The much-anticipated release of the 2017 NFL schedule finally came Thursday night. It’s time to get ready for all 256 regular season games.
Ok, not really. Most “regular people” don’t make time for 200-plus games. If that describes you, make sure to mark your calendar with these 10 games. There are certainly matchups that are going to end up more exciting than fans originally expected.
But for now, here are the 10 must-see NFL games of the 2017 season (listed in chronological order):
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers, Week 1, Sept. 10
Their cities couldn’t be more different, but Seattle and Green Bay have grown to dislike each other on the football field due to playing playoff football every season this decade.
These two teams have also met 5 times in the last five years, which includes the “Failed Mary” game on “Monday Night Football” in 2012 and the 2015 NFC championship. During that time, Seattle leads the series 3-2.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Week 1, Sept. 10
That late afternoon affair at Lambeau will get NFL fans revved up for this renewed rivalry in the NFC East. The Dallas Cowboys lost three regular-season games a year ago, and two of them came at the hands of the New York Giants. Last opening day, New York squeaked out a 20-19 victory at AT&T Stadium, only to then see Dallas win its next 11 games.
One score has decided nine of the last 10 meetings between these two clubs. This one shouldn’t be any different and is a great way to kick off the season.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, Week 2, Sept. 17
Last year, the Packers received the honor of christening the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota during Week 2. It will be deja vu for Green Bay, as in this year’s Week 2, they will help the Falcons open up the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Packers hope it goes better than the final game at the Georgia Dome. Although that was a blowout, Green Bay and Atlanta played a very tight, entertaining regular season contest in 2016. The Packers should be out for revenge in this Sunday night affair.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, Week 5, Oct. 8
The Packers revisit the Cowboys in a rematch of one of the most exciting games of last season — the NFC divisional round — where the Packers won on a last second field goal. The two teams combined to hit 3 field goals in the final two minutes of that playoff game.
Over the years, this has been an extremely tight series. The Packers have the slight edge with an 18-17 advantage.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs, Week 6, Oct. 15
In another playoff rematch, the Steelers revisit Arrowhead in this mid-October game. Pittsburgh beat Kansas City twice last season, outscoring them 43-14 in Week 4 and then beating the Chiefs with 6 field goals in the division round.
Kansas City will certainly be thirsty for some blood in this game, but Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley would probably love to, once again, knock his former team down a peg.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, Week 6, Oct. 16
This game probably won’t get too many people excited at first. Neither team was in the playoffs a year ago, and Tennessee hasn’t been a real contender for quite some time.
But this matchup could go a long way toward deciding the fate of the AFC South. It’s also a rare division game on “Monday Night Football.” If the Titans want to be taken seriously, they need to beat the Colts, who they have lost to 11 straight times.
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots, Week 7, Oct. 22
This is an obvious one. How can a rematch of the first overtime game in Super Bowl history not be on our list?
Atlanta could probably beat New England 100-0 100 times and still not make up for its 25-point blown lead last February, but this game would be a start toward redemption. Hint for the Falcons — it’s ok to run the ball inside the opponents’ 25-yard line with an 8-point lead.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders, Week 12, Nov. 26
Will this be the Broncos final visit to the Coliseum? The Raiders host the Patriots in Week 11, so this will be two difficult games for Oakland back-to-back, but Denver-Oakland is always a must-see rivalry.
Last year, Denver ruined Oakland’s chance at a bye week in the playoffs after a Week 17 defeat. At the Coliseum in November, the Raiders embarrassed the Broncos with 218 rushing yards in a 30-20 victory.
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams, Week 14, Dec. 10
This will be Los Angeles’ first real good look at what they are missing in Carson Wentz, who they passed on in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Of course, the Rams hope Jared Goff develops early this season under a new offensively minded head coach. If so, then the No. 1 and 2 picks from 2016 going at it in early December is can’t miss television.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 15, Dec. 17
A rematch of the AFC championship game, it’s quite possible that this will be a preview of the 2018 AFC championship as well, with the winner likely getting home-field advantage in the game.
The series is tied 15-15, but the Patriots have won 8 of the last 10 matchups. Ben Roethlisberger is 2-7 against Tom Brady in his career.
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 12, Nov. 26
Two classic organizations going at it to end Thanksgiving weekend on Sunday night is a great idea. Roethlisberger beat Aaron Rodgers in their only previous regular season matchup in 2009, but Rodgers took home MVP in 2011 when the two met in Super Bowl XLV.
Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders, Week 15, Dec. 17
Another interconference game between two classic franchises in the middle of December is must-see television. Not only will two of the brightest young signal callers be on display, but playoff seeding will more than likely be on the line.