Bookmaker Favors Falcons-Patriots Rematch To Open 2017 Season

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Since 2003, the NFL has honored the defending Super Bowl champion by having them open the following season at home in a Thursday night nationally televised game: It’s called the kickoff game.

(There’s one exception the rule: the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in the 2012 season but opened in Denver the following year because of a conflict the night of the 2013 season opener with MLB’s Baltimore Orioles as the two franchises share parking.)

Thus the New England Patriots, who staged the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to win LI 34-28 in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons, will open the 2017 regular season at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Thursday, Sept. 7, on NBC. The Patriots’ opponent? The league won’t determine that officially until April, but most around the NFL expect it to be a Super Bowl rematch with the Falcons. (SBR rating A+) believes so as well as the Falcons being that Week 1 opponent is -220 and the other seven options at +175 as the field.

In addition to hosting the Falcons, the Patriots also welcome their three AFC East foes – the Dolphins, Jets and Bills – as usual as well as the Texans, Chargers and Chiefs from the AFC and the Panthers from the NFC. Carolina played in the 2015 Kickoff Game in a Super Bowl 50 rematch, losing in Denver.

The Patriots, already the +600 favorites to win Super Bowl LII, have hosted three previous Kickoff Games and won them all. Check out a story on the 2017 opener here.

Join the SBR forum discussion about the matchup.

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