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American Football is Back: Everything You Need to Know About a New NFL Season

This year, the NFL will celebrate the start of its 102nd season

Can you hear that joyful noise? It’s the sound of NFL fans everywhere cheering in anticipation for the final return of American Football. Since February, supporters across the league have patiently waited for the month of September and that coveted kickoff day. This year is especially unique in terms of schedule, and so with a new set of games right around the corner, we thought it would be useful to outline the most important dates and things to know about the 2021-2022 NFL season.

Regular Season, Playoff Schedule, and Super Bowl

For the first time in the league’s 102-year history, the NFL will have 17 total games in the regular season schedule, a one game extension from its standard 16 face-offs. The long-awaited kickoff game will get underway on Thursday, September 9th with the Dallas Cowboys taking on defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at their home stage, Raymond James Stadium. Although this will be the first competition of the 2021 season, Week 1 will not officially begin until Sunday, September 12th with a full set of matches set to take place across the league.

From here, franchises in the NFC and AFC will compete in regular season games each week all the way up to the first round of the playoffs, or the Wild Card Round which will begin the second week of January. Next up is the Divisional Round set to start on January 22nd. At this point, the final four teams from each conference will face off in their most crucial game yet—the Conference Championships, or the match that will determine who will make it to Super Bowl LVI. Whoever these two franchises are, they will meet on February 13th at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Currently, the Kansas City Chiefs are positioned as top favorites to secure victory in Super Bowl 2022 according to NFL betting odds by expert pundits. However, Tom Brady and the Bucs will surely put up a challenge to Patrick Mahomes and co as the Chiefs set out to go one better than last season’s devastating 31-9 Championship loss to the Bucs.

2021 NFL Draft

In addition to the regular games and postseason, there are a few important events which take place before and during the season. The NFL Draft is one of these which will begin on Thursday, April 28th and end on Saturday, April 30th. Recruiters have already begun the process of narrowing down eligible rookies, reviewing different prospect’s profiles to determine which players have the most potential to beef up their rosters. The venue for this event is Paradise, Nevada.

NFL Pro Bowl

Speaking of Nevada, the Silver State will also host the annual NFL Pro Bowl in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium. This game, which brings the best players in the league together on one green stage, will take place just a few days before the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 6th. Voting for the Pro Bowl roster is done by taking a combination of both fan and coach votes and will begin on November 17th, with final selections being announced in December.

Which players will have their hands on the ball the most in the ’21-’22 season?

Players to Look Out For

For fans, one of the best parts of a new NFL season is the ability to see which players will rise to the top after a long summer break. Will it be the same set of athletes that dominated last year, or will new contenders make a name for themselves in the big leagues this season? Veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of these players who, while not a rookie, will play for a new franchise under the leadership of Rams head coach, Sean McVay. All eyes are on the heavily decorated QB as he transitions into being one of the most important members of a brand-new team.

Additionally, some new stars that are poised to make a significant leap this season include Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns, Packers running back A.J. Dillon, Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins, and Pats cornerback J.C. Jackson.

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