The NFL has released the schedule, and now that we officially know every matchup, we can really get excited about the upcoming season. Thought let’s face it, we’ve been excited for the 2022 season since the clock struck 0:00 in Super Bowl LVI.
Looking at the games for the upcoming 18-week regular season, it’s clear some games will be better than others, though we have been surprised before.
Before these teams even play a snap, some matchups are getting a lot of attention. I analyzed the 2022 NFL schedule and after some tough cuts, I narrowed it down to the 10 best games we will see next year, from the obvious to the not so obvious.
Apologizes in advance if your team did not make the cut.
Buccaneers vs. Chiefs: Week 4
Tom Brady? Patrick Mahomes? A Super Bowl LV rematch? sign me up. It’s the old GOAT vs. the young superstar and if this game does not entertain it will be the shock of the season.
The game is slated for “Sunday Night Football”, so no matter where you are, you’ll be able to tune in for this QB face-off.
Brady and Mahomes have met five times, with Brady winning the first regular-season meeting, the 2018 AFC Championship and Super Bowl LV. Mahomes won two regular-season games against Brady and the Patriots between the 2018 AFC Championship and Super Bowl.
Buccaneers vs. Packers: Week 3
Maybe I should’ve just done a Tom Brady section. Brady facing off against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be a must-see game this season, so put it on your calendars now. Just a few months ago Brady was retired, and before that Rodgers’ future in Green Bay was unclear, but both players have returned to their rightful teams and should give us an offensive showdown.
This will also be a rematch of the 2020 NFC Championship, where the Bucs beat the Packers in Green Bay to head to the Super Bowl as the first home team in the championship.
Rodgers, who is pressed for time to win another ring, will have pressure on him going up against the other top NFC QB.
Patriots vs. Raiders Week 15
This matchup will be Patriots head coach Bill Belichick against his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Former Patriots quarterback Jared Stidham will also be reunited with his old teammates, but unless Raiders quarterback Derek Carr gets hurt or there’s a blowout, the latest Vegas addition to the quarterback room will not see any playing time.
Defeating his old coordinator and winning against a good team on the road will help Mac Jones make the case that he is “that guy” for New England.
The NFL clearly agrees that this is a game to watch, because they put it on “Sunday Night Football.”
Bills vs. Rams: Week 1
I just could not leave a banner ceremony game out, especially when it involves a team that won the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
The Rams will kick off the 2022 season by hosting the Bills on Sept. 8 at SoFi Stadium, where they won it all against the Bengals in February.
This is also a great AFC vs. NFC battle and dare I say it could be another possible Super Bowl preview? It’s an early prediction, but a very possible one.
The Rams have the key components they had last season and could make it back to the big game under head coach Sean McVay, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time until Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen and Co. advance to the Super Bowl.
Bills vs. Packers: Week 8
Well, what do we have here… ANOTHER possible Super Bowl preview?! Yes, that is what we have. How exciting for us.
These are two of the top teams in their conference and with Allen and Rodgers running these offenses we should be in for a treat.
The Bills should have been to a Super Bowl with Allen now if you ask me, or most people, and Rodgers should have a lot more than one ring. These teams are two that I am putting the most pressure on heading into the season.
I have no skin in the game for this matchup, but my only hope for is it goes to overtime and ends with some wild play.
Ravens vs. Bengals: Week 5 and Week 18
This divisional matchup is one of a team that really itself last season (Bengals) against a team that struggled last season due to proved injury, but has a solid chance of turning things around as playoff hopefuls this year (Ravens).
The Bengals’ 2021 season was no fluke and I expect them to be AFC North division winners. The Ravens obviously need to stay healthy, but quarterback Lamar Jackson can rise to the top of the quarterback conversation again this year.
Facing a divisional opponent and the defending AFC champions is important and being able to split or win both the matchups, or at least come close in each game, will show the league that the Ravens are here to compete for real this time around.
Chargers vs. Broncos: Week 6 and 18
Let’s keep up this divisional matchup theme, shall we?
I’ve liked what the Chargers have been building and while in the past they have not had enough to extend their season to the playoffs, their time is coming. Quarterback Justin Herbert has real talent and this year will not be easy for LA, with the AFC West stacked with top QBs.
Divisional wins are crucial in what many are arguing is the best division in football this year.
On the other side of the ball are the Broncos, who haven’t been the topic of playoff conversation in recent history, but with quarterback Russell Wilson now leading the offense, that has all changed.
This is another case of someone from the older generation of top quarterbacks going against someone from the new generation of top quarterbacks and I am here for it.
Steelers vs. Browns: Week 3 and Week 18
This will not be the best as far as X’s and O’s goes, but I’m in this one for the drama.
These teams are not exactly fond of one another, and judging by the fact that Steelers’ Chase Claypool mentioned the Browns before making the team’s pick at the NFL Draft shows me that playoff loss two seasons ago still stings for Pittsburgh.
This will also be an interesting watch from a quarterback standpoint, with both teams entering a new era behind center. The Browns went all-in on Deshaun Watson and with Ben Roethlisberger retiring, the Steelers are hoping first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett is their future.
These divisional matchups are not ones with the greatest quarterbacks, but they have a history of rivalry and enough unknowns that make these two games interesting.
The Browns may not be the team we all thought they would be at this point, once showing Super Bowl hopes and now showing, well, not that, but they have some good games in their future. An honorable mention for the Browns is against Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans in Week 13.
Cardinals vs. Rams: Week 3 and Week 10
The last time these two teams met it did not go so well for quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
In last season’s Wild Card round, Murray threw for two interceptions and no touchdowns in a performance that left no one impressed. The Rams went on to win convincingly 34-11 en route to winning the Super Bowl.
Los Angeles will have the upper hand, and there are a lot of questions still about Murray’s future success in the league, but we all know divisional games can throw curveballs (baseball pun for Kyler).
Seahawks vs. Broncos: Week 1
CBS Sports’ own Bryan DeArdo has this as one of his best revenge game of the season, and I just couldn’t resist putting it here as well. Any time a big-name player faces their former team, especially just one offseason removed from the trade, it is a matchup to watch.
Forget the actual game, though that will be riveting, compelling, exhilarating and all the vocabulary words you can throw at it. I want to take a second to talk about the off-the-field moments this matchup will bring us.
We will have a Wilson reunion with his former head coach Pete Carroll, pregame and postgame quotes from both sides on what it is like to face a former player and a former team and No. 3 heading back to play in front of the fans he called his own for his entire career so far. And all of that does not even include what will actually happen when the clock is running.
Hopefully for the Broncos’ sake, Wilson going back to Lumen Field does not get him back into the habit of throwing to the guys in blue and green rather than the guys in orange.
All in all, I see this “Monday Night Football: game being one to watch.