NFL Football Returns This Week — What to Know and How to Watch

The 2020 season kicks off Thursday with the opening game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs

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NFL. Photo: Alex Burstow/Getty

As 2020 continues to throw the world of sports for a loop, fans finally have something to look forward to this week— the return of the NFL.

The NFL's regular season is expected to kick off Thursday, Sept. 10 with the Houston Texans playing the Super Bowl LIV champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. It will mark the first NFL game since the Super Bowl in February as the league's preseason was canceled due to the pandemic, according to NBC Sports.

The 2020 schedule features 17 weeks of 256 regular-season games before Super Bowl LV, which is slated to take place in Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.

While the upcoming season might look a little different this year, here's what to expect from week one.

Who's playing?

The Texans and Chiefs will face off Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. EST. According to The Washington Post, the Missouri stadium plans to allow 16,000 fans for the home opener.

On Sunday, an additional thirteen games will be played, including (all games listed as EST):

  • Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
  • New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
  • Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
  • Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
  • Philadelphia Eagles vs. The Washington Football Team, 1 p.m.
  • Las Vegas Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
  • Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
  • Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 4:05 p.m.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m.
  • Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
  • Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m.

How can I watch?

Tune in to watch the season opener on NBC, with live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. EST with the networks' pre-game show Football Night in America.

The game can also be watched on Fox, CBS, ESPN, the NFL Network, and NFL Red Zone. The NFL will also broadcast 11 games on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, according to CNET.

Several streaming services will have games available for live streaming with a subscription. Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, and Fubo TV all include CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN.

How is the NFL handling the COVID-19 pandemic?

With the coronavirus pandemic still plaguing the country, the NFL has implemented various safety precautions to ensure that the season can run smoothly. Unlike the NBA, players in the NFL are not required to live in a quarantined bubble.

New protocol prohibits sideline reporters and on-field entertainment like cheerleaders and mascots, according to NBC Sports. As for stadium attendance, each team is allowed to determine whether or not fans will be allowed at games.

According to Sporting News, only six of the 32 NFL teams will be letting fans into their stadiums this season. While fans might not be present, all stadiums will still play crowd noise during the games.

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