NFL Schedule Release: Best Matchups, Most Anticipated Games of 2022

NFL Schedule Release: Best Matchups, Most Anticipated Games of 2022

After weeks of breadcrumb-dropping, the NFL officially released the full 2022 schedule on Thursday night. With plenty of marquee matchups, revenge narratives and big-name faces in new places, the season promises to be as action-packed as any in recent history.

Having combed through the schedule, our panel of experts each selected the three games they're most looking forward to watching in 2022:

Nick Whalen

Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Week 5 – Sunday, October 9

When these teams last met, back in October, they combined for 89 points – 41 of which came in the fourth quarter alone. The Chargers escaped with a 47-42 victory behind 398 yards and four touchdowns from Justin Herbert, as well as a monster afternoon (8 catches, 165 yards, 2 TD) by Mike Williams. The Chargers only improved this offseason, while Cleveland could be a significantly more dangerous offense with Deshaun Watson – assuming he's available – under center.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 6 – Sunday, October 16

Bills-Rams in Week 1 also deserves a mention here, but this rematch of last year's AFC Divisional showdown has the makings of another all-timer. The new-look Chiefs may have lost a bit of firepower but should still be among the AFC's top contenders, while the Bills are the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl (+650). This game will likely mean more to Bills, but the fact that it's in Kansas City – the same site as last year's classic –

After weeks of breadcrumb-dropping, the NFL officially released the full 2022 schedule on Thursday night. With plenty of marquee matchups, revenge narratives and big-name faces in new places, the season promises to be as action-packed as any in recent history.

Having combed through the schedule, our panel of experts each selected the three games they're most looking forward to watching in 2022:

Nick Whalen

Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Week 5 – Sunday, October 9

When these teams last met, back in October, they combined for 89 points – 41 of which came in the fourth quarter alone. The Chargers escaped with a 47-42 victory behind 398 yards and four touchdowns from Justin Herbert, as well as a monster afternoon (8 catches, 165 yards, 2 TD) by Mike Williams. The Chargers only improved this offseason, while Cleveland could be a significantly more dangerous offense with Deshaun Watson – assuming he's available – under center.

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 6 – Sunday, October 16

Bills-Rams in Week 1 also deserves a mention here, but this rematch of last year's AFC Divisional showdown has the makings of another all-timer. The new-look Chiefs may have lost a bit of firepower but should still be among the AFC's top contenders, while the Bills are the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl (+650). This game will likely mean more to Bills, but the fact that it's in Kansas City – the same site as last year's classic – only adds to the intrigue.

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Week 13 – Sunday, December 4

By this point in the season, we'll have a pretty good idea of where these teams are headed, but this is a matchup that could have massive playoff implications – especially for Denver in the ultra-competitive AFC West. While the Steelers may (finally) take a step back, the AFC North may not be too far behind, especially if Lamar Jackson can stay healthy.

Note: Let the record show I exercised extreme restraint and did not choose Jaguars-Commanders (Week 1).

John McKechnie

Los Angeles Chargers at Indianapolis Colts

Week 16 - Monday, December 26

Outside of it being played in a dome, this game has all the ingredients for a late-season classic. Primetime. Playoff implications. Great quarterback play. Jonathan Taylor. Not having to worry about making my family mad at me for watching football because it's technically not Christmas anymore. Outside of the Bills and Chiefs, these may be the two best teams in the AFC and this game will shape that conference's playoff picture. I can't wait. 

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 9 - Sunday, November 6

A rematch of one of the best games from last year's postseason with the defending Super Bowl champs going back to Tampa Bay to face Tom Brady and the Bucs sets up as one of the best non-primetime games on the schedule. These are the two most recent Super Bowl Champions with rosters ready to make another run at the Lombardi. It's also just one of two games in the late afternoon window that week, so we won't even have FOMO for not keeping up with tons of action elsewhere. Drew Lock vs. the Cardinals can be safely tucked away on your second TV. 

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Week 5 - Sunday, October 9

Did you really think you'd get through my section without some Ravens talk? This is a budding rivalry with two of the best young quarterbacks in the league going head to head. Baltimore had owned the series in 2019 and 2020, winning all four games by a combined score of 137-36. Cincinnati took out its frustrations last year with a pair of whoopings highlighted by a 41-21 drubbing in December that wasn't as close as the score would suggest. We get this one in primetime at the Big Crab Cake and it doesn't get much better than that.

Alan Seslowsky

New York Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 3 – Sunday, September 25

The Jets stunned the AFC Champion Bengals in Week 7 last year. The Jets added offensive fire power in the draft with WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall. New York gets Corey Davis and Elijah Moore back healthy too. This matchup has sneaky shootout possibility. The Bengals have four elite offensive players in Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon. Sports bettors will want to bet the OVER! 

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 6 – Sunday, October 16

Last year's playoff matchup between these two juggernauts is arguably the best game ever played in NFL history. The NFL had to change the overtime rules as a result of that game. Though the Chiefs have a slightly downgraded group of pass catchers without Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes vs Josh Allen is must see TV. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 13 – Sunday, December 4

Who doesn't like a revenge narrative? The Titans opted not to pay star WR A.J. Brown this offseason. They traded him to the Eagles in exchange for a first round pick. They turned that pick into Arkansas rookie WR Treylon Burks. We get to watch AJ Brown punish the team who decided he wasn't worth the big payday in the prime of his career. Viewers also will get a taste of what the A.J. Brown replacement, Burks,  can do when he gets the ball in space. 

Jim Coventry

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams

Week 16 – Sunday, December 25

While many will circle Russell Wilson's return to Seattle as his most compelling matchup, this is a big game for Denver's new QB. Over the last three years, he's had three games without a TD pass, and guess who the opponent was in each? You guessed it…the Rams. Were his struggles against them due to Seattle's offense, or do the Rams have his number? 

New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders

Week 15 – Sunday, December 18

For the last 10 years, Josh McDaniels was the OC for the Patriots, and he'll face his old team in Las Vegas. Does anyone know Bill Belichick's defensive tendencies better than McDaniels? Does Belichick already know how the Raiders will game plan? If McDaniels has success, it could provide a blueprint for other teams that play the Patriots should they make the playoffs.

Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers

Week 10 – Sunday, November 13

Even though they missed the playoffs last year, Justin Herbert could become the best QB in the game, and L.A. upgraded their defense, making them my personal Super Bowl favorite. They'll face a 49ers team that squeaked into the playoffs before coming up just short of winning the NFC. I'm looking at this game as Round 1 that will have a rematch in February for a chance to hoist the Lombardi trophy.

Ryan Wollersheim

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings

Week 1 – Sunday, September 11 

How the Packers' offense will function after the departure of star wideout Davante Adams is one of the biggest question marks across the NFL heading into next season. Given Minnesota's much-needed offseason influx of help of the defensive side of the ball, including former-Packer Za'Darius Smith, there a lot of unknowns for both teams that will likely be answered in this Week 1 divisional matchup. Whichever teams takes this season-opener may will almost certainly be the one laying claim to the NFC North by season's end.

Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 17 – Monday, January 2 (Monday Night Football) 

Two years ago, this game would have been buried so deep in the Sunday slate of games that it would have been almost impossible to provide evidence that it ever actually happened. Now, Bengals-Bills in Week 17 may have true implications for top seeding in the AFC Playoffs. It will also feature one of the most exciting quarterback matchups of the years as Joe Burrow and Josh Allen meet up for the first time in their ascending careers.  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 1 – Sunday, September 11 (Sunday Night Football) 

The NFL's biggest brand in Tom Brady going up against Jerry Jones' Cowboys will always attract immense interest from fans and pundits alike and this game will be no exception. Brady will be at the helm for Tampa Bay against Dallas for the second time in two seasons and, if this Week 1 matchup comes close to last year's 31-29 slugfest, everyone will want to make sure and have their popcorn ready.   

Maybe FOX can put their $375 million investment to good use by hooking up an action camera to Brady's helmet and allow him to commentate live on his own in-game performance – just in case this one wasn't already enough of a ratings giant.  

Mike Doria

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

Week 12 – Thursday, December 1 (Thursday Night Football)

With no games against Tom Brady and the Bucs on New England's schedule, the Patriots fan in me wants to see how the team I cheer for fares against Buffalo, the defending AFC East champs. The teams square off against each other in both Week 13 and Week 18, and while that Jan. 8 tilt could of course have some serious playoff implications, it's equally possible that it could feature some season finale randomness for one or both squads. A lot can happen between now and the beginning of December, but it wouldn't surprise me if that TNF game ends up being a pivotal contest that lives up to the hype.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 4 – Monday, October 2 (Sunday Night Football)

A week after they face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, which could be a pretty fun game, the Buccaneers will host the Chiefs. Brady versus Mahomes, a matchup featuring a couple of generational talents. And it's on Sunday night, so it'll be easy to focus on that intriguing contest with the early games out of the way.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 17 – Sunday, January 1

For my third choice, I decided to check out the Week 17 schedule because there will be plenty of games with tons on the line. Denver at Kansas City could be huge. So could Los Angeles against Los Angeles or Buffalo at Cincinnati. So I'm underlining those games in pencil and closer to the date, I promise I'll highlight one.

