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New NFL TV deal includes Week 18 Saturday doubleheader

At a league meeting later this month, NFL owners are going to vote later on whether to expand the season to 17 games in 2021 and beyond.

They are expected to approve that move and the new television deal that the league agreed to with its broadcasting partners backs up that expectation. Peter King notes in this week’s Football Morning in America that the package includes a Saturday night doubleheader on ESPN in Week 18 when it kicks in for the 2023 season.

After Week 17’s games are wrapped up, the league would flex a pair of games to Saturday night and another game to NBC on Sunday night for the final week of regular season action. The NBC game typically includes teams needing to win to get in the playoffs or clinch a division while the rest of Sunday’s schedule is set up with an eye on having as few games as possible kick off without playoff implications.

That would be more difficult if two games with those implications are off the docket and we may get a chance to see how the league handles things before 2023. King reports that the league may implement the new scheduling tweak for this year once they formally vote to add a 17th game.