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Carolina Panthers

NFL adds 17th game to 2021 season schedule


The Panthers added a regular-season game with the Texans on Tuesday, as the league officially expanded the regular season to 17 games.

The extra game for each team in the league is against a similarly placed opponent from the opposite conference, as the Texans finished third in the AFC South. That game will be a home game for Houston, though the timing won't be known until the schedule is announced in May.

Carolina is 3-2 all-time against Houston, last playing at the Texans in 2019 (a 16-10 win).

As part of the league announcement, every team will now play 17 games in 18 weeks in 2021. Although the NFL didn't play a preseason schedule in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, a potential 2021 preseason slate would be reduced to just three games from the traditional four. Carolina would host two preseason games and play one on the road.

In addition to the home and road games with the Falcons, Saints, and Buccaneers, the Panthers will have home games against Philadelphia, Washington, New England and the New York Jets. They'll play Dallas, the New York Giants, Buffalo, and Miami on the road.

The Panthers will also host the third-place team in the NFC North (Minnesota) and visit the third-place team in the NFC West (Arizona).

As part of the 17-game announcement, the NFL also spelled out that beginning in 2022, all 32 clubs will play internationally at least once every eight years. The league's scheduling of up to four neutral-site games per year in a country outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. Teams can continue to volunteer to play home games internationally.

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