NFL Schedule 2022: Quirks, Gripes, And Breaks Among The League’s 32 Teams

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The Bills appear to have a friendly 2022 schedule, the Jets not so much (AP/ Photo Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Days before the NFL’s 2022 schedule was revealed last Thursday, the league said its goal was to make all 32 teams “equally disappointed” with the outcome.

It turns out that probably all the teams do have something to gripe about, but some more than others.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, the scheduling didn’t have much of an effect on betting odds at sportsbooks such as BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, among others.

“Actually, there was no movement at all on anything regarding the schedule release,” said Jeff Stoneback, the MGM Resorts Director of Trading. “For season wins, the teams they were playing were already known, just not at what week in the season.”

Even warm-weather teams that have multiple games outdoors in the frozen north late in the season, for example, didn’t see their odds move.

“As far as that timing for cold weather, that really is not factored into those odds at all,” Stoneback said. “About the only thing at this time of the year that moves the odds is significant trades a la Russell Wilson, or free agent signings a la Tom Brady a few years ago, etc.”

Here’s a review of some of the highlights, lowlights, and quirks of 32 NFL teams’ 2022 schedules. Season win totals, where referenced, are from the Westgate SuperBook.

AFC East 2022

Buffalo Bills

The Bills, the top betting choice to reach the Super Bowl out of the AFC, have a schedule that’s third easiest in the division, based on the win expectancy of their foes. While they face a grueling opening six weeks with road games against the L.A. Rams, Baltimore, and Kansas City, at least they catch the Chiefs on a short week off a MNF game.

From mid-November on, the Bills benefit from road games against Detroit and Chicago and a home match vs. the New York Jets.

Buffalo also is one of four teams in the league that doesn’t have to face a team a bye or an extended break after a Thursday night game.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have the misfortune of hitting the road to meet both Buffalo (Dec. 18) and New England (Jan. 1) late in the season for the first time in 11 years, facing the likelihood of playing in freezing weather for the first time in five years. Back in 2011, they went 1-1 SU/2-0 ATS in those games, but it was only in the low-30s at kickoff. The Dolphins might not be so lucky this time.

On the positive side, though, they play host to both squads in September’s suffocating South Florida humidity. However, since 2003, they are only 9-20 SU/9-19-1 ATS in those early-season home games, including a 35-0 loss to Buffalo last year.

And how’s this for a meat-grinder of a schedule? Miami, one of four teams that has a three-game road trip, faces three teams with a win total of 10 or more: San Francisco, the L.A. Chargers, and Buffalo. The Dolphins then come home to celebrate Christmas against Green Bay, which has a win total of 11. No other team faces four straight teams with 10-plus wins on the SuperBook’s board.

New England Patriots

The most interesting part of the Patriots’ schedule is back-to-back games out west vs. Arizona on MNF in Week 13 and six days later up Highway 93 to face the Raiders in Vegas. In all likelihood, the Pats will spend that week out there.

Two years ago, also in Weeks 13 and 14, they played back-to-backs in L.A. and stayed put between games — routing the Chargers 45-0 and then falling to the Rams 24-3.

New York Jets

Wasn’t there someone at Jets headquarters who should have grumbled to the league about having to face four teams coming off an extended breather after a Thursday night game? With three on the road?!

Compounding matters, they twice have back-to-back games against those rested foes, In Weeks 4 and 5 at Pittsburgh and then home with Miami, and in Weeks 13 and 14 when they are at Minnesota and Buffalo. No other team has even one such back-to-back. Last season, teams off a Thursday game facing a team on normal or less rest went 19-15 ATS.

The Jets’ season opens with four games against opponents from the AFC North.

Also read: NFL Week 1 Odds

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens catch a break by getting a Week 10 bye the week after playing in New Orleans on MNF.

Their only week on a short rest occurs on Christmas Eve, when virtually everyone else also is in that work timeframe. And it’s at home against Carolina, so that’s doubly good news.

