Dallas Cowboys 2017 schedule

Get ready for some football with our video graphic of the Dallas Cowboys' upcoming preseason and regular season games
Up Next
Get ready for some football with our video graphic of the Dallas Cowboys' upcoming preseason and regular season games

Dallas Cowboys

A team-by-team preview of the 2017 NFL season

By David Humphrey


August 25, 2017 11:08 AM

Here we go again.

The last image of an NFL regular-season game was the New England Patriots capping a historic comeback to win Super Bowl LI against Atlanta in overtime.

The season starts anew on Sept. 7 when the Patriots host Kansas City in a Thursday night game. The Dallas Cowboys face the New York Giants in a prime-time Sunday night game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington before the Los Angeles Chargers go to Denver on Monday night to close out opening weekend.

The Patriots are favored to repeat as champions, but there is plenty of hope for the rest of the league.

Be the first to know.

No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams made the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Keep hope alive!

NFL East

Dallas Cowboys

1. Overview

The Cowboys have established a foundation for consistent wins. And they are young, led by second-year Pro Bowlers Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott is suspended for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but they still have Darren McFadden. The defense ranked 19th overall last season. The pass rush is still the difference between being good and great. Can rookie top pick Taco Charlton make a difference?

2. Playoff chances

The record might not reflect it, but the Cowboys should be making a return to the playoffs, although it might not be as the league champion. The loss of Elliott will be felt early. There isn’t any sympathy or much wiggle room in the NFC East.

3. X-factor

The first six games and life without Elliott will say a lot about the season. New York Giants, Green Bay and Los Angeles Rams at home. Denver, Arizona and San Francisco on the road. The Rams game is the only breather. Maybe.


Sept. 10 vs. NY Giants (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Denver (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Arizona (ESPN) 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 vs. Los Angeles Rams (KDFW/4) Noon

Oct. 8 vs. Green Bay (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 15 Bye

Oct. 22 at San Francisco (KDFW/4) 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 29 at Washington (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 5 vs. Kansas City (KTVT/11) 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 12 at Atlanta (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 23 vs. LA Chargers (KTVT/11) 3:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 vs. Washington (KXAS/5) 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 at NY Giants (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Raiders (KXAS/5) 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 vs. Seattle (KDFW/4) 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Philadelphia (KDFW/4) Noon

New York Giants

1. Overview

The Giants will be chasing the Cowboys again, despite beating them twice last season and finishing 11-5. Victor Cruz is gone, but in comes Brandon Marshall. Even wide receiver swap? Either way, quarterback Eli Manning is still around the throw the ball.

2. Playoff chances

Very good. In fact, the Giants can win the division. In 2016, they actually had the best division record at 4-2 and they finished 11-5, but had an ugly exit from the playoffs. That same record should be good enough for a return visit to the postseason.

3. X-factor

When it comes to finding players to fit your needs, rookie first-round pick tight end Evan Engram out of Ole Miss is a perfect fit for the Giants.


Sept. 10 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Philadelphia, noon

Oct. 1 at Tampa Bay, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 8 Los Angeles Chargers, noon

Oct. 15 x- at Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22 Seattle, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 Los Angeles Rams, noon

Nov. 12 at San Francisco, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 19 Kansas City, noon

Nov. 23 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 at Oakland, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 17 Philadelphia, noon

Dec. 24 at Arizona, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 31 Washington, noon

Philadelphia Eagles

1. Overview

Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz had an impressive start as a rookie. He’ll be better this season. The Eagles landed a surprise in ex-Patriots back LeGarrette Blount in the off-season.

2. Playoff chances

Let’s try 50-50. Outside their traditional hard battles against division foes, the Eagles can’t give away any games against teams such as the Chargers, Rams and Niners and stay in the hunt.

3. X-factor

Wentz’s development holds the key to the season. He had a solid rookie season with 3,782 passing yards. However his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 16-to-14. He’ll need to better than that in his second season.


Sept. 10 at Washington, noon

Sept. 17 at Kansas City, noon

Sept. 24 New York Giants, noon

Oct. 1 at Los Angeles Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 8 Arizona, noon

Oct. 12 at Carolina, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 23 Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29 San Francisco, noon

Nov. 5 Denver, noon

Nov. 12 BYE

Nov. 19 x-at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 26 Chicago, noon

Dec. 3 x-at Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 17 at New York Giants, noon

Dec. 25 Oakland, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 Dallas, noon

Washington Redskins

1. Overview

There isn’t any ink on a long-term deal for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Will it impact his play? Doubtful. Washington lost big-player receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. However, they added Terrelle Pryor from Cleveland and they still have second-year man and former first-round pick Josh Doctson from TCU.

2. Playoff chances

A lot of things will have to go right for the Redskins to see the postseason. They’ll be a tough out, but likely won’t have the muscle to survive their own division.

3. X-factor

Simple. It’s Cousins. He can be very, very good at times. When he’s on the top of his game, the entire team seems to rally around him. The coaches still need to call the type of game that puts him in position to succeed.


