A Christmas Day matchup between the Los Angeles Rams, the reigning Super Bowl champions, and the revamped Denver Broncos is the highlight of the first part of the NFL’s schedule release, which includes contests the league hopes will be based on the success of the 2021 season. and an offseason defined by explosive trades and free-agent signings.
The league will announce the full 2022 regular season schedule Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, but select game matchups have been revealed in recent weeks. Teams have known all of their opponents for months based on their divisions and records last season, but are still waiting on dates and times.
The Rams, whose star-studded roster includes defensive tackle Aaron Donald, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Matthew Stafford, currently have the toughest schedule. The teams they will play have won nearly 57 percent of their games in 2021. The Christmas Day matchup, which will air at 4:30 p.m. on CBS and Nickelodeon, features Russell Wilson, whom the Rams played at Often during his decade with the Seattle Seahawks, the team dealt him in March to the Broncos in a blockbuster trade. It will be one of three Christmas Day games, which will compete directly against the NBA for attention on the holidays.
The schedule release drama continues the NFL’s trend of turning off-season events, including the draft and scouting combine, into prime-time spectacles as the league establishes itself as the premier sport in the United States. Backed by lucrative media rights deals and rising ratings in 2021 after expanding the regular season to 17 games, the NFL has built suspense in recent weeks by revealing select games on morning shows with broadcast partners. and anticipate prominent matchups on social media.
Streaming service Amazon Prime Video will begin broadcasting Thursday night league games on September 15 with a notable Week 2 matchup between Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers. Division rivals, who split close games last season with one-possession deficits, will look different. The Chargers, with their burgeoning young quarterback Justin Herbert, added defensive support in running back Khalil Mack and cornerback JC Jackson, while Kansas City traded Tyreek Hill, their speedy receiver, to the Miami Dolphins in March after requested an exchange.
Kansas City will also play in prime time against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a rematch of the 2020 Super Bowl season, on October 2 at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Tampa Bay remains a national draw after Tom Brady, 44, winner of a record seven Super Bowls, announced he would return for a 23rd season after briefly retiring in February. This week, Fox announced that Brady would become a network commentator whenever he finished his playing career.
The Buccaneers will also play in the first NFL game in Germany, where they will face the Seahawks in Munich on November 13 at 9:30 am on NFL Network. It’s part of the NFL’s return abroad after it canceled overseas games in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2022, London will host three games: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints Oct. 2 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network, Giants vs. Green Bay Packers Oct. 9 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network and the Denver Broncos vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 30 at 9:30 am on ESPN+. The Arizona Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City on November 21 at 8:15 pm on ESPN.
Game dates that have yet to be released also feature exciting matchups. Buffalo and Kansas City will look to recreate the frenetic energy of last season’s AFC divisional playoff round, a game that resulted in the league rewriting its postseason overtime rules to allow one offensive possession for each team. Wilson will come back to cheer or boo, or both, in Seattle when he faces his former team.
Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns will also play for the Texans, the team that selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft, unless the league sanctions him over the 22 civil cases brought by women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Divisional games in the AFC West, including the Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders and their new receiver, Davante Adams, and in the AFC North with the reigning conference champion Cincinnati Bengals against the Baltimore Ravens, should also receive broadcasts on primetime. .