It’s looking more and more like the NFL will be moving to a 17-game season in 2021. Home and away opponents for the 2021 season for 16 of those games were decided at the close of the regular season. But who would be that 17th game? Reports are it would be against the NFC North.
Re: 17-game slate, the inter-conference rotation for ’21 …
Full crossover: NFC East/AFC West, NFC North/AFC North, NFC South/AFC East, NFC West, AFC South.
1-game crossover (1 v. 1, 2 v. 2, etc.): NFC East/AFC East, NFC North/AFC West, NFC South/AFC South, NFC West/AFC North.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 28, 2020
As is the case for the single-game crossovers, it pits the teams that finished with the same position in their respective division. That would have the Raiders facing the Bears. This means facing their former No. 4 overall pick Khalil Mack.
Mack had been named to three Pro Bowls and two All-Pros in four seasons with the Raiders when they traded him to Chicago. They got two first-round picks in the deal, but thus far Mack has outplayed the compensation, still averaging double-digit sacks per season and being named All-Pro a third time and maintaining his streak of six straight Pro Bowls.
This would be the second time the Raiders face the Bears since the Mack trade. The two teams faced off in London in 2019 with the Raiders winning that game.
What we don’t yet know is both when the game will be played and which team will be the home team. There has even been talk of playing at a neutral site, so as to ensure teams can’t cry foul for getting shorted a home game.
The assumption is also that with an extended regular season, the preseason would be cut to two or three games.