Sept. 10 Philadelphia, noon

Sept. 17 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 24 Oakland, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 San Francisco, noon

Oct. 23 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29 Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 5 at Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 12 Minnesota, noon

Nov. 19 at New Orleans, noon

Nov. 23 New York Giants, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 at Dallas, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 at LA Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 17 Arizona, noon

Dec. 24 Denver, noon

Dec. 31 at New York Giants, noon

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

1. Overview

Green Bay’s playoff run ended in a surprising dismantling in Atlanta in the NFC Championship game. No shame in losing to the Falcons, but the Packers were totally crushed. Running back Eddie Lacy is gone and so is defender Julius Peppers. But keep an eye on free agent pickup tight end Martellus Bennett. Aaron Rodgers already has a deadly long game, Bennett gives him a deadly short game to go along with all-purpose player Ty Montgomery.

2. Playoff chances

The Packers have been in the playoffs eight consecutive seasons. Why bet against them now? They shouldn’t need any verbal guarantees from Rodgers this season to make the postseason.

3. X-factor

Balance. Green Bay showed what they could do when they get on a roll. Their defense went to sleep against the Falcons and were the weak area defense was the weak link on the team in 2016. If they can lean less on their offense to win games and get consistent production on defense, the Packers could have a monster season.


Sept. 10 Seattle, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24 Cincinnati, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 28 Chicago, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 8 at Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Minnesota, noon

Oct. 22 New Orleans, noon

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 6 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 12 at Chicago, noon

Nov. 19 Baltimore, noon

Nov. 26 x-at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 Tampa Bay, noon

Dec. 10 at Cleveland, noon

Dec. 17 at Carolina, noon

Dec. 23 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Detroit, noon

Detroit Lions

1. Overview

Detroit played it close to the vest last season. It was good enough to get in the playoffs at 9-7. Jim Caldwell has led his team to the postseason in two of his three seasons. They’ve been one and done, but getting them there is worth a nod. That was then. This is now. T

2. Playoff chances

The Lions were edge runners in 2016, which made them exciting to watch. Some of the wins came by way of smoke and mirrors. Yet, a win is a win. It might be tough to repeat those come-from-behind wins this season.

3. X-factor

The Lions can’t depend on miracle finishes to make a living in the NFL. A stronger pass rusher will help shore up the defense and give Matthew Stafford and the offense a rest.


Sept. 10 Arizona, noon

Sept. 18 at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24 Atlanta, noon

Oct. 1 at Minnesota, noon

Oct. 8 Carolina, noon

Oct. 15 at New Orleans, noon

Oct. 22 BYE

Oct. 29 x-Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 6 at Green Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 12 Cleveland, noon

Nov. 19 at Chicago, noon

Nov. 23 Minnesota, 11:30 a.m.

Dec. 3 at Baltimore, noon

Dec. 10 at Tampa Bay, noon

Dec. 16 Chicago, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Cincinnati, noon

Dec. 31 Green Bay, noon

Minnesota Vikings

1. Overview

Mike Zimmer has had eight eye surgeries, but will be back to guide the Vikings, who finished 8-8 last season. Minnesota needs to find a way to run the ball. They were last in the league at 75 yards per game. They drafted Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and signed Latavius Murray in free agency. Anthony Barr and Terrance Newman are still around on defense.

2. Playoff chances

They’ll be competitive for the long haul, but likely won’t have the power to stay with Detroit and Green Bay. If either slips, say Detroit, then the Vikings might be able to get in the postseason door. The Dec. 23 road game at Green Bay might be the deal breaker.

3. X-factor

Teddy Bridgewater’s progress, plain and simple. Bridgewater is recovering from a knee injury he suffered in August of last year. Sam Bradford, who replaced Bridgewater last season, will begin the season as the starter, but might not end the season in the same role.


Sept. 11 New Orleans, 6:10 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Pittsburgh, noon

Sept. 24 Tampa Bay, noon

Oct. 1 Detroit, noon

Oct. 9 at Chicago, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 Green Bay, noon

Oct. 22 Baltimore, noon

Oct. 29 at Cleveland (London), 8:30 a.m.

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 at Washington, noon

Nov. 19 Los Angeles Rams, noon

Nov. 23 at Detroit, 11:30 a.m.

Dec. 3 at Atlanta, noon

Dec. 10 at Carolina, noon

Dec. 17 Cincinnati, noon

Dec. 23 at Green Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 Chicago, noon

Chicago Bears

1. Overview

You can still hear the booing from the NFL Draft when the Bears took quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick. Mike Glennon is around for support (or is he the starter?) at quarterback. Even so, the booing might continue through the season with the Bears’ play on the field. They need a lot of work on both sides of the ball.

2. Playoff chances

Doubtful. A winning mark will be a challenge too. They won three games in 2016. It’s hard to find wins on the 2017 schedule, except for home games against San Francisco and Cleveland.

3. X-factor

Coach John Fox knows what success looks like and feels like. He’s starting his third season with the Bears and is still laying a foundation. He’s been a part of some 4-game and 5-game, one-season turnarounds before in his career. However, this project will require overtime.


