The New England Patriots will open the defense of their Super Bowl LIII title against the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 1, the NFL announced in its unveiling of the 2019 schedule.
The league announced in late March that the opening game of the season would pit the Green Bay Packers at the Chicago Bears on Thursday, Sept. 5. The defending Super Bowl champion normally opens the season with a home game on Thursday night, but the NFL wanted to feature its oldest rivalry to open its 100th season, which bumped New England to Sunday night, Sept. 8.
The Patriots will also be in prime time on Oct. 10 vs. the New York Giants (Thursday night), Oct. 21 at the New York Jets (Monday night), Nov. 3 at the Baltimore Ravens (Sunday night) and Dec. 1 at the Houston Texans (Sunday night), with a Dec. 21 or Dec. 22 home meeting with the Buffalo Bills as a possible flex option to Saturday night in prime time.
The other prime-time games in Week 1 will be the Texans at the New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos at the Oakland Raiders in a "Monday Night Football" doubleheader on Sept. 9.
Joining the Patriots with five scheduled prime-time games are the Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, who have three in a row from Nov. 24-Dec. 8. The Cleveland Browns have four, plus several games that could be flexed later in the season, as do the Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans.
The Thanksgiving Day games, Nov. 28, will feature the Bears at the Detroit Lions, the Bills at the Cowboys and the Saints at the Atlanta Falcons, the third straight year the NFC South rivals will meet on the night of Thanksgiving. With Christmas Day falling on a Wednesday, there will be no Dec. 24 or Dec. 25 games this season, but the Packers will visit the Vikings on "Monday Night Football" on Dec. 23.
Among the most prominent "revenge" games on the slate: Le'Veon Bell and the Jets will host the Steelers on Dec. 22; Kirk Cousins and the Vikings will host the Washington Redskins on "Thursday Night Football" on Oct. 24; and Earl Thomas and the Ravens will visit the Seahawks on Oct. 20.
--Field Level Media