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NFL 2021 Schedule Release: Full Schedule, Thoughts

The 2021 NFL regular season schedule release has been an all-day affair, with Week 1 revealed this morning and many leaks throughout the day. The full 17-game schedule—which I do not like compared to the old 16-game schedule—has now been officially released (you can view it here). These are my biggest takeaways from the 2021 NFL schedule release:


  • It’s hard to argue against a star-studded Cowboys franchise being featured in the NFL’s opening game, but I feel like it was a missed opportunity to not put the Bills on opening night against the defending champion Bucs. Buffalo and Tampa Bay are arguably two of the clear top three teams in the league (along with Kansas City), and it would have been a potential Super Bowl preview to kick off 2021.
  • The NFL went all-in on releasing its schedule to a lot of fanfare, using morning news shows around the country to reveal the Week 1 slate—and it’s an impressive set of games. The quality of the matchups was a surprise, with Steelers-Bills, Browns-Chiefs, Packers-Saints, and Ravens-Raiders (Monday night) among the exciting non-divisional matchups.
  • Seeing the Bears be the team to face the Lions yet again on Thanksgiving was a disappointment, but the rest of the holiday schedule is very promising as we sit here in May. The Raiders facing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving brings some interconference flavor, and Bills-Saints in the nightcap should be a good one. Then on Christmas Day (Saturday, December 25), Browns-Packers and Colts-Cardinals could be matchups that feature all playoff teams. Plus, Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, so a full day of games on the spookiest day of the year should be fun.
  • However, the Aaron Rodgers situation looms large on the schedule. While the Packers should be a solid team regardless of Rodgers’ status (and winning at Lambeau Field in December is not an easy task) that Christmas Day game against the Browns—and Green Bay’s other primetime games—will be much better if the reigning league MVP is on the field.
  • I’m not a fan of a Week 14 bye. Yes, the schedule was lengthened, and fantasy football is much less important than player safety; but Week 14 feels too late. Many fantasy leagues start their fantasy playoffs in Week 14, so other plans might have to be made to avoid having key players on a bye when it matters most.


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