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MLB

NFL schedule release date 2020: When to expect an announcement, strength of schedule & more

In a typical year, the NFL likes to set its schedule release date for roughly a week before the NFL Draft. For obvious reasons, though, 2020 is not a typical year.

The coronavirus pandemic has either outright canceled or postponed almost all sporting events around the globe for the coming months. In that sense, the NFL was fortunate to be in its offseason when the outbreak reached the United States, but now the NFL schedule release — and what that schedule might look like when it is released — is a big question mark for America’s most popular sports league.

Below is what we know about the NFL’s plans for its 2020 schedule release. Though we don’t yet know the date on which the schedules will be announced, we do know the opponents for all 32 teams and, based on winning percentage from last season, the strength of schedule rankings.

NFL schedule release date 2020

When asked in late March whether it plans to release 2020 schedules on time (usually the week before the draft, which this year is April 23-25), the NFL told Sporting News it was not commenting on the record at that point, and “no specific date had been set yet.”

The league likes to release its complete schedule roughly a week before the draft in part because it’s an open window for media coverage. Yet in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic having cleared the sports calendar through the spring and into the summer, the NFL forcing its schedule release before the draft might not be necessary if media coverage and fan attention is what the league craves. May and June are wide open.

Another reason the NFL could consider pushing back its 2020 schedule release date is the doubt surrounding how that schedule will play out — and if it will play out at all. While there has been no official word on the status of the 2020 college and pro football seasons, late-summer sports like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been impacted by the virus, and some like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit have speculated publicly that there will be no NFL season.

“The easy answer and the hard answer are the same answer — which is it’s too soon to tell,” NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer said on Adam Schefter’s podcast on March 30 when asked whether there will be a 2020 NFL season. “I think we’re going to know a lot more in late May, early June.”

All NFL team facilities are currently shut down due to the pandemic, and offseason programs likely will be canceled. According to the New York Times, though, the league is still planning to schedule a 16-game season even if it’s delayed.

On a less important level, the NFL pushing back its schedule release date in 2020 would be welcomed by those who are tasked with creating the schedule. The difficult process takes months, and any extra time could help ensure fairness for all 32 teams as well as optimal prime-time lineups for the NFL’s broadcast partners.

Whether the NFL will provide that extra time is to be determined.



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Bill Belichick
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Who has the toughest NFL schedule in 2020?

New England Patriots (.537 opponents win percentage)

Thanks to the lowly Dolphins and the average-at-best Jets, the Patriots are dragged down by the 2019 records of their divisional opponents (44-52). But their rotational opponents in 2020 are tough.

New England draws Super Bowl-champion Kansas City in addition to first-place opponents Baltimore and Houston. And like everybody else in the AFC East, the Patriots have to play against the NFC West, one of if not the best division in football.

New England will have seven matchups with teams that won 10 or more regular-season games last year.



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Lamar Jackson
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Who has the easiest NFL schedule in 2020?

Baltimore Ravens (.438 opponents win percentage)

Though the Ravens technically have the easiest schedule for 2020 in terms of opponents’ 2019 win percentage, chances are they won’t actually have the easiest schedule in 2020.

For one, we expect their division opponents in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati to improve upon the 32-64 mark they posted last season. Likewise, other teams on their schedule like the Giants, Eagles and Colts could end up with more wins this year. And yes, as a first-place team, Baltimore still has to play Kansas City.

With all that said, only three teams on the Ravens’ schedule won more than 10 regular-season games last year.

2020 NFL strength of schedule rankings

Even though we don’t know the specifics of the 2020 NFL schedule like dates and kickoff times, we do know all the matchups. So based on 2019 win percentages, we can determine the NFL strength of schedule rankings for 2020.

Below are those rankings, from the toughest schedule in New England to the easiest schedule in Baltimore.

2020 NFL schedule for all 32 teams

The opponents for each NFL team in 2020 were determined upon the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. The league’s scheduling formula guarantees all teams play each other on a rotating basis.

Every team plays …

Below are the opponents for each team in 2020.



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Josh Allen
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AFC East

New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins



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Baker Mayfield
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AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals



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Deshaun Watson
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AFC South

Houston Texans

Tennessee Titans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars



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Patrick Mahomes
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AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers



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Dak Prescott
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NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Washington Redskins



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Aaron Rodgers
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NFC North

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions



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Drew Brees
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NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Atlanta Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers



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Russell Wilson
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NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Los Angeles Rams

Arizona Cardinals

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MLB

Daily sports TV schedule: What to watch on ESPN, FS1 & other channels for Thursday, March 25

Live sports aren’t happening right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean fans have stopped craving sports action. On Sunday, CBS took the timeslot normally allocated to live March Madness games and filled them with classic games from past tournaments.

