The move would mark the first time since 2006 that a Super Bowl champion doesn't appear in the league's opening game.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
February 12, 2019

The NFL will likely feature an NFC North rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in the league's Thursday Kickoff Game to open the 2019 season, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported on Monday.

According to Ourand, the league is leaning toward having Chicago host the season's first game as a part of its 100th-anniversary celebration on Sept. 5, allowing it to showcase the NFL's oldest rivalry. The Bears and Packers first played in 1921 and have faced each other 198 times since.

If true, the move would mark the first time since 2006 that the Super Bowl champion will not appear in the league's opening game. The Patriots would instead host the season's first Sunday Night Football game on Sept. 8.

The Ravens are the last Super Bowl champion to not host an opening game the following season. The team was forced to play in Denver following their 2013 championship win due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, who were also playing that night.

The NFL's full season schedule will be released in April.

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