With free agency already started and the draft on the horizon, The NFL released its 2017 regular season schedule on Thursday, reigniting hope for fans of all 32 teams. Obviously teams still have many roster moves to make, and injuries can happen at any time, so the importance of some games might change. Assuming nothing too drastic happens though, here’s a quick look at some of the big games this upcoming season. The season will kick off on Thursday, September 7th on NBC, when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, in what will no doubt be a boisterous Gillette Stadium. However, week 1’s marquee game doesn’t come until Sunday, September 10th on Fox, when the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot both suffered their first, and only loss for a bit, at the hands of the Giants during last season’s week one. This one should be an exciting game, like most games between the Giants and Cowboys. Week 1 wraps up on Monday, September 11th on with a Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN. First, the New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings. Then, the Los Angeles Chargers (that’s going to take some getting used to) head to Denver to take on the Broncos. Not exactly the best end to what will surely be an excellent week 1, but ESPN seems to have developed a problem picking the right games to schedule on Monday nights.
Week two in the NFL gets good on Sunday, September 17th on CBS, when the New England Patriots travel to New Orleans against the Saints. New England just acquired WR Brandin Cooks from New Orleans this off season, so you can expect Cooks and Bill Belichick both to show off a bit against what will probably still be a bad Saints defense. The anyone say “playing against your former team?” Well maybe not playing, but coaching. That’ll be the case on Fox, when former Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator and current Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach, Doug Pederson, leads his new team into Arrowhead Stadium. Oh, and also, current Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, used to be the Head Coach of the Eagles, and recommended the job to Pederson. Should be a fun game. The last big matchup of week 2 comes on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, as the Green Bay Packers visit the Atlanta Falcons in a rematch of last years NFC Championship game. Week 3 gets rolling on Thursday, September 21st on the NFL Network, when the Los Angeles Rams travel north to play the San Francisco 49ers. On Sunday, September 24th, week 3 gets a pair of marquee division games, both on FOX. First the New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers. Then it’s the NFC East’s turn, when the New York Giants face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Thursday Night Football gets another big game in week 4, this time on CBS, as the Chicago Bears have a date with The Green Bay Packer in legendary Lambeau Field. Week 4’s other big game comes on Sunday, October 1st on CBS, when the Pittsburgh Steelers go to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. This game has low score and big hits written all over it.
Week five is a bit of a low point in terms of “big” matchups. The only one takes place on Sunday, October 8th on FOX, when the Green Bay Packers return to the scene of their most recent playoff win to face off against the Dallas Cowboys. After a calm week 5, week 6 gets the ball back rolling again on Thursday, October 12th on CBS, when the Philadelphia Eagles pay Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers a visit. Sunday, October 15th brings week 6’s big division match ups. First the Green Bay Packers visit the Minnesota Vikings on Fox. While on CBS, The New England Patriots travel to New York to take on the Jets. Week 7 kicks off on Thursday, October 19th on CBS, when The Kansas City Chiefs visit their division rivals the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders. The big division games continue on Sunday, October 22nd on NBC, when the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Heinz Field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two teams straight up don’t like each other. So expect a very physical, very hard hitting game, with plenty of penalty flags being thrown. Monday Night Football finally gets another marquee game on Monday, October 23rd on ESPN, when the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles. Similar to week 5, week 8 doesn’t have too many games that pop out at you. However, Sunday, October 29th on FOX, the Washington Redskins go to Dallas to play the Cowboys. Then, on October 30th , Monday Night Football goes two weeks straight with a good game, as the Denver Broncos travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Week nine gets a big AFC South showdown on Sunday, November 5th on CBS when Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts go to Houston to take on the Texans. Not be outdone, Fox has match up of the last two SuperBowls runner ups, when the Atlanta Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers. Three straight weeks watchable games on Monday Night Football? Somebody pinch me. Monday, November 6th on ESPN, the Detroit Lions travel to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Week 10 gets going on Thursday, November 9th on NBC, as the Seattle Seahawks go to Arizona to play the Cardinals. Then, the Dallas Cowboys travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Sunday, November 12th on FOX. November 19th sees week 11’s first big game, when the Philadelphia Eagles head to Dallas to square off against the Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Then, ESPN is back with another big Monday Night Football game on November 20th, as the Seattle Seahawks meet The Atlanta Falcons inside the Georgia Dome. Week 12 kicks off on Thanksgiving (November 23rd) with a smorgasbord of huge games. First, FOX has the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Detroit Lions. Then, CBS brings you what should be an entertaining game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys from AT&T Stadium. Finally, the holiday triple header ends on NBC with the New York Giants heading to Washington to take on the Redskins. Week 12 picks right back up on Sunday, November 26th on CBS, when the New England Patriots go to Miami to play the Dolphins. NBC wraps up the week 12’s big games on Sunday Night Football, when the Green Bay Packers take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
On Thursday, November 30th, CBS gets week 13 rolling, when the Washington Redskins visit the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday, December 3rd on FOX, the Carolina Panthers travel to New Orleans for a shootout with the Saints. While the December 4th edition of ESPN’s Moday Night Football will bring us the final regular season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers ad Cincinnati Bengals, from Cincinnati. Thursday Night Football hosts one of week 14’s big games on December 7th on NBC, when the New Orleans Saints head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Sunday December 10th has week 14’s other two big match ups. Firs, the Oakland raiders visit the Kansas City Chiefs on CBS. Then on FOX, the Dallas Cowboys take on the New York Giants, in New York. Week 15 has all its good games on Sunday December 17th. First, the Green Bay Packers visit the Carolina Panthers, and The Philadelphia Eagles head to New York to face the Giants, both games on FOX. Then, CBS has the New England Patriots traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, in what will probably be a highly anticipated game. Christmas Eve (December 24th) will see some good games as part of the week 16 action. On CBS, The Buffalo Bills will face off with the New England Patriots in Foxborough. Fox will have the showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers, from Bank Of America Stadium. Then, the Seattle Seahawks travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys, also on FOX. Week 17’s games are a bit too unpredictable to preview. Some teams will be playing for their playoff lives, while other will rest their important players to avoid injury, so who knows what that will bring.
So there it is. A quick look at the 2017 NFL regular season. Again, please remember that the draft and remaining free agents, along with any injuries that happen during the season, can alter the “box office appeal”of any given game. For now though, all of us can sit around and fantasize about our favorite team’s upcoming season, because as of now we’re all tied at 0-0.
Baseline Time Staff Writer