A Lambeau Field appearance by Super Bowl champion New England highlights the Packers' 2005 preseason opponents, announced Wednesday by the National Football League.
For a second straight preseason, the Packers will open in prime-time on ESPN. Green Bay will host defending AFC West champion San Diego in a Thursday night contest. The schedule also includes road trips to Buffalo and Tennessee.
Packers 2005 Preseason Schedule:
Thurs., Aug. 11
vs San Diego Chargers, 7 p.m., ESPN
at Buffalo Bills, TBA, state
vs New England Patriots, TBA, state
Aug. 31-Sept. 2
at Tennessee Titans, TBA, state
Time indicated is Wisconsin
Once the Packers and their opponents reach agreements on specific game dates for the final three contests, probably by the end of March, the Packers will identify Green and Gold package games. The Green package game, for season-ticket holders from Green Bay, will serve as the Bishop's Charities Game, along with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The Gold package game, for season-ticket holders from Milwaukee, will serve as the annual Upper Midwest Shrine Game.
The Chargers tilt will launch the NFL's first full preseason weekend. This marks the Packers' second preseason contest with San Diego, their first preseason clash in 25 years. In 1980 at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, severe lightning ended a scoreless game with 5:29 remaining. Incredibly, two years ago, weather also ended Green Bay's next appearance in Canton, Aug. 4, 2003, vs. Kansas City. Last year, the Packers hosted Seattle in a Monday night game on ESPN. San Diego has not visited Lambeau Field since a regular-season trip in 1996.
A frequent preseason opponent, Buffalo meets Green Bay for the 12th time. The teams' last preseason meeting, in 1997, was at SkyDome in Toronto. The Packers' last trip to Buffalo was in 2000 for Mike Sherman's second regular-season game as head coach. Green Bay also played two non-league games in Buffalo against other foes, the Boston Yanks in 1944 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1951.
New England and Green Bay have a decent history. In preseason, the clubs have met 12 times, most recently at Lambeau Field on July 31, 1997, six months after the Packers defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. This marks the sixth time during the Brett Favre era (1992-2005) Green Bay has played a preseason game with the Patriots.
For the fourth straight year, the Packers will close the preseason with the Tennessee Titans, ending the teams' agreement. Last season, the Packers also played their final tuneup at the Coliseum in Nashville.
The NFL schedule kicks off Saturday, Aug. 6, when Atlanta and Indianapolis play the American Bowl in Tokyo, also televised by ESPN. Then, on Aug. 8, Chicago and Miami meet in the Hall of Fame Game on ABC.