Extra Points
News and commentary from around the Web

2020 NFL Schedule Discussion

Tom Brady sign
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Here's your thread to discuss the 2020 NFL schedule, which is being unveiled today. Feel free to start by discussing the various rumors going around the Internet. Teams can announce their schedules starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the link below will take you to the whole thing at NFL.com.

There was a report by John Clayton that the NFL would put all the interconference games in Weeks 1-4 so that those weeks could be cancelled in case the season can't start on time without massively affecting competitive balance. Turns out that's not happening. This looks like a regular ol' NFL schedule, with all the games mixed in together all year long. Hopefully we can start the season on time and nothing has to be cancelled or postponed.

View Full Article

Comments

49 comments, Last at 21 May 2020, 10:38pm

1 Rinse & Repeat?

Thought I saw where SF was going to have to play in NO (again).  Helluva game last year but certainly not visitor friendly.  I know there is a "formula" for schedule creating but it strikes me as odd there would be repeat matchups year to year with the same home team.  

8 Without checking the detail,…

In reply to by Bill Walshs Ho…

Without checking the detail, it's likely that this is because although the matchup  is a repeat, the reason for it is different,and the reason influences the home team 

 

I remember back in the nineties the cowboys and packers meet in the regular season the years in a row, all of them in  Dallas

9 Yeah, this will make five of…

Yeah, this will make five of the last six 49ers-Saints matchups in New Orleans, all because of the six-year cycle they're currently using.

The NFC West and and NFC South play like this, from the 49ers' perspective:

Year 1: Play all the NFC South teams -- New Orleans and Tampa Bay on the road, Carolina and Atlanta at home
Year 2: Play the NFC South team that finished in your same spot, on the road
Year 3: Play the NFC South team that finished in your same spot, at home
Year 4: Play all the NFC South teams -- Carolina and Atlanta on the road, New Orleans and Tampa Bay at home
Year 5: Play the NFC South team that finished in your same spot, at home
Year 6: Play the NFC South team that finished in your same spot, on the road

2020 is a Year 2 -- the 49ers and Saints finished 1st in their division in 2019, and so they play in New Orleans
2019 was a Year 1, and so the 49ers played the Saints on the road
2016 was a Year 4, and so the 49ers played the Saints at home
2014 was a Year 2 -- the 49ers and Saints finished 2nd in their division in 2013, and so they played in New Orleans
2013 was a Year 1, and so the 49ers played the Saints on the road
2012 was a Year 6 -- the 49ers and Saints finished 1st in their division in 2011, and so they played in New Orleans.

It's just been a weird situation where the 49ers and Saints keep synching up their divisional standings in Years 2 and 6, and not in Years 3 and 5.  And now with the league going to a 17-game schedule, the whole system might get blown up!

11 Regular matchups always away

Yeah, I remember when the Saints had to go to Chicago 3 or 4 years in a row (it seemed), back before the Saints broke through to win the SB. Biggest complaints centered around the fact of having to go there later in the year, when the weather becomes a bigger factor.

13 Why would they blow it up?…

Why would they blow it up?

And now with the league going to a 17-game schedule, the whole system might get blown up!

Do we have any reason to believe they would blow up the current scheduling rotation? Isn’t it more likely that they would just add one more inter-conference game to the existing system?

15 You are right that it's much…

You are right that it's much easier to augment the current schedule formula rather than a completely new formula. I'd make it #1 AFC vs #1 NFC (i.e., a Super Bowl rematch), #2 AFC vs #2 NFC, etc. If the AFC/NFC game would naturally occur in the rotation, you could always swap two games so that #1 AFC vs #2 NFC and #1 NFC vs #2 AFC, etc. This would allow the NFL to make as many games as possible neutral site games, so that something like the #3 vs #3, #6 vs #6, #11 vs #11 and #14 vs #14 games are in London one year and a different combo the next (or designate four teams as one opponent each year for eight years so every team plays once every eight years). Along with London, Mexico, and Tokyo, this would also allow NFL games in US sites like SLC, Birmingham, and other US cities with no nearby team. A Seahawks/Broncos game in Boise or Cowboys/Titans in Little Rock could be great fun if you can find enough adequate facilities. 

