While the prospect of the NFL moving to a 17-week schedule seemed eminent, the pandemic moved the decision to the forefront of the team owners’ meetings.
While the fans always want more regular-season games, the financial incentive to recoup losses from the 2020 season is the main factor in the expanded season.
The NFL can always elect to go back to 16 weeks; however, with the potential for more revenue, it seems unlikely. The NFL has an article in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to make the move to 17 weeks by reducing the number of preseason games.
“The League and/or Clubs shall have the discretion to increase the number of regular-season games per Club from 16 to 17 – but not more – provided that the combined total of the preseason and regular-season games played per Club shall not exceed 20 games,” according to Article 31 of last March’s CBA which extends through 2030.
The NFL will have to reduce the preseason by one game to include the extra regular-season game. According to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the extra games will be interconference games with the conferences switching hosting duties every year. In 2021 the AFC will host the NFC. The games will be decided based on the previous season’s rankings.
However, Maske points out that the NFL might change this in 2022 to allow more neutral sight and international games. According to Maske, it would let each team play an international game every eight years.
According to John Breech at CBS Sports, teams are also not receiving an extra bye week, there will be a Monday Night Wild Card Game, and the NFL will push the Super Bowl back a week to Feb. 13.
The only thing missing is..who are the Rams playing?
Every NFL team's 2021 opponents!
Each team plays teams with the same row, column, or color.
Assuming the 17th game is added, it will be against the team with the same shape. pic.twitter.com/xGDKOTSkrA
— Lee Sharpe, ⛓️ @ ? (@LeeSharpeNFL) January 4, 2021
According to Breech, the conference is decided based on the AFC conference the Rams played in 2019, and the 2020 division rankings will determine their opponent. Based on that, the NFC West played the AFC North in 2019, and based on last year’s divisional standing; the Rams will play the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore.
Sadly, we won’t be getting an extra home game in the So-Fi Stadium this season, but in their last meeting, the Ravens demolished the Rams 45-6. However, both teams will be looking to improve their divisional round losses as they climb their way to a Super Bowl appearance in very competitive divisions.
The extra week in the regular season is not net in stone; however, NFL. Team owners are expected to vote on the extended season this week.
According to Maske, the vote is expected to happen either Tuesday or Wednesday.
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