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NFL's 2015 schedule offers throwback thrills and mega-matchups

NFL season will kick off Sept. 10 with a Pittsburgh-New England matchup rich in Super Bowl history

The 2015 NFL season will kick off with Pittsburgh playing at New England, a matchup featuring AFC franchises that have appeared in nine of the last 14 Super Bowls.

The Sept. 10 game features two of the league's marquee quarterbacks, the Patriots' Tom Brady and Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, but will be missing prominent running backs on both teams. Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell and New England's LeGarrette Blount, former Steelers teammates, will both be serving suspensions.

That was but one of the many tidbits Tuesday when the league released the regular-season schedule, a slate that includes touches of the very new and very old.

On the new side, Atlanta's Dan Quinn and San Francisco's Jim Tomsula will make their head coaching debuts in Week 1 "Monday Night Football" games, with the Falcons playing host to Philadelphia and the 49ers hosting Minnesota.

Then there's the old, with a pair of nostalgic Super Bowl rematches on Monday nights. The New York Jets play at Indianapolis in Week 2; the Jets played the then-Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. A week later, Kansas City plays at Green Bay, with ESPN sure to show grainy footage of Super Bowl I, even though those teams have met many times in the five decades since.

There are several big Sunday night games, among them a Sept. 13 matchup between NFC East rivals when the New York Giants open at Dallas, and rematches of both conference championship games: Seattle at Green Bay in Week 2 and New England at Indianapolis on Oct. 18.

The three Thanksgiving games are Philadelphia at Detroit, Carolina at Dallas and Chicago at Green Bay — with the Packers planning to honor legendary quarterback Brett Favre, whose name and number will be added to the facade inside Lambeau Field.

Rex Ryan isn't likely to get that type of reception on Nov. 12 when he brings his new team, the Buffalo Bills, to New Jersey to face his old one, the Jets, at MetLife Stadium.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesfarmer

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