36 Seems like either #1 AFC vs …

Seems like either #1 AFC vs #1 NFC or #1 AFC vs #2 NFC is likely to cause double-matchups for at least some teams down the line.

 

The easiest solution is just for first place in an AFC division to play first place in one of the NFC divisions that they weren't scheduled to play the full division.  That way no inter-conference matchups will be scheduled twice in the same season.  And, it still slightly increases the chances of getting a Super Bowl rematch the following year. 

39 The concept is 1 vs 1, 2 vs…

The concept is 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, etc with scheduling seeded by the thinking that determines the final draft order; if a #3 team in a division wins the Super Bowl they would be the #1 seed here just like they'd be the #32 draft position. It avoids fluke seeding where a 11-5 playoff team that was third in its division and won the SB might play a 4-12 team in a division like last year's AFC East. (I don't know if a team has finished third in its division and won the SB, but it is theoretically possible. And a 4-12 or 5-11 third place team is fairly common.) 

The reason you may need to swap some games to 1 vs 2, etc is for exactly the reason you mention. It will significantly increase the number of high-profile, interconference games plus a guaranteed Super Bowl rematch at a neutral site. 

There would be six games that would need to be changed with this format, the most prominent being Packers-Titans and Vikings-Texans, since those matches are already scheduled. You'd want to keep the Super Bowl rematch game, so it would be Packers-Ravens, Titans-Seahawks, Vikings- Pats, Texans-Saints. (Two games each of #2 vs #3 and #4 vs #5.) The full slate is below with some possible locations. 

  • Cincinnati vs Detroit (Cincy vs Washington already on schedule) - any free NFL stadium (Indy)
  • Miami vs Washington - any free NFL stadium (Atlanta)
  • LA Chargers vs NY Giants - Albuquerque/El Paso/OKC 
  • Jacksonville vs Carolina - London
  • Cleveland vs Arizona - any free NFL stadium (Dallas)
  • NY Jets vs Tampa Bay - London
  • Las Vegas vs Dallas (Vegas vs Atlanta already on schedule) - Mexico City
  • Indianapolis vs Atlanta (Indy vs Dallas already on schedule)- any free NFL stadium (Tennessee)
  • Denver vs Chicago - Omaha/Lincoln/St Louis
  • Pittsburgh vs LA Rams - Salt Lake City/Boise
  • Buffalo vs Philadelphia - London
  • New England vs Minnesota (Houston vs Minnesota already on schedule) - any free NFL stadium (Cleveland)
  • Houston vs New Orleans - any free NFL stadium (Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs Seattle (Tennessee vs Green Bay already on schedule) - any free NFL stadium (Denver)
  • Baltimore vs Green Bay - London
  • KC vs SF - any free NFL stadium (New Orleans) (possibly week 2!)

All these games would be played at neutral sites so you couldn't have the SB rematch at the winner's home unless it's built into the regular scheduling rotation. I tried to avoid any West Coast teams going to London and didn't schedule any Asian games though any game could be. This took more time than I planned, but it's not like I'm doing much else right now. 

46 Not following

That's the point--if the matchup that is "supposed" to take place by his formula is already scheduled, then the 8th place team is playing the 7th place team, or 9th place team, and vice-versa.

I am sure that there would be a year where it would be a hassle, but probably not too bad.

47 intra-conference, non-divisional opponents

In reply to by Bill Walshs Ho…

often have to play on the same field three years in a row.  

The reason is basically because it's on a three-year cycle, rotating among the three other divisions.  The math doesn't allow that to happen and home field to alternate on a 2-year schedule.  So it's a six-year schedule: home x3, followed by away x3.  

