Doubleheader to Kick Off MNF on ESPN

NFL Network will get an AFC West rivalry-game matchup on Turkey Day for its first ever live game, while ESPN will kick off its Monday Night Football era with a doubleheader.

The National Football League -- which unveiled the opening salvos of its 2006-07 schedule Monday -- gave its in-house vehicle, NFL Network -- which tackled Comcast Corp.’s bid to enter the pro-football arena -- the Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs at 8 p.m. (EST) Thanksgiving to start its package of eight late-season primetime games.

The Broncos-Chiefs matchup will be the third contest Nov. 23 -- the league’s traditional Turkey Day hosts, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, will square off against the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on CBS and Fox at 12:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., respectively.

Taking over from its broadcast cousin, ABC, after 36 seasons, ESPN will start its MNF coverage with the Minnesota Vikings visiting the Washington Redskins at 7 p.m. Sept. 11, followed by the San Diego Chargers at the Oakland Raiders at 10:15 p.m.

NBC, returning to the NFL for the first time since 1997, begins the season with a Sept. 7 matchup between the Dolphins and the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers. NBC’s first game in its regular 8:15 p.m. Sunday-night slot will feature the Indianapolis Colts at the New York Giants.