Sept. 10 Atlanta, noon

Sept. 17 at Tampa Bay, noon

Sept. 24 Pittsburgh, noon

Sept. 28 at Green Bay, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 9 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Baltimore, noon

Oct. 22 Carolina, noon

Oct. 29 at New Orleans, noon

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 Green Bay, noon

Nov. 19 Detroit, noon

Nov. 26 at Philadelphia, noon

Dec. 3 San Francisco, noon

Dec. 10 at Cincinnati, noon

Dec. 16 at Detroit, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 Cleveland, noon

Dec. 31 at Minnesota, noon

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

1. Overview

The Super Bowl loss is behind the Falcons, but not how they loss. There’s either going to be a hangover factor or the grittiest, hungriest bounce-back playoff run in NFL history. No major tweaks are needed. This is still a Super Bowl contending team with reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan at quarterback.

2. Playoff chances

The Falcons should be playing for playoff positioning rather than playing to get in the playoffs. Although no two seasons are the same in the league, this will be the exception. Super Bowl trip or bust.

3. X-factor

The mental part of the game will be on full display for the Falcons and their fans. Similar to last season, few will question their talent. But a devastating collapse on sports’ biggest stage is not easy to dismiss.


Sept. 10 at Chicago, noon

Sept. 17 Green Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Detroit, noon

Oct. 1 Buffalo, noon

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 Miami, noon

Oct. 22 x-at New England, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29 at New York Jets, noon

Nov. 5 at Carolina, noon

Nov. 12 Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 20 at Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 26 Tampa Bay, noon

Dec. 3 Minnesota, noon

Dec. 7 New Orleans, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 18 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 at New Orleans, noon

Dec. 31 Carolina, noon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. Overview

They still play defense in Tampa Bay and will continue to do so as long as Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy is in town. Jameis Winston has developed faster than expected. The team added a security blanket for Winston in rookie tight end O.J. Howard of Alabama. It looks like the Bucs have the talent to win in a variety of ways. That makes them dangerous.

2. Playoff chances

The team jelled with a five-game winning streak during the middle of the season that kept them in the playoff conversation. They’ll be there again this season and will likely stay there. Tampa Bay has the ingredients to be this year’s sleeper team.

3. X-factor

If wide receiver Mike Evans ever gets consistent catching the ball, his stats would be off the charts. He still earned Pro Bowl honors last season, but his dropped balls killed a lot of drives and left some points on the field.


Sept. 10 at Miami, noon

Sept. 17 Chicago, noon

Sept. 24 at Minnesota, noon

Oct. 1 New York Giants, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 5 New England, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Arizona, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Buffalo, noon

Oct. 29 Carolina, noon

Nov. 5 at New Orleans, noon

Nov. 12 New York Jets, noon

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 at Atlanta, noon

Dec. 3 at Green Bay, noon

Dec. 10 Detroit, noon

Dec. 18 Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Carolina, noon

Dec. 31 New Orleans, noon

Carolina Panthers

1. Overview

The Panthers were sort of in the middle of the road statistically even though it resulted in a 6-10 record. Cam Newton is still looking for an encore from his 2015 MVP season. Injuries slowed him last season. A familiar face, Julius Peppers, has returned to the Panthers. Carolina hopes he brought his pass rush with him.

2. Playoff chances

It’s tough to get a read on Carolina. Most point to Cam Newton, but their body of work points more to defense. They couldn’t recover from a 1-5 start last season.

3. X-factor

Peppers is starting his 15th NFL season and has had nine seasons of 10 or more sacks. He had  10 1/2 sacks two seasons ago in Green Bay so he still has game.


Sept. 10 at San Francisco, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 17 Buffalo, noon

Sept. 24 New Orleans, noon

Oct. 1 at New England, noon

Oct. 8 at Detroit, noon

Oct. 12 Philadelphia, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Chicago, noon

Oct. 29 at Tampa Bay, noon

Nov. 5 Atlanta, noon

Nov. 13 Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 at New York Jets, noon

Dec. 3 at New Orleans, noon

Dec. 10 Minnesota, noon

Dec. 17 Green Bay, noon

Dec. 24 Tampa Bay, noon

Dec. 31 at Atlanta, noon

New Orleans Saints

1. Overview

After three consecutive losing seasons, the fan base got a jolt of life (maybe) when the Saints picked up Adrian Petersen. A great, but aging, runner joins Mark Ingram in the backfield. Drew Brees can still get the ball down the field. But offense wasn’t the team’s shortcoming. It was defense, which ranked 27th overall in the league and allowed the second-most points in 2016.

2. Playoff chances

The losing seasons could end, say 8-8 and an outside chance at 9-7, but it won’t be good enough to get in the postseason. However, they should be in the playoff chase until the end.

3. X-factor

Petersen still deserves respect in the NFL even if there weren’t many suitors in free agency for the former longtime Minnesota back. Limited carries in the past two years might serve him well physically in New Orleans.


Sept. 11 at Minnesota, 6:10 p.m.

Sept. 17 New England, noon

Sept. 24 at Carolina, noon

Oct. 1 at Miami (London), 8:30 a.m.

