9 things you didn't notice about the 2017 National Football League schedule

Gang Green Gangsters.    
   Jim McIsaac  Getty Images

Gang Green Gangsters. Jim McIsaac Getty Images

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.

That may sound daunting, but according to 2017 win forecasts based on Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, the Patriots will have the easiest schedule for the upcoming season.

This is an absolutely horrific spot for Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on a Sunday just four days before traveling over 1,500 miles across two time zones to challenge Derek Carr and the Raiders in front of a hostile Coliseum crowd.

The New Orleans Saints know their opponents for the 2017 season, now they will find out the date of each of their matchups. But the Patriots may have a better roster in 2017 than they did in 2016.

Closing out at home.

The Buffalo Bills will come close to matching that in December when they close out the season against the Patriots (twice), Miami Dolphins (twice) and the Colts in their final five games.

Butler, Bulls Battle Celtics in Game 2
James conveyed his sympathy after Monday morning's shootaround before Game 2 of the series against the Indiana Pacers. Thomas shared a tearful moment with long-time friend and teammate, Avery Bradley , before Game 1 .

Would this have been the matchup in last year's AFC championship game if Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hadn't gotten hurt late in the regular season? The Legion of Boom may be losing some of its punch, but the Seahawks are a different team at home and there nearly always seems to be some sort of controversy when Seattle get a prime-time home game. I love me some 1PM games.

But when the team's schedule is officially released, there's always that handful of games that transcend "must-see TV" and become the one thing in the sporting world that you need to sit down and watch. A lot of 1PM games adds a bit of normalcy.

The 17-week, 256-game schedule kicks off at 1.30am United Kingdom time on Friday September 8 in New England and concludes on Sunday December 31 with 16 division games. It's nothing more than a money and ratings grab.

Here are two more traditions that are starting to take shape when it comes to the Dallas-New York rivalry: The Giants are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games against the Cowboys, while the Over has cashed in seven of the last eight meetings between these two franchises in Big D. The plus side here is that it lessens the possibility of them getting flexed in or out elsewhere on the calendar, but.I don't know. The Rams will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a cavernous 93,000-seat stadium that was perhaps half-full for games by the end of last season.

Hardest games back-to-back.

New England, as champions do these days, will host the season-opening game.

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