2022 NFL schedule release: Bills-Rams kicks off regular season; complete Week 1 schedule; all 32 home openers

2022 NFL schedule release: Bills-Rams kicks off regular season; complete Week 1 schedule; all 32 home openers

Published May 13, 2022
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Roughly six months after a Super Bowl champion was crowned at SoFi Stadium, the quest to crown the next Super Bowl winner will begin in the same venue.

Stars and Super Bowl contenders will collide as Matthew Stafford and the Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams host Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday night, Sept. 8 at SoFi Stadium in the 2022 NFL Kickoff Game on NBC.

Buffalo, winner of the last two AFC East titles, is a Super Bowl favorite in the eyes of many and will look to start its campaign with a resounding statement against the reigning champions, who have Stafford and much of their title-winning cast back, along with some high-profile additions such as wide receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

In addition to the Bills-Rams kickoff showdown, the league announced each team’s home openers.

There is no shortage of highly anticipated prime-time tilts to get the season started.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys will open up the Sunday Night Football slate against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a rematch of last season’s NFL Kickoff Game.

The first Monday Night Football game of the year will be a homecoming for the ages as Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos head to the Pacific Northwest to play Wilson’s old squad, the Seattle Seahawks.

A week later, a Week 2 Monday night doubleheader will see the Bills and Philadelphia Eagles open up their home schedules.

The first Prime Video game of the season — in Week 2 — will also serve as the Kansas City Chiefs’ home opener, as they welcome the rival Los Angeles Chargers.

Take a look at each NFL team’s home openers below, and check out the complete regular-season schedule.

For more information on game tickets for the 2022 NFL season,click here.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Rams QB Matthew Stafford combined for 77 touchdowns last season. In other words, this has all the makings of a shootout — though the game does feature L.A. defensive lineman Aaron Donald, arguably the best defensive player in the world. Another pass rusher of note in this one is Von Miller, who helped the Rams win the Super Bowl last season before departing for Buffalo and a lucrative contract in the offseason.

Dennis Allen will debut as Saints head coach against the team’s archrival, but the game should also showcase an interesting QB matchup. Atlanta, which has lost its last four at home versus New Orleans, is poised to start Marcus Mariota, while the Saints are planning to have Jameis Winston back in the starting lineup after he tore his ACL last year. The matchup would pit the No. 2 selection of the 2015 NFL Draft, Mariota (Tennessee Titans), versus the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Two squads linked by trade talks all offseason will kick off the season in Charlotte. While much of the conversation will be about who’s starting at QB for each squad Week 1, this matchup will also feature two of the top pass rushers in the NFL. The Browns’ Myles Garrett and the Panthers’ Brian Burns are each coming off Pro Bowl campaigns in which they registered 16 and nine sacks, respectively. This will also mark the return to the field of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey after his 2021 season was cut short due to injury.

Matt Eberflus’ first game as Bears head coach will provide a staunch test, as Chicago hosts a San Francisco squad that marched to the NFC Championship Game a season ago. Atop the marquee will be 2021 NFL Draft first-round quarterbacks Trey Lance and Justin Fields, who are projected to lead their respective squads into this season-opening clash.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals are back after their Super Bowl run, leading off their 2022 season with a home game. After their memorable 2021 campaign, the Bengals will play in front of their home crowd for the first time since an AFC wild-card win over the Raiders. They’ll face the rival Steelers, who will head into a season opener without Ben Roethlisberger starting for the first time since 2010.

The NFL debut of 2022 NFL Draft No. 2 overall pick and Michigan product Aidan Hutchinson will come in front of the Ford Field faithful. Hutchinson is likely to have a high-profile matchup against Eagles standout left tackle Jordan Mailata and will need to get his motor running to track down fleet-footed Philly QB Jalen Hurts.

The Lovie Smith era in Houston kicks off with quarterback Davis Mills’ first Week 1 start. Opposing the Texans will be the AFC South-rival Colts, who will have quarterback Matt Ryan making his horseshoe debut and the NFL’s most dynamic running back in Jonathan Taylor ready to follow up his astounding 2021 campaign.

