Money talks, and the NFL knows more games means more revenue. According to NFL insider Peter King, the league is increasingly headed towards a 17-game season.
“• The 17-game schedule is highly likely in 2021. No surprise there. TV partners and NFL schedulers are working under the assumption that the 17-game schedule (the way was paved for it last March when players approved a new CBA) will debut in 2021″
The most obvious reason for the not-so-sudden additional game — the NFL has been adamantly trying to increase the number of regular-season games for years — has to be tied into the league’s loss of revenue and how it impacts teams financials in the future. The 17-game season obviously has rippling effects, which will likely push Super Bowl LVI a week back from February 6th, 2022. However, it has not been officially moved yet. There is also cause to increase the number of bye weeks to reduce the wear and tear of the players, but for now, no extra bye — 17 games in 18 weekends.
So who will the Falcons play? Currently, the Falcons will play the fourth-place finishers in the NFC, while the divisional matchups will be with the AFC and NFC East teams. The league configured the extra game with the formula of AFC versus NFC, cross-conference matchup from two years ago, 2021 matchup based on 2020 standings. It isn’t very clear, so here is King explaining it.
“… here’s an example: The four AFC West teams played the four NFC North teams in 2019. In 2020, Kansas City finished in first place in the AFC West, Green Bay first in the NFC North. So in 2021, it’s AFC West against NFC North, and 1-versus-1 from ‘20 becomes Green Bay versus Kansas City.”
This likely means the Falcons will face the Jaguars in Jacksonville against Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer, which will be great television, and a game I will try to attend. The whole point of every NFC team traveling to an AFC team is to keep the playing field equal. Having three NFC South teams playing eight games at home, and the fourth playing nine would obviously cause disgruntling among those shorted. 2021 will likely be AFC home games; then, in 2022, the NFC will have that home game.
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