The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl Sunday night in Atlanta, GA by beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 and that now means they’ll likely play at home in the 2019 Thursday night regular season opener. While we won’t know for sure who will play who in the 2019 Thursday night regular season opener until roughly two months from now, speculation is already starting to surface that the Patriots could wind up hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in that first contest of the new season.
Peter King of NBC Sports is one major media talking head already discussing such a matchup between the Patriots and the Steelers to start the 2019 regular season. In King’s weekly Monday column on Pro Football Talk, he listed his four best guesses as to which team could wind up playing the Patriots on Sept. 5 at Gillette Stadium and you can see those below:
• Cleveland at Patriots. This would be my pick, but the NFL may be hesitant to put a team that hasn’t proven it yet in the opener.
• Pittsburgh at Patriots. Drama Queens at the Model Franchise.
• Kansas City at Patriots. Doubt they’d waste this mega-game on opening night. NFL usually saves matchups such as this AFC title game rematch for a big midseason game.
• Dallas at Patriots. America’s (Competitive) Team is another game I wonder if the NFL would waste on opening night.
In case you forgot, the Steelers and Patriots opened up the 2015 regular season against each other in a game played in Foxboro. It also came without any significance to the previous year as not only did the two two teams not meet during the 2014 regular season, they didn’t meet in the playoffs, either.
The NFL will obviously want a 2019 regular season opener that they’re almost certain would be competitive so the Patriots hosting either the Steelers or the Kansas City Chiefs would seem to be the obvious choices, assuming the defending Super Bowl champs are indeed chosen. The Patriots eight home opponents in 2019 are the Steelers, Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
You can almost certainly rule out the Jets, Bills and Dolphins as options to face the Patriots and probably the Browns and Giants as well. Does anyone really think that the Cowboys would give the Patriots a good game? I don’t. That leaves the Steelers and Chiefs as the remaining two options and quite honestly, I’d like to see a rematch of this past season’s AFC Championship game to open the 2019 NFL regular season. The Steelers can play the Patriots much later during the 2019 regular season just like they have the last two years.
In summation, my money is on the Patriots hosting the Chiefs to kick off the 2019 regular season.