The NFL continues to show its power over football fans proven as so many eagerly await the league’s schedule to find out when their favorite teams will play four months from now.
But perhaps for good reason.
After all, the 2022-23 NFL schedule, which includes 17 games for each of the 32 franchises, has a plethora of must-watch contests. And it’s important to know now, with the birds beginning to chirp, the dates and times where the fall yard work will have to wait and what mornings winter snow blowing will have to be completed early.
We’ve selected the 12 best contests on the upcoming NFL schedule, with games listed in order of when they will be played.
Week 1, Thursday Sep. 8: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET
What an opening night. It certainly would not have surprised anyone if this was the matchup at SoFi Stadium last February. Perhaps it’s the one at State Farm Stadium in Arizona one year later?
Week 3, Sunday Sep. 25: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.
Aaron Rodgers against Tom Brady will be must-watch TV as long as it’s offered.
Week 4, Sunday Oct. 2: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:20 p.m. ET
While it’s not exactly an official farewell season for Brady, given his brief retirement this offseason along with the fact he has his next job lined up, it feels like the upcoming season, with Brady playing at age 45, will be his last. Both of these teams will be involved in a few of the best games of the season.
Week 5, Sunday, Oct. 9: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m.
It will be a tough task for the Bengals to defend the Lamar Hunt Trophy, especially given the AFC North is no easy task in itself. Joe Burrow and an improved offensive line will go against an incredibly talented Ravens’ defense. In a wide-open division, it could be a game that goes a long way in determining the champion.
Week 6, Sunday, Oct. 16: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.
Bills signal-caller Josh Allen (7-to-1) and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (9-to-1) currently occupy the top two lines on the NFL MVP betting board. They’re two of the best players the league has to offer, and their teams will face off after having played in one of the best NFL games ever in the AFC Divisional Round.
Week 8, Sunday, Oct. 30: Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills, 8:20 p.m.
Sensing a trend here? Quarterbacks move the needle, especially when they play for two of the best teams in the league. Would it really surprise anyone if this was the precursor to these two teams meeting in Arizona next February?
Week 9, Sunday, Nov. 6: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.
The Rams held off a late surge by the Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Round in January en route to the Super Bowl. We’re willing to think Brady will want revenge on LA while also forecasting that it could impact home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Week 10, Sunday, Nov. 13: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
When the Cowboys and Packers meet there are both fireworks and tears. I mean, Rodgers’ career highlight film will need a chapter of games against the Cowboys. It also will mark Mike McCarthy’s return to Green Bay, should the Cowboys not fire him beforehand.
Week 13, Sunday, Dec. 4: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m.
Disclaimer: Pretty much every single game that features two AFC West teams going head-to-head could turn out to be the best game of the weekend. The conference saw an influx of talent arrive on that side of the country, but the specific matchup pinning Justin Herbert against Derek Career and Davante Adams against J.C. Jackson surely will be an entertaining one.
Week 14, Sunday, Dec. 11: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, 8:20 p.m.
Russell Wilson and the improved Broncos will welcome Mahomes to Denver in what’s sure to be one of the many thrilling AFC West matchups. Take the Over.
Week 15, Sunday Dec. 18: New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:20 p.m.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will have his chance to go against another former pupil following the departure of Raiders first-year head coach Josh McDaniels. That will be an interesting matchup to watch, although New England’s counter for Adams may be a bit more one-sided.
Week 16, Sunday Dec. 25: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Rams, 4:30 p.m.
Wilson and the Broncos against the defending Super Bowl champion Rams to highlight the slate Christmas Day? Sounds like a perfect recipe to help you avoid the uncle who thinks his jokes are funnier than they are. The Broncos traveling to the Seahawks for Wilson’s return to Seattle in Week 4 is an honorable mention, too.
Now football fans just have to hope these contests live up to the hype.