The 2021 NFL season promises to be something different. Although it is expected that this year there will be preseason games, the league has planned some changes in the schedule that could affect some teams more than others. And the most significant has to do with the regular season.
According to sources, the NFL plans to make the expansion of the regular season to 17 games official this week. Besides, it is also estimated that the preseason calendar will be reduced to three games. It is worth mentioning that this is the first expansion of the regular season since 1978, the year in which the calendar was expanded from 14 to 16 games.
NFL is expected to expand the regular season schedule this week to 17 games. The league had played a 16-game regular season schedule since 1978, by far the longest stretch without a change in NFL history.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 28, 2021
Besides, and according to multiple reports since the end of the 2020 regular season, we can have a clear idea of what will be the extra game of each team on the schedule. In the absence of official confirmation, they will be inter-conference games where AFC teams will play at home against the NFC.
In this way, the formula to use would be the following:
- NFC North visits AFC West.
- NFC Sur visited AFC Sur.
- NFC East visits AFC East.
- NFC West visits AFC North.
Following this formula, the crosses would be according to the position of each team in the past regular season: first against first, second against second, and so on.
In the case of the Cowboys, third in the NFC East in 2020, their additional game next season will be on the road against the New England Patriots, third in the AFC East. In the case of the divisional rivals of Dallas, the crosses would be these: Washington against Buffalo, the New York Giants against Miami, and Philadelphia against the New York Jets.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 28, 2021
How will having an additional game affect the Cowboys?
Of course, this expansion of the regular season could affect the teams, this despite the reduction of the preseason to three games. The main concern would be a possible increase in injuries, even more so after what was seen last season. However, this year if there are training camps and preseason it could reduce that possibility.
In the specific case of the Cowboys, the main concern in the expansion of the regular season is the physical condition of Dak Prescott after the ankle fracture he suffered in 2020. While the quarterback’s recovery is on the right track, a greater burden of matches could affect you physically. And even more so since this is the first serious injury he suffers in his professional career.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 11, 2021
Another additional concern is the rival on duty. It’s true that the Patriots are still rebuilding after Tom Brady’s departure in 2020. However, with Bill Belichick still in charge, New England remains a careful opponent. And even more so if the meeting will be at Gillette Stadium, where the weather conditions can play against Dallas.
Besides, let’s remember that the Cowboys themselves will have a schedule with complicated rivals, starting with the finalists of the last Super Bowl: Tampa Bay and Kansas City. On the other hand, they will meet the New Orleans Saints in their first post-Drew Brees campaign, also adding other teams that are strengthening very well for this year, such as Arizona and the Los Angeles Chargers.
???? 2021 Cowboys Opponents are set ????
What will their record be? pic.twitter.com/n55Ijsls7n
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) January 4, 2021
Of course, everything is relative. NFL teams already know what it’s like to adapt to tough schedules and other unforeseen situations, and we saw that last season. The Cowboys are no exception, and therefore these changes should not have a major influence on their performance next season. This, of course, as long as no serious injuries to key players occur.