The 2020 NFL schedule will be released no later than May 9, according to NFL executive Jeff Pash. The schedule is usually released in mid-April but has been delayed due to COVID-19.
As of now, the league plans to play its full preseason and regular season on time. We know each team’s home and away opponents, but not when the games will be played.
“On the season itself, our planning, our expectation is fully directed at playing a full season, starting on schedule and having a full regular season and a full set of playoffs, just as we did in 2019,” Pash said.
That said, Pash acknowledged that these plans could change as the situation unfolds.
“That’s our expectation,” he said. “Am I certain of that? I’m not certain I’ll be here tomorrow. But I’m planning on it, and in the same way, we’re planning on having a full season.”
Football has been the least affected of the major sports to date, as the free agency took place on time and the NFL Draft will still run as scheduled this week, albeit without fans. But we don’t know what the pandemic will look like in a few months – Dr. Anthony Fauci had warned that COVID-19 cases could spike in the fall even if the curve is flattened before then, though Fauci noted that the country would be much better prepared by then.
But assuming the league year runs as expected, let’s take a quick look at some regional teams’ 2020 opponents and their current projected win totals. We’ll also include their projected strength of schedule, but that’s simply based on 2019 records – so any offseason transactions aren’t taken into account.
NFL schedule: Kansas City Chiefs
Strength of schedule: T-18th
Home games: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, Texans
Away games: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Ravens, Bills, Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers
The reigning Super Bowl Champions have a fairly easy 2020 slate, though the road Buccaneers game should be tougher than 2019 records would suggest with Tom Brady in the fold (though the opposite applies to the home Patriots game). Kansas City at Baltimore is one to circle on the calendar – the Chiefs have the highest projected win total of any team at DraftKings, edging the Ravens by a half a win. Because Kansas City is coming off of a Super Bowl and its 2020 schedule doesn’t look too daunting, it’s easy to see why.
NFL schedule: Chicago Bears
Strength of schedule: T-13th
Home games: Packers, Vikings, Lions, Saints, Buccaneers, Texans, Colts, Giants
Away games: Packers, Vikings, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans, Rams
It remains to be seen who the Bears’ starting quarterback will be, but if it’s Nick Foles, he’ll have a chance to go up against the team that traded him in Jacksonville. The Bears lost to the Saints at home in embarrassing fashion in 2019 and have the third-highest projected win total in the NFC North (the Lions are last at 6.5).
NFL schedule: Minnesota Vikings
Strength of schedule: T-10th
Home games: Bears, Lions, Packers, Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans, Cowboys
Away games: Bears, Lions, Packers, Texans, Colts, Saints, Seahawks, Buccaneers
Three of the Vikings’ five non-divisional road opponents made the Playoffs in 2019, and the other two added future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Brady and Philip Rivers. Minnesota and Green Bay are the favorites to win the NFC North.
NFL schedule: Green Bay Packers
Strength of schedule: 15th
Home games: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans, Eagles
Away games: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Saints, Buccaneers, Texans, Colts, 49ers
The Packers’ win total may seem low, but they outperformed their metrics last season. They’ll visit the 49ers again in 2020; San Francisco outscored Green Bay 74-28 in two meetings last season (including the NFC Championship Game).