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 Detroit, noon

Oct. 22 at Green Bay, noon

Oct. 29 Chicago, noon

Nov. 5 Tampa Bay, noon

Nov. 12 at Buffalo, noon

Nov. 19 Washington, noon

Nov. 26 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 3 Carolina, noon

Dec. 7 at Atlanta, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 17 New York Jets, noon

Dec. 24 Atlanta, noon

Dec. 31 at Tampa Bay, noon

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

1. Overview

Seattle is still the team to beat in the NFC West, although the talent gap of talent has shrunk has reduced considerably. The Legion of Boom still lives up to its moniker. Although the secondary gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so, don’t dismiss the work of pass rushers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. With that type of defense, all quarterback Russell Wilson has to do is put about 14 to 17 points on the board each game.

2. Playoff chances

Very good. The Seahawks have been to the playoff five consecutive seasons, including two Super Bowl appearances. They’ll make it six this season.

3. X-factor

The Seahawks like big, bruising running backs. They picked up another when Eddie Lacy came over from Green Bay during free agency. Lacy is a good fit.


Sept. 10 at Green Bay, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 17 San Francisco, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Tennessee, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 1 Indianapolis, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 15 BYE

Oct. 22 at New York Giants, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 29 Houston, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 5 Washington, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Arizona, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 20 Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 26 at San Francisco, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 3 x-Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 at Jacksonville, noon

Dec. 17 Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 31 Arizona, 3:25 p.m.

Arizona Cardinals

1. Overview

Aging quarterback Carson Palmer is still tough to defend. He is surrounded by a team that is mostly in its prime., particularly on defense. The big goal is within reach. This team just needs a little luck to go along with its play.

2. Playoff chances

The Cardinals are basically in a two-team division with Seattle. No disrespect to San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams, but the there’s a clear separation between the top two teams and the bottom two.

3. X-factor

Keep Palmer healthy and have a strong backup on call. Palmer will likely be on a practice pitch count during the regular season. In the meantime, keep an eye on backups Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert because they might see time before it’s all said and done.


Sept. 10 at Detroit, noon

Sept. 17 at Indianapolis, noon

Sept. 25 Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 San Francisco, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 8 at Philadelphia, noon

Oct. 15 Tampa Bay, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Los Angeles Rams (London), noon

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 at San Francisco, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 9 Seattle, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 19 at Houston, noon

Nov. 26 Jacksonville, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 3 Los Angeles Rams, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 Tennessee, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Washington, noon

Dec. 24 New York Giants, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Seattle, 3:25 p.m.

San Francisco

1. Overview

New coach. New attitude. New results? Kyle Shanahan takes over the Niners. There’s a lot of work ahead, starting with the culture of the team. Seven wins in the past two seasons can bring mental challenges. Shanahan’s credentials is are one positive start.

2. Playoff chances

Not this year. The Niners should be better than two wins going forward. A new coach can be a platform for a better season, at least temporarily until all the moving parts are in place.

3. X-factor

The Niners were highlighted more on the news pages and editorial pages than the sports pages last season with Colin Kapernick’s social statement on the sidelines and in the locker room. He is no longer on the team so that’s no longer a distraction, if it ever was.


Sept. 10 Carolina, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 17 at Seattle, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 21 Los Angeles Rams, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Arizona, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 8 at Indianapolis, noon

Oct. 15 at Washington, noon

Oct. 22 Dallas, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 29 at Philadelphia, noon

Nov. 5 Arizona, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 12 New York Giants, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 3 at Chicago, noon

Dec. 10 at Houston, noon

Dec. 17 Tennessee, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 Jacksonville, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:25 p.m.

L.A. Rams

1. Overview

Even the hype of moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles didn’t pay dividends in the win column last year. No more bubble wrap for Jared Goff. Cut him loose! He already has a legitimate ground game if Todd Gurley has the expected bounce-back season under new coach Sean McVay.

2. Playoff chances

The Rams are in a three-year, reclamation project. Step one is to just be competitive. Step 2 is to play .500 ball. Step 3 is to become a playoff contender. It’s three years because that’s the going rate on patience in the NFL.

3. X-factor

Well-traveled, but productive, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is now with the Rams. Phillips has succeeded everywhere he’s been and that’s a long list. The Rams’ defense is his latest project.


Sept. 10 Indianapolis, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 17 Miami Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 21 at San Francisco, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Dallas, noon

Oct. 8 Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Jacksonville, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 22 Arizona (London), noon

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 at New York Giants, noon

Nov. 12 Houston, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 19 at Minnesota, noon

Nov. 26 New Orleans, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 3 at Arizona, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 Philadelphia, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Tennessee, noon

Dec. 31 San Francisco, 3:25 p.m.

AFC East

New England Patriots

1. Overview

Tom Brady is the best, even at age 40. OK, that’s out of the way. What was hidden during the Patriots’ run is how Bill Belichick and his staff acquired average players and turned them into champions. The blueprint works. Those fill-ins matter. When you mix them in with other playmakers, such as wideouts Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, there’s plenty to work with in New England.

