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NFL schedule release date 2021: When to expect an announcement, strength of schedule & more

The more, the merrier, as they say.

This year, the NFL is back with a bigger schedule than ever, with the league expanding the regular-season schedule to 17 games, pushing back the Super Bowl to the second week in February.

The schedule change, which was unilaterally imposed by the league’s owners, is the first time the regular-season schedule has been expanded since 1978. The league is keeping with its traditional 12-team playoff format, though, a year after expanding the playoffs to 14, letting two more teams in in an effort to recoup some losses from the 

Gridiron fans looking to the next big event after the 2021 NFL Draft can look no further than the league’s schedule release.

Here’s what we know:

MORE: What NFL’s 17-game schedule means for regular season, playoffs, Super Bowl

NFL schedule release date 2021

The league is set to announce the 2021 slate of games for every NFL team on Wednesday, May 12. 

Get ready for the biggest season ever. The 2021 NFL Schedule powered by AWS will be released on May 12th.

📺: NFL Schedule Release ’21 presented by Verizon on @NFLNetwork Wednesday, May 12th at 8pm ET. pic.twitter.com/PnhtS3V0dd

— NFL (@NFL) April 21, 2021

The new-look schedule is going have 17 games on the docket, with an extra game added to the schedule in accordance with the 2020 CBA. It’s the first expansion of the NFL’s regular-season schedule since 1978. 

Who has the toughest NFL schedule in 2021?

The Pittsburgh Steelers, coming off a 12-4 season, have the most difficult schedule to navigate in 2021. 

In addition to playing a difficult AFC North, the Steelers have to tango with the Seahawks, Packers and Chiefs this year. The Seahawks were the 17th opponent added for the league’s expanded schedule.

Home
Away
Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears
Buffalo Bills
Denver Broncos
Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
Minnesota Vikings
Tennessee Titans

Who has the easiest NFL schedule in 2021?

Fly, Eagles, fly: Nick Sirianni and the Philadelphia Eagles have the easiest schedule for 2021.

Playing against a weak — but improving — NFC East, the Eagles also draw the Lions, Broncos and Jets. They do have some difficult home games, with the 49ers and defending champion Bucs entering the building.

Home
Away
Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
New York Giants
Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team
Kansas City Chiefs
Atlanta Falcons
Los Angeles Chargers
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Denver Broncos
San Francisco 49ers
Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

2021 NFL strength of schedule rankings

Fans pining for a different quarterback to hoist a Lombardi Trophy might not be happy with the rankings, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gifted the second-easiest schedule in the league come the 2021 season. 

Rank
Team
Opponents’ 2020 win percentage
1
Pittsburgh Steelers
.563 (143-111-2)
2
Baltimore Ravens
.559 (142-112-2)
3
Chicago Bears
.553 (141-114-1)
4
Detroit Lions
.543 (138-116-2)
5
Cincinnati Bengals
.539 (138-118)
6
Minnesota Vikings
.537 (137-118-1)
7
Las Vegas Raiders
.527 (134-120-2)
8
Green Bay Packers
.531 (133-122-1)
9
Cleveland Browns
.520 (132-122-2)
10
Houston Texans
.516 (132-124)
11
Jacksonville Jaguars
.506 (129-126-1)
12
Los Angeles Rams
.504 (129-127)
T13
San Francisco 49ers
.502 (128-127-1)
T13
New York Jets
.502 (128-127-1)
T15
Los Angeles Chargers
.496 (126-128-2)
T15
Arizona Cardinals
.496 (126-128-2)
T15
Seattle Seahawks
.496 (126-128-2)
T15
New England Patriots
.496 (126-128-2)
T19
Tennessee Titans
.492 (126-130)
T19
Kansas City Chiefs
.492 (126-130)
21
Carolina Panthers
.486 (124-131-1)
22
Washington Football Team
.484 (123-131-2)
T23
Buffalo Bills
.480 (123-133)
T23
Denver Broncos
.480 (123-133)
25
Atlanta Falcons
.479 (122-133-1)
26
Miami Dolphins
.477 (122-134)
27
New Orleans Saints
.471 (120-135-1)
T28
New York Giants
.465 (118-136-2)
T28
Indianapolis Colts
.465 (119-137)
30
Dallas Cowboys
.453 (115-139-2)
31
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
.451 (115-140-1)
32
Philadelphia Eagles
.449 (115-141)

2021 NFL schedule for all 32 teams

While dates have yet to be set for each of the 32 teams’ matchups, fans have a decent idea as to who is playing who come the 2021 season. The formula the NFL uses is 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 (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) (Two games)One interconference game based on the prior year’s standings on a rotating four-year cycle. These games match a first-place team from one division against a first-place team in an opposite conference division that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in each division are similarly paired. The home conference for this game will rotate each season.

While the dates and times of these games are scheduled to be released on May 12, we already know the opponents for all 32 squads. Here’s what we know:

AFC East

New England Patriots

Home: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Tampa Bay BuccaneersAway: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets

Buffalo Bills

Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Football TeamAway: Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

New York Jets

Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia EaglesAway: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots

Miami Dolphins

Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, New York GiantsAway: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles RamsAway: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, Seattle SeahawksAway: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

Cleveland Browns

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Arizona CardinalsAway: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals

Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ersAway: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC South

Houston Texans

Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina PanthersAway: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans SaintsAway: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

Indianapolis Colts

Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, Tampa Bay BuccaneersAway: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Atlanta FalconsAway: Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Home: Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay PackersAway: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Washington Football Team

Denver Broncos

Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Washington Football Team, Detroit LionsAway: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers

Las Vegas Raiders

Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Washington Football Team, Chicago BearsAway: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

Los Angeles Chargers

Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Minnesota VikingsAway: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Football TeamAway: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Football Team, New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys

Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Football TeamAway: Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team, New England Patriots

New York Giants

Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Football TeamAway: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team, Miami Dolphins

Washington Football Team

Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle SeahawksAway: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo BillsAway: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas CowboysAway: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers

Chicago Bears

Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New York GiantsAway: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders

Detroit Lions

Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia EaglesAway: Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay PackersAway: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team, Tennessee Titans

Atlanta Falcons

Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Washington Football TeamAway: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Chicago BearsAway: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Indianapolis Colts

Carolina Panthers

Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Football TeamAway: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta FalconsAway: Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals

Seattle Seahawks

Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans SaintsAway: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Football Team, Pittsburgh Steelers

Los Angeles Rams

Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay BuccaneersAway: Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens

Arizona Cardinals

Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina PanthersAway: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns

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