I do not know about all of you, but I cannot wait until week one starts up for the NFL. The NFL dropped the 2022 schedule for all 32 teams last Thursday, and it did not disappoint. So many quality matchups are lined up for this year, but week one is truly going to kick it off right. Not sure if it is a computer or a team of people making the schedule, but they did a great job.
Like many of you, I am ready for fantasy football lineups, football podcasts, spreads, and office pick-em pools. Week one is going to deliver in more ways than one, but it all gets started on Thursday night!
Thursday Night Kickoff
One of the many NFL traditions is allowing the Super Bowl Champion from the previous season to host the regular season kickoff game on Thursday night. This year, we are being treated to the ultimate showdown. The Rams, who hoisted the Lombardi just three months ago, will be hosting the AFC-favorite Buffalo Bills as they open the season in SoFi Stadium. Not only will this be the first game of the season, but it will be the first time we are seeing the new NBC broadcast pairing of Collinsworth and Tirico since Al Michaels departed for Amazon.
The Rams, a massive favorite to repeat as the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl, will need to bring their A-game if they want to compete with Buffalo. Josh Allen has a massive chip on his shoulder, and with Von Miller returning to LA in a different uniform, they will need all the help they can get. Last year, the Buccaneers and Cowboys opened the season with a phenomenal game, let’s hope the Rams and Bills can follow suit.
The first week of the season has a nice run of games in the early parts of Sunday. The schedule makers saved most of the excitement for the late-afternoon run of games, but the early slate should carry some weight. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will bring some of that AFC North fire to the early window as the Bengals will be looking to get back to their winning ways. We will also be treated to a nice matchup between the Patriots and new-look Dolphins. Considering the moves Miami has made so far this season, I am very eager to see how McDaniel will orchestrate the offense.
Aside from those two games, the early window does not carry the same pedigree as the rest of the afternoon/evening does. However, if you play fantasy football as I do, there is plenty to love about those games. AJ Brown will hit the field with his new team, Cleveland and their new-look offense draw Carolina, and Matt Ryan and the Colts will get to show what they are made of against a young, rebuilding Texans team. There will be no shortage of old faces in new places, and the offseason anticipation will be worth it.
Week One Really Gets Going
Now, this is where the fun begins. NFL fanatics, fantasy football managers, and Raiders and Chiefs fans alike will all be looking forward to this time slot. Of course, you have the Titans and Giants, which should be a beat down, but the rest of the slate is full of great ones. You get a premier division rivalry between the Vikings and the Packers, an AFC West showdown between the remade Chargers and Raiders rosters, and finally, a battle of the reds as the Chiefs Kingdom heads to the Red Sea.
These games carry so many fantasy football implications; fantasy managers will be counting the seconds until they get to these games. Mahomes, Murray, Jefferson, Rodgers, Herbert, Adams, the list goes on and on when the late Sunday action kicks off. If you were a wise person, you would at least load up the free trial of NFL Sunday ticket. Of the eight teams participating in this window, five made the playoffs in 2021 and the Chargers and Vikings were in the mix. Sparks will fly leading into Sunday Night Football.
Primetime Football, Baby!
Sunday Night Football on NBC! Tirico & Collinsworth will be making the calls for the Buccaneers and Cowboys week one rematch from 2021, which coincidentally happen the same week last year. With Brady returning to football after a one-month hiatus, it automatically makes this a prime game. These two teams could very well meet in the playoffs this season, and the massive fanbases of Dallas and Tom Brady will make for amazing ratings. The GOAT in the Big D, what else could you ask for?
Finally, the cherry on top of the first week of football! We all go to ESPN for Monday Night Football and the first broadcast of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in primetime for a Russell Wilson homecoming. The NFL wasted no time getting Russell’s return to Seattle out of the way. Unfortunately for Seattle, I do not foresee it playing out in their favor. This will be the first test for Wilson to see how the Denver experiment will go. This will be more of a tune-up game for the Broncos as the AFC West awaits them the rest of the season. But what better way to end the first week of action than with a dramatic storyline!
The NFL is the best at what they do. They constantly dominate the headlines, demand ratings week in and week out, and have put together some of the most captivating television for the better parts of five decades. Nothing touches the NFL and I cannot wait for week one!
Check out some of my other NFL Slant material here. You can follow me on Twitter @dan_tf40 and check in with my podcast @thefastest_40 on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, & anywhere you listen to content!