NFL regular season
The National Football League (NFL) regular season begins on the weekend following the first Monday of September (i.e, the weekend following the Labor Day holiday) and ends in early January, after which that season's playoffs tournament begins. It consists of 272 games, with each of the NFL's 32 teams playing 17 games during an 18-week period with one "bye" week off.
Since 2012, the NFL generally schedules games in five time slots during the week. The first game of the week is played on Thursday night, kicking off at 8:20 PM (ET). The majority of games are played on Sunday, most kicking off at 1PM (ET), with some late afternoon games starting at either 4:05 or 4:25 PM (ET). Additionally, one Sunday night game is played every week at 8:20 PM (ET). Finally, one or two Monday night games then starts at 8:15 PM (ET). In addition to these regularly scheduled games, there are occasionally games at other times, such as a Saturday afternoon or evening, or the annual Thanksgiving Day games in which two daytime Thursday games are played in addition to the normal Thursday night game.
In place since 2006, the current broadcasting contract establishes broadcast partners for each game. The Sunday afternoon games are broadcast either on CBS or Fox. CBS has the broadcast rights for teams in the American Football Conference while Fox has the rights for teams in the National Football Conference. In games where teams from both conferences play each other, the network with the broadcast rights for the "away" team will broadcast the game. In each local television market, three Sunday afternoon games are shown. One of the two networks shows two games back-to-back in each time slot, while the other network has the right to broadcast a single game, showing one game in either time slot; the networks generally alternate weeks (but not always) when each has the right to show both games. In addition to the regular Sunday afternoon games, there are three prime time games each week. The Thursday night game is broadcast by Amazon Prime Video. The Sunday night game is broadcast by NBC, while the Monday night game is broadcast by ESPN/ABC.
The NFL uses a strict scheduling algorithm to determine which teams play each other from year to year, based on the current division alignments and the final division standings from the previous season. The current formula has been in place since 2021, the last year that the NFL expanded its regular season. Generally, each team plays the other three teams in its own division twice, all four teams from a single division in the AFC once, all four teams from a single division in the NFC once, two additional intraconference games, and one additional interconference game.