The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will host the Kansas City Chiefs to open the 2017 season, according to the season schedule unveiled Thursday by the NFL.
The campaign will begin on Thursday, September 7 when the Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, face the Chiefs for the first time since the 2015 divisional round of the playoffs — when the Patriots triumphed 27-20.
Brady became the first quarterback in history to win five Super Bowls after the Patriots overturned a 28-3 third-quarter deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51 in February.
The Falcons will get a shot a small measure of revenge when they visit the Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in week seven — on October 22.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be trying to bounce back from Super Bowl disappointment and build on a season that saw him named the NFL Most Valuable Player. But he’ll be doing it without offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who was confirmed as the San Francisco 49ers’ new coach hours after the Falcons’ Super Bowl defeat.
Other intriguing week one match-ups include the New York Giants at their NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks at the Green Bay Packers.
The Giants were one of just two teams to beat the Cowboys in the 2016 regular season. The Cowboys will be hoping to see further development from their 2016 rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Prescott gained the starting role at quarterback after an injury to Tony Romo and led the team to the playoffs. With Prescott destined to remain the starter, the oft-injured Romo opted to retire and head to the broadcast booth, where he’ll be working in the upcoming season for a major American television network.
The NFL rounded out the details of four games scheduled for London.
As already announced, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium on September 24 and the Miami Dolphins will face the New Orleans Saints a week later on October 1 at Wembley.
In two other games to be played at Twickenham the Los Angeles Rams will face the Arizona Cardinals on October 22 and the Cleveland Browns will face the Minnesota Vikings on October 29.
In the fifth game of the International Series the Patriots will take on the Raiders at the iconic Azteca stadium in Mexico City on November 19.
While gridiron has long been associated with America’s Thanksgiving holiday, the NFL will celebrate Christmas with two Monday Night Football games on December 25.
It will be another holiday extravaganza as the regular season concludes on January 31. It’s all aiming for Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings, on February 4, 2018.
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