Top-10 Matchups from the 2022 NFL Season Schedule, Plus the Best and Worst Fantasy Playoff Schedules
With the NFL schedule now set in stone for the 2022 season, we begin the endless speculation that comes with the NFL wheel churning 365 days a year. Let's face it - the content machine never stops.
Still, we can look through the 2022 NFL schedule to find some of the best matchups for this season. There's no doubt that each of these matchups will be chock full of narratives that production teams will create weird graphics for.
Now that that abomination is out of the way let's get into the fantastic NFL matchups we have on tap for the 2022 campaign.
🞂 Week 1: Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC (Thursday)
The first game of the season pits the Bills, who lost a heartbreaking overtime game to the Chiefs in last season’s playoffs and the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams. There will be a ton of pomp and circumstance in SoFi Stadium leading up to the game. With Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, and a laundry list of superstar players suiting up, it’s the perfect opening matchup for the first NFL regular-season game.
🞂 Week 1: Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks, 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC (Monday)
The last game of Week 1 rips the bandage off the wound as the Broncos head to Lumen Field with Russell Wilson’s first game in Seattle as a member of the Broncos. While the game is likely to be heavily favored towards the visiting Broncos, former Broncos Drew Lock and Noah Fant will indeed have something to say about the outcome here. Maybe. Probably not. It’s Drew Lock.
🞂 Week 3: Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX
Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady - “The Final Encounter”... until the next time, when it’s REALLY going to be “The Final Encounter.” We swear.
It’s going to be an excellent FOX late-afternoon game regardless, and the only drawback is that the combined 83 years of age these two quarterbacks will be when their teams square off would be the perfect lead-in to 60 Minutes on CBS. We can’t win them all, but the national television audience will be in for a treat when these two NFC powerhouses meet in Tampa.
🞂 Week 6: Cincinnati Bengals @ New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS
We’re spinning the narrative wheel here, and we’ve landed on a Bayou homecoming for former LSU and current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow led the LSU Tigers to a National Championship just three seasons ago and hasn’t been to New Orleans for an NFL contest until Week 6. It seems weird that it’s stuck in the doldrums of the early-afternoon slate of NFL games, but it should be a very entertaining game between the Super Bowl runner-up Bengals and the post-Payton New Orleans Saints.
🞂 Week 6: Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
We already spoke of the heartbreaking loss the Bills suffered at the hands of the Chiefs 42-36 at Arrowhead Stadium in last season’s playoffs, so let’s do it all over again in Week 6 with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on CBS.
It was indeed one of the wildest ending sequences to a game in recent memory, so with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes (without Tyreek Hill this time) slinging the football, we’re hoping we get a game half as good as the AFC Divisional Round contest.
🞂 Week 10: Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX
Even though it seems like Mike McCarthy has been around as the Cowboys' head coach for a long time, McCarthy will lead the Cowboys against the Packers for the first time since his 2018 in-season firing as the Packers’ head coach.
Of course, both the Cowboys and Packers are NFC contenders, so the McCarthy wrinkle is a bonus to an already classic rivalry. The Packers have been the dominant team lately, posting wins in eight of the last nine games against Dallas.
🞂 Week 15: New England Patriots @ Las Vegas Raiders, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC (Sunday)
We can call this “The McDaniels Bowl” as Josh McDaniels now dons the silver and black of the Raiders as Las Vegas’ head coach. Bill Belichick brings the Patriots and will match up against his longtime offensive coordinator.
The Sunday Night Football narrative machine will be in full effect for this game. But, if you remember, the McDaniels-led Denver Broncos did beat the Patriots as head coach in 2009, so we’ll see if lightning can strike twice in Week 15.
🞂 Week 16: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams, 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS/Nickelodeon (Christmas Day)
As a Christmas present from the NFL, we’ll be getting one of the buzziest teams this offseason heading to SoFi Stadium to meet the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
On CBS, we’ll be getting the consistently excellent combo of Nantz and Romo; on Nickelodeon, we’ll be seeing who gets “slimed.” The Nickelodeon simulcast is always an entertaining affair, but this game should have plenty of playoff implications for this intra-conference showdown.
🞂 Week 17: Los Angeles Rams @ Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC (Sunday)
In “The Battle of SoFi,” the Rams and Chargers will face off for the first time since both teams moved to Los Angeles. Not only that, it features two of the best offenses in the league and two of the marquee quarterbacks in one of the largest media markets.
The Chargers are technically the “home team,” but we’ll see if the crowd is split 50/50 or if the Rams’ recent Super Bowl victory gives them the advantage.
Week 17: Buffalo Bills @ Cincinnati Bengals, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC (Monday)
The final game of Week 17 pits the Bills and Bengals together in the first of hopefully many matchups between Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. If there’s a week for “Manningcast,” make it this one, PLEASE.
The Top-5 Best Fantasy Football Playoff Schedules in 2022
@ NY Jets
@ NY Giants
@ NY Jets
If you have running backs like Breece Hall, Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift, and Travis Etienne, you're loving life when the schedule came out yesterday. The only issue is Indianapolis' Week 14 bye, which could be troublesome if you're on the playoff bubble and have to win that week to advance without Taylor. However, if you can get to the fantasy playoff weeks without Taylor, it's pretty smooth sailing for the presumptive top overall pick in fantasy football.
Hall, in particular, is one of my favorite picks out of the "running back dead zone" starting in the fourth round, as his talent should immediately leapfrog over 2021 fourth-round draft pick Michael Carter, who was the most productive Jets running back last season. The bull case with any rookie running back with hurdles to three-down work is that talent wins out or an injury allows them to pick up significant high-value touches (red-zone work, goal-line touches, and receiving work) needed to pay off average draft position (ADP).
Kansas City has the most challenging schedule in the NFL, per Sharp Football Stats, but their playoff schedule is incredibly favorable. The rub is that it could be Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones, a wild-card running back, or a horrendous workload split that benefits nobody.
The Top-5 Worst Fantasy Football Playoff Schedules in 2022
@ New England
@ LA Rams
@ Kansas City
@ Tampa Bay
@ New England
Houston features one of the more difficult NFL schedules this season, so long-time NFL head coach Lovie Smith will find it tough to get their skeleton crew roster going all season - especially with their skill-position players in the fantasy football playoffs. Right now, it's looking like Brandin Cooks and potentially rookie Dameon Pierce or Marlon Mack shouldering the bulk of the carries, so it's unlikely these players will be starting on your roster in the playoffs other than Cooks.
I'm not touching Miami's backfield, now featuring the ghost of Sony Michel to an already ambiguous backfield. I'm certainly not touching them against three of the top-10 run defenses in the league last season.
Cincinnati presents an interesting case of how talented they are on offense. Still, with Tampa, New England, and Buffalo on the docket, it could either be one of those "throw defenses out the window" games or one to temper expectations on the offensive side of the ball.
Considering how talented the Buccaneers and Bills are on offense, I'll lean to the former, despite how challenging the matchups are on paper.
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