The NFL’s expanded regular-season schedule is now a reality, with the league on Wednesday announcing a slate that includes 17 games for all 32 teams.
The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the season on Sept. 9 by hosting the Dallas Cowboys. The Buccaneers will have a number of other prime-time games, but their marquee matchup comes with an Oct. 3 clash against the New England Patriots. That contest will serve as a reunion between Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who combined to win six Super Bowls during their 20-year run together in New England before Brady left for Tampa last offseason.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrate after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.
The NFL will also be resuming its International Series after holding all games stateside last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Atlanta Falcons will play the New York Jets on Oct. 10, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will face off against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 17. Both games will be played at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The league will once again have three games on Thanksgiving: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders at Cowboys and Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints. Christmas will also feature two games: the Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals.
The extra week of the regular season will be tacked onto the end of the slate, leaving Jan. 9 as the wrap-up date. Specific dates – two Week 18 games will be played on Saturday – and times will be determined after the penultimate week of games.