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NFL owners officially approve 17-game season

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

In a virtual meeting Tuesday, NFL owners approved the motion we knew was coming once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was confirmed; The NFL is moving to a 17-game regular season.

The NFL also confirmed word that the NFC would play the AFC in these new games, with the AFC East squaring off against the NFC East team in the same position this year. The 7-9 Washington Football Team won the division like the Bills in 2020, so Buffalo will host Ron Rivera and Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2021. The AFC East will play one game against the NFC West in 2022, NFC South in 2023, and NFC North in 2024. This does not alter the previously scheduled four-game set against the complete divisions.

Other than that, the schedule will remain the same. Each team will get one bye week and start the weekend after Labor Day. This bumps back the end of the NFL season by one week.

These games are not just added inventory for league TV deals, they are meant to grow the game internationally. Starting in 2022, every team will play an international game at least once every eight years. The United Kingdom will remain a regular stakeholder, adding Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America.