Less than two weeks after the most heartbreaking loss in franchise history, it might be a little hard for Atlanta Falcons fans to think about next season. But with a new season comes fresh possibility, and it’s quite possible that the first few weeks of the 2017 season will be very, very interesting.
As mentioned previously, the odds are very high that NBC will choose a Falcons-Patriots rematch for their Thursday Night Football kickoff in Week 1. That part will be extremely painful for Falcons fans. They’ll have to watch the Patriots’ drawn-out ceremony, complete with Super Bowl highlight reels, music and a banner ceremony at Gillette Stadium.
Seriously, that’s going to be terrible.
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But after the sadness comes joy, as the NFL is rumored to be eyeing Week 2 for the Falcons’ first regular-season game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and it could be a Monday Night Football extravaganza. It would be hard to script a stadium opener any better, complete with a banner-raising of our own (it’ll only be an NFC Championship banner, but we’ll take what we can get at this point).
OK, there would be one way to make it better: if the Green Bay Packers were in town.
For all the pain we’d have to endure in Week 1, we’d get to be the team on the other side in Week 2. The crowd would get to relive the great memories of the previous year’s NFC Championship game and have a chance to beat the very same team again. Plus, the Packers stand to be pretty good again next season, so it would be a quality win in the early-going.
If the NFL is going to send the Falcons to New England, sending Green Bay to Atlanta the following week is the least they can do.
According to CBS Sports, the Falcons have the 13th-toughest schedule in 2017. If my plan comes to fruition in the first two weeks, Atlanta will get two of its best opponents out of the way early. Obviously, this is a best-case scenario for the schedule-makers, and they might go a different route, but starting the revenge tour in New England and getting Green Bay the next week in prime time would be a lot of fun.Follow @Sean_Breslin