2. Playoff chances

They’re in now and the season hasn’t even started yet. Seriously, they are heavy favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Even in the unpredictable NFL, the Patriots normally play to form. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to be 100 percent healthy on this next run after playing only eight games due to several injuries, including a herniated disk in his back.

3. X-factor

It’s the same for every team. Injuries. The Patriots have proven they can win with injuries, but it does matter who is injured and how many at the same time. They missed Gronk late in the season, but that only kept the point spreads down.


Sept. 7 Kansas City Chiefs, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 17 at New Orleans, noon

Sept. 24 Houston, noon

Oct. 1 Carolina, noon

Oct. 5 at Tampa Bay, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 15 at New York Jets, noon

Oct. 22 x-Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 29 Los Angeles Chargers, noon

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 x-at Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 19 at Oakland (Mex. City), 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 Miami, noon

Dec. 3 at Buffalo, noon

Dec. 11 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Pittsburgh, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 Buffalo, noon

Dec. 31 New York Jets, noon

Miami Dolphins

1. Overview

The Dolphins made the playoffs last season and there was a lot of pep in their step during the off-season until quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season with an knee injury in training camp. The Dolphins had to dial up Jay Cutler, who was heading to a broadcast job on Fox. Rookie linebacker Charles Harris of Missouri is NFL ready and free agent pickup safety Nate Hill brings toughness. Jay Ajayi gets gritty yards in the run game. Deep threat Kenny Stills is coming off a big season.

2. Playoff chances

The Dolphins made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008. They’re still hungry and have new-found fan expectations to keep them on their toes. A 4-2 finish got them in last season. Playing with expectations is a different animal, but the Dolphins should be able to return to the playoffs.

3. X-factor

The Dolphins, mainly their offense, were a different team with the play of Ajayi. He rushed for more than 1,200 yards with eight touchdowns. He had 27 receptions. He’ll offer relief for whomever is playing quarterback.


Sept. 10 Tampa Bay, noon

Sept. 17 at LA Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 24 at New York Jets, noon

Oct. 1 New Orleans (London), 8:30 a.m.

Oct. 8 Tennessee, noon

Oct. 15 at Atlanta, noon

Oct. 22 New York Jets, noon

Oct. 26 at Baltimore, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 5 x-Oakland, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 13 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 at New England, noon

Dec. 3 Denver, noon

Dec. 11 New England, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Buffalo, noon

Dec. 24 at Kansas City, noon

Dec. 31 Buffalo, noon

New York Jets

1. Overview

Tough times with the Jets were made tougher with the loss of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall among others. They added ex-Cowboy Morris Claiborne, but that’s not an even swap for Revis.

2. Playoff chances

How did things turn so bad so fast. It’ll be back to the basics this season for a Jets team likely to end up in the seven- or eight-win range.

3. X-factor

Coaching and continuity. The Jets have had internal issues that led to bad football on the field. Fair or unfair, the discourse falls on coach Todd Bowles.


Sept. 10 at Buffalo, noon

Sept. 17 at Oakland, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 24 Miami, noon

Oct. 1 Jacksonville, noon

Oct. 8 at Cleveland, noon

Oct. 15 New England, noon

Oct. 22 at Miami, noon

Oct. 29 Atlanta, noon

Nov. 2 Buffalo, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 12 at Tampa Bay, noon

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 Carolina, noon

Dec. 3 Kansas City, noon

Dec. 10 at Denver, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 17 at New Orleans, noon

Dec. 24 Los Angeles Chargers, noon

Dec. 31 at New England, noon

Buffalo Bills

1. Overview

Sean McDermott replaces Anthony Lynn as head coach. His first order of business is finding out how Tyrod Taylor fits going forward. A serviceable defense was undone last season by a weak pass rush, resulting in a total of 21 sacks.

2. Playoff chances

It’ll be close, but being in the AFC East doesn’t help. The Bills went 8-8 last season. They’ll need a few more plays to get to 10 wins. A 10-6 record was good enough for a wild-card berth in 2016.

3. X-factor

The Bills ended 2016 by going 1-4 in their final five games. Buffalo is still trying to figure out what went wrong. Just like the mantra of playing a full four quarters, teams have to play 16 full games.


Sept. 10 New York Jets, noon

Sept. 17 at Carolina, noon

Sept. 24 Denver, noon

Oct. 1 at Atlanta, noon

Oct. 8 at Cincinnati, noon

Oct. 15 BYE

Oct. 22 Tampa Bay, noon

Oct. 29 Oakland, noon

Nov. 2 at New York Jets, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 12 New Orleans, noon

Nov. 19 at LA Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 26 at Kansas City, noon

Dec. 3 New England, noon

Dec. 10 Indianapolis, noon

Dec. 17 Miami, noon

Dec. 24 at New England, noon

Dec. 31 at Miami, noon

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

1. Overview

Pittsburgh has one of the best, if not the best (sorry New England), offenses in the NFL. It’s tough to beat the trio of Big Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.

