NEW YORK — The NFL’s 100th season will begin with its most classic rivalry and feature the Super Bowl champion Patriots hosting Pittsburgh in the first Sunday night game.
As previously announced, NFL 100 will start with Green Bay at Chicago for the 199th meeting of a series that began in 1921. That Sept. 5 game in the Thursday night slot usually reserved for hosting by the NFL champ forced New England to open three nights later.
The Patriots have a home schedule loaded with top attractions, including Kansas City on Dec. 8 in an AFC title game rematch, and Dallas on Nov. 24.
Week 2 includes an intriguing Monday night matchup of Cleveland at the New York Jets. The very first Monday nighter was a Browns win over Joe Namath and the defending champion Jets in 1970. This one will feature the return to the Meadowlands for now-Cleveland receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and two young, promising quarterbacks in Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and New York’s Sam Darnold.
Recent national telecasts rarely have included the Browns, but they’re a popular choice this year: Cleveland will have four prime-time games, also facing the Rams, 49ers and Steelers.
Every team will have at least one national TV appearance. New England, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Green Bay, Seattle and the Rams get the maximum prime-time games, five.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day games will have Detroit at home to Chicago, then Buffalo at Dallas. The night game to close the holiday schedule will be New Orleans at Atlanta in another longtime rivalry.
The NFC champion Rams will host Cincinnati in London for one of five international games on the 2019 schedule. The Rams and Bengals will meet at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 27.
Earlier in October, the league will play two games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in London. The Raiders will host the Bears on Oct. 6, and the Buccaneers will be the home team against the Panthers on Oct. 13.
Wembley will be the site of the fourth London match, with Houston facing host Jacksonville on Nov. 3.
The league returns to Mexico, after last season’s Chiefs-Rams game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions at Azteca Stadium. On Monday night Nov. 18, the Chiefs will play L.A.’s other team, the Chargers.
The season ends Dec. 29, when Chicago finishes at Minnesota for the fourth successive year. All finales are divisional games for the 11th straight season.
Among the oddities, Miami opens with four 2018 playoff opponents: home for Baltimore and New England, at Dallas, home for the Chargers. The Dolphins then have a bye.
One team, Philadelphia, has three straight home games and three consecutive road games. No other team has three away games in a row, though the Rams will be away from LA for a visit to Atlanta on Oct. 20, that “home” game in London the next week, then a bye and a trip to Pittsburgh.
Also with three straight home games will be Green Bay, Atlanta, Arizona, the 49ers, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Houston.
Barry Wilner is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Champion-Patriots-open-vs-Steelers-5-13776580.php.