Patriots open season hosting Chiefs on Thursday Night Football

SiriusXM analyst Gil BrandtAP

You could argue that the Browns, who are 29-83 since the start of the 2010 season, and the Jaguars (30-82) are simply brought to a level playing field by getting this break.

Confirmed: The 2017 National Football League schedule will be released on Thursday night. From a schedule perspective, at least, the Ravens have a good chance to get themselves back into the playoffs.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, at Kansas City, 10 a.m. (CBS) Comment: Raiders have struggled at Arrowhead Stadium lately. In the Patriots' case, that means more time before a tough road game in New Orleans, where newly-acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks will make an early-season return to the Superdome. They're supposed to avoid putting undue stress on players' bodies and prevent teams from traveling too much across the country, but hmm, based on their job titles, there seems to be somewhat of an emphasis on broadcasting.

Closing out at home.

As mentioned by oddshark, the Patriots covered 15 of their 16 games last season. December 17 4:25 p.m. In prime time, the Redskins will be home for the Giants. I love me some 1PM games. A lot of 1PM games adds a bit of normalcy.

Their opponents are expected to win between seven and eight games, on average, with just one, the Steelers in Week 15, projected to win 10 or more games during the season. It's nothing more than a money and ratings grab.

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I guess that's a nice way of saying the Falcons could have doomed themselves with a Week 1 loss to the Patriots.

The Broncos may still be figuring out their quarterback situation, but they still have one of the league's elite defenses and remain one of the Patriots' biggest conference rivals, despite missing the playoffs last season.

Hardest games back-to-back.

All in all, New England plays nine games in the 1 p.m. slot and five games in primetime, including the season opener. Not only that, but both Denver and Mexico City are known to be high altitude games; that's sure to make any kind of adjustments hard, and who knows what kind of shape the team will be in after that stretch ends.

Five of six on the road. The Steelers could still be the very best hope that the rest of the AFC has to stop the Patriots from making the Super Bowl for a third time in four years, and this game could very well be another AFC Championship preview. But man.that's a frightful stretch.

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