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Lucky 13 for NFL Network

Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears smiles on

Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears smiles on the sidelines near the end of the season-opening win, 41-21, against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: Getty

This is the seventh season of live, prime-time games on the NFL Network, but it will be unlike any before.

For one thing, the network finally is available on Cablevision, which owns Newsday, a development senior vice president Mark Quenzel Monday called “a big, big score for us.’’

For another, instead of eight late-season games, the schedule has expanded to 13 beginning this Thursday with Bears-Packers, followed by the Giants and Panthers next week.

“The main thing we’ll be able to do is develop continuity,’’ Quenzel said.

Said play-by-play man Brad Nessler: “We kind of felt we were just getting revved up when the season ended for us last year.’’

Another bonus is Nessler, analyst Mike Mayock and reporter Alex Flanagan are back for a second season together. That’s unusual for the NFL Network, which got off on the wrong foot with Bryant Gumbel as its original play-by-play voice.

Said Quenzel: “It’s not a secret we’ve had a little bit of a revolving door in terms of our on-air talent.’’

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