On the negative side, a key division home game against defending division champion Cincinnati comes a week after the Ravens take on Buffalo in Game 4.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals’ first-place schedule is backloaded with four powerhouse teams off division championships in Weeks 12-17, while facing only one defending division titlist in Weeks 1-11, traveling to Dallas in Week 2. That’s unlike last year when they faced only six teams that made the playoffs the previous season, including the largely inept Steelers twice as Big Ben faded away.

That’s the difference between a fourth-place schedule in 2021 and a first-place schedule in 2022.

Cleveland Browns

Hooray for the Browns! For the first time in three seasons, they won’t be stuck facing the previous season’s AFC kingpin on the road to open the season. In 2019, it was at Baltimore, coming off a 14-2 campaign. Last year, it was in Kansas City, also a team that went 14-2 a year earlier. Naturally, Cleveland lost both.

This time it will be on the road yet again, but against a Carolina team with quarterback issues that went 5-12 last season.

Maybe this is the year the Browns end their 17-year winless streak on opening day (0-16-1). After all, they are a 4.5-point favorite.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers will spend their whole season in one time zone, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy.

In Week 5 and 6, the Steelers face as difficult a two-week schedule as there is in the league, when they play at Buffalo and then host Tampa Bay, the two teams favored to reach the Super Bowl. Plus, they are one of four teams that twice face a team coming off a bye (at Philly in Week 7 and home against AFC champ Cincinnati three weeks later). At least they don’t take on a squad off a break from a Thursday night game. It was worse for Pittsburgh last year with four games vs. teams with extra rest, going 1-3 SU/1-3 ATS.

Also, the Steelers have one of the most rugged road schedules in the league, with seven of their nine games against teams that have season win totals of nine or more. No other team faces more than six.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

If the division race comes down to the wire, or like last year if a wild-card berth is at stake with a week to go, the Colts are in fine shape by playing host to the presumed weakest team in the league, Houston.

Indy should be able to get off to a good start by opening with a road game against Houston and then in Week 2 traveling to Jacksonville while rival Tennessee is at Buffalo. Then again, the Colts have lost their last six games in Jacksonville, which kept them out of the playoffs last year with a defeat in the season finale.

Tennessee Titans

One of the biggest games on the Titans’ schedule is at home vs. Indianapolis, a game pitting the two teams that figure to joust for division honors again. The Titans have the great benefit of coming off a bye while Indy has a home game the week before against Jacksonville.

On the downside, the Titans are the only team in the league that has back-to-back games vs. teams off byes, facing K.C. on the road in Week 9 and then Denver at home.

Jacksonville Jaguars

If the Jaguars are to compete for division honors, which they aren’t expected to, they’ll have to overcome facing four teams off Thursday night games and the associated break. Included is a Week 6 game at Indy and the season finale at home against Tennessee.

At least the Jaguars will be able to celebrate Christmas without having to play on the 24th through the 26th. That Thursday, the 22nd, is their only prime-time game, at home vs. the Jets.

Houston Texans

As if a team with a 4.5-game win expectancy needed any more hurdles, the Texans are the only league team stuck playing two road games against teams off a bye — Week 10 vs. the Giants and two weeks later at Miami.

They also have the division’s toughest schedule.

More NFL: Betting lines for international slate

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Based on season win totals posted around the betting market, we knew the Chiefs would have the toughest schedule in the league before the schedule came out. That’s the way it should be for last year’s No. 1 AFC seed.

Now we know Andy Reid’s team will be hard-pressed to get off to the rousing starts he’s enjoyed when the team opened no worse than 4-0 from 2017-20. But then came last year’s crash-and-burn 2-2 start.

In their first six games this year, they face four teams with a win expectancy of 10-plus, including away games in Weeks 3 and 4 at Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.

Denver Broncos

For the second year in a row, the league is making it relatively easy for the Broncos to get off to a fast start.

In 2021, Denver opened 3-0 thanks to victories against the Giants, Jags, and Jets, teams that combined to go 11-40 last season. This time they have the easiest first two games in the league, at least on paper, when they play at depleted Seattle in Week 1 and then host Houston, although the game against the Texans comes on short rest.

The Broncos also are one of those four teams that don’t face a team off long rest.

