The Green Bay Packers will celebrate Brett Favre’s career against the perfect opponent: the Chicago Bears, an opponent he carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey throughout his record-setting career.
The Packers’ Thanksgiving night game against the Bears is one of the highlights of the schedule, which the league released on Tuesday night.
The Packers open the season at Chicago on Sept. 13
"Going to Chicago is always a big game. Doing it Week 1 with a new (Bears) coaching staff brings some extra challenges, but we're looking forward to starting off with the oldest rivalry in the National Football League,” coach Mike McCarthy said in quotes released by the team.
Then they host Seattle in an NFC Championship Game rematch in Week 2. That will be a prime-time game on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” — one of three on NBC and one of five in prime time.
"With the type of football team we had last year, we expected to come out of the gate and play in a number of feature games. That's a great start,” McCarthy said.
In Week 3, it’s another prime-time game, a Monday nighter at home against Kansas City. Green Bay will face another new coach and another old nemesis with a Week 4 trip to San Francisco. Then it’s home games against St. Louis and San Diego before a Week 7 bye.
Then comes a key seven-game stretch, which starts with road games against AFC West-champion Denver (on Sunday night) and NFC South-champion Carolina. Green Bay then faces NFC North opponents for four consecutive weeks: home vs. Detroit, at Minnesota, the marquee game against Chicago and at Detroit. The games against the Bears and Lions are back-to-back Thursday night contests. The seven-game gauntlet concludes at home against Dallas.
“November-December football is so important, and it's so critical to your success,” McCarthy said. “Division games are clearly the most important games of the year and the toughest games to play in. Four straight will definitely be a challenging part of our schedule.”
A source confirmed to Packer Report the news, originally reported by ESPN.com, that the team will unveil Favre’s name on the facade of Lambeau Field during a ceremony against the Bears on Nov. 26. That’s Thanksgiving, with the game being a prime-time matchup aired nationally by NBC.
Until the recent addition of a third Thanksgiving game, the Lions and Cowboys were the annual hosts. Thus, the Packers have hosted only one Thanksgiving game in their NFL history — 1923 against the Hammond Pros.
“I think it's great, and it will be great for our fans, the first time we've had a Thanksgiving night game here at Lambeau Field. I think it will definitely be a special night,” McCarthy said about the game but not about Favre, since the team has not made an announcement on the celebration.
The regular season concludes with games at Oakland and Arizona before a Week 17 home game against Minnesota.
The Bears would be a logical opponent for the Favre ceremony, considering hismastery against the Packers’ longtime rival. As a member of the Packers, Favre posted a 22-10 record (.688 winning percentage) against the Bears. He completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 7,660 yards (239.4 per game) with 53 touchdowns and 38 interceptions (1.39 touchdowns per interception) in those games. That equates to a rating of 84.9. During his 16 seasons in Green Bay, Favre’s overall winning percentage was .632, he averaged 243.7 yards and averaged 1.55 touchdowns per interception.
That might not sound like overwhelming dominance, but from 1994 through 2003, the Packers went 18-2 against the Bears. That includes a 10-game winning streak in which Favre threw 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions and registered six games with a 100-plus passer rating to help the Packers post series sweeps from 1994 through 1998.
Officially, Favre’s No. 4 will be retired on July 18, when he is enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame. Favre almost certainly will be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 6, one day before Super Bowl 50.
The preseason schedule was finalized, too: at New England (6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13), at Pittsburgh (7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23), home vs. Philadelphia (7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29) and home vs. New Orleans (6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3).
|Week 1||Sun., Sept. 13||at Chicago Bears||Noon||FOX|
|Week 2||Sun., Sept. 20||SEATTLE SEAHAWKS||7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Week 3||Mon., Sept. 28||KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (Gold)||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Week 4||Sun., Oct. 4||at San Francisco 49ers||3:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Week 5||Sun., Oct. 11||ST. LOUIS RAMS||*Noon||CBS|
|Week 6||Sun., Oct. 18||SAN DIEGO CHARGERS||*3:25 p.m.||CBS|
|Week 7||Sun., Oct. 25||BYE|
|Week 8||Sun., Nov. 1||at Denver Broncos||*7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Week 9||Sun., Nov. 8||at Carolina Panthers||*Noon||FOX|
|Week 10||Sun., Nov. 15||DETROIT LIONS (Gold)||*Noon||FOX|
|Week 11||Sun., Nov. 22||at Minnesota Vikings||*Noon||FOX|
|Week 12||Thu., Nov. 26||CHICAGO BEARS||7:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Week 13||Thu., Dec. 3||at Detroit Lions||7:25 p.m.||CBS/NFLN|
|Week 14||Sun., Dec. 13||DALLAS COWBOYS||*3:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Week 15||Sun., Dec. 20||at Oakland Raiders||*3:05 p.m.||FOX|
|Week 16||Sun., Dec. 27||at Arizona Cardinals||*3:25 p.m.||FOX|
|Week 17||Sun., Jan. 3||MINNESOTA VIKINGS||*Noon||FOX|
|Game 1||Thu., Aug. 13||at New England Patriots||6:30 p.m.||State|
|Game 2||Sun., Aug. 23||at Pittsburgh Steelers||7 p.m.||State|
|Game 3||Sat., Aug. 29||PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gold)||7 p.m.||State|
|Game 4||Thu., Sept. 3||NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||6 p.m.||State|
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