2. Playoff chances

Excellent, but the Steelers are looking beyond the postseason. There’s some Super Bowl talk in Pittsburgh. It’s talk that is taken seriously around the league.

3. X-factor

There was clear separation between the Patriots and Steelers in the conference championship last season. Defense was the difference. The Steelers need a healthy, breakout season from linebacker Bud Dupree.


Sept. 10 at Cleveland, noon

Sept. 17 Minnesota, noon

Sept. 24 at Chicago, noon

Oct. 1 at Baltimore, noon

Oct. 8 Jacksonville, noon

Oct. 15 at Kansas City, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 22 Cincinnati, noon

Oct. 29 x-at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 at Indianapolis, noon

Nov. 16 Tennessee, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 x-Green Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 4 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 x-Baltimore, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 New England, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 25 at Houston, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 Cleveland, noon

Baltimore Ravens

1. Overview

The usual DNA approach for the Ravens. Good defense. Solid offense. Keep the game close and win on big plays by quarterback Joe Flacco. Adding wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in free agency stretches the field even more. No game-breaking running backs, just solid contributors. That’ll be enough.

2. Playoff chances

Baltimore is trying to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. To make it, they’ll have to go the wild-card route. But that’s not a bad thing. At this time, the Steelers are still king of the division.

3. X-factor

Secondary play. The Ravens felt they were vulnerable to the pass, particularly the long pass. In steps free agent pickup Tony Jefferson at safety and big rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey of Alabama.


Sept. 10 at Cincinnati, noon

Sept. 17 Cleveland, noon

Sept. 24 at Jackson. (London), 8:30 a.m.

Oct. 1 Pittsburgh, noon

Oct. 8 at Oakland, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 15 Chicago, noon

Oct. 22 at Minnesota, noon

Oct. 26 Miami, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 5 at Tennessee, noon

Nov. 12 BYE

Nov. 19 at Green Bay, noon

Nov. 27 Houston, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 Detroit, noon

Dec. 10 x-at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Cleveland, noon

Dec. 23 Indianapolis, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 Cincinnati, noon

Cincinnati Bengals

1. Overview

It’s Andy Dalton’s team now. The Bengals go as he goes. A.J. Green, bouncing back from a hamstring injury last season, has speedy help outside in rookie John Ross. The defense is coming into its own with several players such as Vontaze Burfict hitting their pro strides. Veteran cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones is still making plays.

2. Playoff chances

The potential is clearly there. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem. However, Dalton will have to win games for the Bengals. He has a supporting cast. This team might fall in the feast or famine scenario.

3. X-factor

The running game and lightning rod rookie running back Joe Mixon of Oklahoma, whose off-the-field history will follow him through the season. Jeremy Hill started 13 games and had nine rushing touchdowns. Mixon will get some touches and might be starting by the end of the season.


Sept. 10 Baltimore, noon

Sept. 14 Houston, 7:25 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Green Bay, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Cleveland, noon

Oct. 8 Buffalo, noon

Oct. 15 BYE

Oct. 22 at Pittsburgh, noon

Oct. 29 Indianapolis, noon

Nov. 5 at Jacksonville, noon

Nov. 12 at Tennessee, noon

Nov. 19 at Denver, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 Cleveland, noon

Dec. 4 Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10 Chicago, noon

Dec. 17 at Minnesota, noon

Dec. 24 Detroit, noon

Dec. 31 at Baltimore, noon

Cleveland Browns

1. Overview

Help is on the way! The Browns had three first-round picks, led by former Arlington Martin and Texas A&M superstar Myles Garrett. Safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku should also be walk-in rookie starters. That’s a good beginning.

2. Playoff chances

The Browns are still a long ways from the postseason. Cleveland won only one game last season. Let’s put their ceiling in the three to four range in 2017. Second-year head coach Hue Jackson has time.

3. X-factor

All the news isn’t good news, but the rookie class is clearly the difference between another one-win season and perhaps at least being competitive in most of the other games. Although most will be watching Garrett and Peppers, Njoku might make the greatest impact overall.


Sept. 10 Pittsburgh, noon

Sept. 17 at Baltimore, noon

Sept. 24 at Indianapolis, noon

Oct. 1 Cincinnati, noon

Oct. 8 New York Jets, noon

Oct. 15 at Houston, noon

Oct. 22 Tennessee, noon

Oct. 29 Minnesota (London), 8:30 a.m.

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 at Detroit, noon

Nov. 19 Jacksonville, noon

Nov. 26 at Cincinnati, noon

Dec. 3 at Los Angeles Chargers, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 10 Green Bay, noon

Dec. 17 Baltimore, noon

Dec. 24 at Chicago, noon

Dec. 31 at Pittsburgh, noon

AFC South

Houston Texans

1. Overview

The window of opportunity is still open for the Texans. Defense will have to carry them again, this time with a healthy J.J. Watt to go along with Jadeveon Clowney. Rookie first round pick Deshaun Watson is coming to town to compete with quarterback Tom Savage. Houston would prefer to wait on Watson, but might not have too.

