It’s official: 2021 will feature the first 17-game season in NFL history.
NFL owners on Tuesday officially approved a shift to a 17-game schedule. It’s the first expansion of the league’s regular-season schedule since 1978, when it increased from 14 games to 16.
The new format also decreases the number of preseason games from four to three.
The added 17th game will be an interconference contest, with each AFC team facing an NFC opponent that finished in the same position in its division. The conferences will alternate hosting this game each season, with the AFC doing so first in 2021.
All AFC teams will play nine home games and eight road games in 2021, and all NFC teams will play eight home games and nine road games. In 2022, the schedules will flip.
The AFC East and NFC East are matched up this season, meaning the New England Patriots host the Dallas Cowboys, as both teams finished third in their respective divisional standings in 2020.
Below is an updated look at the Patriots’ 2021 opponents. The full NFL schedule will be released later this spring.
Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers