The NFL on Wednesday evening will unveil its 2021 regular-season schedule for all 32 teams, but the league has provided a sneak peek by announcing the slate for the opening week’s matchups.
The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off the season and hoist their banners at 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 9, while hosting the Dallas Cowboys on NBC. That game is expected to represent Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott’s return from the gruesome ankle injury that ended his 2020 season on Oct. 11.
The “Sunday Night Football” game will feature the Chicago Bears visiting the Los Angeles Rams. And the Las Vegas Raiders will host the Baltimore Ravens on “Monday Night Football” to cap off the Week 1 slate.
GRUDGE MATCHES:13 of the best revenge games in 2021
NFL broadcast partner CBS released the following rundown of Week 1 games: Pittsburgh Steeles at Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets at Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans, the Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team, Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
FOX announced the Philadelphia Eagles will play at the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos at New York Giants.
Games of note:
- That matchup between the Jets and Panthers will represent a revenge game for quarterback Sam Darnold, whom New York traded to Carolina to clear the way for the drafting of Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall.
- Top overall pick Trevor Lawrence will make his NFL debut on the road at Houston, which has a muddled quarterback situation given Deshaun Watson’s dissatisfaction with the franchise and ongoing legal battle with 22 women alleging sexual misconduct.
- The Saints kick off a new era with Drew Brees now retired. Will Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill be their starting quarterback? And will their opponent, Green Bay, have Aaron Rodgers under center?
- The “Sunday Night Football” contest marks the debut of Matthew Stafford as the Rams’ quarterback, while former Rams starter Jared Goff makes his Lions debut against San Francisco.