The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will host the Green Bay Packers in the opening game of the National Football League’s 2014 season.
The NFL’s 256-game regular-season schedule released last night also features three Thanksgiving Day games involving National Football Conference division rivals, with the Detroit Lions hosting the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers playing host to the Seahawks.
The Seattle-Green Bay Thursday night game on Sept. 4 will mark the first time the Packers have faced the Super Bowl champions in the opening week of the following season.
“Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a team news release. “It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason.”
The New York Jets will began the season with three of their first four games at home at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, including the season opener Sept. 7 against the Oakland Raiders.
The New York Giants open on Sept. 8 at Detroit, their first Monday night season opener since 2001.
The 49ers will inaugurate their $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Sept. 14 against the Bears.
The NFL also announced yesterday that flexible scheduling - - which allows Sunday games to be switched between the afternoon and the evening prime-time slot based on their importance and television appeal -- will now begin as early as the fifth week of the season. Until this year, flexible scheduling had only been available starting with the 11th week.