The Atlanta Falcons have their big homecoming of the 2017 season, opening up the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium against the Green Bay Packers in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship. The game will be televised on NBC and streaming online at the NBC Sports app.
These two last met in the playoffs, with the Falcons crushing the Packers on their way to Super Bowl 51. They’re now trying to regroup after a historic collapse in that Super Bowl, with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan taking the head coaching job in San Francisco. Steve Sarkisian is now in charge of calling the plays.
However, since Bill O’Brien became the head coach of the Texans in 2014, his team has taken that crown. The Browns have had eight different starting quarterbacks in that timeframe. Deshaun Watson will make it nine quarterbacks for the Texans when he starts Thursday night against the Bengals.
That’s quite the bad crop for both teams. In those three seasons, the Browns are 11-37, whereas the Texans are 27-21. The Texans have had the benefit of playing in the AFC South and complementing those mediocre quarterbacks with good defenses, while the Browns have been the Browns.
The Texans traded up to No. 12 overall to draft Watson this offseason, after he led Clemson to its first national championship since 1981. He was a stud in college, and it’s why he was Dan Kadar’s No. 1 quarterback in the 2017 draft:
Despite just 28 all-time meetings in the regular season, a Packers-Falcons game has often been played with eventual postseason implications in the Brett Favre era and beyond. These games also tend to be nail-biters; nine of the last ten regular season meetings were decided by eight points or less, including six by three or fewer points. Much like Green Bay’s non-divisional rivalries that have developed with the likes of San Francisco, Dallas, and Seattle, fans of both sides are connected by memories of both bitterness and joy.