Five takeaways from the NFL schedule release
Hats off to the NFL. He knows how to sell his product. Not only did the league turn the combine and the draft into massive spectacles, but they also managed to make their full schedule a major event.
Opponents and locations have been known for months. Leaks confirming the dates seeped in throughout the morning. Yet the NFL was still able to turn its prime-time broadcast into an expected and lively event. The entire production was a big win for content (like this blog post you’re reading), with the NFL, the team’s social media managers making the most of it ambitious swings (and impressive), and the networks that will broadcast the matches:
Everyone wins, except the sports fan whose appetite isn’t satisfied by basketball, hockey, soccer or baseball. Those hungry aficionados will have to wait until September 8, when the defending champion Rams host betting favorite Bills to open the new season in a potential Super Bowl preview. In the meantime, here are five takeaways from the release of the 2022 calendar:
Prepare for some awkward encounters in Week 1.
One of the staples of NFL offseason content is Danny Heifetz’s QB Commitment Index. This year, Heifetz described the Broncos couple and Russell Wilson as “Hot and Heavy.” For the opening Monday night football Game of the season, Wilson and the Broncos will begin their partnership in front of the dropped lover, the Seattle Seahawks… in Seattle! As Steven Ruiz recently detailed, the Seahawks are entering a post-Wilson rebound phase with Drew Lock and Geno Smith poised to fight for the starting gig. It will be strange to see Wilson the opposite of Seattle. In prime time, we’ll learn if Wilson or the Seahawks have any grudges.
It’s a bit of a prediction, but the Browns will travel to face the Panthers in Week 1. Cleveland will still field Baker Mayfield, which Carolina would have does not have “100 [percent] close the door to negotiation. There’s still a chance that Mayfield could be traded before the season and end up with Carolina, which would make for another rematch right off the bat.
There are also a few other smaller grudge matches to open the season. The Rams will welcome Von Miller, who signed with Buffalo after winning a Super Bowl with Los Angeles last season. QB Commanders Carson Wentz also face the Jaguars, who knocked Wentz and the Colts out of the playoffs last season.
Christmas soccer? Christmas Soccer!
The NFL is once again crushing your Christmas traditions with a triple header of hot weather matchups: The Bucs will visit the Cardinals; the Packers will visit the Dolphins; and the Broncos will visit the Rams in a game that will air on Nickelodeon.
The NFL is actually doing its best to exceed or join the NBA’s annual rotations and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Last year, the Shield comfortably towered over their sporting contemporaries; Browns Packers (28.59 million viewers) and Colts-Cardinals (12.62 million) were head-to-head ahead of the NBA’s quadruple series of matchups.
The Chiefs and Rams face strong surges to the Super Bowl.
Based on projected win totalsthe Chiefs and Rams have the toughest 2022 schedules:
calendar strength update
as the betting market changes, so does SOS
this is updated as of today
teams with the easiest passage from 2021 ➡️ 2022?
the teams with the hardest passage of 2021 ➡️ 2022?
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 12, 2022
Let’s start with the leaders. Kansas City is an ongoing contender with Patrick Mahomes and Co. having achieved the AFC Championship in each of the past four seasons, including two Super Bowl appearances and one championship. But with the AFC West becoming the most exciting and challenging division in football, the Chiefs’ path is clouded. Add competition against playoff-caliber teams such as the Colts, Bucs, Bills, Titans, Rams and Bengals, and it’s easy to see why Kansas City’s schedule is rated very tough.
A season-ending two-game measuring stick with back-to-back weeks against champions, I’m told.
– Chiefs get Super Bowl champion Rams Week 12
– Chiefs get AFC champion Bengals Week 13
— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) May 12, 2022
On paper, the Rams, defending champions, have only a little easier. NFC West may not be as tough as it was a few years ago, but Los Angeles will also face the Bills (season opener), Packers, Broncos and Chargers (weeks 15-17, respectively) . If the Rams are going to repeat, they will have to overcome a tough slate in the regular season.
Germany gets the GOAT.
One of the first teams that comes to mind when thinking of the NFL in London is the Jaguars, who have won two (2) seasons since the league started playing there in 2007. Jags fans in the US have taken issue with the franchise’s 2020 lineupwhen the team played two residence Games in London. And while fans across the pond didn’t protest, it’s easy to argue that London-based NFL fans shouldn’t have been subjected to a double dose of a team. to a victory.
When the NFL first considered expanding its overseas footprint into Germany, you might have thought that a modest East Coast franchise, like the Jets or the Giants (sorry, y’all), would have been the choice. Instead, the NFL is sending its greatest player of all time to Tom Brady, who will run a good Bucs team against a decent Seahawks opponent.
And, surewith Brady visiting Munich, history will be on the line. The 44-year-old could become the first QB to win a game in four different countries, having already won in the United States, Mexico and England. As if he doesn’t have enough records – on and off the pitch – already.
New broadcast teams will have plenty of opportunities to warm up.
This offseason, there has been almost as much turnover among broadcast teams as among NFL teams. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman moved from Fox to ESPN to become the new faces of Monday night football. Kevin Burkhardt will replace Buck as the no. 1 voice play-by-play on Fox, though it’s unclear who will join him in the booth. NBC elevated Mike Tirico to play-by-play voice of Sunday night football. Tirico replaces broadcast legend Al Michaels, who will now do Amazon Prime Video play-by-play alongside longtime college football voice Kirk Herbstreit.
It’s a lot of change, and it might take some getting used to. Amazon bursts into this space as holders of the weekly TNF games and will broadcast all 15 midweek competitions of the league’s regular season. Giants, Vikings and Lions fans are the only ones who won’t need access to Amazon Prime at some point this season; the other 29 teams will play at least one match broadcast on the streaming service.