for third-year WR Nico Collins (37 receptions, 481 yards, 2 TDs in 10 games). The Houston defense, which should be much improved under Ryans tutelage, will face a healthy Lamar Jackson (2,242 yards, 17 TDs/ 764 rushing yards, 3 TDs in just 8 games) who can be a handful. He still has dependable tight end Mark Andrews (73 receptions, 847 yards, 5 TDs) to throw too, as well as newly-acquired Odell Beckham, Jr. Look for the Texans to give Baltimore a game, but Jackson will be the deciding factor late. My pick, Baltimore 26, Houston 20

Miami at Los Angeles Chargers: If you are a fan of high-scoring games, this should be right up your alley. This game will feature two of the top offenses in the league with a boatload of offensive talent on both teams. The Dolphins are hoping that QB Tua Tagovailoa (3,545 yards, 25 TDs in 13 games) is fully recovered from the concussions that derailed his 2022 season. He has two explosive wide receivers in Tyreek Hill (119 receptions, 1,710 yards, 7 TDs) and Jaylen Waddle (75 receptions, 1,356 yards, 8 TDs) to throw to and two solid running backs in Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. The Chargers have perhaps the best overall running back in the NFL in Austin Ekeler (915 rushing yards, 13 TDs/107 receptions, 722 yards, 5 TDs) and a topflight QB in Justin Herbert (4,739 yards, 25 TDs). Herbert still has veteran WR Keenan Allen (66 receptions, 752 yards, 4 TDs) to throw to as well. This should be a fun game to watch. Look for Herbert to make one or two more plays than Tua to lead the Chargers to the win. My pick, Los Angeles Charger 34, Miami 31

Dallas at New York Giants: Nothing like starting your season with a key division game right off the bat, but that’s the scenario facing the Cowboys and Giants as they meet on Sunday Night Football in an NFC East battle. Dallas begins the season with a new running back as Tony Pollard (1,007 rushing yards, 9 TDs/39 receptions, 371 yards, 3 TDs) is now the starter as former starter Ezekiel Elliott was released in the offseason and signed with New England. Dak Prescott (2,860 yards, 23 TDs/15 interceptions) is still the starting QB and if the Cowboys are to move past the Division round, Prescott must cut down on the turnovers. He has plenty of weapons at wide receiver led by CeeDee Lamb (107 receptions, 1,359 yards, 9 TDs), Michael Gallup and former Texans WR Brandin Cooks (57 receptions, 699 yards, 3 TDs). Dallas has a solid defense led by Micah Parsons. That unit will get tested by Giants QB Daniel Jones (3,205 passing yards, 15 TDs/ 708 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and speedy running back Saquon Barkley (1,312 yards, 10 TDs). The Giants offense should also get a boost with the acquisition of former Raiders tight end Darren Waller. Look for the Dallas defense to be the difference maker in this one as the Cowboys get a big road win to start the season. My pick, Dallas 23, New York Giants 20

Buffalo at New York Jets: The Aaron Rodgers era for the Jets begins on Monday Night Football with a key AFC East contest against the Buffalo Bills. Rodgers (3,695 yards, 26 TDs in Green Bay last year) give the Jets a bonafide quarterback, something they have badly missed over the last few seasons. He won’t be a one-man team. He has a solid running game in former Vikings Dalvin Cook (1,173 yards, 8 TDs) and second-year man Breece Hall (463 rushing yards, 4 TDs/19 receptions, 218 yards, 1 TD in 7 games). He also has the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in speedy wideout Garrett Wilson (83 receptions, 1,103 yards, 4 TDs). The Jets also have a top 10 defense. That unit will get a stern test from Buffalo QB Josh Allen (4,283 passing yards, 35 TDs/762 rushing yards, 7 TDs) and a big-play wide receiver in Stefon Diggs (108 receptions, 1,429 yards, 11 TDs). The Bills need to do better running the football and they will put their running game in the hands of James Cook (Dalvin’s younger brother) and former Patriot Damien Harris. Look for Rodgers to give the Jets fans something to crow about as his Jets debut is a successful one. My pick, New York Jets 26, Buffalo 24