The NFL still intends to release its schedule in early May, and the league has said throughout the hope is to still have a full schedule.
That doesn’t mean they’re blind to the realities that the COVID-19 outbreak could change things.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, a source said “it should be fairly obvious when the NFL schedule for the 2020 season is released how it could be shortened if needed.”
Ostensibly, that would include backloading the schedule with division games, and putting interconference games early in the schedule, and keeping home and road games balanced in the early stages.
If that’s the route they go, and the NFL suddenly has to lop two or four games (or whatever amount) off the front of the schedule, it would prevent competitive balance issues.
Building the schedule that way adds a layer of complication, but that’s what they’ve been working on during the time between the normal mid-April unveiling and the anticipated May 8 or 9 release.
It also mirrors what NBC’s Peter King initially reported, that the league would consider 12-game and 14-game alternatives in case health concerns prevent a full 16-game slate.