Los Angeles Chargers

No teams in the West have as many trips across three time zone as the Chargers, who travel to Cleveland in Week 5, Atlanta in Week 9 (both in the early time slot), and Indianapolis in Week 16 on MNF, which makes for a difficult turnaround on short rest the next week against the defending champion Rams.

But the good is that’s one fewer journey east than last year. Also, teams in this spot have had winning marks against the spread the past four seasons, including 16-6 ATS last year (17-5 SU), counting the postseason. The Chargers were 3-1/3-1.

Las Vegas Raiders

This is a head-scratcher: For the second straight season, the Raiders head to Pittsburgh across three time zones to play the Steelers on short rest, this time on Saturday, Dec. 24. Only the 49ers face such a cross-country trip on short rest this season.

Last year, Las Vegas, as a 6-point underdog, beat Pittsburgh 26-17 in a similar situation.

Futures: Odds to win Super Bowl 57

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

For the first time since 2001, the Cowboys open with a pair of home games, this time against two defending division champions in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.

This year’s Cowboys also have the good fortune of playing a league-high three games against teams on short rest after playing on MNF – at the Rams in Week 5, vs. Chicago in Week 8, and vs. Indy in Week 13.

Plus, in their much-ballyhooed showdown in Green Bay in Week 10, the Cowboys will be coming off a bye, giving coach Mike McCarthy time to come up with some razzle-dazzle for his former team to deal with.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles and Chicago tie for the easiest schedule in the league based on season win totals, but there are built in-hurdles that make the job tough for Philadelphia to overcome division favorite Dallas.

For starters, Philly’s game in Dallas is on Christmas Eve and requires the Eagles to travel halfway across the country on short rest and lose much of a preparation day. The Eagles also have two other short-rest road games, against Washington and Indianapolis.

Philly also doesn’t get the full benefit of coming off its midseason pseudo bye after playing a Thursday night game when it hosts Washington, and that’s because it’s on MNF, giving the Commanders about 30 extra hours to rest and prepare.

Washington Commanders

The Commanders, along with the Jets and Jaguars, face four teams off extended breaks after playing on Thursday. What’s particularly awful for Washington is that all the games occur from Weeks 10 through 18, when injuries and fatigue play a bigger role than early on.

And three of the games are against division rivals, and then there’s a cross-country jaunt to San Francisco in Week 16.

Also, Washington is one of four teams that come off a MNF road game and play on the road again the next week, in this case, Week 11 at Houston.

New York Giants

Five of the six teams that play in England this season have requested to have their bye later in the season and play the following week, including the Giants, who face Green Bay in London on Oct. 9. What sets the Giants apart from the other four is they are the only team that returns to the States and immediately plays a foe forecast to have a winning record. That would be Baltimore.

Through 30 previous games in England dating to 2007, five of the 60 teams involved returned home and played the next week. They went 2-3-SU/2-2-1 ATS.

From Caesars: 2022 NFL season win totals 

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

The Packers can’t be happy having to face a pair of heavy division favorites coming off byes — at Buffalo on Sunday night in Week 8 and home with Dallas two weeks later.

Then, off their own bye, there’s a Week 15 meeting at Lambeau against the Rams. But the Rams also are coming off an extended break having played on Thursday a week earlier.

Plus, the Packers make their first trip overseas, the last team in the league to play in London, on Oct. 9 vs. the Giants. Their foe when they return the next week is the Jets. It couldn’t have worked out better.

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings and Saints face each other in London in Week 5, and if both have winning records entering the game, it will be the first time in history — 31 games– the combatants both have better than .500 records. And if either team shows up winless, it will be the 11th such team to take the field out there.

For the first time, the Vikings host a Thanksgiving game, with the Patriots having to travel. It’s in the middle of a three-game homestand for Minnesota.

But in Weeks 17 and 18, the Vikings had better bring their insulated mittens when playing at Green Bay and then Chicago.

Detroit Lions

Coach Dan Campbell says “it’s awesome” that the Lions don’t have any primetime games to throw off their rhythm. All other teams have at least one such game.

They are also one of the four teams that don’t face a team off extended rest.

