Schedule to be released tonight … About a month later than usual. the 2021 regular season NFL schedule will be released this evening beginning at 8 PM ET on the NFL Network. However, the NFL has teased the formal announcement by releasing the opening weekend slate of games early. And the season does kick-off with a tasty morsel with the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting Dallas at 9 PM ET on Thursday, September 9th. There will also be several feature games on the first full Sunday of the schedule on September 12th – for the record four months today to the day – including a couple of key early season AFC games with Pittsburgh playing at Buffalo and Cleveland at Kansas City. There is also what would normally be a fascinating NFC tilt with Green Bay scheduled to play at New Orleans featuring a shoot-out between QBs Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. However, Brees has alraedy retired, while Rodgers is in a standoff with the Packers as to whether he’ll return this fall. Meanwhile, other games of note include Jacksonville at Houston where presumably Jags’ QB Trevor Lawrence, the first player selected at last month’s draft, will make his pro debut. At the same time, former NY Jets QB Sam Darnold, who was traded to Carolina prior to the draft, will make his debut with the Panthers against – you guessed it – the Jets, proving at least that the schedule maker has a sense of the ironic! On the other hand, Detroit and the LA Rams which swapped QBs Matt Stafford and Jared Goff this off-season DO NOT face each other on the opening weekend. The Lions will be hosting San Francisco, while the Rams will entertain Chicago in the Sunday night game. Meanwhile, the opening week’s remaining games include Seattle at Indianapolis, the LA Chargers at Washington, Arizona at Tennessee, Philadelphia at Atlanta, Minnesota at Cincinnati, Miami at New England, Denver at the NY Giants, and Baltimore playing at Las Vegas in the first Monday nighter of the year.