The National Football League will reportedly be adding a 17th game to its regular season starting immediately in 2021. This will be the first adjustment to the regular season since the league went from 14 to 16 games in 1978.
other reported changes with a 17th game:
– no extra bye: 17 games in 18 weekends
– Sunday week 1: September 12th
– Final Sunday of season: January 9th
– Super Bowl Sunday: February 13th
– Wild Card Weekend:
— 2 games Sat Jan 15th
— 3 games Sun Jan 16th
— 1 game Mon Jan 17th
Barring any changes before the official announcement, the each NFC East team will meet one AFC East team in 2021. The Cowboys and Patriots each finished third in their respective divisions last year, so that should result in their playing other.
The most significant effect of the extra game will be on single-season records. While not as impactful from 14 to 16 games, this will create one more opportunity for players to obtain volume-based statistics.
The effect on playoff scenarios and tiebreakers should be relatively minimal. With this extra games coming against non-conference opponents, the head-to-head tiebreaker, division, and conference records will still be the key factors.
The NFL’s official release of this information is expected later this week.