UPDATE: The NFL announced the 17th game addition on Tuesday, March 30th, making what has been discussed official. The press release formally confirms what Albert Breer reported in December. The full schedule of games is listed below. The AFC will host all 16 additional games. The AFC East will host the NFC East, the AFC North will host the NFC West, the AFC South will host the NFC Sout, and the AFC West will host the NFC North.
The NFL will be making the move to a 17-game schedule in 2021, per multiple reports, and we’re starting to get an idea who each team will play. SI’s Albert Breer broke down the formula for the 17th game.
Re: 17-game slate, the inter-conference rotation for '21 ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 28, 2020
Full crossover: NFC East/AFC West, NFC North/AFC North, NFC South/AFC East, NFC West, AFC South.
1-game crossover (1 v. 1, 2 v. 2, etc.): NFC East/AFC East, NFC North/AFC West, NFC South/AFC South, NFC West/AFC North.
The NFL schedule is not released until April, but the formula for each team’s list of opponents allows us to figure out full opponents by the end of Week 17. Along with six divisional games, each NFL team faces all three teams in their own division, all four teams from a division in the opposing conference, all four team from another division in their own conference, and then the team in each of the remaining two same conference divisions based on order of finish.
The 17th game will add an inter-conference game to each team’s schedule. We can grab an example from the NFC West/AFC North crossover. The 49ers have clinched last place in the NFC West and the Bengals have clinched last place in the AFC North. That means they will face each other as their respective 17th game. It’s not entirely clear which team will host the matchup.
Below is a list of each matchup that will make up the 17th team on a given schedule. We’ll update this list as standings finalize. If they have TBD next to their name, their current position in the standings could change in Week 17.