Last week while unveiling the team’s new uniforms, Detroit Lions president Rod Wood accidently let it leak that the 2017 NFL schedule would be released this Thursday night. Some parts of the schedule are already known, however.
The release of the NFL schedule usually comes a week or so before the draft, which begins next Thursday in Philadelphia. So Wood’s accidental slip of the tongue is probably accurate. Of course, the regular season starts every year nowadays with the defending Super Bowl champion hosting the Thursday night opener on NBC.
On Sept. 7, the champion New England Patriots will host … the Kansas City Chiefs if reports are to be believed. There was some thinking that the NFL would stage a Super Bowl rematch in the Kickoff Game as it did last year with Carolina visiting Denver. Instead, the league wants to allow Atlanta to open its gleaming new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a prime-time game in Week 1. The Falcons could host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
I would project the Patriots to open as 7-point favorites against the Chiefs. SBR’s top sportsbooks should release Week 1 odds by this weekend if the schedule is out Thursday as expected. The Pats are 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS in their past seven games as a favorite vs. the Chiefs. New England last played Kansas City in the divisional round following the 2015 season. The Patriots won 27-20. Tom Brady threw for two scores and rushed for one. K.C. cut it to a seven-point deficit on a Charcandrick West one-yard TD run with 1:13 to go but couldn’t recover the onside kick.
Commissioner Roger Goodell already has said he would be on hand at Gillette Stadium for the Kickoff Game. That won’t go well for him in terms of crowd support. Goodell hasn’t been to a Patriots home game since Deflategate all started. He was booed heavily at the Lombardi Trophy presentation after February’s Super Bowl in Houston. The Pats are +420 favorites on 5Dimes to repeat. They are 8-0 when playing the season opener at home this century.
Kansas City is +2500 to win Super Bowl LII after going 12-4 last year and winning the AFC West. The Chiefs are winless in their last five games at New England. Their last victory came in 1990 when the Patriots finished 1-15 and coached by the not-so-legendary Rod Rust. The Chiefs are 3-1 in season openers under Coach Andy Reid.
We also know that New England will play Oakland in Mexico City this season in a potential playoff preview. That would be a Raiders home game. It reportedly will be played the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but that’s not 100 percent a done deal. I wonder how many stolen Tom Brady jersey stories we will get leading into that game after former Mexican journalist Mauricio Ortega took Brady’s Super Bowl LI game-worn jersey right out of the locker room.
There are four games in London in 2017. Jacksonville hosts Baltimore on Sept. 24 and the following Sunday Miami hosts New Orleans. Those are both at Wembley Stadium. Minnesota-Cleveland and Arizona-LA Rams are the two other games, dates TBA and held at Twickenham Stadium.
The Denver Broncos have the toughest 2017 strength of schedule as their opponents had a combined winning percentage of .578 in 2016. Indianapolis faces the easiest slate as its foes were had a combined percentage of .424.