Phil Perry, CSNNE:
There are a handful of juicy matchups that the NFL could turn to for the 2015 season-opener at Gillette Stadium, and we'll find out which one they've chosen by Tuesday night.

The league announced on Monday that the schedule for the upcoming season would be handed down at 8 p.m. on NFL Network, and the first opponent for the defending-champion Patriots figures to be one of the more intriguing nuggets that will emerge from the release.

New England will open the season on Thursday, Sept. 10, but there's no real clear-cut choice as to which visiting opponent would make for the best game.

The schedule makers start with the Super Bowl champs and work backwards in filling out the weekly matchups. Last year's opener had the Seattle Seahawks crushing the visiting Green Bay Packers, 36-16.

In 2013, things got tricky when the Baltimore Ravens were forced to open on the road in Denver. It was a rough start for the champions as Broncos' QB Peyton Manning threw seven TD's in a 49-27 loss for the Ravens. Baltimore was not able to work out scheduling details with the major league baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles who play in Camden Yards, which is next door to M&T Stadium, had an afternoon game with the Chicago White Sox. It was the first time since 1996 that the Orioles had a winning record, and were in line for a playoff spot. The Orioles won 3-1.

The 2012 season opened with the New York Giants hosting their NFC East rival, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the start of a long season for the Giants who missed the playoffs completely. Dallas won 24-17 in MetLife Stadium.

2011 had the Green Bay Packers playing the home opener against the offensive juggernaut New Orleans Saints. The game lived up to its billing in a 42-34 Packers win at Lambeau Field. QB Drew Brees of the Saints was in midseason form, throwing for 419 yards, three TD's and a QB rating of 112.5. Not to be upstaged at home, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards, three TD's and a QB rating of 132.1.

There are plenty of solid choices for the NFL to make in the home opener for the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots. They could send in the New York Jets with newcomer, Darrelle Revis. Last year's head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan is always welcome. He could bring his 8-8 Buffalo Bills to Gillette Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles have a revamped roster with RB Demarco Murray and a host of QB"s in Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and media sensation, Tim Tebow.

The most obvious opponent appears to be the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are one of the favorites in the AFC for a playoff position, and their high powered offense with QB Ben Roethlisberger is generally a competitive contest. Pittsburgh will not have S Troy Polamalu on their roster for the first time in 12 years. Troy retired this past offseason, and is a solid bet for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The team that gets the opportunity to open on the road at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA needs to be patient. The pregame festivities seem to last forever. The real torture normally takes place after the opening kickoff.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

Follow me on Twitter at @_prmurphy

For more of my articles, click here.

prmurphy 4/21/2015 01:12:00 PM Edit

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