The NFL announced the approval of an enhanced 17-game regular season starting in 2021 at a virtual league meeting on Tuesday. It will be the first time the league expands the schedule since 1978.
A first for the NFL with the 17 regular season games and three preseason games, providing fans and players with an extra week of action. The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and NFLPA signed in March of 2020 enables the league, with union approval and its players, to enhance the regular season.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”
The 17th game will feature teams from opposing conferences that finished in the same place within their division the previous season. The AFC was determined to be the home conference for the 17th game in 2021. Here’s a look at the schedule for Week 18 in the NFL next year.
Washington Football at Buffalo Bills
New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos
Under the scheduling formula, every team plays 17 games with one bye week, hosting 10 games either nine regular-season games and one preseason game or eight regular-season games and two preseason games.
“The enhanced season will ensure that beginning in 2022, all 32 clubs will play internationally at least once every eight years. The scheduling of up to four neutral site games per year in a country outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. In addition, interested clubs can continue to volunteer to play home games internationally, as is currently the case,” according to a press release from the NFL.
NFL Kickoff Weekend will begin Thursday, September 9, and the regular season will end Sunday, January 9, 2022.
The 2022 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and the season will conclude the following week with Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, 2022.