* If, of course, there is an opening Sunday.

The NFL has stated that, as per usual, the schedule for next season will be released in April. That despite the fact the league and the players are about to lock horns in court for what could be months. Assuming games aren’t lost and the season gets underway the week after Labour Day, opening weekend could be very interesting … and emotional.

Interesting because we could get a matchup between the two most recent Super Bowl winners at Lambeau Field on opening night. The Packers are defending champs, so they’ll be at home on Thurs. Sept. 8. The question is, Who will they host? Here are the options:

  • Chicago Bears
  • Denver Broncos
  • Detroit Lions
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Oakland Raiders
  • St. Louis Rams
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With all due respect to the young, exciting Bucs, you’d have to think that the battle for the opener will be between Chicago and New Orleans. Both would make for stellar matchups. The Bears are obviously Green Bay’s biggest rival, and a game between the two would be a rematch of the 2010 NFC championship game. The Saints, though, might provide a stiffer challenge.

I’m betting neither wants to play in the game. Dating back to 2004, the defending Super Bowl winner has won all seven of these prime-time Thursday night openers.

Three days later, the opening Sunday of 2011 coincides with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And it just so happens that the Jets are slated to host the Giants this season. You’d have to think those two are likely to meet in New York that evening on NBC.