The NFL will likely open the 2019 season with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers, rather than feature the defending champion New England Patriots, sources told John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.
A reigning Super Bowl champion hasn't been omitted from the opening contest since 2006. But the Bears and Packers share the oldest rivalry in the NFL, making the two teams prime contenders to kick off the league's 100th season on Thursday, Sept. 5.
If the NFL goes through with its Bears-Packers plan, the Patriots will likely make their season debut three nights later on Sunday Night Football, according to Ourand.
There's still no decision regarding which team will face the Patriots in Week 1. The Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns are reportedly all options.
The NFL typically releases its schedule for the upcoming season in April.
The Bears are also expected to be scheduled on Thanksgiving Day for a meeting against the Detroit Lions, while the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will likely fill one of the other slots that day, Ourand reports.