What to Know Ahead of the 2021 NFL Season

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Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Patrick Smith/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

The 2021 NFL season is on the horizon, the draft is complete and teams are preparing for a mixed offseason of virtual meetings and in-person practices, so what is there to know for the coming year?

What is There to Know About the 2021 NFL Season?

Well, the main change from last year is the addition of a 17th regular season games for the first time meaning that there won’t be any 8-8 teams this year. It’s the first change in schedule since 1978. It means a reduction in pre-season games which players and fans have been calling for, and an increase in revenue for the teams.

In betting terms it makes things a little more complicated when predicting their records, the additional games are against a team from the opposite conference who finished in the corresponding position and for this inaugural year the AFC teams are hosting their NFC rivals, so the Bills won the AFC East, are matched up against the Washington football team who won the NFC East.

The toughest additional game, in my opinion is the 4th placed Bengals hosting the 49ers who had their season ruined by injury last year. With players returning to health there’s a decent chance the 49ers make a run for their division while the Bengals are still a way off that opportunity in the AFC North and the NFL Odds reflect that with the 49ers around even money to take the NFC West while Cincinnati are rank outsiders for their division at +2000 or higher.

What Important Dates are There for This Coming Year?

Preseason work is going to be mixed between virtual and in-person training sessions with some teams opting out of in-person sessions for the time being with the pandemic still causing issues around the world.

The opening game of this season will be on Thursday the 9th September with the Buccaneers as Superbowl champions hosting someone. With the leagues love of the Dallas Cowboys, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them selected as the opponents for the opener.

The regular season will run a week longer with the addition of that 17th game, with it scheduled to end on January 9th.

As happened this year there will be 7 playoff teams from each conference with only the #1 seed getting the bye week.

The Super Bowl is scheduled to take place at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February the 13th.

Who Are the Favorites This Season?

The Best online sportsbooks have the two teams who competed in the 2020 Superbowl installed as favorites to make it back to the final, with the Kansas City Chiefs slightly shorter odds than the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers are returning all of their offensive starters from the championship roster and don’t seem to be losing any stars from the defensive side of the ball either so it’s easy to make a case for them repeating their achievements this year.

The Chiefs will be looking to add depth to their offensive line after injuries ended their game before it even got going, but they’re always going to be high in the betting with Patrick Mahomes under center.

So there you have it, the important dates for the coming season for us all to look forward to, just the 4 months until opening day!