48 example

Let's consider NE's perspective.  Every third year they play each other division.  And they have to alternate home vs. away...but that only alternates every third year

as example (without bothering to see if it matches reality): home games in CAPS

Year 1

BAL, PIT, cle, cin

Year 2

IND, HOU, ten, jax

Year 3

DEN, LAC, rai, kc

Year 4

bal, pit, CLE, CIN

Year 5

ind, hou, ten, jax

Year 6

den, lac, RAI, KC

 

Now let's say the same teams win their divisions every year: NE, BAL, KC, and HOU

Each year they add the two winners not already on the rotation schedule, one at home and one on road

Let's say they adjust so they don't play BAL at home or on road twice in a row

Year 2 + bal, Year 3 +BAL Year 5 +BAL Year 6 +bal

this forces

Year 2 +KC Year 3 +hou  Year 5 +kc Year 6 +HOU

But what happens year 4?  They have to play both Houston and KC, but they Houston on the road the previous year and KC on the road the following year.  And they're not allowed to play both of them at home.

 

 

 

 

 

2 25 DEC Games

Anyone have a guess why so many games on Xmas Day are TBD for time?

6 The NBA practically owns…

The NBA practically owns Xmas Day, but these games are all the weekend before or after. There is a Xmas Day game, but it's the Thursday Night game played on Friday night to avoid Xmas Eve. It could be something to do with college bowl games so fans of [for example] the Packers and Wisconsin Badgers don't have conflicting games on TV. There's no conflict in Week 17 because all 16 games are played Sunday afternoon, January 3. No Saturday games or night games. But I'm as baffled as you. 

12 Week 16

In reply to by Bill Walshs Ho…

The NFL did the same thing for Week 16 last year - pre-selecting five games that could potentially be played either Saturday or Sunday, and then deciding midway through the season on the three that will be flexed to Saturday.

5 Good scheduling for the Packers

The Packers have a decent schedule as far as home/road goes. I'm not thrilled about Thursday game in SF, but I had figured there was a good chance they'd lose that game even if they had a Bye week before; I'll be happy if they keep it close. They have a somewhat early bye, but it follows a Monday night game at home and their only two week road stretch follows. Most of the schedule is home/away repeat with no nasty early hot weather sites. No Turkey Day game either. It's probably about the nicest schedule they could get considering their predetermined opponents. 

7 Bucs have 5 prime time games…

Bucs have 5 prime time games. I guess the NFL really wants everyone to continue hating Tom Brady with passion.

 

Broncos stuck with another week 1 Monday game. I absolutely hate it when they get stuck with Monday games, because that means I have to watch on my tablet instead of my TV. Yarrrr

24 Even the most cynical, Brady…

Even the most cynical, Brady-loathing NFL fan must be intrigued to see him playing in a different uniform, right? Some of the chosen matchups look a little naff, however. The Giants? Are we still plugging the Giants being 'Brady's nemesis' narrative, honestly? Raiders? Guess there's the Gruden connection, but hardly compelling anymore. 

10 NFC East

Gladly surprised to see the dearth of NFC East v NFC East primetime games this year

 

Only two by my count (excluding Thanksgiving). Still a lot of Dallas and Philly against other teams, but seems like the NFL may have finally learned...

25 Yes, the Giants have now…

In reply to by dmstorm22

Yes, the Giants have now sucked for long enough that the NFL can't pretend they are interesting in any way. And nobody cares about the Redskins any more, not even their fans. Dallas and Philly ought to be good teams, so no neutral objections to watching them play other teams. 

17 Apologies for being off topic

I always get mildly annoyed when I look at the schedule at the geographically bizarre alignment of some divisions.  Most notable being Dallas in the NFC east.  I'm guessing Jerruh likes keeping Dallas higher in the spotlight with two NYG games a year, however it boggles my mind that they aren't in the NFC South.  As for the matchup with the Squirrels?  Keep that as the Thanksgiving Day game with yearly alternating home sites.  Ravens to the AFC east, Dolphins to the South, and Colts to the North.  *I'll stand behind this bulletproof glass while I'm told I'm an idiot for breaking up rivalries.* 

19 Both east divisions have…

Both east divisions have weird teams, and Indy is weird in the south.  The rest of the league is pretty reasonable. 29/32 isn't bad (though I'd be a lot happier if the west divisions could limit to covering only 2 time zones).

