2017 NFL schedule: Patriots reportedly unlikely to host Falcons in season opener

If the Falcons were hoping to get some Super Bowl revenge on the Patriots during Week 1 of the 2017 season, it looks like it’s not going to happen.

Although the two teams are scheduled to play each other in 2017, that game likely won’t be coming in the first week of the season. According to ESPN.com, it would be a “major surprise” if the Patriots were to host the Falcons to kick off the 2017 season, meaning the NFL is likely going to send another sacrificial lamb into Foxborough to lose on opening weekend. 

We know the Patriots will be hosting the first game of the season because the defending Super Bowl champs have hosted the traditional Thursday night opener in every season since 2004 (except in 2013, when the Ravens had to open on the road due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles). 

Anyway, this is probably good news for the Falcons because it will give them some more time to mentally get over the 25-point lead they blew in the second half of Super Bowl LI. 

For any fans who were hoping to see a Super Bowl rematch, you can partially blame Ron Rivera that it’s likely not going happen. After Carolina was scheduled to open the 2016 season in Denver in a rematch of Super Bowl 50, the Panthers coach vehemently complained. 

Rivera was unhappy about several things, including the fact that he felt the NFC champions should also get to open at home. 

“Defending NFC champs, it would have been nice to open the season at home, but it didn’t happen that way,” Rivera said before Week 1 of the 2016 season

The Panthers coach also didn’t like the fact that his team had to open the season on a short week, not to mention, he felt that his team would think about Denver all offseason, which wouldn’t allow them to get recover from their Super Bowl hangover

If you’ve ever had a rough hangover, you know what Rivera’s talking about. 

Another reason the Falcons are unlikely to be playing at New England is because it would potentially put them on NBC for two straight weeks. According to MMQB.com, the Falcons will likely get the Sunday night game in Week 2 to open their new stadium, meaning it’s pretty unlikely they’d also get to play a primetime NBC game in Week 1. 

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. 

Over the past 13 seasons, there have only been two instances where the NFL opener was a divisional game, so you can probably rule out the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. Our 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. 

If the Texans had anyone resembling a quarterback on their roster, I’d say they should play in the season opener, but they don’t, so my vote goes to the Chiefs. The problem with putting the Chargers in the opener is that putting a last-place team from 2016 in a spot where they might get blown out wouldn’t be a great way for fans in Los Angeles to rally around their new team. 

Although we don’t know who the Patriots will play, we’ll find out later this month. The league is reportedly hoping to release the schedule sometime between April 17 and 21. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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