Patriots season to begin vs. Steelers

Manning-Brady XVII scheduled for 2015’s Thanksgiving Sunday

Super Bowl XLIX champions New England Patriots will begin their title defense against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10 to kick off the 2015 NFL season.

Despite losing legendary safety Troy Polamalu to retirement and LB Jason Worilds to early retirement, the Steelers’ offense should pose a stern test to the reigning champions who have lost both their starting corners and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork during free agency. Pittsburgh might have to do without the services of star running back Le’Veon Bell as he faces a three-game suspension from the NFL.

The Patriots have dominated the AFC East, having failed to clinch the top spot only once in the last decade. However, after losing Darrelle Revis to the NY Jets and the addition of Ndamukong Suh by the Dolphins and appointment of Rex Ryan as the Bills’ head coach, 2015 will be far from a cakewalk.

Other highlights on the Patriots’ schedule include back-to-back road games against the Cowboys on Oct. 11 and the Luck-powered Colts the week after. Thanksgiving weekend features what might very well be the final episode of the epic Brady-Manning rivalry as the Patriots visit the Mile High City.

In Week 2, the Green Bay Packers will look to exorcise the demons that saw them surrender a 12-point lead with less than 5 minutes remaining against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The Cowboys will get a chance to avenge their controversial defeat at the hands of the Packers when Tony Romo and Dez Bryant visit the Lambeau Field on Dec. 13. John Fox will look to get one up over his former employers as the Broncos face the Bears in Chicago on Nov. 22.

Super Bowl 50 is scheduled to be played at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Feb. 7, 2016.