With the NFL schedule being released on Thursday evening, the New York Giants are now set to open against the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time since 1966. It will also mark the first game under new head coach Joe Judge, which he expressed his simplicity toward, stating that it is just another game that deserves the same amount of attention as the restâ€”spoken like a dedicated head coach with fundamentalist values.
However, the season could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and baking contingency plans into the schedule was a necessity for the NFL. Oddly, the Giants wonâ€™t play the Dallas Cowboys until week five, which could indicate they anticipate games played without fans for the first few weeks of the season. The Giants always play the Cowboys within the first two weeks, making this very odd and likely throwing in low viewership games earlier on in the season to ensure they can maximize the better games later on.
The contingency plans the NFL have put in place revolve primarily around the Super Bowl, which is able to move back weeks if not months without affecting the regular season.
Ideally, they can move the entire regular season as a unit, without separating games for too long.
Adam Schefter of ESPN wrote:
If the league does need scheduling help that science cannot provide for theÂ coronavirusÂ pandemic, and delays to the seasonâ€™s start eventually become necessary, sources around the league indicated that Super Bowl LV could be pushed back by weeks or even a couple of months, potentially, while not having to make significant matchup changes to the regular-season schedule.
Consider this option: Say the start of the season had to be pushed back four weeks â€” again, not the leagueâ€™s plan and not what it wants, but a hypothetical â€” then the NFL simply could push the Super Bowl back four weeks. It then could take regular-season Weeks 1 through 4 and turn them into, essentially, regular-season Weeks 18, 19, 20 and 21.
What does this mean? If the league is forced to close for a few weeks, they can just add the missed weeks onto the end of the season, which could actually result in the New York Giants playing the Cowboys week 1 after all. Since the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa Bay, the weather isn’t much of a factor.
Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers (HOME) Monday, Sept. 14 â€“ 7:15 PM
Week 2: Chicago Bears (AWAY) Sunday, Sept. 20 â€“ 1 PM
Week 3: San Francisco 49ers (HOME) Sunday, Sept. 27 â€“ 1 PM
Week 4: Los Angeles Rams (AWAY) Sunday, Oct. 4 â€“ 1 PM
Week 5: Dallas Cowboys (AWAY) Sunday, Oct. 11 â€“ 4:25 PM
Week 6: Washington Redskins (HOME) Sunday, Oct. 18 â€“ 1 PM
Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles (AWAY) Thursday, Oct. 22 â€“ 8:20 PM
Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (HOME) Monday, Nov. 2 â€“ 8:15 PM
Week 9: Washington Redskins (AWAY) Sunday, Nov. 8 â€“ 1 PM
Week 10: Philadelphia Eagles (HOME) Sunday, Nov. 15 â€“ 1 PM
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Cincinnati Bengals (AWAY) Sunday, Nov. 29 â€“ 1 PM
Week 13: Seattle Seahawks (AWAY) Sunday, Dec. 6 â€“ 4:05 PM
Week 14: Arizona Cardinals(HOME) Sunday, Dec. 13 â€“ 1 PM
Week 15: Cleveland Browns (HOME) Sunday, Dec. 20 â€“ 1 PM
Week 16: Baltimore Ravens (AWAY) Sunday, Dec. 27 â€“ 1 PM
Week 17: Dallas Cowboys (HOMES) Sunday, Jan. 3 â€“ 1 PM