The NFL is very close to nailing down their coveted 17th game of the regular season. With the players approving it in the new CBA, it is all but certain there will be 18 weeks and 17 games in the 2021 season according to Peter King. This means the Super Bowl will likely get pushed back a week to February 13, 2022.
Here's how the 17th game will be scheduled according to King's latest Football Morning in America column.
"When the NFL was choosing options, the formula that prevailed—follow me now—was AFC versus NFC, cross-conference matchup from two years ago, 2021 matchup based on 2020 standings. Now that you’re totally confused, 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. I will bet you a Kroll’s West cheeseburger with an ice-cold Spotted Cow that the networks will brawl over this ratings-gold game. This game alone is reason enough for the league to rush the 17th game onto the 2021 schedule."
There you go. A good game. What more could you ask for? Besides an extra week of Steve Kornacki breaking down the playoff picture? Here are some other things we're probably looking at this season and beyond.
Monday Night Football Wild Card Playoff Game
With the playoffs pushed back a week, the Monday of Wild Card weekend will not coincide with the college football national championship. So instead of playing three games on Saturday and Sunday, the NFL could go 2-3-1. King said the idea is 50-50, but also said it was "very likely." Fans of ratings should be very excited about a Monday Night Football playoff game. Less so when they decide to try a double-header in a few years.
AFC Will Host Week 17
It will alternate so all teams in the same conference will have the same number of home games. Of course, what no one has mentioned yet is that the cry for 18 games will start as soon as a 17-game season kicks off. All teams should have an equal number of home and away games! Maybe that will finally be the one that also helps create the second bye week.
December 25, 2021 is a Saturday, so plan your festivities accordingly. Last year Christmas was on a Friday so they moved the Saints - Vikings Thursday night game to Christmas. This year they'll go head to head to try and crush the NBA as their regular season unofficially begins. King calls this a "good business experiment."