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When does the NFL season start in 2021? Full schedule for week 1, matches for each team

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When does the NFL season start in 2021?  Full schedule for week 1, matches for each team

After a year and a 2020 season that was anything but normal for the NFL, the 2021 season is arriving in a more standard way.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. That has created some complications for teams in terms of players landing on the COVID list. However, the start of the NFL season does not appear to be in jeopardy as it was last year.

And in 2021, the NFL preseason is making a triumphant return, though from now on it will be a three-game affair due to the league’s shift to a 17-game season. Still, those three games will be a lot more preparation with live game replays than teams in 2020, so that should help teams operate a little more smoothly from the gate.

Yes, things are starting to get back to normal in the NFL on the field, but off the field, too. The league plans to allow fans to return to stadiums this season and surely expects there will be fewer game postponements than in 2021.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Week 1 schedule, including the first game of the 2021 NFL season and the best matchups to watch.

IYER: Ranking of potential Hall of Famers on each NFL roster

When does the NFL season start in 2021?

  • Date: Thursday September 9
  • Play: Cowboys at Buccaneers
  • Start time: 8:20 pm ET

The 2021 NFL season opener will air live on Thursday, September 10 on NBC featuring the Al Michaels “Sunday Night Football” team and Cris Collinsworth.

The Buccaneers will open the season at home as the defending Super Bowl champs. In large part, it has been a tradition for the NFL to schedule the defending Super Bowl champion to play Game 1 on Thursday night. Last season, the Chiefs beat the Texans to start the season with a strong effort from Patrick Mahomes and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

This year, Tom Brady will look to start his 44-year-old season with a victory, while Dak Prescott will look to come back from an ankle injury that limited him to five games last season. Both teams have high-flying offenses, but the Bucs have the best defense and therefore should have the upper hand in the competition.

MORE: Top 30 Rookies To Trust In Fantasy Football Leagues

NFL Week 1 Schedule

As usual, the NFL season will begin on Thursday, but will not conclude with its usual double title of “Monday Night Football.” For the first time since 2005, the NFL will have just one Monday Night Football game, with the Raiders and Ravens taking center stage at Allegiant Field in Las Vegas. That will be the first NFL game with fans at the new Raiders stadium.

The rest of the Week 1 matchups will take place on Sunday, with nine games on the roster at 1 p.m. ET and four starting at 4:25 p.m. ET. There are many intriguing games on the board, but the featured game will be between the Chiefs and the Browns.

Cleveland played near Kansas City during their 22-17 loss in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs, but Patrick Mahomes exited that game with injury. Can the improving Browns close the gap with Mahomes on the field for four full quarters? It will be a test for them on the road in what could be a high-scoring battle.

The Packers-Saints contest will also be interesting, as viewers will get to see the post-Drew Brees Saints for the first time, while Aaron Rodgers is coming off an offseason and still has some tension with the Packers. Will Sean Payton be able to win at home with questions as a quarterback? And will Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill start? Those are the big questions New Orleans faces.

The last game Sunday, Bears at Rams, should be good. Matthew Stafford faces a familiar opponent with an unknown team in his Rams debut. Will Justin Fields start for the Bears at that point? That’s not what they’re planning, but stranger things have happened. Both teams have strong defenses, so this could be the opposite of the Browns-Chiefs game.

Thursday September 9

Play Start time television channel
Cowboys at Buccaneers 8:20 pm ET NBC

Sunday September 12

Play Start time television channel
Jaguars in Texans 1 pm ET CBS
Washington football team chargers 1 pm ET CBS
Seahawks at Colts 1 pm ET Fox
Jets at Panthers 1 pm ET CBS
Vikings in Bengals 1 pm ET Fox
Cardinals in Titans 1 pm ET CBS
49ers in the Lions 1 pm ET Fox
Steelers at Bills 1 pm ET CBS
Eagles in hawks 1 pm ET Fox
Browns on Chiefs 4:25 pm ET CBS
Packers in Saints 4:25 pm ET Fox
Broncos at Giants 4:25 pm ET Fox
Dolphins in Patriots 4:25 pm ET CBS
Bears in Rams 8:20 pm ET NBC

Monday September 13

Play Start time television channel
Ravens in Raiders 8:15 pm ET ESPN
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