By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — As expected, NFL owners on Tuesday approved a new 17-game plan for the 2021 season, while reducing the preseason from four games to three.

For the Chicago Bears, the extended schedule will mean a faceoff against the Las Vegas Raiders on the road for their 17th game.

READ MORE: Live Updates From CBS News: 1 Dead, 1 Wounded In Shooting At Tennessee High School

The 2021 league schedule has yet to be announced, but the Bears know their opponents will include home and road games against their NFC Central rivals, the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings; home games against the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and New York Giants; and road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Las Vegas Raiders.

It’s the first time the NFL has expanded the regular seasons schedule since 1978, when the number of games each team played increased from 14 to 16.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”

The Super Bowl now will move back a week to Feb. 13, which places it directly in the middle of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Coincidentally, NBC has the broadcast rights to both.

Each extra NFL game will be an interconference matchup based on where teams finished in the previous season. AFC teams will be hosting the 17th game in 2021. Beyond next season, the league plans for some of the extra games to be at international sites.

This year, the AFC East will host the NFC East in Week 17, with Washington at Buffalo, the New York Giants at Miami, Dallas at New England and Philadelphia at the New York Jets.

The NFC West teams will visit AFC North clubs, with Seattle at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Arizona at Cleveland and San Francisco at Cincinnati.

READ MORE: Cook County To Release 35,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Tuesday Afternoon

NFC South members go to the AFC South, so New Orleans will be at Tennessee, Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay at Indianapolis, Carolina at Houston and Atlanta at Jacksonville.

For NFC North clubs, Green Bay goes to Kansas City for a juicy matchup of Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, while Chicago is at Las Vegas, Minnesota at the Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit at Denver.

The full schedule will be released in May, but the Buccaneers will kick off the season on Thursday, Sept. 9. The regular season will end Jan. 9.

The Super Bowl will be played in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium..

“We have been in constant communication with our partners about this change, and we’re excited for the unprecedented opportunity of presenting the American audience with the two biggest events in media simultaneously,” NBC said in a statement. “We will promote the Super Bowl during the first week of the Winter Olympics, and we’ll promote the second week of the Winter Olympics during the Super Bowl. It’s a win for us, our partners, advertisers, and certainly viewers.”

Last season, the league added two playoff teams to increase the number of postseason games to pandemic-stressed season.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

MORE NEWS: Four People Arrested After Car Stolen In Pullman Carjacking Spotted In Chatham

 

CBS 2 Chicago Staff