2021 N.F.L. Schedule: A 17-Game Season and Quarterback Showdowns
Week 1 will showcase two multibillion-dollar stadiums that opened in 2020 but will host N.F.L. fans for the first time this season. On Sept. 12, a Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams and their new quarterback, Matthew Stafford, will open the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., against the Chicago Bears in an evening game.
The Raiders will host fans at the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium the next day, when they face the Baltimore Ravens on “Monday Night Football.” The jet-black venue, nicknamed the Death Star, opened in 2020 but did not have fans in attendance for N.F.L. games amid restrictions last year. The team will make up for it in Las Vegas fashion with a lower-level section that offers a “nightclub experience” with bottle service, DJ booths and large television screens.
Other interesting games in Week 1 include a matchup between the Green Bay Packers, possibly led by the disgruntled quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the New Orleans Saints, which will be without quarterback Drew Brees, who retired this off-season.
The Panthers also host the Jets, with the new Carolina quarterback, Sam Darnold, set to face the team that traded him weeks before drafting his replacement, Zach Wilson, with the second overall pick. The Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns will also face off, in a rematch of their division-round playoff game last season.
Regarding the 17th game, teams will play an interconference opponent based on last season’s divisional standings. For instance, the Packers, who won the N.F.C. North, will face the Chiefs, who won the A.F.C. West. The additional home game will rotate on a yearly basis, starting this season, with A.F.C. teams hosting nine games.
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