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Browns will reportedly face Cardinals in added 17th game for 2021 season

Diving into the formula that led to the reported scheduling choice.

Cleveland Browns v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We pretty much knew this was coming for the 2021 season, and this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter doubled down that it looks like the NFL will officially expand the regular season schedule to 17 games this week. There will not be an extra bye week added, although it is expected that one preseason game will be removed.

Exactly who the Browns will be facing has not been announced by the league yet, but Field Yates of ESPN provided the proposed additions to the season, based on a formula relayed by Peter King.

The graphic shows the Cleveland Browns hosting the Arizona Cardinals. If we follow King’s formula, here’s how that was determined:

  • Which NFC division did the Browns face two years ago (the 2019 season)? This was the NFC West.
  • What place did the Browns finish in 2020 in the AFC North? 3rd.
  • Who from the NFC West finished 3rd in 2020 in the AFC North? The Cardinals.

Who gets the home game? I haven’t read this anywhere, but looking at the schedule, all of the home teams are from the AFC. So, my assumption is that AFC teams get an extra home game in 2021, and NFC teams will get an extra home game in 2022.

All of this is subject to change, pending official announcements from the NFL.