Mike McDaniel will make his head coaching debut opposite perhaps the greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick. Miami is overflowing with new talent such as Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead and Chase Edmonds, who will all make their first South Beach impressions against a consistently staunch Patriots defense.

One of the most heralded draft classes in recent memory will make its professional debut at MetLife against one of the AFC’s consistently successful clubs. Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson II and Breece Hall — three first-rounders and the top running back of the draft — will make their much-anticipated first impressions for Gang Green.

The Carson Wentz experience begins in the nation’s capital as the Washington franchise plays its first game as the Commanders. They’ll see a familiar face across from them, though, as Doug Pederson makes his coaching debut with the Jaguars after previously coaching the Eagles for five seasons.

The offseason has been a rather chaotic one for the Cardinals in regard to quarterback Kyler Murray’s desire for a contract extension. It won’t get any easier in Week 1, as Murray and the Cardinals face off with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in a marquee first-week matchup. It will mark the initial meeting between Murray and Mahomes, two of the game’s most exciting quarterbacks.

These two battled deep into the night for a playoff spot in their 2021 regular-season finale with the Raiders coming away with a 35-32 overtime win. That was in Las Vegas. This time, the Bolts and the rocket-armed Justin Herbert will open up their season with a pivotal and intriguing matchup in the wild AFC West at SoFi Stadium. If this one’s anything close to the teams’ last showdown, buckle up.

An important NFC North clash leads off the schedule for the Packers and the host Vikings. Minnesota rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell won’t be able to dip his toes into the icy north waters. He’ll have to jump right in against the three-time reigning division champions.

The AFC’s No. 1 seed a season ago, the Titans will kick 2022 off in Nashville looking to start all over again after their AFC Divisional Round upset loss to the Bengals. Questions surround the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry will play in the regular season for the first time since Week 8 of last year and first-round rookie receiver Treylon Burks is set to debut in the aftermath of Tennessee shipping A.J. Brown to Philadelphia.

Last season’s NFL Kickoff Game is this season’s AT&T Stadium opener. Tom Brady is a perfect 6-0 against the Cowboys — the most wins by any QB without a loss against Dallas all time. Dak Prescott, Micah Parsons and the ‘Boys will no doubt be a motivated bunch, and the world will no doubt be watching as this mega matchup kicks off the Sunday Night Football schedule.

The league schedule makers didn’t let Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle linger. Week 1 will conclude with the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s anticipated return to play his old squad, which traded him to the Broncos in the offseason. Wilson, who will officially become the first quarterback to play for a team he previously defeated in a Super Bowl when he suits up for Denver, will also become just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to win at least 100 games with a franchise and then play against them. Emotions and anticipation are sure to be high before, during and after this one, as the buildup, the game and the postgame handshake between Wilson and Pete Carroll are all sure to be must-see TV.

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Week 2 and the Prime Video schedules kick off in scintillating fashion, as the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs will get their first look at the Chargers, who have added defensive standouts Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. Every AFC West matchup this season promises to be excitement personified, but any showdown between Mahomes and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is worth the price of admission.

A fresh start beckons for John Harbaugh’s Ravens, who were ravaged by injuries in 2021. Baltimore’s healed up and ready to bounce back, but must contend with a revamped Miami squad in its home opener. The game will feature a pair of former first-round quarterbacks in the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, along with an intriguing potential receiver-cornerback matchup between Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey.

Cleveland is overflowing with talented stars such as defensive end Myles Garrett, running back Nick Chubb and wide receiver Amari Cooper and likewise dealing with high expectations for the 2022 season after falling short of the postseason in 2021. This will be the first chance for the Browns faithful to see how good a great team on paper looks on the field.

2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker will get a chance to make a great first impression in front of the Duval crowd, and 2021 No. 1 overall selection Trevor Lawrence will look to lead the Jags to their second consecutive home victory over the AFC South-rival Colts. This will no doubt be a game circled on the Colts’ calendar as they returns to TIAA Bank Field after their season ended there in 2021 in a shocking upset that kept them from the playoffs.

Tampa Bay stopped New Orleans’ run of NFC South titles at four last season, but the Saints still won both head-to-head meetings, including a 9-0 shutout in the teams’ last matchup in Week 15. Tom Brady, Mike Evans and the Buccaneers’ offense will no doubt have some extra incentive in this one, but Cameron Jordan and the Saints defense don’t figure to give up much ground.

