In a long NFL season, the smallest details can make the biggest differences.
For example, a receiver steps out of bounds right before crossing the end line in the closing seconds. A quarterback under-throws a wide-open tight end in the middle of the field as his team unsuccessfully mounts a furious comeback. And, of course, there is always the regular-season slate reveal.
On Thursday evening, the NFL revealed the entire 2022 schedule. Some teams should be thanking their lucky stars that the schedule makers gave them the luck of the draw. Others? They have a legitimate bone to pick over a game order that might decide their respective seasons.
Let’s run through a few NFL teams that were most hurt by the league’s schedule reveal.
4 Los Angeles Rams
Look, the Rams are the defending Super Bowl champions, so I don’t feel too bad for them. It’s okay if they have somewhat of a struggle on the road to a potential repeat.
That said: An opener with the Bills on L.A.’s banner night? Second-half road dates with the Buccaneers, Chiefs, Packers and Chargers? I’m trying to think of a more difficult slate and nothing’s coming to mind.
3 Miami Dolphins
From Weeks 13-17:
- At 49ers
- At Chargers
- At Bills
- Vs. Packers
- At Patriots
I mean, come on. That’s four playoff teams (the 49ers, Bills, Packers, and Patriots) from last year, and four that I would count as bona fide Super Bowl contenders (the 49ers, Chargers, Bills, and Packers). Not to mention all those road games. Can someone with the NFL league office show Miami some love?
That sort of challenging schedule is begging for the Dolphins to be put out of their misery by Christmas.
2 Tennessee Titans
The way the schedule makers hung the Titans out to dry, Ryan Tannehill might want to reconsider his stance on mentorship.
A Week 2 road Monday Night Football date with the Bills. A midseason stretch featuring visits to Kansas City, Green Bay, and Philadelphia, and home matchups against the Broncos and Bengals. Oh, my goodness.
Surely, the Titans can come out of that with their heads above water. Right?
1 Dallas Cowboys
HOW ‘BOUT THEM, COWBOYS?
Yes, how about them, indeed. In yet another make-or-break year in JerryWorld, the NFL put Dallas on a silver platter for plenty of their opponents.
For example, while they’re both at home, the Buccaneers and Bengals give the Cowboys arguably the most brutal two-game opening slate. Then there’s the prospect of Dallas playing at home just once from late September to mid-October. Throw in back-to-back midseason road battles with the Packers and Vikings, three of their final games being on the road and one thing is clear: Someone does not like “Big D” on Park Avenue.
That or they’re trying to see where Mike McCarthy’s breaking point is. Either or works here.