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Patriots will open season vs. Colts

Super Bowl champs will kick off the NFL season with AFC rematch

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will get another shot at Peyton Manning sooner than they probably expected.


The league announced today that the Patriots and Colts will open the 2004 NFL season on Thursday night, Sept. 9, in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. New England intercepted Peyton Manning four times en route to a 24-14 victory in last season’s conference final, then beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in the Super Bowl.

Unlike the past two years, this season-opener won't follow a pop music concert.

The league's third Thursday night opener will be televised by ABC as part of its "Monday Night Football" package.

Other Week 1 games announced Monday at the NFL meetings:

-- Green Bay at NFC champion Carolina on Monday night, Sept. 13;

-- Dallas at Minnesota in the featured national telecast by Fox on Sept. 12;

-- and Kansas City at Denver in ESPN's Sunday night game.

The rest of the NFL's 2004 schedule will be announced in April.

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