The games, like the 1992 Elite Eight matchup between Duke and Kentucky, had fans engaged with the past well enough to get the game trending on Twitter. Over one million people watched the throwback college basketball games on CBS on Sunday afternoon, according to Show Buzz Daily. 

Many networks are following suit without live games to broadcast or provide commentary on. Sporting News compiled all the classic games across the networks to help fans navigate the nostalgia. 

ESPN schedule today

ESPN is continuing with regularly scheduled programs like Sportscenter and NFL Live during the day and airing docuseries like “O.J.: Made in America” at night. On ESPN’s other channels, like ACC Network and SEC Network, the emphasis is on replaying college football and basketball games from last season.

FS1 schedule today

Fox Sports 1 is also continuing with regularly scheduled programming during the day but shifting to classic World Series games at night. First up is the extra-inning thriller in 2016, followed by one of the most dramatic finishes in baseball history in 2001. 

MLB Network schedule today

MLB Network is starting the morning off with some great early season games and finishing with the legendary Aaron Boone home run. 

NBA TV schedule today

NBA TV is featuring the Jazz of the 1990s, teams with two Hall of Fame players in John Stockton that weren’t able to capture a title.

NBC Sports schedule today

NBC Sports is chock-full with Stanley Cup Finals games that clinched championships.

NFL Network schedule today

The two Super Bowl matchups on NFL Network feature two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Peyton Manning makes his first Super Bowl appearance in the first game and Tom Brady takes his perfect 18-0 record into the second game. 

NHL Network schedule today

NHL Network has some classic games to start the day. The 1993 and 1994 Stanley Cup Finals are showcased.

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Soccer

Liga MX schedule, TV times as Mexico’s top soccer league continues play during coronavirus outbreak

Most of the sports world has been put on pause during the global coronavirus pandemic, with cancellations coming left and right. But for soccer fans, there’s still a way to get your sports fix in.

Liga MX, the top tier of Mexican soccer, is moving forward with this weekend’s games. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liga MX action.

Liga MX schedule, TV channels for Matchday 10 of 17

Saturday, March 14

(All times Eastern)

Leon vs. Pumas is the big matchup to watch at 9 p.m. Leon is currently second in the Liga MX table on 18 points, while Pumas sits fourth on 15 points and could draw level on points with a win.

The other 9 p.m. matchup features Tigres, a team trying to climb into the top eight, and Juarez, a team trying to stay in the top eight. Teams that finish in the top eight qualify for Liguilla, which is the playoffs for Liga MX.

The nightcap features fifth-place Guadalajara against bottom-of-the-table Monterrey, which has won just four points in nine matches.

Sunday, March 15

(All times Eastern)

The biggest game of the weekend is the Sunday nightcap between third-place Club America and top-of-the-table Cruz Azul. The teams are separated by only two points.

Sunday’s opening game pits a pair of struggling teams together. Toluca is currently 15th on 10 points, while Atlas is 17th out of 18 teams on six points.

How to stream Liga MX games

For cord-cutters, the best option to stream Liga MX games is fuboTV, which includes access to all of the Univision and FOX Sports channels, allowing you to watch all of the Liga MX games.

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MLB

XFL Week 5 schedule, odds, predictions: Roughnecks, Battlehawks establish dominance

Week 4 of the XFL was a fun one — every game but one finished within one score. The only game that didn’t was somewhat of a surprise as we saw the winless Vipers take down the Defenders, 25-0.

As we head into the midway point of the season, there are a few things we know for sure: The Roughnecks and BattleHawks are really, really good. After that, it’s somewhat of a mess as the game results don’t make a lot of sense. We saw the Defenders shut-out the Guardians 27-0, then lose to the Wildcats 39-9 the following week. Then, the Wildcats lost to the Guardians 17-14. The math just doesn’t add up.

We also know that teams are still trying to find their way early on in the season. We’ve seen a number of different quarterbacks enter games. The Vipers and Guardians have used three quarterbacks, The Dragons, Renegades, Wildcats and Defenders have used two while only the BattleHawks and Roughnecks have used one each.

Still, throughout all of the chaos, my predictions have remained fairly steady. I went 2-2 in Week 1, 4-0 in Week 2, 3-1 in Week 3 and 3-1 in Week 4. This puts me at a total of 12-4 on the season. Two of my wrong preidctions are from the Wildcats in the past two weeks, as I just can’t figure this team out.

I’ll try again for perfection in Week 5. Below you can view the Week 5 schedule along with the odds for each game as well as my predictions.

All odds are courtesy of BetOnline.ag via Sports Insider.

XFL Week 5 schedule

XFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 5



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B.J. Daniels
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Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks

The Dragons took my advice from last week’s predictions column and changed quarterbacks. Brandon Silvers has been inefficient all season, and after going 4 of 10 for 27 yards in Week 4, he was benched in favor of B.J. Daniels. Immediately, Daniels made a difference, and finished by completing 5 of 10 passes for 100 yards with a touchdown. He also ran seven times for 84 yards. Daniels also threw a game-sealing interception late.

There’s been no official update yet, but we’d anticipate Daniels starting for Seattle in Week 5. The offense moved so much better with him at quarterback, and perhaps with a full week of practicing with the starters he can improve. His presence should make this a fun game against the No. 1 team in the XFL.

Speaking of which, the Roughnecks moved to 4-0 last week after an oddly close game with the Dallas Renegades. Houston forced Dallas into five turnovers, including four by Landry Jones alone (three interceptions, one fumble). Despite this, the game was still close as Houston only won 27-20. The Roughnecks may be 4-0, but their last three wins were all within one possession. Expect another close game this week, even if the spread says otherwise. While I expect this to be a close game, I still think Houston will move to 5-0.

Prediction: Roughnecks 30, Dragons 26

N.Y. Guardians at Dallas Renegades

The Guardians pulled off a surprising win last week over the Wildcats. New York was forced to go to its backup quarterback as regular starter Matt McGloin was out with injury. Unfortunately for McGloin, he’ll probably remain out even as he gets healthy as backup Luis Perez likely stole the starting job. Perez was efficient in his first XFL start, completing 18 of 26 passes for 150 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers.

The real star for New York in Week 4 was running back Darius Victor, who finished with 82 yards on 18 carries. Expect a similar approach for New York moving forward: an efficient passing attack with a steady ground game. 

As for the Renegades, they were handed a lot of bad news in Week 4. Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost starting quarterback Landry Jones who is expected to miss at least two weeks. Starting in his place will be Philip Nelson who started Week 1 for Dallas in a 15-9 loss. Nelson isn’t a bad option, but I expect Dallas’ offense to not be quite as strong as a result.

The Renegades are big favorites in this one, but I think the Guardians have found something with Perez. Plus, New York’s defense deserves some credit. The Guardians have three players with two sacks on the season, which ties the league high.

Prediction: Guardians 18, Renegades 16

St. Louis BattleHawks at D.C. Defenders



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Jordan Ta’amu
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The BattleHawks have established themselves as one of the best teams in the XFL, anchored by MVP candidate Jordan Ta’amu. He’s second in passing yards (876) and fifth in rushing yards (186) among all players. While Ta’amu and the BattleHawks offense gets a lot of attention, something should be said for their defense. The BattleHawks have given up the fewest touchdowns (7) in the league so far this season.

The Defenders started off hot going 2-0 in dominating fashion, but have since fallen completely off. The Defenders haven’t just gone 0-2 in their last two games, they’ve been blown out in the process, being outscored 64-9. They were shut out in Week 4 and gave up the most points in XFL history in Week 3 (39). The only key difference is the first two games were at home and the last two were on the road.

D.C. gets a home game again this week, so maybe the team will play better. But I think the BattleHawks are just too good of a team to lose this one.

Prediction: BattleHawks 24, Defenders 18

Tampa Bay Vipers at L.A. Wildcats

The Tampa Bay Vipers picked up their first win of the season last week in a 25-0 win over the Defenders. Taylor Cornelius started as the third-string quarterback to open the season, but has now replaced Aaron Murray as the starter. He was great in Week 4, finishing 24 of 31 for 211 yards, a touchdown and one interception. He was even effective as a runner, rushing for 36 yards and a touchdown on four carries.

While Cornelius was good, it was the running back duo of De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick that made the difference. Both backs ran for over 100 yards last week and are now No. 1 and No. 3 among league leaders in rushing yards.

The Wildcats have struggled against the run all season, giving up an average of 131.5 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Josh Johnson has looked good since returning, but LA’s defense needs a lot of work if the Wildcats expect to win another game.

I think the rushing attack will be too much for the Wildcats this week, even at home.

Prediction: Vipers 28, Wildcats 24

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