The NFL's 2022 Regular Season Schedule was released this past week.
There are several interesting takeaways, quirks, and oddities worth mentioning.
Credit to John Breech at CBS Sports for the following observations:
After the schedule comes out each year, my favorite thing to do is comb through all 32 schedules to see if I can find any quirks. Sure, that means I'm up for 17 straight hours going through each schedule after they come out, but the good news is that I found quite a few quirks, so it was time well spent, but also, I need another cup of coffee already.
So what kind of quirks are we talking about here? Let's find out.
The Bears will be spending December at home. The Bears got an especially unique scheduling quirk: They don't play a SINGLE road game during the month of December, marking the first time that's happened to the Bears since 1964 . The Bears will play a home game against the Packers in Week 13 (Dec. 4). They have a bye in Week 14 (Dec. 11) and then they follow that up with a home game in Weeks 15 (Dec. 18) and 16 (Dec. 24). Although they do play a road game in Week 17, that game falls on Jan. 1, which means they have ZERO road games in December.
Chiefs get handed a killer opening schedule. With their 2022 schedule, the Chiefs will become the first team in NFL history to open a season with eight straight games against teams that finished above .500 the prior season (Via Elias Sports Bureau). The stretch starts in Week 1 when they travel to Arizona and then continues to Week 9. Here's a look at their brutal opening eight-game gauntlet: at Cardinals, Chargers, at Colts, at Buccaneers, Raiders, Bills, at 49ers, bye, Titans.
Jets and Ravens with bizarre start to schedule. The Jets will start the season by playing every team in the AFC North over the first four weeks marking the first time since the 1970 merger that the Jets have played four straight games against the same division at any point in a season. On the Ravens' end, they'll be starting the season with four straight games against the AFC East, marking the first time they've opened the season against four teams from the same division.
Commanders go back-to-back. The Commanders have an especially unique quirk on their schedule: They'll be playing back-to-back games against the Giants starting in Week 13. After playing on the road in New York that week, the Commanders will have a bye in Week 14 before playing host to the Giants in Week 15. This marks just the second time since 1991 that an NFL team has played back-to-back regular-season games against the same opponent. That being said, the NFL is clearly getting more comfortable with the idea because the only other time it happened over the past 30 years came last season with the Browns facing the Ravens in back-to-back games.
Rough road to start the season. There are only three teams in the NFL who will have to play their first TWO games on the road this year and those teams are: The Buccaneers, Colts and Patriots.
Rough road to end the season. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are seven teams that will close out the season with two straight road games, however, only two of those teams will get stuck playing two straight DIVISIONAL road games to close the season: Vikings and Panthers.
Bye, bye, bye. The Texans are facing three teams that will be coming off a bye this year , which is the most in the NFL. That's not ideal since teams will be getting extra rest and preparation time prior to playing Houston. On the other end of the spectrum, there are seven teams who will be facing a total of zero opponents coming off a bye: Bills, Lions, Broncos, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Bears, Commanders.
AFC West is the best. The four AFC West teams are currently scheduled to make a total of 19 prime-time appearances in 2022, which is tied for the second-most in the Super Bowl era, according to NFL research. The only division to get scheduled for more prime-time games was the NFC East in 2015.
Week 14 bye. The Falcons, Bears, Packers, Colts, Saints and Commanders have all landed a Week 14 bye, which is notable for two reasons. First, it's tied for the latest scheduled bye that any team has ever been given since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002. Teams seem to prefer having a later bye and last season proved why: 2021 was the only time since 2002 where teams were given a Week 14 bye and all four teams that received a bye that week ended up finishing the year with a winning record
No Thursday Football for 3. Three teams shut out of Amazon's debut season of "Thursday Night Football." This season will mark the first time ever that Amazon will exclusively have the Thursday night package (we hate this!) and for the inaugural year, 29 of the league's 32 teams will be making an appearance on Amazon Prime. The three that won't? The Giants, Vikings and Lions. That being said, all three of them will get to play a Thursday game this year and that's because all three will be playing on Thanksgiving.
Lions shut out of prime time. Not only did the Lions get left off the Thursday night package, they also didn't get scheduled for either a Monday night or Sunday night game making Detroit the only team in the NFL that didn't land a prime-time game. Poor Lions.
Extra long road trip. The Packers, Dolphins, Eagles and Chiefs have one big thing in common this year: They're the only teams in the league that have to play three consecutive road games. Although that's not ideal, NFL teams that get stuck with a three-game road trip on the schedule are 22-11 on those trips since 2018.
Hopefully you can impress all of your friends this weekend with your quirky knowledge of the NFL schedule.