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Packers to kick off new NFL season against Saints


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and his teammates celebrate their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the closing moments of the NFL's Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington, Texas, February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and his teammates celebrate their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the closing moments of the NFL's Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington, Texas, February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers will kick off the new NFL regular season against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 8 if the league and players can resolve a labor dispute that has left the season in jeopardy.

The league unveiled its regular season schedule on Tuesday, while NFL owners and players met for the third day of court-ordered mediation in Minneapolis in ongoing efforts to end the lockout and reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The labor dispute dulled much of the excitement that usually accompanies the release of the new schedule.

The first Sunday on September 11 will see the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost to the Packers at Super Bowl XLV, open up against long-time rivals the Baltimore Ravens.

The 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center will have the New York Jets hosting the Dallas Cowboys at New Meadowlands Stadium while the New York Giants visit the Redskins in Washington, another city hit in the attacks.

"That stadium is going to be full of emotion and things like that, not only the people from the area but in the entire country," said Jets coach Rex Ryan on the team's website. "The fact that it is 9/11 and we'll be in our stadium, that's really a huge deal for us, for sure."

The first Monday Night will be a twin bill with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots taking on the Miami Dolphins in South Beach while the Oakland Raiders travel to Denver to challenge the Broncos.

The schedule will also feature two games outside the United States, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears clashing at London's Wembley Stadium on October 23 and the Buffalo Bills taking on the Redskins on October 30 in Toronto.

There are three games scheduled for Thanksgiving featuring the Packers at the Detroit Lions and Miami at Dallas. The late game will have the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Ravens.

The regular season will run 17 weeks with the Super Bowl following on February 5 in Indianapolis.

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Ian Ransom)

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