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NFL releases 2017 regular-season schedule

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The Kansas City Chiefs have drawn one of the toughest assignments in football. They will travel to Foxborough to kick off the NFL season against the Patriots on Sept. 7.

The Thursday night kickoff game on NBC has evolved into a tradition and it's always a difficult matchup for the road team. That could be especially true this year, as the Patriots have spent the offseason loading up on talent after winning their fifth Super Bowl title. The Patriots will unveil their latest championship banner, assuming they find room for it.

The game is a rematch of a Divisional Round contest that Kansas City lost after the 2015 season. Led by Alex Smith, Travis Kelce and Justin Houston, the Chiefs have acquired a reputation as a good-but-not great team that can't get over the hump. This matchup is an early chance to disprove that reputation, although not the last. Kansas City is in prime time five times in the first eight weeks of the season.

Chiefs-Patriots might not even be the sauciest Week 1 prime-time game. Here's the rest of the slate (and the full schedule):

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Best of Chiefs Patriots matchups

In celebration of the 2017 kickoff game, take a look back at the best photos from Chiefs Patriots games through the years.

Sunday Night Football, 8:30 p.m. ET: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys -- This game has turned into a Week 1 tradition of its own. It's the third consecutive year the two teams have played the opener, and the second time it's happened on NBC. Tony Romo leading a game-winning drive to start the 2015 season feels like an awfully long time ago. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott face one of the toughest schedules in football, something that won't help them avoid a sophomore slump.

Monday Night Football, 7:10 p.m. ET: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings -- The Week 1 doubleheader starts with two teams trying to escape the fat middle of the NFL. Drew Brees and Sean Payton are running out of time to save the Saints (again), while the Vikings start life without Adrian Peterson. The Vikings will start their season-long quest to be the first team in NFL history to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium.

Monday Night Football, 10:20 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos -- This is one of my sneaky favorite matchups of Week 1. With Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa leading the way, the Chargers' first season in Los Angeles could end in the playoffs. The Broncos' starting quarterback is uncertain, as is the Denver defense's ability to stay dominant after Wade Phillips left town.

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