The pressure is really on the Falcons because their game at New England marks the first of three consecutive road games.
Last year's ratings slide for the NFL clearly impacted the league's schedule-making process.
The Steelers open their home schedule with a visit from the Vikings; the Patriots visit the Saints in Brandin Cooks' return to New Orleans his offseason trade; and the Chiefs host Andy Reid's former team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Oh, and by the way, Roger Goodell is expected to be there.
Tom Garfinkel spoke with members of the media a while back and said that the team has also requested that the National Football League doesn't give them a bye week after the London contest but later in the season. The team will then fly across the country on short rest for an early start time against a non-conference opponent one week before hosting Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Coach Adam Gase sparked Miami's first playoff appearance in eight years, and there is every reason to consider the Dolphins a playoff team in 2017. Minnesota is also the "visitor" in a game against Cleveland that will be held at London's Twickenham Stadium in Week 7 or 8. Other notable games include a week 11 trip to Mexico to take on the rising Oakland Raiders, and a week 15 away game against an always hard opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers. We already know all the matchups; they're just choosing the sequence. The only unknowns is the specific dates and times of each games. Long-standing division rivalry. A good matchup the last few years.
We saw some thrilling games in the postseason, and we'll have plenty of rematches this year. The Chiefs lost to the Patriots, 27-20, on January 16, 2016; Sherman caught one pass for a yard in the contest. The Packers take on the Cowboys and the Falcons, and the Falcons also take on the Seahawks. All that before a Week 3 home game against the Texans, who the Patriots eliminated in the playoffs last season. We'll even have a Super Bowl LI rematch between Atlanta and New England.