The 2017 NFL season has just ended and the 2018 regular season is still seven months away – but the first football game of the new year has already been scheduled: As the NFL announced yesterday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game will take place on August 2 at Canton's Tom Benson Stadium. The two teams to perform in the exhibition contest are the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears.
The Ravens and Bears being locked in to play the first game of the year is good news for the New England Patriots and the rest of the league. After all, the 30 teams not to play on Hall of Fame weekend will only have to participate in the usual four preseason games instead of the five Baltimore and Chicago will now have to play – which means one fewer game to suffer injuries before the regular season even starts.
Nevertheless, New England – which last played in the Hall of Fame game in the 2000 season; the first game under newly signed head coach Bill Belichick – might take a closer look than usual at the contest. After all, the team will face the Bears at some yet to be determined point during the regular season.