When does the NFL season start in 2021? Complete Week 1 schedule, matchups

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(Getty Images)

The NFL has released the 2021 schedule, and the season will open on Thursday, Sept. 9. 

There is no doubt the Thursday night opener will be a ratings grab, as the Dallas Cowboys face the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

There are other Week 1 highlights, too. The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs face the Cleveland Browns in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional round thriller. Green Bay opens at New Orleans in Fox's “America’s Game of the Week,” and the big question is whether Aaron Rodgers will be playing for the Packers in that opener.

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

Here is a look at the Week 1 schedule

When does the NFL season start in 2021? 

  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 9
  • Matchup: Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Time: 8:20 ET
  • TV: NBC

The Buccaneers will open their Super Bowl defense with Tom Brady against the Cowboys, which sets the stage for the return of quarterback Dak Prescott. 

NFL schedule Week 1

The Sunday schedule features nine games in the 1 p.m. window and four in the late afternoon slot. The Sunday Night Football game features a matchup between the Bears and Rams. The Monday Night Football matchup is between the Ravens and Raiders. The NFL is giving the Rams and Raiders true stadium openers at SoFi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium knowing that fans were not in attendance last season. 

The NFL also moved away from the Monday Night Football doubleheader. 

Here is a look at the full Week 1 schedule

Thursday, Sept. 9 

Dallas at Tampa Bay 8:20 p.m. NBC

Sunday, Sept. 12

Jacksonville at Houston 1 p.m. CBS
Pittsburgh at Buffalo 1 p.m. CBS
N.Y. Jets at Carolina 1 p.m. CBS
Arizona at Tennessee 1 p.m. CBS
L.A. Chargers at Washington 1 p.m. CBS
Minnesota at Cincinnati 1 p.m. FOX
San Francisco at Detroit 1 p.m. FOX
Philadelphia at Atlanta 1 p.m. FOX
Seattle at Indianapolis 1 p.m. FOX
Cleveland at Kansas City 4:25 p.m. CBS
Miami at New England 4:25 p.m. CBS
Denver at N.Y. Giants 4:25 p.m. FOX
Green Bay at New Orleans 4:25 p.m. FOX
Chicago at L.A. Rams 8:20 p.m. NBC

Monday, Sept. 13

Baltimore at Las Vegas 8:15 p.m. ESPN/ABC

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