Our opponents for the 2021 season are officially finalized!
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) January 11, 2021
The NFL playoffs began last weekend, starting the final part of the 2020-2021 season. The Washington Football won the NFC East with a 7-9 record and lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a home wild card game. They made the playoffs for the first time since winning the division in 2015.
NFL schedules are set from year to year due to a rotating schedule, and all the teams are known except for two for years in advance.
The scheduling formula implemented in 2002 with realignment guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.
Under the formula, every team plays 16 games as follows:
Home and away against its three division opponents (six games).
The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (four games).
The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (four games).
Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
Washington plays two divisions next year, the AFC West and the NFC South. They finished 1st in their division and will play the 1st place finishers from the NFC West(Seattle Seahawks) and NFC North(Green Bay Packers) in 2021.
The NFC East was historically bad this year. They have a combined 23 wins and not team had a winning record. Washington swept the Eagles and Cowboys on their way to the division title, but were swept by the Giants. New York, Dallas, and Washington all had new head coaches this season, which made the Eagles fall from grace even better. Their fall continues as word just came out that Doug Pederson is out in Philly and they will now be the team with a new head coach next season. Dallas was also a mess this year, and fired their Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan after they were eliminated.
As Ron Rivera and his players have been saying, this team is moving in the right direction and the future is bright. Will the NFC East have it’s first repeat division winner since 2004 next season, or will the rotation continue in this weak division?