The Arizona Cardinals will open the 2016 regular season in a primetime home matchup against the team that won the Super Bowl on their home field less than two years ago.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will travel to the Valley to face the Cardinals in Week 1 of the regular season in what will be a nationally-televised Sunday night game, the NFL announced Thursday. The Patriots have played in two Super Bowls at University of Phoenix Stadium, including Super Bowl XLIX in Feburary 2015, but this will be their first-ever regular-season trip to Glendale.
That Patriots Sunday night game to start the season is going to look, sound, & feel like a playoff game! #AZCardinals
— Dave Pasch (@DavePasch) April 15, 2016
The matchup will be especially meaningful for Pro Bowl defensive end/linebacker Chandler Jones, whom the Patriots traded to the Cardinals last month. Jones said it's a game he'll circle on his calendar with a red marker.
Also visiting Glendale for the first time will be the New York Jets, whom the Cards will host on Oct. 17 on Monday Night Football. That will leave the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans as the only teams yet to face the Birdgang in Arizona.
As for some of the other highly-anticipated matchups: The Cards will host the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 23 in another Sunday night game, and they'll travel to Seattle on Christmas Eve. Also, the Cards will head to Charlotte to face the Panthers in an NFC Championship Game rematch on Oct. 30.
The 2016 regular season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 8 with a Super Bowl 50 rematch between the Panthers and Broncos.
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Here's a look at the Cardinals' complete 2016 regular-season schedule:
Week 1 (Sun, Sept. 11): vs. New England Patriots (Sunday night)
Week 2 (Sun, Sept. 18): vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 3 (Sun, Sept. 25): at Buffalo Bills
Week 4 (Sun, Oct. 2): vs. Los Angeles Rams
Week 5 (Thu, Oct. 6): at San Francisco 49ers
Week 6 (Mon, Oct. 17): vs. New York Jets
Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 23): vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday night)
Week 8 (Sun, Oct. 30): at Carolina Panthers
Week 9 (Sun, Nov. 6): BYE
Week 10 (Sun, Nov. 13): vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 11 (Sun, Nov. 20): at Minnesota Vikings
Week 12 (Sun, Nov. 27): at Atlanta Falcons
Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 4): vs. Washington Redskins
Week 14 (Sun, Dec. 11): at Miami Dolphins
Week 15 (Sun, Dec. 18): vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 16 (Sat, Dec. 24): at Seattle Seahawks
Week 17 (Sun, Jan. 1): at Los Angeles Rams