88 days since the Super Bowl when the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, we finally know what the 2022 NFL season is set to look like.
The NFL schedule slowly trickled through the fandom and released bit by bit in the past few days and weeks, such as one of the games on Christmas Day, Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady in Week 4, and of course the NFL London and International games.
And with the release, we now know exactly when the games will be played and what sort of consequences will be on the line when the teams face off against eachother.
As a result, we can now look forward to the NFL season with real interest, and we at GiveMeSport have come up with the top ten games that we are most looking forward to across the course of the season.
10 – Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans – Week 13
One of the big ‘revenge games’ for a big name quarterback in the league, Deshaun Watson will return to NRG Stadium the season after he was traded away by the Houston Texans, with the Browns hoping that he will be the man to lead them to glory as they appear to be moving away from Baker Mayfield.
Having put up more than 15,000 passing yards across the regular and postseason for the Texans, as well as 19 rushing touchdowns, there was no doubting what he could do on the field, more than justifying the Texans taking him with the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It should be noted that given his off-field issues, there is the chance that Watson might end up not playing in this game, but if he does, then expect some fireworks as he looks to silence the franchise that moved him on so quickly.
9 – Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks – Week 1
With over 40,000 passing yards, 300 passing touchdowns and a Super Bowl victory, he certainly left his mark with the team, but ultimately the decision came that they needed to rebuild, and as a Canton-bound quarterback (probably), Wilson made the most sense in terms of trade value.
There’s no doubting what he can bring to the table, and in a very competitive AFC West, he could very well turn the Broncos into contenders, and this game could end up having a big say in where both teams end up, as the Seahawks have also bulked up their roster thanks to the picks that they received in the trade.
8 – San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams – Week 8
A rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game, and given how the teams have handled their business this offseason, there’s no reason to think that this won’t be a preview of another meeting in the playoffs come the end of the season.
Whilst the 49ers might not be totally set at quarterback as they toss-up between Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, one player who will be there to wreak havoc will be Nick Bosa who will be looking to terrorise Matt Stafford in the opposing backfield.
Meanwhile the 49ers will have their own problems to deal with as they will have to stop Aaron Donald from stopping whoever they have under centre, although it might take a phenomenal effort to make that happen.
7 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 4
In what could very well be a ‘passing of the torch’ moment in the league, the current ‘G.O.A.T’ welcomes one of the few who have the talent to ever challenge him for that title as Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes square off in a rematch of Superbowl LV.
That game itself was one of the more surprising Super Bowls in recent seasons, as the Bucs defence held one of the best quarterbacks in the league to having to settle for just three field goals, although Mahomes did show just why he’s so special with this insane sideways pass that was nearly completed:
And to beat Brady on his own turf, he might have to produce something just as special in order to pull out a victory that could set the stage for the rest of the season for both teams.
6 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers – Week 11
During the 2000s and 2010s, the league was pretty much dominated by the Peyton Manning v Tom Brady rivalry, and more often than not they would take on each other each season and give us a big matchup to look forward to.
With Patrick Mahomes v Justin Herbert, two young quarterbacks who are set to dominate the league landscape for the next decade and beyond, we have the modern-day version of Manning v Brady. The fact they’re in the same divsion, as well as the same conference, just adds to the magnitude of the spectacle.
It was already announced that they will face off in Week 2, and whoever wins that one will be looking to sweep the series because it could very well have a major impact on where each team lands within the division and is likely to have huge playoff implications.
5 – Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 3
Are we tempting fate by saying this will be the last time that we see Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady match up again in the NFL? Barring any meetings in the playoffs, it could very well be the case. Or if Brady decides to come back for another year which, let’s face it, is a real possibility.
Whilst Brady will almost certainly go down and retire as ‘The G.O.A.T’ of the sport one day, one of the few players who has come close to challenging him for that mantle has been Rodgers, but when they’ve met, Brady has the upper hand, winning 4 of the 5 matches that they’ve played, including the 2021 NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field.
Let’s hope they serve up another classic, this time on Brady’s home turf.
4 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals – Week 13
Another game that features two teams that competed in last year’s conference championship, and just like the NFC matchup, barring something disastrous on either side like injuries to key players, you would be foolish if you didn’t consider these two teams as potential opponents deep into the playoffs once again.
Having had their season, and hopes for a 3rd consecutive trip to the Super Bowl ended by the Bengals on their own turf last season, you would imagine Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will be out for revenge as they make the trip to Ohio to take on Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both teams bolstered up their defences this offseason, but something says that might not be enough to stop two of the best offences in the league from putting on a tremendous show.
3 – Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams – Week 1
If you look up ‘put your best foot forward’ in the dictionary, you are probably going to be looking at this matchup that sees the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams take on a side that some are already installing as Super Bowl favourites.
The Rams will want to start off their defence on the right foot, but as they welcome a high-powered Buffalo Bills offence led by Josh Allen, and the returning Von Miller the likes of Aaron Donald will need to be at their best to make sure that they can keep him at bay.
Super Bowl champions have won 7 of the last 10 opening night games, but after an impressive showing last year, the Bills will be feeling confident that they can spoil the show on the league’s opening week.
2 – Green Bay Packers @ Buffalo Bills – Week 8
The 2-time reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers takes on the man who could very well challenge him and prevent him from making it a three-peat this season in Josh Allen, in what will be only the 2nd time these two have met, the previous being a 22-0 shutout by the Packers during Allen’s debut season in the league.
Josh Allen – Week Four, 2018 (Packers) pic.twitter.com/G4JoUqRyty— Iestyn T Harris (@IestynTHarris) July 15, 2021
Both teams had impressive offseasons, with the Packers loading up heavy on defence in the draft by taking two of the Georgia Bulldogs that won the National Championship last year in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, whilst the Bills added corner Kaiir Elam in the first round, who will hope to play his part in keeping Rodgers at bay in what could be an instant classic.
1 – Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs – Week 6
Josh Allen v Patrick Mahomes. A rematch of last season’s 13 Second Game that was not only crazy but forced a rule change with regards to how overtime is run, two teams that will be considered Super Bowl contenders… Need we say more?
This is a game that could ultimately end up playing a key role in playoff standings come the end of the season, especially if it needs to go down to a head-to-head record.
And if we get a game even half as exciting as what we saw in the playoffs last season, I think it’s fair to say that we will have got our money’s worth.