Earlier this week, reports broke that the NFL was expected to extend the 2021 season with an extra game. On Tuesday afternoon, the league owners voted to make that controversial idea a reality.
Adding a 17th game to the year, the NFL regular season will now consist of 18 weeks. Wasting no time, the league has already released the extra-game schedule.
Officially from the NFL, these are the new matchups for the 17-game schedule in 2021. pic.twitter.com/N3EkTLbl1X
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) March 30, 2021
Of these 16 new matchups, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter finds five of them particularly intriguing.
- New Orleans at Tennessee
- Tampa Bay at Indianapolis
- Green Bay at Kansas City
- N.Y. Giants at Miami
- Dallas at New England.
Intriguing 2021 regular-season games created today with the official addition of a 18th week:
🏈New Orleans at Tennessee
🏈Tampa Bay at Indianapolis
🏈Green Bay at Kansas City
🏈N.Y. Giants at Miami
🏈Dallas at New England. https://t.co/YtZb65rNr2
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 30, 2021
The NFL owners reportedly voted on an extra-game format months ago that would determine each team’s added opponent based on division standings from last year’s season, per ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano.
For the inaugural year of the new system, the league matched each division with another division from the opposite conference. The team that previously finished first in their division will play the previous first-place team from the other, and so on. As the process continues in future years, the divisional matchups will rotate.
Here’s the first pairing of divisions for the 2021 season:
- AFC East teams will play NFC East teams
- NFC North teams will play AFC West teams
- NFC South teams would play AFC South teams
- NFC West teams will play AFC North teams
While the majority of players seem pretty upset with the added burden of an extra game, plenty of NFL fans are looking forward to some bonus football.
Which matchup are you most excited about?