After a successful 2017 season, the NFL officially comes to a close after the Super Bowl.
The end of the season heralds a new phase where all attention shifts to the draft and free agency. This phase is important as it allows us to know who will be playing and where they will be playing. It is already clear how the teams are going to be matched up against each other. This information is already fairly sufficient to help us gauge 49ers odds for next season. The only pertinent question right now is – when can we expect the full 2018 NFL schedule?
As per the established traditions, all teams that participated in the 2017 seasons know by now who they will face next season. This is based on the season results. Each team will face their division opponent two times – at home and on the road. Then there is the annual crossover where a team will face the whole of the counterpart division of the opposite conference. The conference crossovers of 2018 have already been established. They are respectively matched up as NFC North and AFC East, NFC South and AFC North, AFC South and NFC East, and AFC East and NFC West.
After analyzing this information, doing a few deductions can help us get a vague idea of the schedule. The specifics are however still not clear. We can already factor in the fact that week 17 will see a scheduling of a division opponent. Also, a bye week is expected at some point during the season. Considering the London games schedule, we can possibly have a rough idea of when a team might have a bye. We should nevertheless remember that some teams have chosen to forego a bye week after an overseas trip. This thus leaves some options still open.
There are a few things that happen after the season schedule is officially released. The first one is the NFL Draft. Once the draft has been scheduled, the season schedule usually comes before the actual draft is done. Sports networks including NFL and ESPN have in the past given the full league calendar at this preliminary period. The season that just ended saw the schedule being availed to everyone on April 20. This was exactly one week before the commencement of the seasons NFL draft. We can thus use this information to make some insights into what we already know.
For the current upcoming season, the first day of the NFL Draft has been slated for April 26. Considering the established tradition, the schedule could thus be released a week earlier, specifically on April 19. There are no certainties, however, and this likelihood remains to be seen. The official announcement is certainly the only event that will mark the unveiling of the season schedule. Until that announcement is made, sporting enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer to know who will thrill them in their favorite teams during the season. What is clear is that everything will be known by the middle or late April.