The National Football League released its full 2017 regular season schedule yesterday night, and football fans excitedly began to pore over the most important matchups of the year and when they’d occur.
The Opening Night game will be a September 7 night matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and the upstart Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs overachieved last year with a 12-4 record, so this could be a more interesting matchup than casual fans may realize. Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are some of the top strategists in the game, and they faced off in the Super Bowl back when Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2004 season. This does the break the recent tradition of having a Super Bowl rematch in the opening game of the season.
The first Sunday Night Football game of the season will be, for the third time in the last five years, the New York Giants visiting the Dallas Cowboys. Some fans are a little miffed that the league is forcing this matchup on the country so repeatedly, but others are excited to see the Dallas trio of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant on the big stage facing up a Giants defense that improved over the course of the 2016 season.
The long-awaited Super Bowl LI rematch will wait until Sunday Night Football in Week 7, when the Atlanta Falcons make an attempt to avenge their 25-point choke in the championship game. By then, both Tom Brady of the Patriots and Matt Ryan of the Falcons will be midway through another year of MVP campaigns, so people are expecting another shootout like what we saw in the final box score in February.
Other intriguing matchups that NFL fans are excited for include Week 4 Sunday Night Football between the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks, which pits young superstar quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, and the final Monday Night Football game in Week 16 between the Oakland Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles, which may have late playoff implications in a guaranteed primetime game.