NFL: this will be the new schedule for the 2020-21 season

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Champion Kansas City Chiefs will host the Houston Texans in the opening duel of a season that, for now, will kick off on September 10

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The NFL prepares its return with some changes. / Photo: Pexels - Reference image

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: NFL: así será el novedoso calendario de la temporada 2020-21

It is so far, the elite sports league least affected by Covid19, and perhaps for this reason, the National Football League (NFL) has already released its schedule for the coming 2020-2021 season, with optimism that the world will have returned to normal by then, next September 10 at 7:20 p.m.

Super Bowl LIV champions Kansas City Chiefs will kick off defending their league title at their home, Arrowhead Stadium, for the opening game against the Houston Texans. If all goes well, Super Bowl LV would be held on February 7 in Tampa Bay, Florida.

In the first instance, the NFL returns to the tradition that the previous champion opens the following season, something that did not happen in 2019 with the New England Patriots for the historic 100th season, which opened with a game between Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

It will also be a reissue of the fiery postseason duel that was staged the previous season in which Kansas City prevailed at home 51-31 after an incredible 0-24 comeback. A nice opportunity to also see the young quarterback duel between Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Main news

There will be for the first time in 11 years Friday Night Lights, that is, matches on Friday night. Similarly, there will be surprises for Christmas, since it falls on Friday and yes, there will be a game. The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints were chosen to play on December 25, being just the eighth game played that day of the week since the league conjunction in 1970.

In this century, the only ones that were contested were the San Diego Chargers 42-17 Tennessee Titans in 2009 and the Kansas City Chiefs 30-20 Miami Dolphins in 2005. 

Also read: 5 athletes who have shown their solidarity with George Floyd

Coronavirus prevention

Because nobody knows how the coronavirus will impact the world in four months,  it was rumored hours before designing the calendar that the NFL would consider holding all interconference games during the first four weeks to make it easier to move or eliminate them if the case occurred.

However, what is true, according to Marca newspaper, is that the league has an alternative plan that includes starting the regular season a little later in October, and thus being able to play the Super Bowl in late February. The traditional weeks of rest could also undergo modifications.

For now, there is no estimated date for the teams' facilities to be reopened and players to return to training, only that the minicamps will begin in June and virtually. Following the example of the NBA and MLB, the NFL is considering bringing all its teams together in the same city. 

Because New York became the epicenter of the pandemic in April, with more than 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 18,000 deaths, according to Google data reported by Marca, its mayor Bill de Blasio, and his Los Angeles counterpart Eric Garcetti announced that massive public shows will not be seen again until 2021.

Brady improves Tampa Bay schedule

Without a doubt Tom Brady's arrival to the Buccaners would not go unnoticed and that is already reflected in the design of the calendar for the Floridian team.

A clear example is that between 2005 and 2019, Tampa Bay played just 17 stellar games, the fewest on the entire circuit in that period, and by 2020, they will be in five games at night, tying the second-highest amount in the league and also setting a record for the franchise. These duels will be in week 5 in Chicago, week 7 in Las Vegas, week 8 in New York, week 9 against the Saints and week 11 versus Rams.

Brady's former team, the Patriots will also play in five stellar games and with Jarrett Stidham as their quarterback. Three of them will be Monday nights (week 2 in Seattle, week 9 in the Jets and week 16 in Buffalo), one on a Sunday (week 10 vs. Baltimore), and one on a Thursday (week 14 in the LA Rams).

Stellar Cowboys

One team that seems to be among the favorites to win the title is the Dallas Cowboys. 6 of their 16 games will be held during prime time, being the leaders in that section throughout the NFL. Which will them be? week 1 (Rams), week 5 (Cardinals), week 7 (Eagles), week 12 (Redskins), week 13 (Ravens) and week 15 (49ers).

In that sense, the most affected teams will be Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, with a single stellar game.

So the priority order would be 6 stellar games for the Cowboys, 5 for the Ravens, Packers, Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, Saints, 49ers and Buccaneers, 4 for the Bills, Bears, Raiders, Eagles, Steelers and Seahawks, 3 for the Broncos, Vikings, Giants, and Titans, 2 for the Cardinals, Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Texans, Chargers, and Jets, and 1  for those already mentioned.

All teams will play a game before the weekend, while 26 teams were included in the Thursday Night Football schedule, which adding to the inaugural and to the three of Thanksgiving, will only leave Vikings and Saints as the only ones on the entire circuit that they will never play on a Thursday in 2020.