The NFL released its schedule for the 2020 season Thursday night, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it remains unclear if fans will actually get 17 weeks of football.
The league hasn’t yet postponed the start of the season, which is scheduled to kickoff with the Houston Texans facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, Sept. 10. As of now, there will be 256 games, an expanded postseason, and two teams will face off in Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 7, 2021.
Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations with the NFL, said there is no unreleased schedule that accounts for a shortened season or delayed start.
“This is the schedule,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said on NFL Network. “We’re excited about this schedule. We do our proper contingency planning but no, there is no other schedule.”
The Eagles are scheduled to play four primetime games — three at home — including a Week 8 match-up against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 11. But that could obviously change if states continue to have restrictions on large gatherings in place in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed teams to keep quiet about the possible impact of COVID-19 on this year’s schedule.
“It is impossible to project what the next few months will bring,” Goodell said in a statement to teams obtained by NBC Sports. “Uninformed commentary that speculates on how individual clubs or the league will address a range of hypothetical contingencies serves no constructive purpose and instead confuses our fans and business partners, complicates the operations of other clubs, and distracts from the careful planning that is needed right now.”
One thing we knew coming in is there won’t be any NFL games outside the United States, as the league already canceled its five international games — four in London, one in Mexico City. And for the first time, Amazon will exclusively stream a Saturday game during the second half of the season.
Outside of that, Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand reported that among the coronavirus contingencies the NFL is considering is pushing back the Super Bowl three weeks, nixing the Pro Bowl, and playing games on Saturday if the college football season is canceled.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream coverage of the 2020 NFL schedule release:
Highlights of the 2020 NFL schedule
In addition to the Eagles opening the season against the Redskins, here are some things that stand out about the NFL’s 2020 schedule:
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the season against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in what will likely be Fox’s Week 1 Sunday afternoon game. Just a reminder — former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins re-signed with the Saints during the offseason.
Brady’s Buccaneers are scheduled for five primetime games — four in a five-week stretch — so everyone will get their fill of the Brady and Gronk show.
Former Temple coach Matt Rhule will make NFL debut at home when the Carolina Panthers take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m.
The Saints will play on Christmas Day in the Superdome against the Minnesota Vikings at 4:30 p.m. It’s the first NFL game scheduled on a Friday since 2009, and just the 10th since the 1970 merger.
This year’s Thanksgiving Day triple-header will feature the Texans at the Detroit Lions, followed by Washington Redskins at the Dallas Cowboys, and capped off with the Baltimore Ravens at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Las Vegas Raiders will make their new home debut in Week 2 against the Saints on Monday Night Football.
The Tennessee Titans will not play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football this season. Welcome news, indeed.