Packers open preseason against Patriots

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady exchange words after Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21.

The Super Bowl showdown didn't happen, but Mike McCarthy and Bill Belichick will get another chance to match wits this preseason.

The Green Bay Packers will open their preseason slate in Foxborough, Mass., against the defending-champion New England Patriots sometime between Aug. 13-17, the NFL announced Thursday.

The rest of the Packers' preseason schedule includes a road trip to Pittsburgh (Aug. 20-24), and back-to-back home games against Philadelphia (Aug. 27-30) and New Orleans (Sept. 3-4).

The dates and times for the games are to be determined.

The Packers will not play in a nationally televised preseason game, which plays into their favor since they'll be able to work with their opponent on when games will be played.

The dates for national games are predetermined and inflexible, which led to the Packers playing on Friday nights during the start of the Wisconsin high school football season the past two years.

McCarthy and Belichick, two of the league's longest-tenured coaches, have publicly praised one another since the Packers' 26-21 win over New England on Nov. 30 at Lambeau Field.

Now, they'll get a chance to meet again for the first time during the exhibition season since 2005. It'll be Green Bay's first trip to New England in the preseason since 1993.

"I'd say Mike's one of the best coaches in the league, one of the best coaches I've ever gone up against," Belichick said at the owners' meeting last month.

NFL rules mandate players report for training camp 15 days before a team's first preseason game and can practice the following day, so the Packers will begin camp sometime between July 29-Aug. 2.

The team's annual Family Night event likely will fall on Saturday, Aug. 8.

While starters often don't play much in preseason openers, the Packers should get some quality competition in the second and third week. Pittsburgh (11-5) and Philadelphia (10-6) both are coming off winning seasons.

Green Bay will play its first exhibition game in Pittsburgh since 2007 and then host the Eagles in Week 3 for the first time at Lambeau Field since 1983. The Packers finish the preseason with a home contest against the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers also closed the preseason with back-to-back home games last year against Oakland and Kansas City. Prior to that, the Packers hadn't finished the preseason with consecutive home games since 2003, the last time they played in the Hall of Fame game.

The Packers won't play the Chiefs in the preseason for the first time since 2009 after alternating home and away games the past five finales. They also won't face the Tennessee Titans, their finale opponent from 2002-09.

All four of the preseason games will be televised over a 17-station state network, including WGBA/NBC in the Green Bay area.

For the fourth straight year, the Packers will not play any of their preseason opponents during the regular season.

The league is expected to release the regular-season schedule later this month.

-- and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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