2. Playoff chances

As mentioned earlier, the playoff window (and more) is still an option. Offensive play has been the team’s albatross of late. Still, when you can play defense in the NFL, you’re a contender.

3. X-factor

Consistency on offense. They have very good role players, but they need some dynamic playmakers that you can count on each week. Sometimes the committee approach works and sometimes it doesn’t. Time will tell.


Sept. 10 Jacksonville, noon

Sept. 14 at Cincinnati, 7:25 p.m.

Sept. 24 at New England, noon

Oct. 1 Tennessee, noon

Oct. 8 x-Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 Cleveland, noon

Oct. 22 BYE

Oct. 29 at Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 5 Indianapolis, noon

Nov. 12 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 19 Arizona, noon

Nov. 27 at Baltimore, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 at Tennessee, noon

Dec. 10 San Francisco, noon

Dec. 17 at Jacksonville, noon

Dec. 25 Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Indianapolis, noon

Jacksonville Jaguars

1. Overview

The Jaguars averaged 19.8 points and allowed 25 per game last season which means they were in a lot of games. They need a difference-maker on one side or the other. Enter rookie running back Leonard Fournette of LSU. A big, physical back who can score in the red zone and from long range.

2. Playoff chances

Not yet. Jacksonville showed some flash last year and still finished 3-13. They had some scoring slumps even though Blake Bortles passed for 3,905 yards. It was the 16 interceptions and 34 sacks that hurt more. The Jaguars lost twice to the Houston Texans by a total of four points.

3. X-factor

Fournette will make an impact, but don’t lose sight of free agent pickup Calais Campbell. His presence on a solid run defense might keep the Jaguars in a lot more games.


Sept. 10 at Houston, noon

Sept. 17 Tennessee, noon

Sept. 24 Baltimore (London), 8:30 a.m.

Oct. 1 at New York Jets, noon

Oct. 8 at Pittsburgh, noon

Oct. 15 Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Indianapolis, noon

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 Cincinnati, noon

Nov. 12 Los Angeles Chargers, noon

Nov. 19 at Cleveland, noon

Nov. 26 at Arizona, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 3 Indianapolis, noon

Dec. 10 Seattle, noon

Dec. 17 Houston, noon

Dec. 24 at San Francisco, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Tennessee, noon

Indianapolis Colts

1. Overview

The Colts are running in place after back-to-back 8-8 seasons. It seems like a long, long time ago when they were 11-5, division champs and reached the AFC championship game. Andrew Luck’s off-season shoulder surgery is the talker heading into the season. They can still win big with a healthy Luck.

2. Playoff chances

Indianapolis will stretch its hopes the full 16 games. They might be due a trip to the postseason. Their roster reflects a playoff-caliber team. The 8-8 seasons say they’re close.

3. X-factor

No-brainer. It’s Luck. He’s not a one-man team, but he’s close. There’s T.Y. Hilton and his 91 catches still in the fold. But Indianapolis lives by the offense and will die by the offense.


Sept. 10 at Los Angeles Rams, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 17 Arizona, noon

Sept. 24 Cleveland, noon

Oct. 1 at Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 San Francisco, noon

Oct. 16 at Tennessee, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22 Jacksonville, noon

Oct. 29 at Cincinnati, noon

Nov. 5 at Houston, noon

Nov. 12 Pittsburgh, noon

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 Tennessee, noon

Dec. 3 at Jacksonville, noon

Dec. 10 at Buffalo, noon

Dec. 14 Denver, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 23 at Baltimore, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 Houston, noon

Tennessee Titans

1. Overview

DeMarco Murray is back on top of his game and that’s due to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. With that line comes protection (28 sacks allowed) and the all-important run game (Murray had 1,287 yards last season).

2. Playoff chances

They will have to avoid a slow start and will probably need 10 wins. The Titans began last season 1-4, but finished 9-7 (with the Texans) and second in the division. Their first five games this season? Host Raiders, at Jacksonville, host Seattle, at Texans and at Dolphins.

3. X-factor

Marcus Mariota needs to stay healthy for a full season. He broke his leg last season, but the third-year pro has flashed his enormous skills. Matt Cassel did well in Mariota’s absence, but Mariota injured his thumb in the off-season. What’s next?


Sept. 10 Oakland, noon

Sept. 17 at Jacksonville, noon

Sept. 24 Seattle, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Houston, noon

Oct. 8 at Miami, noon

Oct. 16 Indianapolis, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Cleveland, noon

Oct. 29 BYE

Nov. 5 Baltimore, noon

Nov. 12 Cincinnati, noon

Nov. 16 at Pittsburgh, 7:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 at Indianapolis, noon

Dec. 3 Houston, noon

Dec. 10 at Arizona, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 17 at San Francisco, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 Los Angeles Rams, noon

Dec. 31 Jacksonville, noon

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

1. Overview

The Chiefs sailed through their division with a 6-0 mark on the way to a 12-4 season. The run ended in an 18-16 home playoff loss against Pittsburgh. Kansas City still has quarterback Alex Smith, but oddly drafted Texas Tech gunslinger Patrick Mahomes in the first round.

