FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots, the defending AFC champions, will open the 2012 season in Nashville, Tenn., against the Titans on Sept. 9, and will meet the rival New York Jets in New Jersey on Thanksgiving night.

The game at the Jets will be the Patriots’ fifth Thanksgiving game. New England last played on that holiday on Nov. 25, 2010 when the Patriots defeated the Detroit Lions, 45-24.

New England quarterback Tom Brady will play in his fourth Thanksgiving game.

The Patriots close the season Dec. 30 against the Miami Dolphins at home.


GIANTS: New York will play five prime-time games and face seven playoff teams this season.

Three of the prime-time games will be played in the first four weeks of the season with two being midweek contests, including the opener Sept. 5, a Wednesday night game against Dallas.

New York re-signed middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, a key to its run to last season’s Super Bowl title.


JAGUARS: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is skipping the team’s voluntary orientation for veterans in what could be a contract dispute.

Jones-Drew is one of the two players under contract not on hand for the three-day session. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (eye surgery) also is sitting home.


RAMS: The team opened its two-day minicamp doing defense by committee.

St. Louis is without Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator who has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his role in the bounties program during his time with New Orleans.


49ERS: Linebacker Larry Grant and wide receiver Brett Swain signed one-year contracts to remain with the team.

Grant signed a one-year deal he previously had been tendered. Drafted in the seventh round by San Francisco in 2008, Grant spent three seasons with St. Louis before returning to the Bay Area last year.


DOLPHINS: The agent for veteran receiver Legedu Naanee said Naanee signed a one-year contract with Miami.

Last year with Carolina, Naanee started 10 games and had 44 catches for 467 yards, all career highs. He spent his first four NFL seasons with San Diego and has 107 career receptions.


BROWNS: Receiver Jordan Norwood signed his tender as an exclusive-rights player.

Norwood made four starts for Cleveland last season. He caught 23 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown. The former Penn State player showed he could be a potential big-play threat in Cleveland’s west coast system.