They do host Buffalo on Thanksgiving, a game that has a primetime feel.

Chicago Bears

No team has a rougher first two weeks than the Bears, based on their foes’ win expectancy, as a 6.5-point underdog at home vs. San Francisco and then a road game against a Packers team that has defeated them 11 of the past 12 meetings dating to 2016.

Considering none of the 27 teams that started 0-2 over the past three seasons have made the postseason, winning one of those games would go a long way in giving Chicago a shot at a playoff berth.

But after those two games, no team has an easier schedule Weeks 3-18 than Da Bears.

NFL lines: Christmas Day spreads, totals

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs have the league’s most brutal first four weeks of the season, with road games against Dallas and New Orleans, followed by home battles vs. Green Bay and Kansas City.

They also have a trip to San Francisco on Week 14 after playing host to New Orleans on MNF the week before.

But the Bucs get payback in the final three weeks of the season when they face Arizona on the road, Carolina at home, and Atlanta on the road. That’s the easiest closing three-game stretch in the league.

The Bucs are also one of the teams that don’t have to deal with a team that’s had extra rest.

New Orleans Saints

One of the great scheduling injustices results in the Saints coming off a home Monday night game against Baltimore and then having to travel to Pittsburgh on short rest to face a Steelers team coming off a bye. That’s the only such scenario in the league this season.

The Saints also have road games on short rest at Arizona and Cleveland.

At least on their trip to San Francisco in Week 12, it will be the 49ers on short rest.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are the only NFL team to play four of its first five games at home, including hosting in back-to-back weeks Arizona and San Francisco in Weeks 4 and 5 off long-distance trips. Both of those games are in the late afternoon time slot, not in the dreaded “jet lag” early-morning spots teams coming from the West detest.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have the highly desired late-season bye, in Week 14. On the other hand, the next week they play a New Orleans team also coming off a bye. So, no advantage, and especially not on the road.

Also, in Weeks 2 and 4, Atlanta faces teams coming off Thursday games when they travel to L.A. to face the Rams and then host Cleveland.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams

The toughest schedule in the NFC is highlighted by games against Buffalo in the opener, as well as Green Bay, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay, the only teams with season win totals of 11 or more. No other team has to run that gantlet.

Plus, there is what shapes up as a great showdown in Week 17 on New Year’s night, when the Rams face their SoFi Stadium roommates, the Chargers.

And unlike last year, when the Rams had five games on the East Coast, this time it’s just one — at Tampa Bay in Week 9.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers, along with Dallas, are the only teams that have home games against two teams coming off a MNF game. For San Francisco, that would be Week 3 vs. Seattle and Week 14 against Tampa Bay.

The 49ers also are the only West Coast team that has back-to-back games on the East Coast, facing the Panthers in Week 5 and then Atlanta. That trip to Carolina seems especially cruel coming off a MNF game.

Last year, though, San Fran had four East Coast games and went 4-0 SU/4-0 ATS.

Arizona Cardinals

One of the highlights of the Cardinals’ schedule is their meeting with San Francisco in Mexico City on Monday night in Week 11. It was 17 years ago that the first regular-season game was played in Mexico, also between these teams, won by the Cardinals 31-14. And just like back then, neither team has a bye the next week.

Last year, the Cardinals started 7-0, but that will be difficult this season with their opener at home vs. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, followed three weeks later with a trip to play the Super Rams in L.A.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks’ three division rivals are all betting favorites to make the postseason, so Seattle needs all the help it can get.

And that help comes in the schedule. Besides the Seahawks, whose over/under is six wins, there are six other teams with a win total of 6.5 or less. Seattle gets to play four of them.

But traveling could become an issue for a team that crosses 34 time zones over the course of a league-high total in flying miles. That’s 34 more time zone than the Steelers cross this season. The longest trip, of course, is a 10.5-hour flight from Seattle to Germany for a Week 10 game vs. Tampa Bay.

Early-season highlights: NFL odds on compelling matchups

About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, has been a gaming writer (primarily the NFL) for almost four decades, with his work appearing in publications/websites across North America. He's a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia's Eagles and Phillies, and inexplicably the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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