The Super Bowl XLV Champion Green Bay Packers will begin their title defense against the Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans Saints on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
The game will kick off the 2011 NFL season unless the current lockout lingers until that time. It will be an intriguing matchup as both starting quarterbacks were also the NFL’s last two Super Bowl MVPs.
If the season goes as planned, the Packers will be playing games on every major U.S. holiday during football season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. This has never happened before in the history of the NFL.
Green Bay will head to Detroit to take on the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. The Lions have been playing regularly on Thanksgiving since the 1930s, and the Cowboys have more recently begun the tradition as well.
The Packers have been a common opponent for Detroit in the “Thanksgiving Classic” as the two teams have met more frequently than any others on the holiday. The Galloping Gobbler, a silver turkey, is an award given following the game to the contest’s most valuable player. Will Aaron Rodgers also get his hands on this piece of hardware?
Green Bay will also host the archrival Chicago Bears at chilly Lambeau Field on Christmas night, as if the age old rivalry needed anymore drama. The matchup will surely bring in a large audience and increased ratings as a result of its convenient holiday timing.
No matter what the outcome it should be quite the gift for NFL viewers. If you’re a fan of the historic rivalry, it seems Santa Claus will come a day late this year.
The Packers will play their final game of the season against the Lions at home on New Year’s Day and then the playoffs will begin. Green Bay can only hope their resolution will be to repeat as Super Bowl champions.