NFL appears headed to 17-game season, playoff expansion as CBA talks continue to advance

NFL owners will meet in New York City this Thursday to discuss a wide range of topics including a new collective bargaining agreement. According to CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the NFL owners do not expect any sort of vote to take place on Thursday during their meeting, but it remains possible that the new CBA gets done at the NFL combine next week.

The players will also go along with the 17-game schedule if the owners agree to fulfill some other requests such as fewer training camp and regular season practices. But the regular season isn't the only place where we can expect some new games. 

If you were hoping for a new NFL playoff structure in the near future, it appears you may be in luck.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the current CBA proposal has seven teams from each conference making the playoffs -- instead of six -- with only one team receiving a first-round bye per conference. 

"That's been agreed to for a long time," one source familiar with the CBA talks said to ESPN about the NFL's new playoff structure. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

If you were wondering what that would have looked like this year, it would have been the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, while the Los Angeles Rams would have visited the Green Bay Packers in the NFC. 

In addition to receiving a first-round bye, teams that clinch the No. 1 seed in their respective conference will also receive postseason pay for the weekend they technically have off. Under the current CBA, teams did not receive pay for acquiring a first-round bye. 

While the new playoff format is expected to take effect immediately if a CBA is passed, the 17-game schedule wouldn't come until 2021. Along with the expanded regular season, the preseason would reportedly be shortened from four games to three. 

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