The champion Kansas City Chiefs will kick-off the new NFL season against the Houston Texans, but as they released a full schedule the NFL admitted that they were prepared to make adjustments.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL has released a full schedule with a usual kick-off date of September 10, but that may yet change as they adjust to a new way of life.
There are the usual 17 weeks of games with each team having the usual one bye week, with the only change being that the four games set for London and one in Mexico have been switched back to the USA.
While the league has said that they are making contingency plans, NFL executive vice-president of football operations Troy Vincent said there is no alternative schedule as yet drawn up to deal with Covid-19 complications.
"This is the schedule," Vincent said. "We're excited about this schedule. We do our proper contingency planning but no, there is no other schedule."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has reportedly ordered teams not to speculate on the Covid-19 situation, insists that the league are ready to make adjustments to the schedule if needed.
"The release of the NFL schedule is something our fans eagerly anticipate every year, as they look forward with hope and optimism to the season ahead,” said Goodell in a statement.
"In preparing to play the season as scheduled, we will continue to make our decisions based on the latest medical and public health advice, in compliance with government regulations, and with appropriate safety protocols to protect the health of our fans, players, club and league personnel, and our communities.
"We will be prepared to make adjustments as necessary, as we have during this off-season in safely and efficiently conducting key activities as as free agency, the virtual off-season program, and the 2020 NFL Draft."
Contingency plans include starting a month later on October 15, getting rid of bye weeks and the Pro Bowl and pushing back the Super Bowl, currently scheduled for February 7.
As it stands though, Week One of the new season will start on September 10 with the Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.
The game is a repeat of their epic play-off game in January when Kansas City came back from 24-0 down to produce a stunning 51-31 comeback victory.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Texans QB Deshaun Watson could be going at it for a few years to come as two of the best young triggermen in the league.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the first week will see the first ever meeting of two 40-year-old quarterbacks as Tom Brady’s first game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sees him go up against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
All eyes will be on Brady as he plays his first season away from the New England Patriots, and it could not have been a better fixture then to go up against another future Hall of Famer in Brees.
No.1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow will start for the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening weekend, and he’ll be facing fellow first-rounder in Justin Herbert – who was taken with the sixth pick by the LA Chargers.
The opening of the glorious new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is also scheduled for the opening weekend – and national TV attention as the Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in the Sunday Night Football game.
Whether fans are allowed in the stadium remains to be seen.
The traditional Monday Night Football double-header to start the season is also included, with Pittsburgh at the New York Giants and Tennessee at Denver.
Thursday September 10
Sunday September 12
Monday September 13
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