It had long been deemed a foregone conclusion that the NFL would be adding a 17th game to the regular season. After all, the players agreed to the extra game as part of their negotiations in the collective bargaining agreement. This gave the league the option to extend it as soon as the 2021 NFL season and they decided to do just that with their approval on Tuesday.
The preseason will be reduced from four games to three games as part of the deal. Meanwhile, the extra game added to the regular season will give the Los Angeles Rams a chance at a bit of payback as they will be taking on Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
A statement from the NFL explained the criteria that went into establishing each team’s 17th opponent, via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:
From the NFL… pic.twitter.com/ftn6PHZf7b
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 30, 2021
Now that there is an odd number of games, both conferences will alternate each year between eight and nine home games. Since the Rams and the Ravens both finished second in their respective divisions last year, the latter will play host in 2021. The NFL has not announced its complete schedule for the season yet though, so it remains to be seen when that game will take place.
The matchup certainly does present some challenges for L.A. Not only does the trip add plenty of extra mileage for them, but their track record versus Baltimore is also hardly an encouraging sign for a turnaround.
The Rams have lost their last four showdowns with the Ravens, which included their lopsided 45-6 defeat during the 2019 campaign. Of course, there have since been some changes to head coach Sean McVay’s offense following the acquisition of former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks (2022,2023) and a third-round pick in 2021.
Although it remains to be seen if this will be a must-win game for both teams, it is safe to say that the L.A. would like to put an end to their current dry spell against Baltimore.