To celebrate its centennial, the NFL will open the 2019 season with a Thursday Night Kickoff featuring its oldest rivalry. The first game of the league’s 100th season features the Green Bay Packers at the Chicago Bears.
Normally the NFL opens the new season on TNF with the defending champions hosting an opponent. This time, they’ve tossed that aside for a match up between Matt Nagy’s surging Bears and what should be a rejuvenated and significantly more exciting Green Bay squad led by new head coach Matt LaFleur.
It will be the 199th meeting between the Bears and Packers.
“As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. “As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season than by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 25, 2019
The Patriots, minus newly-retired Rob Gronkowski, will make their 2019 debut on Sunday Night Football. Their opponent has yet to be determined, but don’t be surprised to see Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns traveling to Foxborough for the prime time showcase. The league could also opt for an AFC Championship game rematch between the Pats and Kansas City Chiefs.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 25, 2019
While every team’s opponents have already been decided based on how they finished the 2018 season, the specific match up dates haven’t been set, with the exception of these three teams.
NFL Week 1 officially kicks off on Sep. 5 at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.