2021 NFL Bye Week Tracker

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Ryan Murphy

October 7th, 2021

Stay on top of which National Football League teams are in action from week to week with our handy NFL Bye Week Tracker.

What is a bye week?

A bye week is a week in the NFL schedule where a select number of teams do not play. The expanded 2021 NFL season consists of 18 weeks, and every team will play 17 games and have a single bye week for rest and recovery. Or soul searching, in the case of the Detroit Lions.

When does the bye week schedule begin?

The bye week schedule begins in Week 6 when the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers get the week off for good behavior, and carries through until Week 14 when the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles get a breather. 

Does every NFL team have a bye week?

Yup, every team gets a bye week, even those that are actively tanking. We're looking at you, Jacksonville.

How does the NFL determine its bye week schedule?

You really like asking questions, don't you? The league takes a number of factors into consideration. Teams that travel to foreign markets like London or Mexico City generally get a bye week immediately afterwards. Teams that play on Monday or Thursday often receive a bye week so they can avoid a quick turnaround. The NFL also tries to ensure at one least one team from every big market is in action, so you won't see the Chargers and Rams, or Jets and Giants having the same week off (even if it does seem like the Jets sometimes take entire months of the season off).

When did the NFL introduce bye weeks?

The NFL introduced the bye week in 1960 when the league had an odd number of teams, and dutifully continued the practice until 1966. It reintroduced the concept in 1990 and, much like Al Michaels, it's been going strong ever since.

How many NFL teams have a bye week at the same time?

That depends. Most weeks it's between two and four clubs, but a season-high six teams will have the week off on Oct. 24.

2021 NFL Bye Week Schedule

Oct. 17
Falcons, Saints, Jets, 49ers
Oct. 24
Bills, Cowboys, Vikings, Steelers, Chargers, Jaguars
Oct. 31
Raiders, Ravens
Nov. 7
Lions, Seahawks, Bucs, WFT
Nov. 14
Bears, Bengals, Giants, Texans
Nov. 21
Broncos, Rams
Nov. 28
Chiefs, Cardinals
Dec. 5
Browns, Packers, Titans, Panthers
Dec. 12
Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles