What was originally discussed a year ago is now official: the NFL regular season is expanding to 17 games beginning in 2021.
For the Bolts, they'll host the Minnesota Vikings as their additional game for the 2021 season.
In 2021, each division will play the interconference opponent from the 2019 season who finished in the same standing as them in 2020. The AFC West played the NFC North in 2019 and the Chargers and Vikings both finished third in their respective divisions last season.
Browse through photos of the teams the Bolts will face during the 2021 season.
Under the scheduling formula below, every team plays three preseason games and 17 regular-season games with one bye week. Clubs will host 10 games overall – either nine regular-season games and one preseason game or eight regular-season games and two preseason games.
- 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 (two games). 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. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
- One interconference game based on the prior year's standings on a rotating four-year cycle (one game). 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 matched in the same way each year. The home conference for this game will rotate each season.
The expansion to one regular-season game per team was agreed upon last March as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement; however, it wasn't made official until this week, when the NFL club owners officially approved the move.
This marks the league's first expansion since 1978, when they made the switch to a 16-game regular-season.
Mark your calendars because NFL Kickoff Weekend will begin Thursday, Sept. 9. The 2022 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Feb. 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium will occur Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022.
Click here for a full list of the Bolts' 2021 opponents, and stay tuned for the complete 2021 schedule, which will be released later this spring.
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