The NFL has yet to release the final details of the 2017/18 football season, but one interesting possibility has crept up, as noted by CBS sportswriter John Breech.
There has been some clamor over the possibility that the Falcons might face the Patriots in the first game of the season, which would certainly gain a lot of viewers. However, that possibility is rather unlikely because that would give the Falcons two prime-time dates in a row, and, as winners of the NFC last season, it makes sense to ‘gift’ them an opening home advantage. Ron Rivera was very vocally displeased that the Panthers did not enjoy that in 2016, and the NFL is likely to play along.
With the Falcons most likely out of the running, the means the Patriots will either play the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Chargers, Chiefs, Texans or Panthers.
After crossing out divisional rivals for the opening game (due to History proving that the NFL rarely likes to start the season with a divisional bout—-and that none of the Patriots’ rivals are good/interesting enough for this premier matchup), that leaves the Chiefs and the Chargers as the most likely candidates, as they are the remaining teams with quarterbacks at full steam (aka—marketable, as Cam Newton might be still recovering/out and the Texans being a QB vacuum).
Will Brinson broke down the odds of who the Patriots might play in the opener, and with the Falcons out, he now likes the Chargers’ chances, followed by the Chiefs.
While Brinson might give the Chargers the nod, I would still be very surprised to see San D-err, Los Angeles kicking off the season. The Chiefs are a very good team, and I don’t agree with them pre-emptively crossing off the Texans. Depending on who they draft/trade for, they are infinitely marketable if they can just get a ball thrower who has a name Joe Sixpack has heard of.
And now, with the opening game taking place on NBC, the Texans can be doubly sure that Tony Romo won’t be there to cover their disarray.
Still— the Chargers have certainly made headlines this year, and for that reason alone they might be the preferred matchup for the NFL’s ratings machine.