Parity might reign in the NFL, but there are still positional matchups each week that are so hilariously one-sided that they alone can decide the outcome.

Here’s a look at the most notable mismatches of Week 1:

Rams RB Todd Gurley vs. Raiders’ defense

After skipping the preseason, Todd Gurley will celebrate his new four-year, $60-million contract against the Oakland Raiders’ porous front seven.

Gurley is one of the most dynamic weapons in football, and Rams head coach Sean McVay does a masterful job of maximizing his skill set. As a ball-carrier, he’s skilled beyond belief. Blessed with electrifying speed, impressive vision, and uncanny balance, he can dominate from anywhere on the field. Gurley’s particularly adept in the zone running game, displaying the patience, vision, and burst necessary to be successful on these runs.

While he’s certainly a phenomenal ball-carrier, he really separates himself from the pack as a pass-catcher. McVay does a fantastic job of manufacturing touches for him in space, where he’s at his best. Gurley led all full-time running backs in yards per route run last season (2.1), according to Pro Football Focus.

After jettisoning their best defender, Khalil Mack, the Raiders aren’t equipped to stop Gurley and the high-flying Rams offense. Oakland’s defensive line will be overmatched by a veteran offensive line, especially in the running game.

A starting D-line of Tank Carradine, P.J. Hall, Justin Ellis, and Bruce Irvin just isn’t going to cut it against Andrew Whitworth, Rob Havenstein, and the rest of the Rams’ offensive line.

Furthermore, the Raiders lack the talent at the second level to compensate for their overmatched defensive line. Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson was a capable player in his early years, but at 35 years old, he lacks the juice in his legs to keep up with Gurley in the running or passing game.

With glaring talent deficiencies in the front seven, Oakland will likely be forced to blitz more than it typically would against the Rams, opening up L.A.’s diverse screen packages. McVay loves to make blitzing teams pay with a wide array of screens that get his best player in space.

On this play, the Rams are using 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) in a single-back set. They use Tavon Austin’s pre-snap motion and reverse action to confuse and slow the Texans’ defense. After using play-action to draw the linebacker to the line of scrimmage, Gurley leaks out for the screen with nothing but green grass, a slow and rotund defensive tackle, and three Rams offensive linemen in his vicinity.

This is what McVay, Gurley, and the Rams’ offense do best: Force defenses to sift through a wave of pre-snap motions and misdirection before using simple concepts to get their best weapons the ball in space.

Whether it’s on the ground or through the air, the Raiders don’t have a player (or a combination of players) who can match up with Gurley. Don’t be surprised to see him put up more than 200 total yards against Oakland.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen vs. Chiefs’ DBs

Similar to the Raiders cutting ties with their star defensive player in Mack, the Chiefs unloaded their best defensive back, Marcus Peters, in a trade with the Rams.

While Kansas City maintains the move will make it better in the long run, it certainly won’t help this week. The Chiefs did add Kendall Fuller to mitigate the loss of Peters, but he’s not the same caliber of cornerback.

Taking full advantage of the Chiefs’ corners will be Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who’s coming off a career year in which he had 102 receptions for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if he begins the season outpacing those numbers.

Allen is at his best against man coverage, where he uses his wide array of releases and smooth route-running ability to get open with regularity.

Here, Allen is lined up in the slot with Orlando Scandrick, who now plays for the Chiefs, in man coverage. Allen uses a stutter-step release to open up the out route. After getting Scandrick to move toward the middle of the field, he bursts upfield and creates a ton of separation through his break, giving Phillip Rivers an easy throw. From there, Allen does the rest, making four Cowboys defenders miss on his way to a touchdown.

Luckily for Allen, the Chiefs run a ton of man coverage. In fact, Kansas City ran more man coverage than any other team last year, according to PFF. As long as the Chargers’ offensive line can keep Justin Houston and the Chiefs’ pass rush at bay, Allen should have a big day.

Bengals WR A.J. Green vs. Colts’ DBs

Much like Allen, A.J. Green is ready to feast on a defensive back unit devoid of blue-chip talent, though with a less effective quarterback.

Green has been regarded as one of the best receivers in football for quite some time, and he doesn’t look anywhere close to slowing down, finishing with 75 catches for 1,078 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2017.

The Colts will try to use some amalgamation of Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore to slow down the perennial Pro Bowler. On paper, they don’t stand much of a chance, meaning Indianapolis will probably use a safety to help out.

Green is no stranger to bracket coverage, however, as teams have long identified him as the one player on the Bengals’ offense for whom they have to game plan. He’s been effective despite the added attention because of his route-running ability. It’s rare to see a 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver run routes so smoothly and fluidly.

Here, Green is lined up with a wide split to the quarterback’s left. After the snap, he sells the go route by getting his shoulders over his knees and bursting upfield. He even throws his hand up to further sell it. Once the cornerback gets into phase, Green uses his inside arm to create separation and breaks his route back to the sideline, giving Andy Dalton an easy throw for the first down.

The biggest question mark for Green has always been whether Dalton can get him the ball. The QB tends to struggle with accuracy under pressure, but, luckily for Green, the Colts aren’t good enough at rushing the passer for that to be a concern.

Expect Green to dominate the Colts in a performance similar to the one he posted against the New York Jets in the 2016 season opener, when he went for 12 catches, 180 yards, and a touchdown.

Saints DE Cameron Jordan vs. Buccaneers’ OTs

With 6.5 sacks in his last seven games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cameron Jordan has to be licking his chops as he prepares for the season opener.

Jordan is coming off a career year in which he registered 64 total pressures, 13 sacks, and 40 run stops. He established himself as an elite defender who is equally dominant against the run and pass.

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen does an excellent job of moving Jordan around the defensive line in search of the biggest mismatch up front.

This week, Jordan will likely spend most of his time against Buccaneers tackles Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith. (The Bucs are optimistic Smith will play after he suffered a knee sprain that has kept him out for two weeks.) Dotson is the more technically sound of the two, having allowed just two sacks last season (one came against Jordan), while Smith struggles in pass protection, allowing seven sacks and 42 total pressures in 2017.

What makes Jordan so difficult to block is his ability to attack in a variety of ways. He can win with speed, quickness, or power, allowing him to successfully target a blocker’s weakness throughout the game.

Having a diverse pass-rush plan and being able to string together multiple moves on a single play is what separates good pass-rushers from great pass-rushers. Jordan is excellent at putting moves together without delay, allowing for smooth transitions that keep offensive linemen off balance and unable to sustain past their first punch.

On this play, Jordan is lined up at left defensive end with Dotson across from him. After the snap, he uses a stutter step to freeze Dotson, enabling him to use a smooth outside swim move. With the running back sliding over to chip, however, Jordan must reverse course if he wants to get the quarterback, which he does with a beautifully timed spin move.

Expect to see similar things happen this weekend.

John Owning is a football writer at theScore. He has written for Bleacher Report and Football Insiders. He was also the lead NFL content editor at FanRag Sports. John provides analysis on the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News and edits for The Quant Edge. Find him on Twitter @JohnOwning.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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