2022 NFL Schedule Winners and Losers: Vikings, Eagles Gain, While Falcons, Raiders Get Hard Slates

Mark your calendar, because the complete NFL schedule 2022 has arrived. Of a drama filled week 1 to a slew of special holiday matchups, each month of the 18-week regular season roundup promises unmissable TV. However, it’s safe to say that some teams are celebrating Thursday’s highly anticipated announcements more than others. Let’s dive into some of the clearest winners and losers from the schedule’s release, projecting which clubs were helped and hurt the most by the order of the games:

Seeking a return to the NFC North as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers adjust to life without Davante Adams, Minnesota faces none other than A-Rod and Green Bay out of the gate, but at least they get the home crowd behind them. for Week 1. The weeks 3-6 prior to their parting are more than acceptable: vs. Lions, at Saints on a neutral field in London, vs. Bears, at Dolphins. And then, after a tough mid-season stretch, they host the Patriots on Thanksgiving to start a friendly at home: vs. Jets after a long week, at Lions, vs. Giants, at Bears. That smells like a wild card recipe.

And you thought their selection would judge them? Fasten your seat belts. They have a brutal opening: vs. Saints, at Rams, at Seahawks, vs. Browns, at Buccaneers, vs. 49ers, at Bengals. It is not inconceivable that they are at 1-6 or even 0-7 halfway through Arthur Smith’s second season. Moreover, they only get a goodbye in week 14. Whether it’s Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder in the middle, it doesn’t get any easier at the end either. Their last four: at Saints, at Ravens, vs. cardinals vs. Buccaneers. The saving grace could be if Baltimore and Tampa Bay are resting starters. Even then… oops.

They were already nicely set up with an NFC East schedule, but they’re off to a pretty sweet start: After visiting the Lions, they host the Vikings for their home debut on “Monday Night Football” (translation: the Linc gets juiced), then go to Washington, vs. Jaguars, to Cardinals, vs. Cowboys in prime time for the farewell. It’s not hard to imagine a possible 4-2 opening. They have some tough opponents there, but the final five-game slate adds promise: vs. Titans, at Giants, at Bears, at Cowboys, vs. Saints, vs. giants. In a close NFC East, a solid performance all along the stretch could take them straight back to the playoffs, a la 2021.

Sorry to rain on the hype parade in Las Vegas, but just because Derek Carr and Davante Adams are supposed to be fun to watch this year doesn’t mean they have an easy road back to the postseason. Check out this five-game start: at Chargers, vs. Cardinals, at Titans, vs. Broncos, at Chiefs. It’s a good thing they have a goodbye in week 6 to recover; while LA and KC are electric, the Broncos and Titans can wear them out physically. Moving on, when the NFL steps up to the prime-time spotlight, things get even harder. From Week 11: at Broncos, at Seahawks, vs. Chargers, at Rams on a short week, vs. Patriots, at Steelers, vs. 49ers vs. chief. They better get MVP Derek Carr and not late season Derek Carr here!

Winner: Giants

Who knows if Brian Daboll can win consistently with Daniel Jones, but at least the calendar is calling for a rebound for this franchise. Four of their first six will be at home, and one of the two road races during that period will be at a neutral pitch in London. They play home games three times in a row. And after their nicely positioned Week 9 bye, they get the Texans and Lions for a seven-game five-division game. They could be the Eagles of 2022: a young QB with a new attacking coach who takes advantage of a weak schedule to surprise from the East.

Loser: Cardinals

You know how Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury tend to start out hot before they drop? They may struggle to reach a mountain that they may tumble from this year. After opening vs. Chiefs, at Raiders, vs. Rams, they have three games left without DeAndre Hopkins, two of which are in the pipeline. Then, from week 8-12, they have this: at Vikings, vs. Seahawks, at Rams, vs. 49ers in Mexico vs. Chargers in a short week. After a late bye into Week 13, three of their last four are road games and four of their last five opponents are the Broncos, Buccaneers, 49ers and Patriots. Not to mention their likely tight division race.

Winner: Seahawks

Sure, Russell Wilson could ruin their year right away by trotting back to Seattle in Week 1, but they could benefit more from the early reunion than the Broncos, who are still acclimating to the new QB. Their elite opponents are relatively scattered. They get a goodbye after their trip to Germany, where they at least get the Buccaneers on a neutral field. And then five of their last seven fall home. Who knows who will quarterback the Seahawks, but Pete Carroll can help them play spoiler. Loser:

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