As negotiated as part of the new CBA ratified last March, the NFL plans to push forward with a 17th game added to the regular season schedule in 2021.
Assuming the plan is finalized as expected in voting next week, the Seahawks will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in a battle between two first place teams from a year ago. The rest of the NFC West will face an AFC North opponent on the road in cross-conference play, with the Rams visiting the Ravens, the 49ers visiting the Bengals, and the Cardinals visiting the Browns.
To keep things fair, all NFC teams will play nine road games in 2021, while AFC teams will host nine games. This will flip annually to ensure as much balance as possible with schedules in each conference for playoff seeding.
Seattle last played in the "Steel City" in Week 2 of the 2019 season, escaping with a 28-26 victory at Heinz Field. Russell Wilson completed 29 out of 35 passes for 300 yards and threw three touchdowns, including two to tight end Will Dissly, while Rashaad Penny chipped in with a 37-yard touchdown run.
Barring a Super Bowl matchup, this will likely mark the last time Wilson will square off against long-time Steelers starter Ben Roethlisberger, who recently took a pay cut to continue playing in 2021. The two have previously faced off twice, with the Seahawks holding on for close wins on both occasions.
The two teams may not look all that different from their last matchup overall, with Pittsburgh's most notable loss being the departure of pass rusher Bud Dupree. Seattle will have a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron along with safety Jamal Adams and defensive end Carlos Dunlap on defense.
Aside from playing the Steelers, the Seahawks' 2021 schedule will consist of home/away matchups against their NFC West rivals, matchups against all four AFC South teams, matchups against all four NFC North teams, and out of division contests against the Saints and Washington Football Team.
While an official date for the NFL schedule has yet to be revealed, Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported earlier this month that the league will likely unveil it in mid-May after the 2021 NFL Draft concludes.
Under terms of the new CBA, with a 17th regular season game set to be implemented, the preseason is expected to be trimmed down to three games moving forward. After receiving a test run last January, the playoffs will remain expanded in format with 14 teams, six wild card weekend games, and only two first-round byes.