With five night games in the first nine weeks of the season, the New England Patriots will be prime-time players, at least according to the schedule.

The NFL released its schedule on Thursday and the Patriots have a familiar look starting with their opener at home at 1 p.m. Sept. 9 against the Houston Texans.

The Pats narrowly escaped Houston last season in a 36-33 win. This game will mark the return of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who missed part of last season with a knee injury.

The final three weeks of the season are the same as 2017, with a Week 15 clash in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, then finishing up with home games against the Bills and Jets.

Other highlights include an AFC Championship rematch with the Jaguars in Week 2, but this time it’s in Jacksonville.

In Week 3, New England travels to Detroit to face the Lions and Matt Patricia, the former Patriots’ defensive coordinator in his first season as a head coach.

In Week 9 on Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will come to Foxborough to play the Patriots.

And while defensive back Malcolm Butler is no longer with New England, he will see his former team in Week 10 when the Patriots travel to Tennessee to play the Titans.

The team has a bye in Week 11.

Super Bowl champion Philadelphia will host Atlanta to kick off the 2018 NFL season on Thursday night, Sept. 6.

Green Bay hosts Chicago in the first Sunday night matchup on Sept. 9, and the Monday nighters on opening weekend feature the New York Jets at Detroit, followed by the Los Angeles Rams at Oakland.

The Eagles also will play at England’s home of soccer when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8 at Wembley Stadium.

That’s one of four international games. The other game at Wembley will be the previous week with the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Tennessee Titans. Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, also in London, will be the site for a Raiders home game on Oct. 14 against Seattle.

For the third straight year, the NFL will stage a game in Mexico City: the Rams will host Kansas City in a Week 11 Monday night game.

Thanksgiving will provide a feast of divisional games.

The traditional doubleheader in Detroit and Dallas has the Lions playing the Bears, followed by Washington at the Cowboys. At night, it will be Atlanta visiting New Orleans.

BRONCOS: Denver General Manager said he is open to trading the No. 5 overall selection of the 2018 NFL draft, which begins next Thursday.

The Broncos could get prime value in such a deal with numerous quarterbacks projected among the top picks. Cleveland hold the Nos. 1 and 4 selections, while the New York Giants draft at No. 2 and the Jets pick No. 3.

The Broncos signed quarterback Case Keenum to a two-year contract last month.

GIANTS: New York terminated the contract of veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

General Manager Dave Gettleman says the 34-year-old Marshall failed his physical. Marshall was scheduled to make $5 million this season.

After signing a two-year, $12 million contract as a free agent a little more than a year ago, Marshall played in five games last season.

He was hurt against the Los Angeles Chargers in early October and had season-ending surgery to stabilize his ankle.

COLTS: Defensive end Dwight Freeney will retire as a member of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday.

Freeney was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and played in three Super Bowls.

He won his only title with the Colts following the 2006 season.

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