Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners approve 17-game season for 2021

NFL owners approved the expansion of the regular season to 17 games per team at a virtual league meeting on Tuesday.

This change, which begins with the 2021 season, marks the first expansion of the NFL’s schedule since it moved from 14 games to 16 in 1978.

Also on Tuesday, the NFL reduced the preseason slate from four games per team to three.

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

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “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 additional regular-season game will feature an intra-conference matchup between teams that finished in the same position in their division. The AFC teams will host this year’s games before the conferences trade off annually.

This season, the matchups will be NFC East vs. AFC East, NFC West vs. AFC North, NFC South vs. AFC South, and NFC West vs. AFC North

Below is the breakdown of each team’s 17th matchup this season:

NFC East vs. AFC East
–Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
–New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
–Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
–Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

NFC West vs. AFC North
–Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
–Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
–Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
–San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals

NFC South vs. AFC South
–New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
–Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
–Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
–Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC West vs. AFC North
–Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
–Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
–Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
–Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos

The official 2021 schedule, with playing dates and times, will be announced later this spring.

The 2021 NFL season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept. 9, and end on Sunday, Jan. 9. Super Bowl LVI is set to take place Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

–Field Level Media