GREEN BAY – It's official, the NFL will have a 17-game regular-season schedule beginning in 2021, and for the Packers that means a road trip to face the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL owners approved the additional regular-season game at their virtual meeting on Tuesday, the first change to the schedule structure since 1978.
A 17th regular-season game will coincide with a reduction of the preseason to three games. The players' union agreed to the change in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, and the owners have now decided to implement it.
The extra game will be an interconference (AFC vs. NFC) matchup for each team, with the AFC clubs hosting all of the 17th games in 2021. The conferences will alternate hosting the extra game, and teams that host a ninth regular-season game would host only one of three preseason games.
Divisions from the different conferences will be paired up on a rotating basis, with teams facing the team that finished in the same place in the division standings the prior year.
With the NFC North paired with the AFC West for 2021, that Packers will travel to face the defending AFC champion Chiefs at a day and time to be determined. The full 2021 schedule will not be released until May.
The trip to Kansas City will be added to a road slate for the Packers that already features visits to Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans and San Francisco, as well as Green Bay's three NFC North rivals.
The Packers' 2021 home games will be against Cleveland, the L.A. Rams, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington, plus the NFC North foes.
The other 17th games involving NFC North teams are as follows: Bears at Raiders, Vikings at Chargers, and Lions at Broncos.
The 17-game schedule, which will begin the week after Labor Day like usual, will include a bye week for each team. The 18-week time frame will push back the start of the playoffs, and therefore the date of the Super Bowl, by one week from the customary spots on the calendar. Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles will be played on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022.
As part of the scheduling change, the league also announced that beginning in 2022, all 32 teams will play internationally at least once every eight years. The league will schedule up to four neutral-site games per year outside the United States, focusing initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom as international locations.
The Packers have yet to play an international game. The new arrangement guarantees Green Bay will play its first international game sometime this decade.
17th game matchups, 2021
NFC East at AFC East
Washington at Buffalo
N.Y. Giants at Miami
Dallas at New England
Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets
NFC West at AFC North
Seattle at Pittsburgh
L.A. Rams at Baltimore
Arizona at Cleveland
San Francisco at Cincinnati
NFC South at AFC South
New Orleans at Tennessee
Tampa Bay at Indianapolis
Carolina at Houston
Atlanta at Jacksonville
NFC North at AFC West
Green Bay at Kansas City
Chicago at Las Vegas
Minnesota at L.A. Chargers
Detroit at Denver