MNF opener a rematch of NFC championship game

Updated: March 22, 2005, 6:34 PM ET
Associated Press

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will open the season Sept. 8 with a home game against the Oakland Raiders and new wide receiver Randy Moss on ABC.

The Thursday night opener has become a tradition. This will be the fourth such opener, with the others played in Giants Stadium, FedEx Field and, last year, also at Gillette Stadium.

'Great boost' for Atlanta
General manager Rich McKay is thrilled that the Falcons will be featured on the opening Monday night game of the season, a rematch of the NFC championship game they lost to the Eagles in January.

To have the game in Atlanta is even more of a boost for the franchise, he said.

"Last year, we didn't have a Monday night game at home, and Monday night is special for players, fans, coaches, everyone," he said. "Players really look forward to being on prime time and so do the fans. It's a great boost for the organization."

In announcing the opening weekend's national TV schedule, the league also placed the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on the road for the first Monday night game. Philadelphia will be at the Atlanta Falcons in a rematch of the NFC championship game as ABC begins its 36th season of MNF.

Also on the first weekend, the Indianapolis Colts will be at the Baltimore Ravens for the Sunday night game on ESPN, and the Dallas Cowboys visit the San Diego Chargers for the Fox afternoon doubleheader on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The remainder of the 2005 schedule will be announced next month, except for the Oct. 2 Sunday night game between the host Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers at Mexico City.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press