There are some things that never change when it comes to an NFL season. The hard-hitting tackles are a good example, as are the locker room drama and dramatic regular season games. The sheer passion NFL fans have for their team is also a constant and the 2021/22 campaign looks likely to include all this, as usual. One thing that has changed for NFL fans in the current season is how many games will be played. This year marks the NFL’s first 17-game season in the league’s history and it will see five interconference matches in 2021/22.
This is not only a major change for the NFL to absorb but also the sides involved. While you might not think it would have much impact, this extra game may see some teams handle it better than others. A good way of checking this out is looking at NFL odds. This gives a quick overview of which sides are fancied to take the 17-game season in their stride and do well this year. Click here for updated NFL odds today and find out how things are looking at the moment.
It can also be worth simply thinking about which sides might be set up to make best use of the extra game. Most NFL fans have in-depth knowledge of the sport, which gives them a real head start. But which franchises should be those that spring to mind first?
Over their history, the Steelers have at times shown a habit of being inconsistent during a season. 2020 was a classic example and saw them tail off badly at the end of the campaign. After racing into an 11-game winning streak, they slid into a four-game losing run as regular season came to an end. This would have been a five-game losing run, were it not for a 17-point comeback against the Colts in game 16.
You have to fear that, should they suffer a similar poor end to the 2021 season, then the extra game could hurt them. It could well see another chance to taste defeat, bring down confidence in camp and give chasing sides the chance to leapfrog them. Let’s hope TJ Watt’s new contract is enough to keep them playing well all year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Although the 17th game in 2021 will impact sides that sometimes finish badly or get stronger as the season unfolds, roster depth will also come into play. Put simply, the extra game will put more physical stress on players and might see more injuries picked up. It could also see more rotation of players, as coaches spread out playing time over a longer season. This leaves the sides with stacked locker rooms, ready to do well.
The Bucs are arguably the pick of the bunch here and could use their squad to make a 17-game season work for them. From Tom Brady to people such as O.J. Howard, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Leonard Fournette, they have a lot of talent to call on. Squad depth could also help sides like the Packers and Chiefs, with similarly loaded rosters, handle an extra game well.
Washington Football Team
Looking back to 2020 again, you have to take note of how Washington Football Team ended the season. Although it was an up and down year for the team, they won five of their last seven games under coach Ron Rivera. This strong finish bodes well for the extra game they will play this year and might see them clinch the divisional title again. A 17th game will also allow the side to stay in the groove and build up more momentum going into post-season. While they do not have the deepest of squads, their strong 2020 finish could see a 17th matchup welcomed in Washington.
NFL 2021 season is different than others
As the above shows, the 17th game that the 2021 NFL season contains could well have more of an impact than fans think. Although it is only one extra game, it could be enough to affect who makes it into post-season, and allow sides that finish strongly to notch up another win. Of course, for sides that finish weakly, it will not be as handy! Whatever happens, though, this extra game is sure to bring even more excitement to the NFL.