The schedule for the 2021 NFL season is finally here. Three months after the 2020 season concluded in the Super Bowl, the next season’s matchups are set.
That time period saw the league implement a major change to the schedule, as the NFL added a game to the regular season and subtracted one from the preseason. Now the regular season is 18 weeks long with 17 games per team, with the 17th game being a cross-conference matchup played in AFC stadiums this fall.
The Green Bay Packers will get off to a challenging start, however. As was reported early Wednesday morning, the Packers will open up the season with a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. The Packers then return to Lambeau Field for the home opener in week two against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. Green Bay will face the Lions once again in the season finale, making it five out of the last six years that they have finished the season against Detroit — and four of those games have come at Ford Field. The two teams met every year from 2016 through 2019 before a one-year break in 2020, when the Packers played the Bears in week 17.
Of course, this year’s schedule is 18 weeks long thanks to the addition of a 17th regular-season game. That additional game added to the typical schedule rotation features the Packers and the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and will happen in week nine at Arrowhead Stadium. That game comes off a mini-bye, as the Packers play a Thursday night game in Arizona the week before.
The Packers’ full bye for 2021 comes in week 13, giving the team its latest bye since the NFL instituted bye weeks in 1990. The latest bye prior to this year was in 2019, when the Packers’ bye came in week 11.
All told, the Packers are scheduled to play five games in prime time, including all three of their home contests against divisional opponents. In addition to a Monday night game against the Lions and Thursday night in Arizona, the Packers are scheduled for three Sunday Night Football contests. The first of those games is on the road against the 49ers in week three; Green Bay is then scheduled to host the Chicago Bears in week 14 and the Minnesota Vikings in week 17 in the league’s top time slot. Both of these two later contests will be subject to the NFL’s flex scheduling, however.
One final note on the schedule: the Packers will get prominent billing on a Christmas Day game, playing on the holiday for the first time since 2011, when they beat the Bears on Christmas night. This year’s Christmas Day game has the Cleveland Browns coming to Lambeau Field for a mid-afternoon kickoff.
Here is the complete regular season schedule:
Packers’ 2021 Regular Season Schedule
|1||New Orleans Saints||Away||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||Sunday, Sep. 12||3:25 PM|
|2||Detroit Lions||Home||Lambeau Field||Monday, Sep. 20||7:15 PM|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||Away||Levi's Stadium||Sunday, Sep. 26||7:20 PM|
|4||Pittsburgh Steelers||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Oct. 3||3:25 PM|
|5||Cincinnati Bengals||Away||Paul Brown Stadium||Sunday, Oct. 10||12:00 PM|
|6||Chicago Bears||Away||Soldier Field||Sunday, Oct. 17||12:00 PM|
|7||Washington Football Team||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Oct. 24||12:00 PM|
|8||Arizona Cardinals||Away||State Farm Stadium||Thursday, Oct. 28||7:20 PM|
|9||Kansas City Chiefs||Away||Arrowhead Stadium||Sunday, Nov. 7||3:25 PM|
|10||Seattle Seahawks||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Nov. 14||3:25 PM|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||Away||U.S. Bank Stadium||Sunday, Nov. 21||12:00 PM|
|12||Los Angeles Rams||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Nov. 28||3:25 PM|
|14||Chicago Bears||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Dec. 12||7:20 PM|
|15||Baltimore Ravens||Away||M&T Bank Stadium||Sunday, Dec. 19||12:00 PM|
|16||Cleveland Browns||Home||Lambeau Field||Saturday, Dec. 25||3:30 PM|
|17||Minnesota Vikings||Home||Lambeau Field||Sunday, Jan. 2||7:20 PM|
|18||Detroit Lions||Away||Ford Field||Sunday, Jan. 9||12:00 PM|
In addition to the regular season, the Packers of course have three preseason games to play as well to get ready for September. That number is down from the traditional four, reduced as a consequence of the league moving to a 17-game regular season. Here are the details on the Packers’ preseason schedule: