Which teams had more difficult breaks?


The mighty AFC West is a big winner for the 2022 season, with 19 appearances in primetime games. But the Seahawks and Santa Claus land among the losers.

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The elimination of its annual regular-season schedule is the latest aspect of the NFL schedule that the league has managed to turn into an event, which includes five hours of live programming on NFL Network and a two-hour show on ESPN2 (competing directly against an NBA playoff). doubleheader on ESPN). They all went on for more than a week as bits of the whiteboard were constantly leaked as the team’s social media departments prepared for a day where many of them would shine.

Given all the effort put into implementing a timeline for all things, it stands to reason that we would respond in kind by anointing the winners and declaring the losers of this year’s big reveal:

WINNERS

The opener: What a three game home streak at SoFi Stadium for the Los Angeles Rams. First, an NFC championship game win over the 49ers, followed by that Super Bowl 56 win against the Bengals. Next? Quite possibly a preview of Super Bowl 57 against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, September 8, when the NFL kicks off its 103rd season. Definitely a must watch on NBC.

AFC West: The NFL’s new power division will make 19 prime-time game appearances, the second-most for a division in any season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

civic pride: For the first time, the Rams and Chargers will meet in regular-season competition at SoFi, their shared venue. It will also be on NBC, a Sunday night event on January 1 with the Bolts as the home team. I can’t wait to see who runs this town at the end of week 17. But that’s not all. In other rare interstate matchups, the Steelers will play Philadelphia on Oct. 30 and the Cowboys host the Texans on Dec. 11.

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Browns: We’re still waiting to find out if (and for how long) Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended. However, his new team surely looks poised to weather the early part of the season with the Panthers, Jets and Falcons all out of the playoffs in 2021 and decisively among the Browns’ top four opponents. . Even with the archrival Steelers visiting for a Thursday night date on Sept. 22, it looks like Cleveland has a very good chance of at least breaking even for four weeks.

mike north: The NFL’s vice president of broadcasting, who directs the very complex construction of the 272-game schedule practically from the moment the Super Bowl ends, with a lot of work put in even before then, will finally get some sleep… but not before that my mother and godmother, separately, told me to watch a CBS Mornings feature detailing how North and company make the sausage. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve gotten in touch with Mike, who has already taught me quite a bit about what a surprisingly arduous process entails.

who dey vs. who dat: Bengals-Saints, Oct. 16 at New Orleans. Let’s settle this debate.

Seahawks Frequent Flyer Miles: Well, players don’t really get miles for commuting. But if they did … Seattle players would stockpile them, ready to travel 29,446 miles and cross 34 time zones, according to Bill Speros of Bookies.com. (By contrast, barring a postseason trip west, the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be leaving the Eastern time zone this season.)

Seahawks Social Media Department: Cruel but fun to fool your players with a fake calendar. Good job, everyone.

Seahawks playing in Germany: Keeping with the Seattle theme, Deutschland’s first ever organized regular season contest will take place on November 13 between the ‘Hawks and Buccaneers. Munich’s latitude and climate are quite comparable to Seattle’s. Advantage: Seahawks.

Troy Aikman and Joe Buck: ESPN’s new “Monday Night Football” broadcast duo comes just in time for a historic season for the world leader. Aikman and Buck will debut for their new employer with a Week 1 exhibition game when Russell Wilson returns to Seattle, where he played for a decade, to make his Broncos debut against the Seahawks. Buck and Aikman will call most of ESPN’s 23-game menu, a record number for the network, which includes a wild-card game and the Pro Bowl. The MNF roundup will include the eight 2021 division champions, all 14 playoff clubs from last season, a split Week 2 doubleheader with ABC and every league MVP since the 2016 campaign. Choice matchups: Rams-49ers on Oct. 3 in a rematch of the NFC title game, Saints-Buccaneers on Dec. 5 and Rams-Packers on Dec. 19.

Field of faithful Lambeau: If you have a Packers season ticket, you’re in for a treat with the Patriots, Cowboys, Rams, Titans and even the new Jets heading to Wisconsin this season as part of Green Bay’s non-divisional schedule. LA will have a prime-time date on December 19, marking the 30th consecutive season that the Pack will appear on “Monday Night Football.”

LOSERS

Field of faithful Lambeau: If you have a Packers season ticket, you’re a bit bummed that, for the first time, your team will be forced to play a game in London and at the expense of a home date. Worse yet, it’s the New York Giants, a historic Pack rival, who won’t be making the pilgrimage to Green Bay in 2022.

Troy Aikman and Joe Buck: I’m still not sure they can successfully take on the ManningCast, with Peyton and Eli scheduled to shoot (beep) for 10 games this season as an “MNF” alternative.

Seahawks playing in Germany: The first regular season contest organized in Deutschland will take place on November 13 between the ‘Hawks and the Buccaneers. The time difference between Munich and Seattle is nine hours. Advantage: Bucks.

NBA: Such is modern life for “The Association”. First, ESPN’s viewership for a pair of Game 6 conference semifinals (Heat-76ers and Suns-Mavericks) was cannibalized, at least partially, by the release of the NFL schedule … which came with a tripleheader. on Christmas day, historically a day the NBA has tried to own Good luck with that this year, hoopers: Aaron Rodgers’ Packers (vs. Dolphins), Russell Wilson’s annual visit to Los Angeles to play the Rams, though this Once as the Broncos’ QB1, and a Buccaneers Christmas present from Tom Brady headed to the desert to face Kyler Murray and the Cardinals means a trio of gifts sure to relegate the NBA to stocking stuffer status.

Santa Claus: Three Christmas games? How is Saint Nick supposed to post for 10+ hours of football after flying around the world the night before? Pretty cruel, Goodell, especially that kickoff at 1 pm ET with the North Pole’s official team, the Packers, playing in Miami.

Bosses: Kansas City’s first eight games are against teams that had winning records in 2021. Phew.

Buccaneers, Colts, Patriots: All playoff contenders open with back-to-back road games, though, luckily for them, North has made sure that no team starts its season with three straight roadies. Still, it’s not necessarily ideal … even if it’s worth noting that Mr. Tom Brady has never started a season 0-2.

Cordless Cutters: If you haven’t adopted the transmission… good. Prime Video has become the exclusive domain of the league’s Thursday night package, a 15-game haul, and ESPN+ will broadcast the Broncos-Jaguars game in London on October 30. If you haven’t yet embraced the future, or refuse to subscribe to every streaming service out there, prepare to miss out on a good chunk of live football.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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