The best game for every week of the 2022 NFL regular season

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The NFL schedule is finally set in all of its 272-game glory.

After the league announced five international matchups last week and its network partners trickled out a few matchups over the past several days, the 2022 slate in its entirety is now known, from Sept. 8 all the way through mid-January.

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There are notable matchups up and down the list, from Russell Wilson returning to Seattle right out of the gates with his new team, the Denver Broncos, to Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns visiting Houston in Week 13.

Every week, there are compelling storylines. With that in mind, here’s a look at the single best game for each of the 18 regular-season weekends.

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Week 1: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams (8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC)

Let’s not make it too complicated. There are a bunch of interesting matchups on opening weekend, but there’s not a better one than Josh Allen and company traveling across the country to face the Super Bowl champions. This easily could have been the Super Bowl in February, but kicking off the 2022 season with these two teams is a good way to go, too.

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Week 2: Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

DeAndre Hopkins’ six-game suspension means we won’t see a matchup of two of the best receivers in the game, but this one still pits teams with playoff aspirations and a pair of quarterbacks looking to make statements this fall. The Chargers visiting the Chiefs also is going to be a must-see matchup.

Week 3: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers visits Tampa again to take on seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Two of the sport’s greats on the field for perhaps the final time, though it’s not the first time we’ve thought that. Don’t get lost on the quarterback matchup alone, though, this one should feature two of the NFL’s stiffest defenses, as well.

The best game for every week of the 2022 nfl regular season

Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC)

Lest this list turn into simply a rundown of the best quarterback matchups each week, it’s hard to ignore Mahomes and Brady on the same field together. The Super Bowl LV rematch will be one of the most highly anticipated regular-season games of the year.

Week 5: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC)

The Bengals advanced all the way to the Super Bowl and put themselves right back in the spotlight in the process. The Ravens return with Lamar Jackson and a group that’s coming off a disappointing 8-9 campaign. Both matchups between the divisional opponents will be pivotal.

Week 6: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN)

Every week in the AFC West is going to be hard-fought and also feature good quarterback play, and this one should be no different. Outside of Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert, respectively, the Broncos return the core of one of the better defenses in the NFL last year and have added Randy Gregory to help make up for having traded Von Miller last year. The Chargers have added to their defense, too, highlighted by acquiring Khalil Mack.

Week 7: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

The Colts’ late collapse in 2021 precipitated moving on from Carson Wentz and acquiring Matt Ryan. Can the veteran quarterback lead an otherwise solid roster back to the postseason? And it hasn’t been a smooth offseason for Ryan Tannehill and the Titans, who are moving on without star receiver A.J. Brown after trading him during the draft. Where will these two franchises be several weeks into the season?

Week 8: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

The 49ers knocked off the Rams twice in the regular season last year, only to see their season end against the divisional foe in the NFC championship game by three points. San Francisco’s quarterback picture could be cleared up by this time on the calendar, or perhaps it will still be a storyline.

Week 9: Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (8:15 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN)

In the absence of a knockout Week 9 matchup, let’s go with an interleague primetime game that, one way or another, figures to be interesting. In New Orleans, the post-Sean Peyton era will certainly attract attention, as will Jameis Winston’s ongoing rehabilitation from injury.

Week 10: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy makes his return to Green Bay, where he won a Super Bowl and has a street named after himself around Lambeau Field. That’s just one juicy subplot to a matchup between two of the biggest draws in the sport on a weekend that could have postseason implications.

Week 11: Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills, (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

The deeper into the season we get, the tougher it is to project where teams will be. But the Bills figure to have staying power and this would certainly be one to watch if the Browns can find a way to stay in contention for the division. That will depend, in part, on the availability and performance level of quarterback Deshaun Watson, who did not play for the Texans in 2021 amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Week 12: Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Two of the past three Super Bowl champions and a pair of teams that have combined to appear in each of the last four Super Bowls? That will work on Thanksgiving weekend. Both teams figure to be squarely in the mix this time around, too.

Week 13: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

OK, we tried to avoid teams going back-to-back too often, but how can you not go with the rematch of the AFC championship game? Zac Taylor and company went to Arrowhead to get the job done and punch their Super Bowl ticket last season. They’ll get to host this.

Week 14: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (8:15 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN)

There are a bunch of good games to choose from this week – Chiefs at Broncos, Browns at Bengals, Buccaneers at 49ers – but let’s go with this one on the West Coast. Tough trip for the Patriots. What will Mac Jones’ second go-around in the NFL look like? He’ll be doing it, remember, without Josh McDaniels, who is now the head coach in Las Vegas.

Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)

Joe Burrow vs. Tom Brady. That talented young Bengals receiving corps against a defense that’s established itself as one of the league’s best. And a fearsome Bucs pass rush against a Cincinnati offensive line group that has to be much better than it was in 2021.

Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

Somewhere along the way perhaps a team will grab the NFC East and run with it. Or perhaps it will be a fight the entire way. This game, late in the season, figures to have postseason implications in some form or fashion. And what will the feeling be about Jalen Hurts’ status in Philly by this time?

Week 17: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (8:30 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN/ABC)

The Vikings at the Packers – can anybody make a run at Green Bay’s grip on the NFC North? – and the Los Angeles Bowl are both tempting on the regular season’s penultimate week, but the vote here goes to Buffalo at Cincinnati. A couple of teams with star quarterbacks and Super Bowl aspirations. Maybe a premium playoff seed will be on the line, too.

Week 18: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (TBD)

In a divisional bonanza to close the year, the hope is there are a bunch of games that have playoff implications. That certainly could set up to be the case in the AFC West, where the Broncos and Chargers both look like challengers but neither will be widely considered a favorite before the season. Where will it fall over the preceding 17 weeks? That’s the fun of it.

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