For the first time since February, it's game day!
An offseason of OTAs, free agency, drafting, training camp practice and preseason action is in the books and real football returns.
And it emanates from Foxborough as Gillette Stadium is, appropriately, the center of the football world.
As the Boston Globe says, now we really get to see what the Patriots are made of. The Globe offers up the Patriots keys to victory against a Chiefs team that won 12 games a year ago. Globe columnist Chris Gasper says that the NFL's latest statement does not settle the concussion issue surrounding Tom Brady. The Globe writes that even without many specific details, the pre-game festivities on Thursday night should be super. The Globe profiles NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth, who'll handle color commentary for the NFL opener.
The Globe's Patriots season preview section looks at New England's ability to excel in situational football under Bill Belichick's watch. The Globe wonders how the Patriots do prepare for every little situation. The Globe says that in many ways New England's biggest rival right now is the team's own glorious past. The Globe has the Patriots as the unanimous pick to win it all again in 2017. The Globe also breaks down the New England schedule, game-by-game.
Boston Herald *columnist Ron Borges says that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets the last laugh when it comes to clown-nose wearing Patriots s fans. The *Herald passes along word that Brady's "cerebral workout" is going to be released to the public. The* Herald writes that finding motivation is hold hat for the 40-year-old Brady. The *Herald notes yet another record the Patriots could establish this coming season. The Herald offers up five things to watch for in the opener against the Chiefs. The Herald Patriots notebook touches on the Brady concussion situation.
The Providence Journal says the key matchup in tonight's game for the Patriots is with Chiefs speedy playmaker Tyreek Hill. The ProJo looks back at James White's huge Super Bowl performance, which didn't come as a surprise to those familiar with the Patriots passing back. The ProJo offers up five players to watch this season for New England. The ProJo writes that last season is already very much in the past for the Patriots.
ESPN lists five teams that could dethrone the five-time-champion Patriots, which includes all the obvious candidates. ESPN also runs down all the storylines for the 2017 season, with Brady's age-40 performance near the top of the list. ESPN looks at how the Patriots offense could be unstoppable, and what defenses' best shot at stopping it might be. ESPN continues to compare the 2017 Patriots with the record-setting 2007 version of the team.
ESPNBoston.com notes that Thursday night is the nine-year anniversary of Brady tearing his ACL to open the 2008 regular season. ESPNBoston.com also has newcomer Phillip Dorsett saying he's "invested" in the New England offense.
WEEI.com notes that Rob Ninkovich may not have completely closed the door on a potential return to the Patriots, despite his retirement announcement this summer. WEEI.com offers its preview of the battle with the Chiefs, including three keys to the game. WEEI.com also lists four questions about the Patriots that will be answered against the Chiefs.
CSNNE.com has an annoying slideshow preview of the Patriots season that's littered with questions about the team. CSNNE.com also goes through each week of the Patriots schedule and the quest for perfection in 2017.
NFL.com puts Bill Belichick and Brady near the top of the list of 11 NFL names facing huge expectations in 2017. Strangely the story says that 16-0 isn't in the cards, but that 15-1 is "easily within reach." Take that for whatever you will!
NFL.com also ponders what to watch for the Patriots vs. Chiefs opener that gets it all going for the NFL this fall. Brady isn't in the top spot in NFL.com's ranking of all 32 quarterbacks heading into Week 1.
The* New York Post* claims to have the secrets that have made the Patriots a two-decade dynasty in the NFL.
USA Today has six pothole games on the Patriots schedule for 2017.
The Washington Post thinks the Chiefs can spoil New England's 19-0 dreams before the march to perfection even really gets going.
The Kansas City Star looks at the opener from the Chiefs perspective.
Sports Illustrated breaks down the unprecedented expectations that the defending-champion Patriots face this season.