Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandon Powell (19) reacts with defensive end Mike Hoecht (96) against the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

NFL moves kickoff times for two Week 17 games

The NFL on Monday announced time changes for two games in Week 17.

The league flip-flopped the Los Angeles Rams-Baltimore and Carolina-New Orleans games, moving Rams-Ravens to 1 p.m. ET while making Panthers-Saints the 4:25 p.m. ET contest. Both games will remain on FOX.

Both games have playoff implications, with the Ravens (8-7) and Rams (11-4) both fighting to win their respective divisions. The Saints are trying to fight their way into the playoff picture while the Panthers have been eliminated.

The Saints (7-7) play the Miami Dolphins on Monday night in the finale of Week 16.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs against Denver Broncos player Alijah Holder (33) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs-Broncos on Dec. 5 flexed to ‘Sunday Night Football’

The NFL has flexed the Dec. 5 Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos game to “Sunday Night Football,” replacing the Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers.

Seahawks-49ers moves to 4:25 p.m. ET.

At 7-4, the Chiefs lead the AFC West. Denver (5-5) shares last place in the division with the Las Vegas Raiders (5-5).

The Chiefs have won four straight games, including last week’s 19-9 victory over the Cowboys in Dallas.

The Broncos’ last game was a 30-13 loss to Philadelphia in Week 10 at Denver.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Browns won 48-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Fame game kicks off NFL preseason Aug. 5

NFL preseason games — canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic — return this summer, beginning with the Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 5.

The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday.

The Hall of Fame Game kicks off a slate of three games for each team, down from four in previous seasons. The extra game has been tacked on to the regular season, with each team playing 17 games instead of 16.

In another Week 1 preseason game of interest, fans will get their first glance at the revamped Jaguars, led by new coach Urban Meyer and No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, when the Cleveland Browns visit Jacksonville on Aug. 14.

The preseason wraps up Aug. 29.

The Cowboys will be featured in the regular-season opener, as well, when they visit the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9.

The 2021 preseason week-by-week schedule, with all times Eastern:

Thursday, Aug. 5
Pittsburgh and Dallas (Canton, Ohio), 8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 12
Washington at New England, 7:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 13
Tennessee at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 14
Miami at Chicago, 1 p.m.
Denver at Minnesota, 4 p.m.
New Orleans at Baltimore, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at Jacksonville, 7 p.m.
New York Jets at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m.
Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Houston at Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Kansas City at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.
Seattle at Las Vegas, 9 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 15
Carolina at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 19
New England at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 20
Kansas City at Arizona, 8 p.m.
Cincinnati at Washington, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 21
Buffalo at Chicago, 1 p.m.
New York Jets at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.
Baltimore at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Atlanta at Miami, 7 p.m.
Detroit at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Tennessee at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Houston at Dallas, 8 p.m.
Indianapolis at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Las Vegas at Los Angeles Rams, 10 p.m.
Denver at Seattle, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 22
New York Giants at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 23
Jacksonville at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 27
Indianapolis at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia at New York Jets, 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Kansas City, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 28
Green Bay at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Baltimore at Washington, 6 p.m.
Chicago at Tennessee, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Houston, 8 p.m.
Arizona at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles Rams at Denver, 9:05 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle, 10 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 29
Jacksonville at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Miami at Cincinnati, 4 p.m.
Las Vegas at San Francisco, 4 p.m.
New England at New York Giants, 6 p.m.
Cleveland at Atlanta, 8 p.m.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys host Raiders, Bills face Saints on Thanksgiving

Dallas draws the Las Vegas Raiders in the mid-afternoon game on Thanksgiving Day.

The Cowboys’ traditional holiday home date is the middle game following the Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints.

The NFL schedule will be released in full on Wednesday night.

Dallas lost 41-16 to the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving Day in 2020 and enters with a two-game losing streak on Turkey Day. The Bills beat the Cowboys in 2019.

The Bears and Lions are meeting for the third time in four years on Thanksgiving. Chicago won games in Detroit in 2018 and 2019.

–Field Level Media

Apr 24, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady looks on before Alex Oliveira (Red Gloves) fights Randy Brown (Blue Gloves) during UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs-Cowboys opener headlines NFL Week 1

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open defense of the Lombardi Trophy on Sept. 9 at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay hosts the Dallas Cowboys in the primetime Thursday night opener at the site of the Bucs’ Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in February.

Quarterback Dak Prescott is expected to return from a season-ending ankle injury and take the field for the first time since signing a four-year, $160 million deal in March.

The full schedule for the 2021 regular season is scheduled to be released Wednesday night.

In Week 1, NBC’s Sunday night game pits the Chicago Bears visiting the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.

The “Monday Night Football” opener features the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.

Among the other key games between 2020 contenders is a playoff rematch between the Cleveland Browns and Chiefs.

