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Why is there a Week 18 in the NFL this year? Full schedule for an extra week of football in 2021


The 2021-22 NFL season is the inaugural year for the 18 week/17 game season. 

This season marked the first season where the number of games was changed since 1978. In 1978, the NFL moved from 14 games per season to 16. Now, it looks like the 17-game season is here to stay for the next few years at least.

With all this said, this weekend’s Week 17 matchups will not mark the end of the NFL season. Week 18 games will be played on Saturday, Jan. 8 and Sunday, Jan. 9 to finish out the 2021-22 season.

MORE: NFL expanded schedule, explained

Here’s what you need to know about Week 18 in the NFL this year.

Why is there a Week 18 in the NFL this year?

Back in March, the NFL owners agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that had been signed the previous year. With this new agreement, the NFL season turned into 17 games instead of 16. This deal runs through the 2030 season for now.

The preseason was changed from four games to three games this season, and teams still only get one bye week per season. 

However, a lot of the symmetry established in the previous NFL schedule disappeared this season. For instance, half of the league had the advantage of having nine home games, while the other half of the league had nine road games. Also, each team’s 17th game was determined by the divisional rankings the year before. So, the teams that ranked first last year played each other this season.

MORE: How many teams make the NFL playoffs?

When is Super Bowl 2022?

The Super Bowl is normally held on the first Sunday of February. However, the added game this season was tacked onto the end of the season instead of the beginning, so the Super Bowl got pushed back a week.

Originally the Super Bowl was scheduled for Feb. 6, 2022, but now it will take place on Feb. 13, 2022.

MORE: Updated 2022 NFL Draft order

Week 18 NFL schedule

The Week 18 games will mostly take place on Sunday, Jan. 9, with two games on Saturday. There will be no “Thursday Night Football” or “Monday Night Football.”

Saturday, Jan. 8

Game Time (ET) TV Channel
Chiefs @ Broncos 4:15 p.m. ESPN
Cowboys @ Eagles 8:15 p.m. ESPN

Sunday, Jan. 9

Game Time (ET) TV Channel
Packers @ Lions 1:00 p.m. Fox
Colts @ Jaguars 1:00 p.m. CBS
WFT @ Giants 1:00 p.m. Fox
Bears @ Vikings 1:00 p.m. Fox
Panthers @ Buccaneers 1:00 p.m. Fox
Patriots @ Dolphins 1:00 p.m. CBS
Saints @ Falcons 1:00 p.m. Fox
Titans @ Texans 1:00 p.m. CBS
Steelers @ Ravens 1:00 p.m. CBS
Bengals @ Browns 1:00 p.m. CBS
Jets @ Bills 4:25 p.m. Fox
49ers @ Rams 4:25 p.m. Fox
Seahawks @ Cardinals 4:25 p.m. Fox
Chargers @ Raiders 8:20 p.m. NBC

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