Paul Martinez

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 3 – Sunday, September 25

When Tom Brady retired in the offseason, even Brady haters sensed that a void would blanket the league this season.  Happily, Brady subsequently unretired, giving us at least another year of normalcy. Brady's back-and-forth was a good reminder that all-time great quarterbacks don't grow on trees. This could be the final matchup ever between these two legends at their position.  

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills

Week 6 – Sunday, October 16

The last time these two teams met, Kansas City emerged with an overtime victory in arguably the greatest NFL postseason game ever played. That matchup left fans everywhere salivating for more – so much so that the league subsequently changed its playoff overtime rules in a manner that would have given the Bills at least one more possession in January's epic clash. Expect another dynamic battle in Week 6, as both teams figure to be among the best in the AFC again this season. 

Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 8 – Sunday, October 30

This re-emerging rivalry gave us two nail-biters last season, including the Rams' 20-17 win in the NFC Championship Game. Both teams are expected to compete for supremacy in the conference again during the upcoming campaign, though San Francisco will feature a different look on offense with Trey Lance expected to replace Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. A fun detail to pay attention to in this matchup is the ratio of 49ers fans to Rams fans at SoFi Stadium after the home crowd appeared outnumbered by their Northern California counterparts in the conference championship game in January. 

Joe Bartel

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week 2 – Thursday, September 15 (Thursday Night Football)

This is going to be a make-or-break season for the Chargers. After a number of major defensive additions this offseason, Justin Herbert doesn't have many excuses left to field a playoff-level team. Plus this is the first game for Amazon's new "Thursday Night Football" push. I don't know if Amazon's near-excessive financial foray is going to suddenly make me like Thursday games more, but I'll admit it does have me more intrigued than the typical Jaguars/Texans palooza.  

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 13 – Sunday, December 4

There's a ton of really obvious choices which I'm sure my other colleagues will cover, but I'm sneakily really interested in this contest. By this point the Eagles could realistically only have a couple of losses and look like the kings of the NFC L-East. The Titans conversely should be hanging on by a thread for a playoff spot in the uber-competitive AFC. Plus we get the AJ Brown/Titans drama which will be fun on every sort of level.

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 17 – Sunday, January 1

I'm not entirely sure either of these teams will be the worst in the NFL, but I'm reasonably convinced they'll be in the running. Hopefully by this point we'll have the likes of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or someone else will emerge as the clear-cut No. 1 QB in the 2023 class and we can have fun with all sorts of tank-related names. At the very least, it's a Week 17 contest between two bad teams – something memorable is almost guaranteed to happen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joe Bartel
Joe Bartel is RotoWire's Operations Specialist and football contributor among many other things. When not at the office, he's probably playing a variety of Gen 4 console games or rooting on his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Jim Coventry
Coventry covers football for RotoWire. He started playing fantasy football in 1994 and won a national contest in 1996. He also nabbed five top-50 finishes in national contests from 2008 to 2012 before turning his attention to DFS. A published author, Coventry wrote a book about relationships, "The Secret of Life", in 2013.
Mike Doria
NFL Editor for RotoWire. Roots for the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and the underdog. Plus the McGill Redmen.
Paul Martinez
Paul joined Rotowire in 2019 as a contributor of baseball content. He has been playing fantasy sports since the turn of the century and is the first three-sport winner in the esteemed Couch Wars league. He considers Dodger Stadium his second home during baseball season.
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
Alan Seslowsky
Alan's passion for fantasy sports, depth of player analysis, and curiosity about the details are the pillars of his broadcasting style. He is a three time champion of the NFFC's "Beat Chris Liss" high stakes contest. In addition to RotoWire, Alan has contributed analysis and commentary for DFS Army, Dynasty Depot and RosterWatch.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
Ryan Wollersheim
2022 University of Wisconsin graduate and blind lover of all things college football. Also an unbiased observer of NFL, CFB, NBA and CBB for all teams not located in the cheese capital of the world.
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