2021 N.F.L. Schedule: A 17-Game Season and Quarterback Showdowns

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A 44-year-old Tom Brady will start his quest for an eighth Tremendous Bowl victory when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Dallas Cowboys within the N.F.L.’s first recreation of the 2021 common season on Sept. 9, a Thursday. The veteran quarterback Brady will face a workforce led by quarterback Dak Prescott, who will likely be 16 years Brady’s junior when he makes his anticipated return from a grotesque ankle damage that brought on him to seem in solely 5 video games final season.

The league on Wednesday launched its regular-season schedule, which contains the addition of a seventeenth recreation for every of the 32 groups. It’s the first growth of the N.F.L.’s common season since 1978. The change was authorised by workforce homeowners in March whilst some gamers expressed their opposition.

To make approach for the added recreation, the league moved the Tremendous Bowl by one week, to Feb. 13, and shrank the exhibition preseason to 3 video games from 4. In Week 18, ESPN and ABC will broadcast two video games with playoff implications on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. The opponents will likely be determined after Week 17.

The N.F.L. will return to London for 2 video games after canceling its abroad journeys final season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta Falcons will play the Jets there on Oct. 10 and the Jacksonville Jaguars will face the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 17, each at 9:30 a.m. Jap time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Week 1 will showcase two multibillion-dollar stadiums that opened in 2020 however will host N.F.L. followers for the primary time this season. On Sept. 12, a Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams and their new quarterback, Matthew Stafford, will open the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., towards the Chicago Bears in a night recreation.

The Raiders will host followers on the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium the following day, after they face the Baltimore Ravens on “Monday Evening Soccer.” The jet-black venue, nicknamed the Dying Star, opened in 2020 however didn’t have followers in attendance for N.F.L. video games due to restrictions final yr. The workforce will make up for it in Las Vegas trend with a lower-level part that gives a “nightclub expertise” with bottle service, DJ cubicles and enormous tv screens. Followers have already proven a need to attend. Early knowledge compiled by SeatGeek, a ticket-purchasing firm, present the Raiders as its top-selling workforce.

Different fascinating video games in Week 1 embody a matchup between the Inexperienced Bay Packers, presumably led by the disgruntled quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the New Orleans Saints within the first recreation of their post-Drew Brees period. The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns can even face off, in a rematch of a division-round playoff matchup final season.

Maybe essentially the most anticipated matchup will occur three weeks after the beginning of the season. On Oct. 3 at 8:20 p.m., Brady will do what he did many occasions over 20 seasons — play a recreation at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. However this time, he will likely be an opponent because the Buccaneers (the workforce Brady simply led to a Tremendous Bowl title over Kansas Metropolis) face the Patriots (the workforce Brady led to 6 Tremendous Bowl titles).

If Brady wins, he could have defeated each N.F.L. workforce in his profession. Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre are the one different quarterbacks in league historical past to perform that feat. If the Patriots win, will probably be a big victory for the workforce, which struggled to a 7-9 document and missed the playoffs final season. Attending won’t be low cost. The common worth of a bought ticket on Wednesday was over $1,300, in response to the web ticket market Vivid Seats.

With few exceptions, the Detroit Lions and the Cowboys have hosted video games on Thanksgiving yearly since 1934 and 1966, respectively, and the custom continues this season. The Lions play the Chicago Bears, their N.F.C. North division rivals, on Nov. 25 at 12:30 p.m., whereas the Cowboys play the Raiders afterward. That evening, the Buffalo Payments, recent off their first A.F.C. championships recreation look for the reason that 1993 season, will face the Saints.

Different notable matchups embody a showdown between the primary two draft picks, the Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, on Dec. 26 at 1 p.m.; an A.F.C. championship recreation rematch between the Payments and the Chiefs on Oct. 10 at 8:20 p.m.; and the Packers towards the San Francisco 49ers, who’re anticipated to have key defensive gamers again from damage and will probably begin quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 general choose, on Sept. 26 at 8:20 p.m.

Relating to the seventeenth recreation, groups will play an interconference opponent primarily based on final season’s divisional standings. For example, the Packers, who received the N.F.C. North, will face the Chiefs, who received the A.F.C. West, on Nov. 7 at 4:25 p.m. The extra house recreation will rotate on a yearly foundation, beginning this season, with A.F.C. groups internet hosting 9 video games.

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