NFL 2021 season schedule: Teams to play extra 17th intra-conference game next season

NEW YORK (BBC): NFL teams will play an additional game in the 2021 campaign, the first time in 44 years a change has been made to the regular season.

The extra game will be between teams that finished in the same place from a corresponding division in 2021. NFL owners also approved the reduction of the number of pre-season games from four to three.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Get American Football alerts in the BBC Sport app

The changes had been expected since the NFL and the National Football League Players Association approved the latest collective bargaining agreement in March 2020.

AFC teams will host this year’s games before the conferences alternate.
“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,” Goodell added.

However, the alteration to the structure has not been met with widespread approval. New Orleans Saints running-back Alvin Kamara last week tweeted that the new format was “dumb as hell”.

Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan also expressed their concerns. The 2021 NFL season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, 9 September and end on Sunday, 9 January. Super Bowl LVI will take place on 13 February at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Aaron Rodgers v Patrick Mahomes the headline of the 17th games
Despite some opposition, the formula used to compile the extra games has thrown-up some exciting matches, most notably the Green Bay Packers visiting the Kansas City Chiefs in what many thought would have been the perfect Super Bowl match-up back in February.

The Packers fell at the final hurdle against the Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who then went on to beat the Chiefs 31-9 in Miami to win their second Super Bowl title.

Fans will now get to see that battle between star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead Stadium next season.

Veteran Brady, who is back for another season and now chasing an eighth Super Bowl, will lead his side in what will be a tough game against the Indianapolis Colts, who made the play-offs last season and have added quarterback Carson Wentz to a side primed for another big post-season run.

Two of the biggest teams in the NFL will also play each other with both needing to lift themselves after a poor season last year, with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the New England Patriots.
NFL 17th game fixtures
Green Bay Packers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts
Dallas Cowboys @ New England Patriots
Washington Football Team @ Buffalo Bills
New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets
Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Los Angeles Rams @ Baltimore Ravens
Arizona Cardinals @ Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans
Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars