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Saturday, December 3, 2022

NFL releases 2022 regular season schedule

Noteworthy matchups, international games, fun facts and excitement highlight the NFL schedule release

 

By PATRICK FIGUEROA — sports@theaggie.org

 

On May 12 at 5 p.m. PT, the NFL released the full schedule for the 2022-2023 season. With lots of anticipation for the upcoming season, NFL fans can now see who, when and where teams will play. The NFL schedule features exciting matchups, new horizons and interesting facts.

 

Exciting Week 1 Matchups 

The most highlighted slate of games for the upcoming season are during Week 1. There are multiple matchups that are worth mentioning and will get the season started out with a bang. 

Starting with the NFL regular season opener, quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills will travel to Los Angeles to take on QB Matthew Stafford and the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams. With two explosive offenses, this match has the potential to be a high scoring game. 

It’s also worth mentioning an AFC West divisional showdown between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers in Los Angeles a couple days later. This game will feature several players making debuts for their new teams — elite wide receiver Davante Adams for the Raiders and star edge rusher Khalil Mack for the Chargers. 

Lastly, the Sunday Night Football debut will feature the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Dallas. These teams played a very exciting game last year in the 2021 NFL season opener. NFL fans hope for a similar on-field product, as it features the return of QB Tom Brady after his brief retirement and a hungry Cowboys team led by QB Dak Prescott and versatile defender Micah Parsons. The first week of the NFL season has the potential to be one of the most exciting weeks of the NFL season. 

 

Potential Games of the Year 

Beyond Week 1, there are some games later in the season that have the potential to be the game of the year. 

Starting with a Week 3 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. This game will feature two of the best QBs in NFL history — Packers back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers and Buccaneers seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. The Packers will also have to prove that their new offense, without Davante Adams, can compete with a potential NFC championship contender if they want to make a Super Bowl run. 

Fast forward to Week 13 that will feature a 2021 AFC Championship rematch between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs in Cincinnati. QB Joe Burrow and the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals are determined to make another Super Bowl run, especially after adding players like offensive tackle La’el Collins and offensive guard Alex Cappa during free agency. Meanwhile, QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs aim for a fifth consecutive AFC championship appearance. With an offense that features new players, like WR Juju Smith-Schuster, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and a rejuvenated defense with rookies Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis, this game will be a test for the Chiefs. Regardless, with exciting young QBs and a game with potential playoff implications, this makes for an exciting game. 

Another Week 13 game that is worth mentioning is between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. The Broncos have a talented roster and look to compete in a competitive AFC after adding longtime Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Meanwhile, 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens look to bounce back after an injury-riddled 2021 NFL season. These two hungry teams will likely be competing in a matchup with playoff implications. 

 

Easiest and Hardest Schedule

One of the more interesting stats for NFL fans is the projected strength of schedule for the upcoming season. While the stat is flawed due to the variability from season to season, it is worth examining. 

Two teams are tied for the easiest schedule for the upcoming season, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders (formerly the Washington Football Team). Looking more closely at the schedules for each team, both teams are slated to play two of the weaker divisions in football, the AFC South and the NFC North. It also helps that the NFC East, the division in which both teams play in, is not the strongest division either. However, the NFL season is full of surprises, and what appears to be easy at first glance may be more difficult than originally anticipated.

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Rams are currently projected to have the most difficult schedule for the upcoming season. This makes sense as they play in a tough division with the NFC champion runner-up, the San Francisco 49ers, and a competitive Arizona Cardinals. They are also projected to play a talented AFC West. However, the Rams can also be an example as to why the projected strength of schedule stat is flawed. With opportunities to play a weaker Seattle Seahawks team and a weaker NFC South, the Rams’ schedule is much more manageable than anticipated. 

 

International Games 

NFL teams will be playing five games internationally in London, Mexico City and Munich. A Week 10 Seahawks-Buccaneers game in Munich will be the first NFL game played in Germany in NFL history. Along with this, three games will be played in London, including a Week 4 Vikings-Saints game, a Week 5 Giants-Packers game and a Week 8 Broncos-Jaguars game. Lastly, the 49ers and Cardinals will play in Mexico City during Week 11. All of this is part of the NFL international initiative, where all 32 NFL teams will play at least one international game from the 2022 season to the 2029 season. 

 

Who’s traveling?

One of the more interesting facts for the upcoming NFL season is the amount of traveling that each team will endure. The team projected to travel the most miles in 2022 is the Seattle Seahawks with a total of 29,446 miles and 34 time zone changes. Meanwhile, the team with least projected miles traveled for the upcoming season is the Pittsburgh Steelers with 6,442 miles. However, a notable feature is that the Steelers will not leave the Eastern Time Zone during the 2022 NFL regular season. Any team outside of the Eastern Time Zone will be traveling to Pittsburgh instead. This could be an advantage for a team with a young rookie QB, Kenny Pickett

The release of the upcoming NFL schedule is bittersweet. It gives fans reasons to be excited for the upcoming season, but it is also a reminder that the season is still four months away. However, NFL fans will continue to be excited about what is yet to come. 

 

Written by: Patrick Figueroa — sports@theaggie.org