Prisco's 10 most intriguing matchups on the 2017 NFL regular-season schedule
When scanning the NFL schedule to find the 10 most intriguing games of 2017, it’s hard not to focus in on the really good teams.
So I will.
When it comes to the 10 most intriguing games, it has to include the supposed best teams, the ones with the best quarterbacks. Isn’t that what sustainable success is all about? As we try to figure out the good teams from year to year, there are constants, and all have big-time quarterbacks.
It all starts with the
New England Patriots
. They won their fifth Super Bowl under Bill Belichick last February, rallying from a 28-3 second-half deficit, to beat the
Now the Falcons get a chance for revenge — if you can even call it that. The two teams will meet in Foxborough, Mass., in Week 7, which again should be a fun game to watch, even if a victory that day by the Falcons won’t erase the hurt of that February disaster.
The good news is they won’t have Kyle Shanahan around to call arrogant plays late to blow this one.
The Patriots and Falcons are featured a lot in my 10 games, but both teams have some big games against good teams in 2017. We love those big games.
So if you think I focus too much to the top teams here, so be it. Those are the teams I want to watch in 2017 — and this is my list.
Green Bay Packers
From the Fail Mary to the wild 2014 NFC Championship Game, this series always brings out fun games. These are two of the NFC’s best and we have
. The Packers have defeated the Seahawks the past two seasons at Lambeau Field, winning 38-10 last season. Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in that game. The Seahawks get a big break in terms of weather since this will be on opening day.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
This is a rematch of the NFC Championship Game won by the Falcons.
lit up an undermanned Green Bay secondary in that game as the Falcons went to the Super Bowl. Anytime you get Aaron Rodgers on the road against another good quarterback, there’s always intrigue. But this will also be the first game inside the Falcons’ new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which brings even more.
New York Jets
The Raiders should once again be a playoff team, and this is on the list because it will be their first home game since the team announced they would be moving to Las Vegas, which was approved by the league’s owners. How will the Oakland fans respond to the Raiders now that they are going? Will it get nasty? Will they show up? Will they care as much?
Green Bay Packers at
The Packers went into AT&T Stadium and upset the Cowboy in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs last January. That has to sting still for Dallas, which thought it was on its way to a Super Bowl. Rodgers was special that day, but
did a nice job rallying the Cowboys in the second half. Now that it’s his team — no more looking over his shoulder at
— it should make his battle with Rodgers even more fun to watch.
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots
They Falcons blew a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl in February, losing to the Patriots in overtime. That will sting for a long time, and this could be one of those games to get them past their Super Bowl hangover. Like that game, this should be fun to watch. If Atlanta leads late, you can bet they will run the football this time.
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
This is the game many expected to see in the NFC Championship Game last January, but the Cowboys were upset at home by the Packers. That game was to be played in Dallas, while this one will be in Atlanta. This will be a class of offenses, the Falcons’ pass-first offense against the Cowboys’ running game with
. It will be interesting to see if Atlanta’s undersized defense can hold up against the powerful Dallas offensive line.
New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders (In Mexico City)
Many expected this would be the AFC Championship Game last season, but when Carr went down the Raiders were toast. Now they get to face New England on foreign soil in what should be a raucous stadium to show they are ready to challenge the Patriots for the title this season. Carr vs. Brady will be fun to watch. Just one thing: Lock up Brady’s jersey.
Green Bay Packers at
When you get two storied franchises together in prime time, with two great passers in Rodgers and Pittsburgh’s
, it’s always a treat. The fact that it’s later in the season will make it even better. The teams have no played since 2013, a game won 38-31 by the Steelers at Lambeau Field. The winning team in their last three meetings, including Super Bowl XLV won by the Packers, has scored at least 30 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
The Patriots blew out the Steelers 36-17 in the AFC Championship Game last year on their way to winning it all. The Steelers couldn’t stop
and the Patriots offense, but the loss shouldn’t be surprising. Brady is 7-2 in the regular season against the Steelers, and 3-0 in the playoffs. He’s never lost to them at home. Is this the game the streak ends?
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
These are two of the NFC elites and both are tough, physical teams. The best part of this game will be seeing the Cowboys try and pound Ezekiel Elliott into that tough Seattle front seven.
and Elliott will be a nice battle all day long.