NFL Hits the Ground Running to Open 2022 Season
The NFL doesn’t believe in a slow build-up as the list of compelling games during the first week of the 2022 NFL season should be enough to get the football fans around the country and the world, fired up. The release of the 2022 NFL schedule is generating plenty of attention.
The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams have the toughest schedule while NFC East rivals Dallas and Washington are considered to have the earliest slate of games.
Here’s a look at some of the storylines coming out of the 2022 NFL schedule release.
Not Bad for Starters
The 2022 NFL season will likely open with the Buffalo Bills and defending champion Los Angeles Rams favored to meet in the Super Bowl.
The teams won’t be strangers as the release of the 2022 NFL schedule has the Rams and Bills playing in the first game of the season on September 8.
Von Miller, acquired during the season to help the Rams reach the promised land, is now a member of the Buffalo Bills.
Most of the Super Bowl-winning team returns for the Rams, although left tackle Andrew Whitworth did retire. There is a change at receiver with Allen Robinson coming in and Robert Woods leaving.
Offensive lineman Rodger Safford joins Miller as the high-profile veteran additions.
Wilson Returning to Familiar Site
Few offseason moves generated more attention than the Seattle Seahawks trading franchise quarterback Russell Wilson for three players and a ton of draft picks.
Wilson will be making his Denver debut in a familiar setting when he leads the visiting Broncos into Seattle in the first Monday Night Football game of the season. Wilson was a Pro Bowl selection in nine of his 10 seasons as Seattle’s starting quarterback.
Drew Lock, part of the trade for Wilson, figures to be the opposing quarterback in a game that might generate just a tad bit of hype. Few games on the 2022 NFL schedule are more anticipated than this one.
What an Opening Week
As if the Bills-Rams and Broncos-Seahawks games aren’t enough for fans to digest on the opening week of the NFL season, how about divisional showdowns between the Steelers and reigning AFC champion Bengals, the Patriots and Dolphins, Raiders playing at the Chargers, and Packers traveling to meet rival Minnesota?
It would be hard to imagine that the 2022 NFL schedule could have a better opening week.
Plenty of Early Challenges for AFC Favorites
The Week 7 bye might be coming at the most opportune time for the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo kicks off the 2022 season by playing the Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Raven, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs. Four of those contests will be on the road.
The Bills are a popular pick to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Jim Kelly days. If they survive that early slate of games, they might indeed, return to the Super Bowl.
Defending AFC champion Cincinnati has a different schedule outlook,
Four of the first six games for a Cincinnati Bengals team coming off a run to the Super Bowl will be on the road including a divisional showdown with Baltimore
The Bengals would be well advised to pick up some early wins because the combined regular-season record of Cincinnati’s final seven opponents is 74-45.
December Showdown Features top NFL Draft Picks
However, that Week 13 game takes on added significance as it features the top two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars went with Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker with the top pick allowing the Lions to gladly select former Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson with the second selection.
With the game coming so late in the season, it will give the draft second-guessers plenty of information to wade through to determine which player should have been the first off the draft board. The Las Vegas odds list Hutchinson (+450) as the favorite to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Walker is third at +600.
Quarterbacks Highlight Super-Sized Week 4 Matchup
When Patrick Mahomes faced Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, a popular talking point was whether Mahomes would finish his career with more championships than Brady. Brady came away with ring No. 7 in that game, leaving Mahomes with plenty of work to do.
The quarterbacks will share the spotlight yet again in a Week 4 showdown in Tampa.
Mahomes and the Chiefs will get both the teams that played in the most recent Super Bowl in back-to-back weeks meeting the Rams on Nov. 27 and then traveling to play Cincinnati on December 4.
The Stafford-Rodgers Matchup Could be Worth the Wait
Add the Green Bay Packers to the teams facing the last two Super Bowl winners.
There will be a late-September game in Tampa Bay. Less than a week before Christmas, football fans will get an early present when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers welcome Matthew Stafford and the current Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams to Lambeau Field.
Twelve of the Rams’ 17 games during the regular season will come against teams with winning records during the 2021 season including the Green Bay contest. That will begin with the season opener against Buffalo. The closest the Rams get to a break is a Week 6 home game against Carolina followed by a Week 7 bye.
Cowboys to Deal With a Nasty 1-2 Punch – Out of The Gate
How good will the 2022 Dallas Cowboys be? It shouldn’t take long to figure that out considering that the first games of the season are against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals. Both games will be at home for Dallas.
There is already a certain amount of pressure on a Dallas team that perpetually underachieves in the postseason so just imagine the environment if Dallas limps out to an 0-2 start.
No game on the Dallas schedule figures to draw as much buzz as a Week 10 trip to Green Bay. It will mark the return of Dallas coach Mike McCarthy to Green Bay. McCarthy won 125 games and a Super Bowl title in his 13 seasons as the head coach of the Packers.
Cardinals Tested Early
There is more than a little bit of drama with the Cardinals surrounding quarterback Kyler Murray. Arizona and Murray will be put to the test early on when it opens the 2022 season against Kansas City. After traveling to Vegas to meet the Raiders, a Week 3 showdown against division rival and Super Bowl champion Los Angeles is next.
The mood of the team and its quarterback wouldn’t be helped by an 0-3 or 1-2 start to the 2022 season.Follow us on Twitter