The NFL released the 2015 regular season schedule on Tuesday night and fans of all 32 teams rejoiced as actual football comes ever closer to returning. It was a night to circle games on the calendar and begin booking travel plans for your favorite team’s road games.
Even though training camp and opening night are still a ways away, days like this drum up all the positive feelings about the NFL — it is almost football time again.
Now that we know when and where each game will be played, let’s take a look at the five biggest non-divisional games on tap for the 2015 season:
5. Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (Opening night – Sept. 10 – 8:30)
What better place to start this list than in Foxborough, Massachusetts on the NFL’s opening night with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers? This matchup between two AFC powerhouses is a great way to kick off the season.
The Patriots lost key players in free agency, namely cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and will be without running back LeGarrette Blount for this game. Can Tom Brady start this season better than last? For the first time in years, there is some doubt about New England’s ability to walk away with the AFC East crown.
Pittsburgh will also be without a running back, as Le’Veon Bell is suspended for the season’s first three games. However, the Steelers enter the season as AFC North favorites with elite offensive potential. Their defense is in flux, however. No Dick LeBeau, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu means a once-great defense needs to find new ways to succeed.