2022 NFL schedule release: Patriots prime-time overkill, bumpy start for Cowboys and easy ride for Trey Lance

2022 NFL schedule release: Patriots prime-time overkill, bumpy start for Cowboys and easy ride for Trey Lance

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Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK

The schedule has been announced. Aren’t you entertained? Can’t you feel the power? Will you be feeling a little empty over the next 11 months until scheduled release month comes around again?

Sure, this is all a little silly, but it gives us a little more food for thought as we assess a 2022 season that’s almost a third of a year away. No doubt there are coaches and general managers out there who feel they’ve screwed up and a host of their rivals who have an easier journey than they must undertake. That’s baked into the cake at this point.

There are a few things that caught my attention as I started to really assess the schedule. I focus on teams that I believe have a chance of at least fighting for a wildcard spot because otherwise they have much bigger problems to solve than their schedule and that would just be a waste of space. Maybe the Jaguars got totally hosed down and had ridiculous road trips on them and played back-to-back teams that had reunions four weeks in a row.

If so, then having the nerve, boldness, and naivety to force Urban Meyer on the NFL last year is probably justified. But I don’t have time for that now. We’re looking for critical areas of specific schedules or quirks that could impact the games that really matter most in January and February.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Definitely a trend of teams competing against every team in a given division four weeks in a row. Baltimore battles the entirety of the AFC East for the first four weeks of the season. Dallas runs the entirety of the NFC North between weeks 7-11, with a midway reunion. It doesn’t seem to me to happen very often, but it’s a feature in 2022.
  • My guess is that of the 12 teams that will have a maximum of five prime time appearances, America will soon get tired of watching a few of them – Cowboys and Patriots. Not high in their off-season. The Pats play Thanksgiving with the Vikings, then again the following Thursday (Bills) and the following Monday night (Cardinals), and then a Sunday night (Raiders). good sorrow overkill
  • Speaking of cowboys, someone’s checking on Mike McCarthy around Halloween. It could get dicey early on. They host the Bucs and Bengals, go to the Giants, host Washington, and then travel to the Rams and Eagles. Smells like 2-4. Not good.
  • On the other hand, the NFL gave the 49ers a cushion from Trey Lance. He can relax in his first year as a starter against the Bears, Seahawks and also win the Panthers and Falcons within the first six weeks.
  • The Titans better stack up a few wins before their Week 6 bye, because things get tough after that. They host the Colts, go to Houston, then to KC, host Denver, go to Green Bay, host Cincy, go to Philly. That lasts until mid-December and I’m wondering if Malik Willis’ workload will increase.
  • After a tough early stretch against the Dolphins, Patriots, Bills and Bengals (Week 5), the Ravens face just three teams that made the playoffs a year ago, FWIW, including twice the Steelers (now without Ben Roethlisberger). Things are set up pretty well for them and after a Week 10 reunion they don’t have another away game more than a two-hour flight away.
  • It remains to be seen when Deshaun Watson will make his regular-season debut and how long he will be suspended, but I can’t help but wonder if a Week 9 send-off is any indication. They face the Bengals on a Monday night in Week 8.
  • The Bucs face a challenge between weeks 10-14. They meet Seattle in Munich, fly back to say goodbye, then are in Cleveland, home of the Saints, who always play hard against them, and then make their way to San Francisco. That’s a lot of air travel to a number of different time zones in a short amount of time, and then, two weeks later, it’s off to Arizona. Could weigh on an older team just before the playoffs.
  • Interesting December/January for the Chiefs. Three straight road games – Bengals, Broncos, Texans – and then they host the Seahawks and Broncos and go to Vegas.

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