Just four months stand between NFL fans and the start of the 2022 regular season. While that may seem like a long time to wait, the offseason continues to roll at a blistering pace. With the 2022 NFL Draft now in the rearview mirror, the NFL also inches closer to the release of the 2022 NFL schedule. When is the schedule set to be released in 2022, and what do we know so far?
2022 NFL schedule release date
Prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, the NFL announced that the 2022 regular-season schedule will be released on Thursday, May 12. This is the same date that the 2021 NFL schedule was released. The schedule release will be covered on NFL Network, NFL.com, and the NFL App. ESPN will also provide primetime specials on ESPN2 and ESPN+. There will also be a one-hour “NFL GameDay View: Schedule Release” show broadcast on NFL.com, the NFL app, the NFL Channel, Youtube, Paramount+, Peacock, and Prime Video.
Ahead of the schedule release itself, the NFL has begun to tease the season. During the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the NFL announced the first Thursday Night Football game (Week 2) of the season. The Chiefs will host the Chargers in an AFC West battle.
Then on May 4, the NFL announced the teams for the International Series games. Further select games will be announced during the week of May 9, with teams allowed to announce their first home opponent at 6 PM ET on May 12. The schedule for the release of a select game on each network during the week of May 9 is as follows:
- Monday, May 9: ESPN – Good Morning America
- Tuesday, May 10: CBS – CBS Mornings
- Wednesday, May 11: FOX – FOX and Friends
- Thursday, May 12, NBC – Today Show
When does the 2022 NFL season start?
The 2022 NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 8. Traditionally, the Super Bowl winners host the opening game. With the NFL showing no intentions of changing this tradition, the NFL season will start where the previous season ended for the second season in a row. However, the NFL has broken this tradition in exceptional circumstances, such as the Bears’ 100th season in 2019.
The 2022-2023 season spans five months, finishing on February 12, 2023. Glendale, Arizona, will host Super Bowl 57 at State Farm Stadium.
What can we expect from the 2022 NFL schedule release?
There are a few things of note about the 2022 NFL schedule. The Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl victory means they ring in the new season at SoFi Stadium. There are also five international games in three countries this season.
The Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Jacksonville Jaguars will fly to England to play one of their home games in London. Here are the three London games that have officially been announced.
- New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 5 | October 9 at 9:30 AM ET on NFL Network
- Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 8 | October 30 at 9:30 AM ET on ESPN+
- Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 4 | October 02 at 9:30 AM ET on NFL Network
The Arizona Cardinals will also travel south to face the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico on November 21 at 8:15 PM ET.
Finally, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play in the first-ever NFL game in Munich, Germany against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, November 13.
The schedule should also get a bit funky around the holidays. Both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday in 2022. The NFL tends to limit the number of games on Christmas when falling on Sundays.
Expect to see most of that week played on Saturday, December 24, with one to three games on Christmas Day/Night. In contrast, New Year’s Day will see the NFL play a traditional Sunday slate.
What is the standard process for setting the NFL schedule?
Even though we will not know what each team’s schedule looks like week by week, we do know which teams will face one another. The NFL has a structure set in place for deciding which teams match up each year. First, each team plays the other three teams within its division twice, once at home and once on the road.
Additionally, a team plays four games against another division within its conference, bringing the game total to 10. Furthermore, each team plays four games against a division in the opposing conference. These have a rotation yearly across a three-year cycle. Here is how the 2022 schedule rotation looks:
- AFC East opponents
- AFC North opponents
- AFC South opponents
- AFC West opponents:
- NFC East opponents
- NFC North opponents
- NFC South opponents
- NFC West opponents
Finally, the remaining two games on the traditional 16-game schedule see each team face the other two teams within the conference that finished in the same place in the division as them in 2021. So, for example, the Arizona Cardinals will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. These final two bring the in-conference game total to 12.
The NFC will host nine home games each this year
2022 will be the second 17-game NFL regular season. As part of that procedure, the NFL implemented a rotating schedule where AFC teams host an extra game in odd years and the NFC hosts in even years. Therefore, the 2022 NFL schedule will have nine home games for each of the 16 NFC teams unless they host a game internationally.
Additionally, the 17th game is scheduled on a rotating divisional basis. For example, the NFC West will host the AFC East in 2022 after traveling to the AFC North in 2021. Each team will face the team that finished in the same spot as them in the corresponding division. Therefore, the Rams will face the Bills, the Cardinals will face the Patriots, the 49ers will face the Dolphins, and the Seahawks will face the Jets.
The full divisional rotation is AFC East at NFC West, AFC West at NFC South, AFC South at NFC North, and AFC North at NFC East. Here’s a complete list of “17th games” for the 2022 NFL schedule.
- Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
- New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
- Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
- New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
- Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
- Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings
- Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions
- Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Las Vegas Raiders at New Orleans Saints
- Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons
- Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers
- Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
- Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders
- Baltimore Ravens at New York Giants
The 2022 NFL schedule will have five international games
As mentioned above, we already know that five regular-season games in 2022 will be played outside of the US. The league will return to London with three games after hosting just two last year.
After a two-year hiatus, Mexico will host another game this year. Previously, the Estadio Azteca had hosted three games in four seasons between 2016 and 2019.
Also previously mentioned, the 2022 NFL schedule release will see the league head to Germany for the first time. There has been plenty of discussion about expanding the NFL International Series into Germany for the past decade.
The league finally got the ball rolling with two games scheduled at FC Bayern Munich and two at Frankfurt Stadium over the next four seasons.