There will be intrigue involving quarterbacks in the build up of two other games: the Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers versus the New York Jets.

Aaron Rodgers’ future is in question with the Packers and the Saints are without Drew Brees, who retired after last season.

Sam Darnold is the central figure in the Panthers-Jets matchup. Darnold was acquired by Carolina from New York in April.

–Field Level Media

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 to release 2021 schedule May 12

The NFL announced Wednesday it will release the 2021 regular-season schedule on May 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

For the first time, NFL teams will play a 17-game slate, with the additional game being approved by an owners’ vote last month. The 17th game will pit teams against interconference opponents that finished in the same place in their respective divisions. The AFC teams will play host for these games in 2021.

Among these matchups: the Green Bay Packers against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dallas Cowboys visiting the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams playing the Baltimore Ravens.

Other notable games in 2021 include Tom Brady’s return to New England as an opponent when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Patriots, and the Jacksonville Jaguars playing the New York Jets in a game that will pit the No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks against one another.

The schedule release will also reveal which teams will play in prime time on opening night, with Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay expected to be the host.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA;  General view of the NFL Shield logo on the field before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL to approve 17-game season this week

NFL owners will approve the expansion of the regular season to 17 games this week, ESPN reported Sunday.

It would be the first expansion of the schedule since moving from 14 games to 16 in 1978.

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

Owners of the 32 NFL teams are scheduled to hold meetings remotely on Tuesday and Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2018; Stanford, CA, USA; General overall view of the Pac-12 Conference logo on the field during the game between the Southern California Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC-Stanford to kick off Pac-12 conference play in 2021

The Pac-12 is planning for a return to a traditional football season in 2021, releasing its nine-game conference schedule on Tuesday.

UCLA will kick off the nonconference slate against Hawaii at the Rose Bowl on Aug. 28. The Bruins’ crosstown rival, Southern California, will play host to Stanford in the first conference game of the season on Sept. 11.

USC will play at Washington State on Sept. 18 before the full conference slate of games begins on Sept. 25 in Week 4.

The Pac-12 schedule includes traditional rivalry games over the final two weeks of the season: Washington-Washington State, USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, Cal-Stanford and Oregon-Oregon State. The conference championship game is scheduled to be played on Dec. 3 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the first time.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney receives the championship trophy from Commissioner John Swofford in the 2019 ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

ACC returns to normal, Notre Dame independent again in ’21

The Atlantic Coast Conference hopes to restore a sense of normalcy to the 2021 college football season.

The league optimistically released its schedule Thursday, returning to a two-division format (Atlantic and Coastal) with members playing eight ACC games and four non-conference games.

Notre Dame, which played as a full member amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, returns to its traditional independent status and will play five games against ACC opponents.

“The return to a traditional schedule is contingent on national, state and local health guidelines allowing such competition to occur,” the league cautioned in its press release.

The ACC schedule kicks off on Labor Day weekend with games each day from Thursday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 6.

That includes two neutral site games in Atlanta as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff series. Miami will face defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 4 and Louisville will take on Ole Miss on Sept. 6.

Clemson, winner of six consecutive ACC championships, opens the post-Trevor Lawrence era against Georgia in the Duke’s Mayo Classic on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Notre Dame’s five ACC contests includes three road games: Sept. 5 at Florida State, Oct. 9 at Virginia Tech and Nov. 13 at Virginia. The Fighting Irish will host North Carolina on Oct. 30 and Georgia Tech on Nov. 20.

The 2021 schedule includes 13 playing weekends, giving each school one open date and potential flexibility should interruptions arise.

The ACC Championship Game will take place in Charlotte on Dec. 4.

–Field Level Media

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Detailed view of the Super Bowl logo on an official Wilson NFL football on the field during the Kansas City Chiefs game against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL approves 17-game schedule formula, not 17th game

While it has decided to wait on officially adding a 17th regular-season game to the schedule, the NFL agreed Wednesday on a schedule formula when that extra game would be implemented down the road.

NFL owners gathered on a conference call Wednesday, essentially electing to move talks of an expanded schedule to early 2021. An extra game was agreed upon between the league and the players’ union earlier this year, and that additional contest could come as soon as 2021.

“It obviously comes into play with respect with our future media arrangements that we obviously are contemplating,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We expect a decision will be made on that in the next several weeks.”

The league switched to a 16-game regular-season schedule in 1978 after previously playing 14 regular-season games.

When a 17th game is added, it will be an interconference matchup based on standings from the previous season. The extra opponent will also rotate among divisions. The agreement on the schedule formula was reported by NFL Network.

“We had a lengthy discussion on this,” Goodell said. “Obviously, it’s an important decision for us. We did not take any votes with respect to committing to do it. In the collective bargaining agreement, we have that right to do it.”

ESPN reported that Goddell is in favor of reducing the preseason from four games to two, but that concept received push back from prominent owners like Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

–Field Level Media