When Does 2020 NFL Season Start? Week 1 Dates, TV Schedule and Live Stream

Football's return is only a month away, as the NFL prepares to navigate the uncharted waters that come with holding a season in the midst of a global pandemic.

When the COVID-19 outbreak was in its infancy at the beginning of the year, it seemed fanciful football could be impacted by the pandemic. Fast forward seven months, however, and the NFL finds itself perilously close to the dangerous quagmire that is the novel coronavirus.

The outbreak forced the NBA and the NHL to suspend their seasons for four months, has repeatedly threatened to derail the MLB's shortened season since baseball returned last month and has forced college football into a drastic reshuffle of its calendar, prompting the cancellation of intra-conference matchups.

Against that backdrop, the impact on the NFL has been relatively limited so far. In April the league had to scrap the NFL Draft in Las Vegas to hold it remotely instead and training camps have looked distinctly different compared to previous years, due to the limited amount of personnel allowed on the facilities.

More significantly, several players have already opted out of the upcoming season on coronavirus-related grounds. Some of those who will sit out the season will do so as they are considered high-risk players, whereas others have voluntarily decided against playing in 2020.

The NFL remains adamant the season will kick-off as scheduled on September 10. However, if there's anything the COVID-19 outbreak has thought the league it's that nothing can be taken for granted and even the most seemingly safe of scenarios can be jeopardized within a couple of days.

While the global pandemic will obviously be the main talking point of the season, from a football standpoint the upcoming campaign has plenty of fascinating subplots to follow.

The Kansas City Chiefs begin their quest to become the first team in over 15 years to win back-to-back Super Bowls and establish themselves as the new dynasty in the NFL, while Tom Brady and the New England Patriots usher in new eras after the six-time Super Bowl champion left Massachusetts for Florida following 20 trophy-laden years.

Elsewhere, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson will be determined to ensure the Baltimore Ravens don't stumble at the first hurdle in the playoffs for the third consecutive season, while the rookie class headlined by new Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow promises to be very intriguing.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Week 1 of the regular season.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 2 in Miami, Florida. Jamie Squire/Getty

When does the NFL season start?

The 101st season of the NFL begins on Thursday, September 10. The honor of playing in the curtain raiser is bestowed upon the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions, and the Houston Texans.

Thirteen games are scheduled for Sunday, September 12, with two games the following day.

The Los Angeles Rams baptize SoFi Stadium by hosting the Dallas Cowboys on September 13 in the first Sunday Night Football of the season, while the opening Monday Night Football of the campaign features a double-header as the New York Giants host the Pittsburgh Steelers, before the Denver Broncos welcome the Tennessee Titans

TV coverage

The upcoming season marks the seventh year under the current broadcast contract with ESPN, CBS, FOX and NBC.

The latter will broadcast the opening game on September 10, as well as the prime-time Thanksgiving game and Sunday Night Football.

ESPN will broadcast Monday Night Football, while FOX will air Thursday Night Football, which will also be broadcast on NFL Network and Amazon Prime.

NFL Network will exclusively carry the first three Thursday Night Football games of the season, and will also exclusively broadcast one of the Saturday games later in the season.

FOX and CBS will also carry the Sunday afternoon games, with the latter broadcasting Super Bowl LV.

Live Stream

Live streams will be available through the four broadcasters' digital platforms, which include apps on Apple and Android devices as well as via connected TVs. Similarly, NFL Network's game pass will be available via connected TVs and on mobile devices.

A live stream will also be available via fuboTV and DirecTV, with Amazon Prime carrying a live stream of each Thursday Night Football game.

Week 1 TV Schedule (All times ET)

Thursday, September 10

  • Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs—8:20 p.m., NBC

Sunday, September 13

  • Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington—1 p.m., FOX
  • Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots—1 p.m., CBS
  • Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings—1 p.m., FOX
  • Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars—1 p.m., CBS
  • Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions—1 p.m. FOX
  • Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers—1 p.m. CBS
  • New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills—1 p.m. CBS
  • Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens—1 p.m. CBS
  • Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons—1 p.m. FOX
  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals—4:05 p.m. CBS
  • Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers—4:25 p.m. FOX
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints—9:25 p.m. FOX
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams—8:20 p.m., NBC

Monday, September 14

  • Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants—7:15 p.m., ESPN
  • Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos—10:10 p.m., ESPN

NFL 2020 season odds

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the team to beat in the eyes of the bookmakers. The reigning Super Bowl champions are 13/2 with FanDuel to win Super Bowl LV and become the first team since the New England Patriots in 2005 to retain the Lombardi Trophy.

The Baltimore Ravens are just fractionally behind the Chiefs at 7/1, followed by the San Francisco 49ers, who lost to Kansas City in Super Bowl LIV, at 9/1. The New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers round up the top five at 12/1 and 15/1 respectively.

Meanwhile, BetMGM has the Chiefs and Ravens as 4/1 joint-favorites to be the team recording the most regular-season wins, followed by the 49ers and Saints at 7/1 and 8/1 respectively, while the Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys are both 11/1.

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady #12 and Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers work out during a practice at AdventHealth Training Center on August 4 in Tampa, Florida. Mike Ehrmann/Getty