20 As a Jets fan, I really don…

As a Jets fan, I really don't want the Dolphins leaving the AFC East.  Too much history with the other teams.  Also don't want the Ravens in the AFC East because (Lamar) and the Jets never beat them.  Ever.

38 New rivalries will pop up. …

New rivalries will pop up.  The Colts had a good rivalry with the other AFC East teams, but after a year or two of being slightly weird, I don't think their leaving the division had any real affect.  If the Dolphins were to leave, new rivalries with be created.  I'm OK with it.  They're an expansion team anyway.

It's better now than it was in the 70s-90s, when Atlanta and New Orleans were in the west with Dallas and St. Louis in the East.  And I almost forgot about Tampa Bay in the North.

Actually, although it would hurt the Patriots in the present, there would be some pleasant circle-of-life affirmation to see the Baltimore franchise put in the AFC East again.

27 My ideal divisions

AFC Northeast: Giants, Jets, Patriots, Bills

AFC Lakes: Colts, Bengals, Browns, Steelers

AFC South: Bucs, Dolphins, Jags, Falcons

AFC Mountains: Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Cardinals

NFC Mid-Atlantic: Washington, Ravens, Panthers, Eagles

NFC North: Packers, Lions, Bears, Vikings

NFC South: Texans, Cowboys, Titans, Saints

NFC Pacific: Seahawks, Niners, Rams, Chargers

I've been thinking about this for a while for no good reason.  A few random thoughts:

1.) The Bills are a tough team to place.  Ideally, I'd put them in the Lakes division but that causes a whole weird ripple effect where ever more teams end up oddly placed.

2.) The Raiders leaving Cali prevent us from simply having a California division but allows the Seahawks to nicely slot into the Pacific.

3.) The Chiefs are probably the hardest team to place, in part because Missouri just doesn't feel strongly connected to a particular region in my eyes.  Plus the most obvious landing spots are already full.

37 Eh, only because of the…

Eh, only because of the current contracts that are based on the (somewhat) arbitrary NFC/AFC conferences.

 

The tradition of conference matchups in Super Bowls is nice, but I think the playoffs would overall be better if conferences were eliminated, and instead just the 8 division winners and then the wildcards were from the 4 (or now 6) remaining teams with the best records who didn't make the playoffs.  That would reduce the chance of 10+ win teams missing the playoffs.

44 Nice but...

You need a different name for the “Lakes Division”; the NFC North teams are actually closer to the Great Lakes, than your proposed teams.

29 The Cowboys in the East goes…

The Cowboys in the East goes back to the big rivalry between Washington and Dallas goes back to George Allen and Tom Landry and got more heated during the Gibbs era. The old five team division also had the Cards who lost any right to negotiate being moved out of the division when the league agreed to their move from St Louis to Arizona. 

42 Letting the other NFC East…

Letting the other NFC East clubs retain the divisional rivalry with America's Team, was a key concession for getting them to agree to the realignment plan.  Dalla$ sells tickets and pushes ratings; whether or not that's true today, it was definitely the perception ~20 years ago.

Maybe something similar with Kansas City & the Raiders.

49 Indiana from I-70 southwards…

Indiana from I-70 southwards has always had more in common with Kentucky and arguably even Tennessee than the northern tier of the midwest, and is a very short plane ride to the Titans.

Yes, Cincy is very slightly south of it, but it has traditional rivalries with Paul Brown's other team and such.

The Colts' "southernness" is magnified by Peyton Manning, and the Houston rivalry is a bit magnified by the Luck family.