6 - A team plays the three other teams in their division twice, one game at home and one game away. This occurs each season.
- AFC West Example: The Denver Broncos play the San Diego Chargers,
the Oakland Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs twice each
season, once at home and once away.
4 - A team plays the four teams in another division in their conference once. This occurs every three seasons.
- The AFC West play teams in the AFC North in 2012. They
played the AFC East in 2011 and the AFC South in 2010.
4 - A team plays the four teams in a division in the other conference once. This occurs every four seasons.
- The AFC West play teams in the NFC South in 2012, They
played the NFC North in 2011, the NFC West in 2010, and the NFC East
2 - A team plays two teams in the two divisions in their conference they don't play based on their standings the previous season. This happens each season and opponents vary as standings vary from season to season.
- AFC West Example: The Denver Broncos finished first-place in the AFC
West in 2011. Therefore, they play the first-place teams from the AFC
South (Houston Texans) and the AFC East (New England Patriots) in 2012 - they
already play teams in the AFC North.
16 - The number of games in a NFL regular-season, since 1977(1). 8 games are played at home and 8 games are played away.
This NFL schedule procedure has been used since the 2002 season(2), in which the NFL realigned the league with the addition of the Houston Texans. As a result, the NFL's 32 teams were divided into eight four-team divisions with four divisions within each conference(1).
- American Football Conference (AFC) North, South, East, and West
- National Football Conference (NFC) North, South, East, and West