The NFL will reportedly release their 2017 schedule on Thursday. We know little about it other than the obvious — the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open the league slate on Thursday night against an opponent to be named.
On occasion, the league has pitted the previous season’s Super Bowl opponents against each other. The Atlanta Falcons are on the Patriots’ schedule this season, but according to reports, that isn’t likely to be the season-opening matchup.
The Falcons are opening a new stadium in 2017 and, although it hasn’t happened in the past, as the reigning NFC champion, we expect Atlanta to open at home. While we don’t know their opponent either, we’re betting it will be the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are scheduled to play at Atlanta again this season — the NFC North plays the NFC South in 2017.
So what’s more attractive than an NFC Championship game rematch to highlight the weekend? Especially one featuring the draw that is the Packers?
Of course, the NFL hasn’t always bought into this logic. In the 2012, the league could have pitted the past two season’s Super Bowl winners — the Packers and Giants — against each other on opening weekend. They had done so the season before, when the Packers hosted the Saints.
Instead, they went with the ho hum Giants vs. Cowboys matchup that we’ve all seen 100 times. In other words, the Falcons could realistically get the Panthers or the Saints (or the Bucs) in week 1.
The Packers make the most sense though.
Unfortunately, if they don’t find some cornerbacks between now and then, whenever the Packers play the Falcons, it will probably be a repeat of the NFC Championship game.