Open wide for some FOOTBALLLLLLLLLL!
Thursday night's NFL kickoff will feature 'America's Team' taking on the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and also Ed Sheeran for some reason.
There's going to be red hot NFL action for each of the next 21 weeks, so if you've been roped into a fantasy league by your mates, have been meaning to get involved for a while or just want something to watch on a Sunday evening, here's your one-stop shop for tying your Premier League team to an NFL franchise.
Arsenal – Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most famous franchises in the NFL, but they've not made it to the NFC Championship game since 1995, never mind reaching the Super Bowl. Arsenal's struggle hasn't been going on quite so long, but there's a real chord being struck with the big brand/poor results correlation – and the fact that those poor results have something to do with being owned by ancient American billionaires/possible vampires. Oh, and everyone thinks it's funny when they're bad
Aston Villa – San Francisco 49ers
Good in the 70s and 80s, absolute pap for a while, now kinda lively again.
Brentford – Carolina Panthers
This year is for building, and stabilising. That's about it really, you don't really have any 'first season back in the top flight in over 70 years' teams in the NFL, so a corollary is...challenging.
Brighton – Pittsburgh Steelers
Impeccably coached. Very well-organised. But if either of these teams are going to win anything right now, it'll be by stopping their opponent from scoring rather than racking up scores of their own.
Burnley – Denver Broncos
See: Steelers, Pittsburgh. But with worse coaching.
Chelsea – Baltimore Ravens
Both teams have some stunning offensive talent (hello Romelu Lukaku, hello Lamar Jackson, hi Kai Havertz), but those attacks are lifted to genuine title-contending relevance by stacked, well-drilled defensive units.
Crystal Palace – New York Giants
They're both from the biggest cities in their countries, that's good! They both suck. That's bad.
Everton – LA Chargers
There's no team in football better at getting in their own way than Everton. There's no team in football better at getting in their own way than the Chargers. They're not bad as such, but almost biblically bad in close games, with a near divine ability to miss short field goals in key moments. The 2010 Chargers might have been the best one-season team to ever play the game...and as this Secret Base video runs down, they didn't even make it to the playoffs. Everton, that.
Leeds United – Buffalo Bills
Used to be very good. Disappeared into the nothingness for most of the 21st century so far. Fanbase famous for turning out in numbers and getting rowdy. Got a new head coach a few years ago and are...good again? You're damn right Leeds are the Bills.
Leicester City – Seattle Seahawks
Both took their maiden titles in the mid-2010s and have continued to make smart signings to stay in the conversation near the top of their respective sports since. Leicester have made a quarter-final every season since their title win, and won the FA Cup, while the Seahawks have made the playoffs in six of the seven season since their Super Bowl win. Bonus factoid: remember that Chargers team who missed the playoffs in 2010 despite being maybe the best regular season team ever? That same year, the Seahawks got into the playoffs with seven wins and nine defeats – the worst record ever to get a post-season berth. Sport is weird.
Liverpool – Kansas City Chiefs
Both had ever so slightly disappointing 2020/21 seasons for various reasons, but high-octane attacks built on lightning pace and a litany of game-breaking talents? Yeah, that's about right.
Manchester City – LA Rams
Sean McVay and Pep Guardiola are the same person.
Manchester United – New England Patriots
The two great evil empires of their respective sports. Who else could it have been?!
Newcastle United – Cleveland Browns
Browns fans are one of the most tortured fanbases in the NFL, Newcastle fans are...you see where this is going. It's been blow after blow for this pair for years, and Cleveland's modern QB situation (remember DeShone '15 starts, 15 losses' Kizer?) bears a striking resemblance to Newcastle's post-Shearer strikers. Also, we could call this team the Newcastle Browns, and all have a nice reminisce about the best Premier League era shirt sponsor.
Norwich – Cincinnati Bengals
Southampton – Houston Texans
Looked to be building real momentum as recently as a year or two ago, but a couple of catastrophic losses (Southampton's 9-0s, Houston going 24-0 up on the Chiefs in the playoffs and losing 51-31) will go down as symbolising each side's demise.
Tottenham Hotspur – Chicago Bears
Both have claims to be bona fide 'big teams' thanks to their historic success and locations, neither have actually been really winning things since the 80s. Each team's 2018/19 – a 12-4 record for the Bears, Champions League final for Spurs – was more of an aberration than a trend.
Watford – New York Jets
You know how Watford often get lumped in with the London teams, despite not actually being in London? Well, the New York Jets play in New Jersey. They're also both bad teams. Honesty pays, kids.
West Ham – Atlanta Falcons
Oh man, do these fans love their teams. While their new stadiums both have issues (the London Stadium isn't a football ground, the Mercedes Benz Stadium looks like a butthole), the fans are passionate and the teams...have never won the big one.
Wolves – Detroit Lions
What is there to say about this Wolves team? What is there to say about this Lions team? Neither of them are good, neither of them have any kind of intrigue whatsoever, and no fan of another team has any opinion on their performances at all. Just two voids in the shape of sports teams.
For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209