The full 2022 NFL regular-season schedule will be unveiled on NFL Network, NFL.com and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 12, but football fans got their first glimpse of which teams will be playing in prime time on Monday morning with the announcement of a Week 2 Monday Night Football doubleheader: Titans-Bills at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN and Vikings-Eagles at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Looking back at 2021, the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs each played in six prime-time games -- tied for the most such contests in a single season with the 2007 New England Patriots since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, according to NFL Research. So before we learn which teams will be featured in these coveted games each week, we asked our analysts to answer the following question:
Which NFL team should play in the most prime-time games in 2022?
Can I vote for the entire AFC West? No? OK, then I want the Chiefs to have the most games in prime time, and I have specific opponent requests: Rams, Bucs, Bengals, Bills and then I want a special waiver so we can have at least one of their games against each division rival in the spotlight. In terms of difficulty, the Chiefs' schedule is brutal. In terms of watchability, it will be must-see.
Could this be the last go-around for the G.O.A.T.? Tom Brady already retired/unretired this offseason, and the league isn't going to let him walk into the sunset without a farewell tour. For everything he's done in his career, Brady deserves to be under the brightest lights as much as possible in what could be his final campaign. The world wants to watch.
Baltimore is always must-see TV. Not only because it has one of the game's more electrifying players in quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose ability to do something magical means never taking a bathroom break when the Ravens are on offense, but also because the defense plays the game as it should be played -- physically, aggressively, collectively.
I thought the Bills could've won the Super Bowl last year if they had just won that coin toss. They didn't take much time (if any) to sulk about the Divisional Round defeat, getting right back to work on building an even better roster for 2022. Buffalo is the top dog in the AFC, boasting star playmakers on both sides of the ball. Between Sean McDermott, Josh Allen and Co. and Bills Mafia, there won't be a dull moment.
The Buccaneers will be the NFL's most interesting team. They have Tom Brady back from his brief retirement and a new head coach in Todd Bowles. They have several key players returning who were injured when the 2021 postseason began. Their list of opponents also features seven teams that made the playoffs last season, including all four conference championship game participants. There will be no shortage of great games involving Tampa Bay. The majority should be on prime time.
Any time Patrick Mahomes steps on the field, it's must-see TV. Adding to the intrigue is how the Chiefs' offense will look without Tyreek Hill and with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore (my draft favorite). The AFC West is absolutely loaded with star power, making each divisional matchup a can't-miss showdown. But wait, the Chiefs are also scheduled to host the Bills, Rams and Titans, and face the Cardinals, Bengals, Colts, 49ers and Bucs on the road. It won't happen, but honestly, the entire Kansas City slate should be prime-time programming.
This year's Raiders squad is made for the spotlight. Las Vegas has star power on both sides of the ball, with Derek Carr, Darren Waller and Davante Adams ready to light up the scoreboard on offense while Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones aim to wreak havoc on D. Plus, Josh McDaniels is getting another crack at a head-coaching gig and will host mentor Bill Belichick and the Pats at Allegiant Stadium.