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Sunday Night Football begins with Broncos-Colts

Published On: Apr 24 2014 09:53:39 AM CDT
NFL logo sign outside football stadium

Mike Segar/Reuters

The first Sunday Night Football game of the 2014 season features the second meeting between Peyton Manning and his former team when the Denver Broncos face the Indianapolis Colts and his young replacement, quarterback Andrew Luck, on Sept. 7.

With the NFL Network adding eight games to its schedule, there will be more night games than ever this season. A number of those figure to be marquee matchups.

The Broncos-Colts opener on Sunday Night Football is followed by San Francisco 49ers' first game in their new Levi's Stadium on Sept. 14 against the Chicago Bears.

The Sunday night lineup provides a heavy dose of playoff teams from last season. Sixteen of the 18 games have at least one playoff qualifier from a year ago and nine have two 2013 playoff teams. If the schedule holds, the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys will be on three times.

A few of the other prominent Sunday night NFL games on the television schedule are Steelers-Panthers on Sept. 21, Giants-Eagles on Oct. 12, Packers-Saints on Oct. 26 and Ravens-Steelers on Nov. 2.

In a rematch of last season's NFC Championship game, the 49ers play host to the Seahawks on Thanksgiving night in a game broadcast by NBC.

Monday night also has a fair share of potential quality matchups, starting with a double-header on Sept. 8 with the New York Giants going to Detroit to face the Lions and the San Diego Chargers traveling to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. The Monday night finale pairs two 2013 playoff teams -- Denver at Cincinnati -- to wrap up the regular season.

In all, 26 of the 32 teams will make an Monday night appearance. Eight teams appear twice and six teams -- the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings -- not at all.

The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks are scheduled to play three times on Sunday night and one Monday night game during Week 5 against the Washington Redskins in FedEx Field.

Some of the Sunday night games could change as early as Week 5 this year after the NFL expanded flexible scheduling, which gives the network an option to move a scheduled Sunday afternoon game to the evening and the night game to daytime. Previously, a Sunday night game could not be changed until the start of Week 11.

Flexible scheduling does not apply to Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. Those games are set.