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NFL 2021 schedule: when do regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl LVI start?

An overview of when the 2021 NFL regular season and postseason are due to start, and when Super Bowl LVI is scheduled to be held.

NFL 2021 schedule: when are regular season, playoffs & Super Bowl?
PATRICK SMITH AFP

When does the 2021 NFL regular season begin?

The 2021 regular season is due to begin on Thursday 9 September 2021.

The full schedule has been released: 2021 will have a 17 games per team season.

How are NFL regular-season matchups decided?

CBS’ Jeff Kerr has compiled this overview of who every NFL team will come up against in 2021.

In a 16-game regular season, every NFL franchise plays:

  • Six games (three home, three away) against the three other teams in its division
  • Four games (two home, two away) against the teams in another division in the same conference, chosen using a rotating three-year cycle
  • Two games (one home, one away) against the teams that the previous year finished in the same position in the two other divisions in its conference
  • Four games (two home, two away) against the teams in a division in the opposite conference, chosen using a rotating three-year cycle

17th game would be "extra interconference matchup"

Under the new Collective Bargain Agreement finalized in March 2020, an extra game has been added to the regular-season calendar.  The new schedule confirms what one team source said in December quoted by NFL.com as saying: “We’re all anticipating it’s going to happen.”

According to the NFL, the 17th game would be "an extra interconference matchup - AFC vs. NFC - based on divisional standings from the preceding season".

In other words, the four teams in one division would each go up against the side that finished in the same position in a division in the opposite conference. Which divisions are paired together will be determined “on a rotating divisional basis”.

According to NFL reporter Albert Breer, the divisional match-ups in the 2021 17th game would be as follows: NFC East vs AFC East; NFC North vs AFC West; NFC South vs AFC South; and NFC West vs AFC North.

When does the 2021 NFL postseason start?

The start of the 2021 NFL playoffs is slated for the weekend of 15/16 January 2022.

When is Super Bowl LVI?

The 2021 NFL championship is to be decided at Super Bowl LVI, which is scheduled to be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Sunday 13 February 2022.