The 2018 campaign, which is the league’s 32nd season, begins tonight when the defending NLL champion Georgia Swarm face the New England Blackwolves on the road. Week 1 will see a total of four games on the slate.

Other action in the opening week will see the Toronto Rock visit the Buffalo Bandits and the Colorado Mammoth visit the Vancouver Stealth on Friday while on Saturday the Calgary Roughnecks will head to Rochester to face the Knighthawks.

This year, nine teams will compete for the Champions Cup. However, during the offseason the league grew by two teams with additions of the Philadelphia Wings, owned by Comcast Spectacor, and the San Diego Seals, owned by Alibaba co-owner Joe Tsai. Both teams will start play next season.

The league will have all their games on digital media, including CBS Sports Digital and NLL TV. As they did last year, NLL will show their game of the week on Twitter, which averaged 344,000 viewers last season.

The Swarm head into the season as the team to beat as the champs who have a scary good offense. They are stacked and with no major injuries, Georgia will be the favourite to win it all again. Saskatchewan and Toronto are the top two teams that could knock the champions off their perch.

While the Rush roster has gotten older over the last few years, they are not considered an “old team”. With them winning two of the past three Champions Cups, they know how to win. However, it looks like they have lost some of their swagger and have shown they are beatable. Saying that, they are still strong.

The ACC in Toronto will be rocking as the Rock will continue to build on last season where they went to the East Finals, falling to the eventual champions Swarm. Fans in Toronto got excited when the Rock pulled off a trade to pick up Adam Jones from Saskatchewan for a pair of first round picks. Jones is an elite goal scorer, putting up 25 or more goals in each of his seven campaigns. Also bolstering the offense will be the return of Rob Hellyer who missed all last year with a knee injury.

From here down it is lottery to figure out who is ranked highest. While Georgia, Saskatchewan and Toronto are expected to be the top teams, they are not that far ahead of the other teams.

We expect this to be one of the best season of NLL action with so much parity across the board. On any given night any team will walk away with the win. One key injury or one losing streak could end a chance for a team to make the playoffs this season.