The 2021 NFL season is almost upon us and now that we have the schedule it’s time to take a look at everything from dates and matches to analysis of the best match ups. What are the headline games each week? How was the schedule set and what about the 17th game? Jump in as we take a look at these questions and more!
When does the 2021 NFL season start?
The 2021 NFL Season will commence on Thursday, September 9. Though there was some initial concern due to the pandemic which resulted in extension of the season and reduction of the preseason, the NFL left the start date unchanged.
Though the aforementioned start date has remained the same there has been an alteration to the Super Bowl. As the league was reluctant to do away with the “bye week” between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl itself, it was finally decided that Super Bowl 56 would be played on February 13th. This was confirmed in a press release regarding the 17th game which in itself represents the first change to season structure since 1978.
What is the schedule and what are the headline Matchups each week?
With it’s structural change to 17 games the full season schedule will undoubtedly toss up some interesting matches, however, we believe there are truly some interesting match ups each week. With that said, Here we offer you a look at some of these games and the reasons why they should be ones to watch.
A few parting shots
The NFL 2021 season schedule is different this year. In light of pandemic related restrictions the league has had to implement a few structural alterations. This as it stands relates to the scheduling and of course the much maligned 17th game.
So just what is involved in the NFL schedule’s creation?
Going back to 2010, two schedule restrictions were introduced. Here again in 2021 we saw both of these restrictions in place at the release of the 2021 NFL schedule. The first of these mandated that the final regular-season game is a divisional matchup. The idea was to prevent teams from resting players because of the games being of a rival nature. It’s important to note, however, that this has not been the case in recent seasons.
Additionally, the second restriction – which is already in place – affects the way in which the schedule rotates. Teams playing the AFC West or NFC West are assigned to prevent a team from traveling to the west coast twice, while the other team does so for neither game.
What’s all the fuss about this 17th game in NFL 2021?
The 2021 NFL season will see the NFL introduce a 17th game to the calendar. Much has been made of how the 17th game will work, including discussing all 32 teams playing those games at a neutral venue. Confirmation of the exact details regarding the process of the 17th game were made public on March 30th.
As for the matchups themselves, there will be an interconference tilt based on standings on a rotational basis. In 2021, those matchups will see the AFC East teams face the NFC East. The AFC West will match up with the NFC North, and the NFC West will face the AFC North. Therefore, the AFC South will face off with the NFC South to complete the schedule. In the 2021 season, the AFC will get the extra home game, with the NFC getting the honor in 2022. This of course makes for an interesting twist to the end of season play.