ESPN’s 19-Game NFL Regular Season Slate Decorated with Star Power, Multiple MVPs, Divisional Matchups, and Compelling Storylines

NFL

ESPN’s 19-Game NFL Regular Season Slate Decorated with Star Power, Multiple MVPs, Divisional Matchups, and Compelling Storylines

  • Monday Night Football’s 52nd Season Begins with Las Vegas Raiders’ First Regular Season Game with Fans, Concludes with Historic Browns-Steelers Rivalry
  • Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson Pepper the Schedule
  • New in 2021: ESPN and ABC to Simulcast Saturday Week 18 Doubleheader
  • Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry Set to Call Monday Night Football Slate

ESPN will present its most comprehensive NFL regular season slate spanning its 40+ year history, as the company produces 19 regular season games consisting of 17 Monday Night Football games (Weeks 1-17) and a Saturday, Week 18 doubleheader (January 8, 2022). The increased regular season slate (previously, 17 games across 16 weeks) also marks the first season ESPN will air at least one game in each week of the regular season since the company began airing the Monday Night Football package in 2006.

Each game of the 2021 Monday Night Football campaign, the franchise’s 52nd season overall, features compelling storylines and intriguing matchups. Details include:

  • Grand Opening: The 2021 Monday Night Football campaign begins with an ABC simulcast of ESPN’s production, as the Las Vegas Raiders are expected to welcome fans into Allegiant Stadium for the first time in the regular season when they host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 (Sept. 13).
  • MVPs: The season’s first two weeks feature the 2019 and 2020 NFL MVPs, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers host the Detroit Lions in Week 2 (Sept. 20), following Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ trip to Vegas. Jackson and the Ravens return to host the Colts in Week 5 (Oct. 11).
  • Star Power: Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, the two most recent Super Bowl MVPs, each appear on the schedule, with both hosting the New York Giants – Buccaneers in Week 11 (Nov. 22) and Chiefs in Week 8 (Nov. 1).
    • Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson will appear twice – the Steelers host the Bears in Week 9 (Nov. 8) and the Browns for Week 17 (Jan. 3), and the Seahawks host the Saints in Week 7 (Oct. 25) and travel to Washington in Week 12 (Nov. 29).
  • Talking Playoffs: All 14 teams that qualified for the 2020 NFL Playoffs are set to appear on the MNF schedule, including half of the playoff teams appearing multiple times (Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Seattle).
  • Divisional Matchups: Eight Monday Night Football matchups feature divisional contests, including Philadelphia at Dallas in Week 3 (Sept. 27), both the Eagles and Cowboys first NFC East game of the season. In the middle of the season, Matthew Stafford and the Rams travel to San Francisco in Week 10 (Nov. 15). Monday Night Football then concludes the season with divisional matchups in four of its last five weeks, including the 140th all-time matchup between the Browns and Steelers (Jan. 3).
  • Leaders of the Pack: Three showdowns of teams that each won their division last year: Buffalo at Tennessee in Week 6 (Oct. 18), New Orleans at Seattle in Week 7 (Oct. 25), and Seattle at Washington in Week 12 (Nov. 29).
  • Emerging Stars: 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert makes his home Monday Night Football debut when the Chargers host the Raiders in Week 4 (Oct. 4). Josh Allen, last year’s Fantasy Football Player of the Year, also appears twice – at Tennessee in Week 6 (Oct. 18) and hosting New England in Week 13 (Dec. 6).
    • Kyler Murray also makes his home Monday Night Football premiere against the Rams in Week 14 (Dec. 13) before Tua Tagovailoa makes his first Monday Night Football appearance in New Orleans in Week 16 (Dec. 27).

Week 18 Saturday Doubleheader to Air on ESPN and ABC
ESPN’s regular season slate will conclude with a Saturday Week 18 doubleheader airing on both ESPN and ABC, with kickoff set for 4:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET. The matchups for both games will be determined closer to Week 18 to ensure playoff implications.

Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick Set for Second Season in the Booth; John Parry Returns as Officiating Analyst; and Lisa Salters Extends Record Tenure as Sideline Reporter
ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth of Steve Levy (play-by-play), Brian Griese (analyst), and Louis Riddick (analyst) return for a second season, officiating analyst John Parry returns for his third season, and Lisa Salters will extend her tenure as the most veteran sideline reporter in the franchise’s history. In addition to the 2020 MNF slate, the group then called the NFL Wild Card matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. Concluding the season, the Monday Night Football was on hand for Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, broadcasting the game for Australia and New Zealand.

ESPN Airs AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs, Trevor Lawrence and Jacksonville Jaguars in Separate Preseason Games
ESPN will televise two preseason games, featuring the two-time reigning AFC Champion Chiefs, as well as the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. First game kicking off will be Kansas City at Arizona on Friday, Aug. 20, followed by Jacksonville at New Orleans on Monday, Aug. 23. Both games are set to start at 8 p.m.

ESPN to Produce Wild Card Game and NFL Pro Bowl
Following ESPN’s record-setting regular season presentation, the company will produce an NFL Wild Card game (Date: TBD) and the NFL Pro Bowl (Feb. 6), with both games airing on multiple Walt Disney Company networks.  The 2021 season will mark the eighth consecutive year the company has aired a playoff game.

ESPN’s 2021 NFL Schedule
Note: All games are Monday Night Football with the exception of the two Week 18 games

NFL Week Date Time (ET) Game Network(s)
Preseason Fri, Aug 20 8 p.m. Kansas City at Arizona ESPN
Preseason Mon, Aug 23 8 p.m. Jacksonville at New Orleans ESPN
1 Sep 13 8:15 p.m. Baltimore at Las Vegas ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes
2 Sep 20 8:15 p.m. Detroit at Green Bay ESPN, ESPN Deportes
3 Sep 27 8:15 p.m. Philadelphia at Dallas ESPN, ESPN Deportes
4 Oct 4 8:15 p.m. Las Vegas at Los Angeles Chargers ESPN, ESPN Deportes
5 Oct 11 8:15 p.m. Indianapolis at Baltimore ESPN, ESPN Deportes
6 Oct 18 8:15 p.m. Buffalo at Tennessee ESPN, ESPN Deportes
7 Oct 25 8:15 p.m. New Orleans at Seattle ESPN, ESPN Deportes
8 Nov 1 8:15 p.m. NY Giants at Kansas City ESPN, ESPN Deportes
9 Nov 8 8:15 p.m. Chicago at Pittsburgh ESPN, ESPN Deportes
10 Nov 15 8:15 p.m. Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco ESPN, ESPN Deportes
11 Nov 22 8:15 p.m. New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers ESPN, ESPN Deportes
12 Nov 29 8:15 p.m. Seattle at Washington Football Team ESPN, ESPN Deportes
13 Dec 6 8:15 p.m. New England at Buffalo ESPN, ESPN Deportes
14 Dec 13 8:15 p.m. Los Angeles Rams at Arizona ESPN, ESPN Deportes
15 Dec 20 8:15 p.m. Minnesota at Chicago ESPN, ESPN Deportes
16 Dec 27 8:15 p.m. Miami at New Orleans ESPN, ESPN Deportes
17 Jan 3 8:15 p.m. Cleveland at Pittsburgh ESPN, ESPN Deportes
18 Sat, Jan 8 4:15 p.m. TBD ESPN and ABC, ESPN Deportes
8:15 p.m. TBD ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes
NFL Wild Card TBD TBD TBD ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes
Pro Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6 3 p.m. AFC vs. NFC (Las Vegas) ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes

 

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Derek Volner

I work in college sports, which includes football and basketball, with an emphasis on Olympic Sports. Additionally, I handle ESPN’s coverage of high school athletics and recruiting.
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