Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022 NFL schedule release: Patriots opponents, previews, full list of teams on regular-season schedule

With the initial wave of free agency and the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the attention now fully turns toward the 2022 regular season. The Patriots are coming off a season a year ago where they were able to get back into the playoffs but were sent packing rather quickly thanks to a dominating effort by the Bills. Throughout the offseason, they’ve made some tweaks to the roster but did see All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson depart along with longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Those will be two losses that quarterback Mac Jones will need to help guide New England through as he looks to take a leap in Year 2. 

Of course, for the Patriots to get back into the playoffs for a second consecutive year, they’ll need to run through their 2022 opponents. Below, you’ll find a rundown of each opponent New England will face this year along with the 18-week regular-season schedule (once announced): 

2022 opponents

Ravens: Baltimore is coming off an injury-filled season that completely derailed any chances of seriously contending in the AFC. With those players — including Lamar Jackson — returning, they’ll look to get back to being one of the tougher outs in the conference. 

Bills: There’s no denying that the Bills are the class of the AFC East at the moment. While the Patriots split with them in the regular season, they were completely shelled in the playoffs truly showing how far apart they really are. Buffalo is the current Super Bowl favorite heading into the season and has made some key additions — wideout Jameson Crowder and first-round corner Kairr Elam — to further bolster this already deep roster. 

Bengals: Cincinnati is coming off a remarkable season in 2021 where they were able to win the AFC and reach Super Bowl LVI. Joe Burrow looks to be among the elite quarterbacks in the conference and will now have a sturdier offensive line in front of him after the front office addressed that area this offseason. 

Bears: Chicago appears to be in a full rebuild as they are rolling out a new GM in Ryan Poles and a new head coach in Matt Eberflus. The roster doesn’t leave much to be desired other than promising second-year quarterback Justin Fields. If the Bears plan to content in 2022, it’ll take a Herculean effort by Fields. 

Lions: Detroit’s 3-13-1 record doesn’t exactly reflect how competitive this team was in 2021. Dan Campbell’s team was a tough out every single week and have now just added the likes of pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson and wideout Jameson Williams at the draft. 

Dolphins: The Dolphins roster has had quite the glow-up this offseason. Not only did they surround Tua Tagovailoa with new weapons like Tyreek Hill, but they also got him protection up front by inking tackle Terron Armstead to a lucrative deal in free agency. While Miami has a revamped roster, it’ll be interesting to see how the team transitions to Mike McDaniel after the firing of Brian Flores. 

Jets: Don’t look now, but the Jets are putting a solid foundation together. They hit a home run at the draft by selecting cornerback “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson in the first round. If Zach Wilson takes any sort of leap in Year 2, they could be a surprise. 

Colts: The big change in Indianapolis comes under center. After the Carson Wentz experiment went up in flames, they were able to trade him to Washington and eventually acquire Matt Ryan from the Falcons. That addition alone has them as the favorite to win the AFC South and that’s not even mentioning the signing of cornerback Stephon Gilmore

Cardinals: Arizona will be without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks of the season due to a failed PED test, but they did acquire former Ravens wideout Marquise Brown at the draft to help cushion that loss. Kyle Murray’s contract has been a point of discussion throughout the offseason, but under the assumption they get that figured out, this will still be one of the tougher offenses in the league. 

Browns: Welcome to Cleveland, Deshaun Watson. The Browns pulled off the blockbuster to land the former Texans quarterback, but now the question remains if he’ll face any punishment from the league stemming from his multiple civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct.

Packers: Aaron Rodgers has re-upped with the Packers, but Green Bay did lose a key piece to its offense when they traded Davante Adams to the Raiders. Still, they should be one of the favorites in the NFC thanks to the back-to-back MVP still lining up under center. 

Vikings: Minnesota is another team that is under new management as Kevin O’Connell is now manning the sidelines as the head coach. For the most part, it’s the same cast of characters on the roster with Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook headlining the offense. 

Raiders: Las Vegas has seen an overhaul of the front office and now head coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler are running the show. Not only have the Raiders re-tooled the masthead, but they’ve also dove head-first into the open market, trading for Davante Adams and signing pass rusher Chandler Jones to a contract to pair with Maxx Crosby.  

Steelers: Pittsburgh is embarking on the post-Roethlisberger era and could very well be rolling out first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett in Week 1. While the quarterback may be different, Mike Tomlin is still running the show and looking to keep his streak of never having a losing season rolling. 

Full 2022 schedule

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