The NFL’s schedule is set to be released this week, and therefore, we will all find out who will open up the season against the defending champion New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
While we have seen Super Bowl rematches occur in Week 1 many times in recent years, it seems that it won’t be happening in 2017.
According to Ben Violin of the Boston Globe, the opener will “almost certainly” feature the Kansas City Chiefs heading to the Northeast to take on the Pats.
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“The Patriots’ opening game on Sept. 7 at Gillette Stadium will almost certainly be against the Chiefs, who are coming off a 12-4 season and an AFC West title. A rematch with the Falcons was an option, but they are likely to open the season at home on ‘Sunday Night Football’ to debut their new stadium,” he wrote.
Since Atlanta’s new stadium will, by all accounts, be a spectacle, the NFL will want to show it off in front of a primetime audience in Week 1.
We already know that the Falcons are on New England’s home schedule this year via the previous list of opponents that was released, but the highly-anticipated rematch won’t kick off the new year.
Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk points out that the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans are the other 2016 playoff teams who are possible opponents who could land the Week 1 matchup against the Pats. While those matchups would be intriguing, since the Dolphins are an AFC East rival and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien is a former Bill Belichick disciple, opening the year against the Chiefs will be the second-best scenario after the best-case scenario of a Super Bowl rematch.
The other options are the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills or New York Jets.
Last season, the Chiefs had a solid regular season, going 12-4 overall. However, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs despite holding the second seed in the conference.
In six career games against the Chiefs, Tom Brady has gone 4-2 with 1,442 passing yards (240.3 per contest), nine touchdowns and seven interceptions for a rating of 88.2, the fourth-lowest mark that he’s had against any NFL team throughout his Hall of Fame career.
However, at home, he has gone a ridiculous 101-17, throwing for 255.4 yards per game (30,132 in total) with 220 touchdowns and just 59 interceptions (in 4,080 pass attempts) for a rating of 98.1.
Therefore, he will be ready to go in Week 1, as New England looks to defend their title as Super Bowl champs yet again.
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