The Big Blue faithful will get their first up-close look at the Brian Daboll era in his first home game at MetLife Stadium. First-round draft picks Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal will also play for the first time in front of the home crowd, with Thibodeaux likely matching up with fellow first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu. Neal is sure to have his work cut out for him against Panthers Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Burns, as well. If that’s not enough, the game offers two of the most sensational — when healthy — running backs in the game in New York’s Saquon Barkley and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey.

The Heinz Field crowd potentially will gets its first look at Ben Roethlisberger’s hopeful heir apparent as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Patriots coach Bill Belichick oppose each other once more in a Hall of Fame-coaching showdown. These teams haven’t squared off since the 2019 season opener, which New England won, 33-3. Back then, Tom Brady was starting for the Patriots and Roethlisberger was under center for the Steelers. A possible Mac Jones-Kenny Pickett matchup would signify a changing of eras for two of the AFC’s longstanding keystone franchises.

San Francisco enters 2022 with lofty expectations after a run to the NFC Championship Game, but when it faces the rival Seahawks, there will be a far different feel. The 49ers are projected to have Trey Lance starting at quarterback rather than Jimmy Garoppolo, while the Seahawks won’t have Russell Wilson starting a season for them for the first time in a decade. No matter who’s under center, Kyle Shanahan’s Niners are looking to snap a four-game losing streak to Pete Carroll’s ‘Hawks.

Aspirations are mile high for the Broncos this season and this will be Denver fans’ first look at new quarterback Russell Wilson, new pass rusher Randy Gregory and new defensive lineman D.J. Jones. An already talent-filled roster has been bolstered by some big adds and the Broncos will no doubt look to make a great first impression for their fan base.

There’s plenty of excitement and anticipation surrounding the Silver and Black’s 2022 squad. They’ve added wide receiver Davante Adams and Chandler Jones to a team that went to the playoffs a year ago. This is a big one for Raider Nation, and Jones, who will get to face off against his former squad.

The age-old Bears-Packers rivalry gets the prime-time Sunday night stage as Aaron Rodgers looks to continue his mastery of Chicago. The two-time reigning NFL Most Valuable Player is 22-5 in his career against the Bears and has won six consecutive starts. Then again, Justin Fields leading Chicago to its first win in Green Bay since 2015 would certainly be a statement for the second-season signal-caller.

Buffalo will look to avenge a Monday night road loss to Tennessee from a season ago (a thrilling 34-31 Titans win) in one of eight games for the Bills versus 2021 playoff teams. This time it’s in Western New York, but it’s another marquee matchup for the Bills to start the season as they face last year’s AFC No. 1 seed a week after playing the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Two of the game’s best young wide receivers will be on the prime-time stage as the Vikings’ Justin Jefferson looks to shine against the team that passed on him in the 2020 draft, while the Eagles’ A.J. Brown debuts in front of the Philly fans. Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins will get another shot to improve upon a 1-9 record on Monday night, while Jalen Hurts looks to get off to a hot start in a pivotal third season.

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Matt Ryan will get his first chance to impress the home crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the Colts will have a shot at proving their legitimacy as an AFC contender against the Chiefs, who’ve been to four straight AFC Championship Games. It will be just the second matchup between Ryan and Patrick Mahomes, with Mahomes and the Chiefs having scored a 2020 regular-season win over Ryan when he was with the Falcons.

Patriots fans will no doubt be amped for this Foxborough opener as they face a fellow AFC top-tier mainstay in Week 3. Pats pass rusher Matt Judon will have his work cut out for him trying to chase down former teammate Lamar Jackson, while New England quarterback Mac Jones will contend with a Ravens secondary that was ravaged by injuries in 2021, but should be healed up and also boasts free-agent addition Marcus Williams.

Though they have to wait until Week 3 for their home opener, the Buccaneers will have a high-profile matchup awaiting. Having faced off in the regular season, the playoffs and even on the golf course, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will have at least one more showdown. This will be the teams’ first meeting since Brady and the Bucs defeated Rodgers and the Pack in the 2020 NFC Championship Game en route to a Super Bowl crown.

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