In a change to the NFL's usual scheduling framework, the New England Patriots will begin their Super Bowl LIII title defense with a Sunday night game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots' opponent will be announced with the rest of the schedule when it is released closer to the draft.
- Earlier in the offseason, it was rumored that the opening Thursday night contest of the NFL's 100th season would be the Green Bay Packers against the Chicago Bears, with the Bears playing host. "As a charter franchise, we can not think of a better way to begin our centennial season by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field".
It will be the 200th meeting between the NFC North rivals since 1921, when the Bears were the Chicago Staleys. A healthy upswing in local viewership of Bears games helped push overall NFL ratings up as the league moved past the issues that had dogged the 2016 and 2017 seasons, including anthem protests and concerns about a prime-time glut.
Green Bay lead the series 97-95-6 in the regular season, with the clubs splitting two postseason meetings. The NFL opener will mark the first game for new Packers' coach Matt LaFleur, who was hired in January.