The NFL has played a 16-game regular season schedule since 1978. As part of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association ratified in the spring of 2000, the league will now add a 17th regular season game for each team beginning in the 2021 season.
This is a concept that the league office has proposed several times in recent years, but had been voted down by the Players Association each time. It’s the first time in 43 years that the regular season format has been changed, not counting the addition of bye weeks. The previous format was 14 regular season contests for each squad, from 1961 to 1977.
Every team will still have a bye week, meaning that the regular season will comprise 18 weeks in total. An official announcement from the league has not yet been made, but it is expected that the preseason will be reduced from four games to three. Several NFL players have strongly spoken out against the additional regular season game, including Pro Bowl RB Alvin Kamara of the Saints.
Official word is likely to come this week on the specific inter-conference match ups, but the NFL has determined the contests with a formula based on several factors. It is expected that the New Orleans Saints will travel to face the Tennessee Titans of the AFC South for their additional game in 2021.
New Orleans last faced the Titans during the 2019 season, a 38-28 Saints victory in Tennessee. The Saints have a 2-4 all-time record against the Titans, but a 2-1 record in Tennessee. They are 8-6-1 against them all-time, counting the years the Titans were the Houston Oilers.
The other AFC opponents for the Saints in 2021 will be the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and New York Jets from the AFC East.
Stay tuned to the Saints News Network for more information on this story as it becomes available, and all New Orleans Saints news.