NFL Kickoff: Wink says Super Bowl stays home, picks Falcons to make history

General view of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. – As the 2018 NFL regular season kicks off Thursday, more than in years past – it appears the road to Super Bowl LIII is wide open.

Thursday’s annual NFL Kickoff Game showcases the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons, the NFC Champions from two years ago.

News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler predicts one of the teams playing tonight, in the season’s first game, will also be on the field in the season’s final game – Super Bowl LIII. His pigskin prognostication? The Atlanta Falcons will become the first team to ever play in (and win) a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Yes, Wink picks the Falcons to hoist the the Lombardi Trophy this February at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, site of Super Bowl LIII. You can watch Super Bowl LIII LIVE on News 3.

Matt Ryan and head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Only seven teams in NFL history have made the postseason in a year their home city hosted the Super Bowl. Of those host teams in the playoffs, the only one to reach the conference championship game is the 2017 Minnesota Vikings who lost at Philadelphia in the NFC Championship.

Wink predicts the Patriots to take a step back, as he notes New England has never played in three consecutive Super Bowls (this year would make three in a row). Also, Wink expects week 14’s contest between Green Bay and Atlanta (played in Green Bay) to decide the number one seed in the NFC playoffs.

You can check out more of Wink’s 2018 NFL pigskin picks on his Facebook page.

Watch the Steelers LIVE on News 3 Sunday as Pittsburgh plays at Cleveland in its season opener.