Part of the beauty of winning the Super Bowl is that the Champion gets the honor of kicking off the next NFL Season on Thursday Night Primetime. This year's season will kickoff on September 5th at M&T Bank Stadium, but who will the Baltimore Ravens be hosting?
Although there is some question as to what the NFL will do with the opening night game because the Baltimore Orioles are also scheduled to play that night against the Chicago White Sox, but for now the game is still set for September 5th. The biggest question surrounding the game is who will the Ravens play in the opener? The eight teams that Baltimore is scheduled to play at M&T Bank this upcoming season are the Steelers, Bengals, Browns, Packers, Patriots, Jets, Vikings, and Texans, so there are plenty of intriguing matchups that could take place on opening night.
Let's go ahead and eliminate a few of these teams that would not benefit the NFL to have on opening night, and that would be the Bengals, Jets, and Browns. Although the Ravens opened up Monday Night Football last season with the Bengals, Baltimore was not the defending Super Bowl Champions, and the NFL world will most likely not be that intrigued to watch Cincinnati and Baltimore lock horns on opening night.
Minnesota would only be fun because of Adrian Peterson being on Primetime, but I do not believe that is enough to lure the NFL to place them in the opening night slot, and as great of a rivalry Baltimore and Pittsburgh are, I do not feel it gives justice to the rivalry to have it happen so early in the season like a couple of years ago. Now we are down to the Texans, Packers and Patriots. All three would be great games to watch. Houston clobbered Baltimore last season in Houston, a rematch of the last two AFC Championship games would be fun to watch if New England gets the nod and to see Aaron Rodgers square off against Joe Flacco would be phenominal.
So who will the NFL give the nod to? As much as I would love to see the Packers get the call, in the end I believe that the NFL will have the defending Super Bowl Champions square off against the New England Patriots in a rematch of the last two AFC Championship games. Tom Brady will be given the opportunity to avenge his lost in this past postseason, and Baltimore will be out to prove they will once again be a legitimate Super Bowl contender and open their journey towards a repeat.
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