Lions host Bears on Thanksgiving Day

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(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Jim Caldwell's first game as Detroit Lions coach will come under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.

The Lions will open the season in prime time against the New York Giants, according to the Giants' flagship radio station WFAN-AM.

The NFL will release its full 2014 schedule at 8 p.m. tonight, and the league normally plays two Monday night games in Week 1.

"I'm not sure if that's been confirmed or not, but that'll be a great way to start the year, especially for myself being on a new team, a new start, being with one of the first primetime games, that'd be special," receiver Golden Tate said. "I think first impression's everything so it'd be a good way to start the season."

The Lions lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football last year in their only primetime game of the season.

Both the Lions and Giants are coming off disappointing 2013 seasons - the Lions went 7-9 and lost six of their final seven games, including one to a Giants team that finished 7-9 - but both teams have marketable stars (Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Eli Manning) and New York is the biggest media market in the country.

The Lions last opened the season on Monday Night Football in 1971, when they lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 16-13.

The Lions, who've opened at home the last two seasons, also host the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

They have road games against the Packers, Vikings, Bears, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, and play the Atlanta Falcons in London in Week 8.

Lions 2014 regular season schedule

Week 1: vs New York Giants on Monday Night Football

Week 2: at Carolina

Week 3: vs. Green Bay

Week 4: at New York Jets

Week 5: vs. Buffalo

Week 6: at Minnesota

Week 7: vs New Orleans

Week 8: Atlanta in London

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: vs. Miami

Week 11: at Arizona

Week 12: at New England

Week 13: vs. Chicago (Thanskgiving)

Week 14: vs. Tampa Bay

Week 15: vs. Minnesota

Week 16: at Chicago

Week 17: at Green Bay

Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@davebirkett.

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