Since 2004, the NFL has maintained the tradition that the season-opening game, on the Thursday night before the full schedule begins, features the defending Super Bowl champions playing at home. That means the "NFL Experience" with all its hoopla will be heading to Green Bay next September.â†µâ†µ
Could the Bears be the opponent? Brad Biggs speculates about this on Chicago Breaking Sports:â†µâ†µ
Last September, the New Orleans Saints hosted the Minnesota Vikings in a rematch of the 2009 NFC Championship Game on Kickoff Weekend. If the Bears are selected to play the Packers to begin the season, it will be a rematch of the 2010 NFC title game. Imagine the hype of Jay Cutler going against the Packers, the team that knocked him out of the championship game, in the opener.â†µâ†µ
This would make a great deal of sense from a TV rating standpoint. Not only would it carry on the one-year-old "tradition" of rematching the NFC Championship Game, but the Bears are always a good draw on national TV and the Bears/Packers rivalry is the oldest (and, I believe, best) one in the league. However, Biggs cautions:â†µâ†µ
The NFL could also select the Saints to play at Green Bay on opening weekend. The Packers' other six home games are vs. Denver, Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.â†µâ†µ
A Saints/Packers matchup features two top quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but I think slating the Bears as the opponent would bring more TV eyeballs, which, after all, is what doing that game on a Thursday night is all about. This all depends, of course, on whether there actually is an NFL season or not. We should know about a lockout by sometime next month; if there isn't one, the NFL schedule is usually complete sometime in April.