2. Playoff chances

Good, although they will have season-defining games inside the division against Oakland and Denver. Although they swept both teams in 2016, the Chiefs shouldn’t count on that again.

3. X-factor

There shouldn’t be many surprises in regards to how the Chiefs play. Releasing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was an off-season stunner (even for salary reasons), but Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley can replace Maclin’s production.


Sept. 7 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 17 Philadelphia, noon

Sept. 24 at LA Chargers, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 2 Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 x-at Houston, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 Pittsburgh, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Oakland, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 30 Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 at Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 12 BYE

Nov. 19 at New York Giants, noon

Nov. 26 Buffalo, noon

Dec. 3 at New York Jets, noon

Dec. 10 Oakland, noon

Dec. 16 Los Angeles Chargers, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 Miami, noon

Dec. 31 at Denver, 3:25 p.m.

Oakland Raiders

1. Overview

We’ll just call them the Raiders since their home keeps changing. Regardless, quarterback Derek Carr took the Raiders Nation on a thrill ride last season before suffering a broken leg. He was rewarded with a $145 million contract extension. They added running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. It’s goes without saying that Lynch’s personality and style is a good fit.

2. Playoff chances

The Raiders should be consistent players in the postseason with their young squad that should be tougher to deal with this season.

3. X-factor

Part of the Raiders’ sudden rise was their plus-16 turnover ratio. They were very disruptive on defense, particularly end Khalil Mack, who had 11 sacks and returned an interception for a touchdowns. The team had 16 interceptions, which is a spinoff of a good pass rush. Can they keep it up?


Sept. 10 at Tennessee, noon

Sept. 17 New York Jets, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Denver, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 8 Baltimore, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 15 LA Chargers, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 19 Kansas City, 7:25 p.m.

Oct. 29 at Buffalo, noon

Nov. 5 x-at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 12 BYE

Nov. 19 New Eng. (Mexico City), 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 Denver, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 3 New York Giants, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 10 at Kansas City, noon

Dec. 17 x-Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 25 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 31 at LA Chargers, 3:25 p.m.

Denver Broncos

1. Overview

General manager John Elway hired Vance Joseph as his new head coach. The Broncos also made the offensive line a priority, adding free agents Ron Leary, Menelik Watson and drafting Garrett Bolles out of Utah. Von Miller still leads at linebacker and the Broncos added free agent big body Domata Peko.

2. Playoff chances

The Broncos finished 9-7 last season and missed the playoffs. The glow of the Super Bowl 50 is still on the team. But as everyone knows, it’s what have you done for me lately.

3. X-factor

Offensive playmakers. Now that the offensive line is secured, Denver needs some game-changing plays. All eyes are on free agent pickup Jamaal Charles. If Charles can regain (after two knee surgeries) any of the zip he had in Kansas City, this could be the final piece to get the Broncos back in the championship conversation.


Sept. 11 Los Angeles Chargers, 9:20 p.m.

Sept. 17 Dallas, 3:25 p.m.

Sept. 24 at Buffalo, noon

Oct. 1 Oakland, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 x-New York Giants, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22 at Los Angeles Chargers, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 at Philadelphia, noon

Nov. 12 x-New England, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 19 Cincinnati, 3:25 p.m.

Nov. 26 at Oakland, 3:25 p.m.

Dec. 3 at Miami, noon

Dec. 10 New York Jets, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 14 at Indianapolis, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 at Washington, noon

Dec. 31 Kansas City, 3:25 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers

1. Overview

There’s a new sheriff in town. Anthony Lynn takes over as head coach of the Chargers who have underachieved for many seasons. It’s no secret that Lynn favors the running game and it’ll be his job to raise running back Melvin Gordon’s play a notch or two. He’ll definitely get the reps. On the other side, linebacker Joey Bosa lived up to the hype on the field. Linebacker Melvin Ingram got paid big bucks in the off-season.

2. Playoff chances

Too much work ahead for Lynn this season to serious think about the postseason. It’s going to take a philosophy and culture change before Lynn’s vision matches his roster. Being in transition and playing in Stubhub Center won’t be a factor.

3. X-factor

The Chargers and Philip Rivers should be back in the deep-ball business with rookie first-round pick wide receiver Mike Williams from national champion Clemson. His big body (6-foot-4, 218 pounds) with tremendous ball adjustment skills makes him NFL ready.


Sept. 11 at Denver, 9:20 p.m.

Sept. 17 Miami, 3:05 p.m.

Sept. 24 Kansas City, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 1 Philadelphia, 3:05 p.m.

Oct. 8 at New York Giants, noon

Oct. 15 at Oakland, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 22 Denver, 3:25 p.m.

Oct. 29 at New England, noon

Nov. 5 BYE

Nov. 12 at Jacksonville, noon

Nov. 19 Buffalo, 3:05 p.m.

Nov. 23 at Dallas, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 Cleveland, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 10 Washington, 3:05 p.m.

Dec. 16 at Kansas City, 7:25 p.m.

Dec. 24 at New York Jets, noon

Dec. 31 Oakland, 3:25 p.m.