NFL 2019 schedule release: Patriots face Steelers to start Super Bowl defence as NFL release 100th season fixtures

Tom Brady in the huddle with the New England Patriots
Tom Brady in the huddle with the New England Patriots

The New England Patriots will start the defence of their last Super Bowl victory against fierce AFC rivals Pittsburgh Steelers on the opening Sunday of the 2019 season.

The New England Patriots will start the defence of their last Super Bowl victory against fierce AFC rivals Pittsburgh Steelers on the opening Sunday of the 2019 season.

The defending champions usually kick-off the following season on Thursday ahead of the first weekend of action, but to celebrate the 100th year of the NFL the league has decided that Green Bay's visit to Chicago will be the season's curtain raiser on September 5.

Tom Brady returns, without Rob Gronkowski, for a crack at a seventh Super Bowl ring against a troubled Pittsburgh side, who've lost star players Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, in the prime time slot on Sunday September 7.

The opening Monday Night Football will have a double-header on September 9 with New Orleans hosting the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders playing at home against AFC West rivals Denver Broncos.

To make the 100th season of the league, there will be an NFL 100 Game of the Week which will be used to mark a significant rivalry, or game in history, while it's also the 50th season of Monday Night Football, which has become renowned around the world of sport.

NFL International Series

Four games will be played in London and one in Mexico City this season, with Tottenham's new stadium playing host to the Oakland Raiders versus the Chicago Bears in Week 5 on Sunday October 6, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Carolina Panthers at the same venue a week later.

London action shifts to Wembley Stadium in Weeks 8 and 9 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals on October 27 followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Houston Texans, another first-time visitor to London, on November 3.

Last season's Mexico City's game was moved when the Azteca Stadium pitch was deemed unplayable, but they have been given another shot at hosting a game, and it should be a good one between AFC West rivals Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11 on Monday Night Football, November 18.

Thursday night games will continue, as will the traditional Thanksgiving triple-header will see Chicago in Detroit, Buffalo at Dallas and New Orleans at Atlanta on Thursday November 28.

The 17-week season concludes on December 29 with the play-offs then getting underway with the wild card weekend games taking place on the weekend of January 4-5, before the divisional play-offs follow a week later on January 11-12.

The NFC and AFC Championship games are scheduled for Sunday January 19 and he season concludes with Super Bowl LIV being staged at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium on February 2.

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