After a year of no NFL preseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league’s exhibition season will return in 2021 — with a twist. The league dropped the preseason schedule from four games to three with the expansion of the regular season to 17 games. The teams that have nine home games in 2021 will have just one preseason game, while the teams that have just eight home games have two home dates (this situation will reverse in 2022).
With this year’s preseason reduced to 49 games, only five will be played during prime-time slots. CBS will carry one of the five preseason games, a Week 3 contest between the Miami Dolphins at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. ET. How much Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow — two quarterbacks taken in the top five picks of the 2020 NFL Draft — will play is uncertain since this is the final game of the preseason for both teams (and all 32 clubs have to cut their roster to 53 players by Tuesday, Aug. 31).