BOSTON (CBS) — We now officially know when the Super Bowl defense will begin for the New England Patriots. It won’t be in the league’s annual kickoff game.

The league announced Monday at its annual meetings in Phoenix that the Thursday night game in Week 1 will involve the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers playing in Chicago. The Patriots will begin their season that following Sunday night.

Earlier this offseason, a report said that the NFL was leaning toward having the Bears and Packers play on the opening Thursday night of the season, as part of the NFL’s 100th season celebration.

Since 2004, the honor of playing in the NFL’s opening game belongs to the reigning Super Bowl champions, who kick off the season with a banner ceremony. The Patriots have celebrated in this fashion four times before, starting with the Week 1 opener against the Colts in the 2004 season. (The Ravens in 2013 were an exception, due to a scheduling conflict in Baltimore with the Orioles. Instead, the Ravens opened up on the road on the Thursday night game.) The Patriots are 3-1 in those games.

PATRIOTS HISTORY IN KICKOFF GAMES
2004 vs. Indianapolis: W, 27-24
2005 vs. Oakland: W, 30-20
2015 vs. Pittsburgh: W, 28-21
2017 vs. Kansas City: L, 47-42

In the past, Bill Belichick has stated that playing in that Thursday night game in Week 1 can be a disadvantage for teams in terms of roster management in the final preseason game and through the final round of roster cuts.

PATRIOTS OPPONENTS AT HOME IN 2019 (NOT IN ORDER)
Buffalo Bills
Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
Kansas City Chiefs
Miami Dolphins
New York Giants
New York Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers

The Patriots’ Week 1 game will be played Sunday, Sept. 8, with an 8:20 p.m. kickoff. The opponent has not yet been named.

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