The 2020 NFL schedule release will arrive on a day that's a little later than the league's typical, pre-draft date. But considering the cloud of doubt surrounding the 2020 NFL season because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the timing of this year's schedule release could be considered early.
The 2020 NFL schedule — or at least what the league hopes will be its 2020 schedule — will be released Thursday, May 7 at 8 p.m. ET. Per what has become tradition, the league will release its 2020 schedule with an exclusive, three-hour TV show on NFL Network.
MORE 2020 NFL SCHEDULE:
Who has the toughest and easiest schedules?
We know the 2020 NFL schedule will not include international games in London or Mexico City, as the league has announced it will play all 2020 games domestically in the name of player health and safety amid the pandemic. But that seems to be the only restriction on the NFL schedule for its initial release.
The league will release a complete 17-week, 256-game schedule Thursday night even though, at this point, it has no idea how the pandemic will impact the timing and logistics of the season. The NFL also has not changed its plans to start the season on Sept. 10 and end it with Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7.
So until the NFL receives more information on when and how it can proceed with its 2020 season, the schedule released Thursday will serve as a placeholder. Below is the info you need to watch the NFL's schedule release show.
When is the NFL schedule released for 2020?
Date: Thursday, May 7
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV channel: NFL Network
Live stream: NFL app | DAZN (in Canada)
We typically would make fun of the NFL for producing a greedy, three-hour TV show just for its schedule release. But in 2020, fans will take all the "live" programming they can get, so we'll give the league a pass.
Scheduled for a prime-time slot, just the way the NFL likes it, "Schedule Release '20" will air on NFL Network starting at 8 p.m. ET. According to the league, NFL Network's coverage "will break down the upcoming regular-season schedule, division-by-division, analyzing the top matchups and primetime games. ... Along with insight from NFL Network hosts and analysts, 'Schedule Release '20' will include interviews from the homes of NFL head coaches, general managers and other guests."
Live streaming of the schedule release show will be available across devices (smartphone, PC, tablet and connected TVs) through the NFL app or NFL.com/watch for subscribers of participating NFL Network providers.
Teams and fans will have to accept the schedule the NFL releases Thursday night with the presumption that it will be modified over the summer as the league receives more clarity on the viability of its season.
"At some point,” a top NFL team executive told NBC Sports' Peter King, “we’re going to have start accepting inequalities. What happens when teams in four states are told, ‘You can’t have training camp?’ Do those teams not have camp? Do they travel to a state that allows a gathering of 100 or so people to work? Time will tell, but the way it looks now, there’s no way all states are going to be under equal rules by the summer."
Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant who is plugged in with top NFL officials, told King he is "very confident of a 16-game season with a Super Bowl in February. ... I didn’t say I was confident in 16 games with a bye, or what week in February the Super Bowl would be, or if every team will play eight games in their home stadiums, or whether there will be fans at every game.
"There’s more information that’s needed before we have these answers. Teams are just going to have be flexible.”
NFL strength of schedule for 2020
Even though we don't know the specifics of the 2020 NFL schedule like dates and kickoff times, we do know all the matchups. So based on 2019 win percentages, we can determine the NFL strength of schedule rankings for 2020.
T18 Carolina Panthers .500 (127-127-2)
Below are those rankings, from the toughest schedule in New England to the easiest schedule in Baltimore.
Opponents' 2019 win percentage
New England Patriots
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants