The Cleveland Browns are set to host the Arizona Cardinals in 2021 as part of the NFL’s expansion to a 17-game regular season.
The 17th game features teams from opposing conferences that finished in the same place within their division the previous season.
With the expansion to 17 regular-season games, the number of preseason games gets reduced from four to three.
League owners voted Tuesday to make the first adjustment to the NFL’s regular-season schedule since 1978, when it expanded from 14 to 16 games.
“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs through 2031, which means the NFL cannot expand beyond 17 regular-season games until then.
Every NFL team is set to play 17 regular-season games with one bye week.
Teams will host 10 games overall: Either nine regular-season games and one preseason game, or eight regular-season games and two preseason games.
The league determined the AFC would be the home conference for the 17th game in 2021.
In 2021, the AFC North is set to play teams in the NFC West.
The league has not determined which NFC division the AFC North will be paired with during the 2022 regular season.
🗓 The @AZCardinals are officially coming to FirstEnergy Stadium this season.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 30, 2021
The extra game can land anywhere on the schedule and is not necessarily in Week 17.
When the Browns play the Cardinals, they will likely go up against three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
The Browns tried to sign Watt in free agency.
However, Watt chose to sign a two-year deal with the Cardinals instead.
The Browns beat the Cardinals 38-24 on Dec. 15, 2019, which marked the last time the two teams played.
While the Browns’ 2021 opponents are set, the league is set to announce the schedule this spring on the NFL Network and NFL.com.
Home opponents: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers
Away opponents: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers
The NFL regular season kicks off Sept. 9 and the regular season is set to end Jan. 9, 2022.
The 2022 Pro Bowl is set for Feb. 6 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Super Bowl LVI is set for Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Starting in 2022, all 32 teams will play at least one international game every eight years.
The league will schedule up to four neutral-site games per year in a country outside of the U.S.
Initially, the league will focus on international games in Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom.
17th game matchups
NFC East vs. AFC East
- Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
- New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
- Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
- Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets
NFC West vs. AFC North
- Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
- Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
- San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals
NFC South vs. AFC South
- New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
- Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
- Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars
NFC North vs. AFC West
- Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
- Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
- Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
- Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos