2021 NFL schedule: Looking at the regular season home and away opponents for all 32 NFL teams – CBS Sports

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The NFL has completed its 2020 regular season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking ahead to 2021. We can look at all the home and away opponents every one of the 32 teams will face next season thanks to the NFL scheduling formula.

The current 16-game schedule is expected to end in 2021 as a result of the collective bargaining agreement, with the league preparing to add a 17th game. The additional game won’t alter the current scheduling formula though, as each team will play four games against a first-place team from 2020, four games against the second-place team, four games against the third-place team and four games against the fourth-place team — keeping the schedule as balanced as possible. 

We’ll get to the 17th game and how its projected to work in a bit, but let’s check out the known 2021 opponents for all 32 teams. 

How it works

Here’s a brief explanation of the NFL scheduling formula, which was implemented in 2002 — but will reportedly undergo a slight tweak in 2021. Here’s a breakdown of how each team’s opponents are set:

  • Six games against divisional opponents — two games per team, one at home and one on the road.
  • Four games against teams from a division within its conference — two games at home and two on the road — on a rotating three-year cycle (four games).
  • Four games against teams from a division in the other conference — two games at home and two on the road — on a rotating four-year cycle (four games).
  • Two games against teams from the two remaining divisions in its own conference — one game at home and one on the road. Matchups are based on division ranking from the previous season. These conference games are based on the prior year’s standings. 
  • Example: A first-place team will play against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in that conference are matched in the same way each year.
  • Beginning in 2010, a change was made to how teams are paired in the schedule rotation to ensure that teams playing the AFC and NFC West divisions would not be required to make two West Coast trips (e.g. at Los Angeles and at Las Vegas), while other teams in their division had none (e.g. at Denver and at Kansas City).
  • Also beginning in 2010, every regular season ends with only divisional match-ups in the final week, in an attempt to discourage playoff-bound teams from resting their starters and playing their reserves.

What about the 17th game? 

The NFL has the option to expand the schedule from 16 to 17 games in 2021, which league owners have not voted for or against for next season — but they did lay the groundwork for what a 17th game would entail. The league will surely add an extra week to the regular season — perhaps two weeks by instituting an extra bye week like the league experimented with in 1993 — to accommodate the change. 

Scheduling procedures will be an “inter-conference matchup based on divisional standings” from the previous campaign, and “on a rotating divisional basis.” An example would be the first-place team from the NFC East playing the first-place team from the AFC East in 2021. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in each division are matched in the same way.

Nothing is official yet, but the NFL is making progress toward adding that 17th game sooner rather than later. 

Mark your calendars

The regular season is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. 

The 2021 NFL season will conclude in February 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. — the site of Super Bowl LVI. 

2021 opponents

Here’s the complete home and away opponent list for each NFL team. The dates and times of each game will be released at some point during the spring.  

AFC East
Home: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Browns
Away: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Colts, Texans, Falcons, Panthers, Chargers
Home: Bills, Jets, Patriots, Colts, Texans, Panthers, Falcons, Ravens
Away: Bills, Jets, Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers, Saints, Raiders
Home: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Jaguars, Titans, Saints, Buccaneers, Bengals
Away: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Texans, Colts, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos
Home: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Colts, Falcons, Panthers, Steelers
Away: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs
AFC North
Home: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, Colts
Away: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Bears, Dolphins
Home: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, Jaguars
Away: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Bears, Jets
Home: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Broncos, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Titans
Away: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, Bills
Home: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Bears, Texans
Away: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, Patriots
AFC South
Home: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Patriots, Jets, Rams, Seahawks, Jets
Away: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, 49ers, Cardinals, Browns
Home: Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Patriots, Jets, Rams, Seahawks, Raiders
Away: Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens
Home: Jaguars, Colts, Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Chiefs
Away: Jaguars, Colts, Texans, Patriots, Jets, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers
Home: Colts, Texans, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, 49ers, Broncos
Away: Colts, Texans, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks, Bengals
AFC West
Home: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Bengals, Eagles, Washington, Jets
Away: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Steelers, Browns, Giants, Cowboys, Jaguars
Home: Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Giants, Patriots
Away: Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, Ravens, Bengals, Eagles, Washington, Texans
Home: Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Ravens, Bengals, Eagles, Washington, Dolphins
Away: Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Steelers, Browns, Giants, Cowboys, Colts
Home: Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Steelers, Browns, Cowboys, Giants, Bills
Away: Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Bengals, Eagles, Washington, Titans
NFC East
Home: Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Chargers, Seahawks
Away: Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, Packers
Home: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, Rams
Away: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, Buccaneers, Saints, Chiefs, Chargers, Bears
Home: Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, Cardinals
Away: Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings
Home: Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Chargers, 49ers
Away: Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, Lions
NFC North
Home: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Steelers, Washington
Away: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, Saints
Home: Bears, Lions, Packers, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns, Cowboys
Away: Bears, Lions, Packers, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, Panthers
Home: Packers, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, Giants
Away: Packers, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns, Buccaneers
Home: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals, Eagles
Away: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns, Falcons
NFC South
Home: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Washington, Eagles, Patriots, Jets, Lions
Away: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Giants, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins, 49ers
Home: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Washington, Eagles, Patriots, Jets, Vikings
Away: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Giants, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals
Home: Panthers, Falcons, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Giants, Dolphins, Bills, Packers
Away: Panthers, Falcons, Buccaneers, Eagles, Washington, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks
Home: Panthers, Saints, Falcons, Cowboys, Giants, Dolphins, Bills, Bears
Away: Panthers, Saints, Falcons, Eagles, Washington, Patriots, Jets, Rams
NFC West
Home: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Falcons
Away: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Lions, Bears, Jaguars, Titans, Eagles
Home: 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Saints
Away: 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Washington
Home: Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Buccaneers
Away: Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Giants
Home: Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Panthers
Away: Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Lions, Bears, Jaguars, Titans, Cowboys

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