After much anticipation, the National Football League has officially released the schedule for the 2017 season.
The opener will feature the traditional nationally televised Thursday night showcase game for the reigning champions. This year the New England Patriots will show off their latest Vince Lombardi Trophy in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
It is a matchup that came just short of being played out in the AFC Championship game and arguably the Chiefs would have given New England a far better game than the Pittsburgh Steelers who choked and disintegrated in Gillette Stadium. It was a game that was never even close and the perception was widespread that the more balanced Chiefs could have even won the game had their offense not gone missing the week before in a loss to the Steelers.
— theScore NFL (@theScoreNFL) April 21, 2017
Other big opening weekend contests include a Sunday prime time matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the archrival New York Giants. Dallas very well could have met the Patriots in Houston for the NFL title were it not for a miracle comeback led by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round.
Those same packers get a nationally televised Sunday late afternoon game in historic Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks. The other first week nationally televised games are Monday night contests pitting the New Orleans Saints against the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos against the division rival Los Angeles Chargers. It will be the Chargers’ first game after their return to the City of Angels where they got their origin in defunct American Football League.
The Bolts will also appear on Thanksgiving Day when they visit Dallas in what could be a shootout. Other Turkey Day games will feature the Detroit Lions against the Vikings in the early game with the nightcap being a matchup between NFC East foes the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants.
Some other notable contests will be an October Sunday night Super Bowl rematch when the Atlanta Falcons visit New England as well as a Christmas night tilt between the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.
Now that the schedule has been released, fans appetites have been whetted for next weekend’s NFL Draft which will take place in Philadelphia next week.