2022 NFL schedule: Analysis and a bold prediction for all 32 teams

by Ricardo Gutierrez - The season opens with the defending champions Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills.

2022 NFL schedule: Analysis and a bold prediction for all 32 teams

2022 NFL schedule - Predictions, analysis and revenge games for all 32 teams play Why Booger doesn't expect to see a Rams-Broncos Super Bowl (0:49) Booger McFarland breaks down his doubts about the Broncos reaching the Super Bowl. (0:49) 8:05 PM ET NFL NationESPN The 2022 NFL schedule was released on Thursday. Can quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams repeat as champs? Stafford and the Rams will kick off the NFL season Thursday, Sept. 8, by hosting the Buffalo Bills . ESPN's Monday Night Football opener is Sept. 12 and will feature Russell Wilson 's debut with the Denver Broncos hosting his former team, the Seattle Seahawks . Ticket Center The 2022 schedule is out and Vivid Seats is here to help fans find tickets in their price range. Start making plans for that perfect road trip! Disclaimer: Vivid Seats is ESPN's ticketing partner and ESPN gets a commission on any sales driven through this link. Based on strength of schedule -- which is determined by opponents' records in 2021 -- the Rams have the toughest schedule of the 2022 season and the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Commanders tie for the easiest. The NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games last season. The final regular-season games for the 2022 season will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14, 2023, and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. Here's a bold prediction for every team following the schedule release. Click on the links to see the full schedule and more analysis. AFC EAST New England Patriots The Patriots will need to beat the Bills in the regular-season finale to secure a playoff berth, and it will be intriguing to see how it unfolds if Buffalo has already solidified its own playoff seeding. The Patriots' 2021 season ended in embarrassing fashion at Buffalo in a 47-17 playoff loss, and in this scenario, they would have a chance to write a different story a year later.Read more from Mike Reiss AFC NORTH Baltimore Ravens Editor's Picks 2022 NFL Schedule -- Full list of opening betting odds for Week 1 games 15m ESPN Sports Betting The Ravens win the AFC North to become the NFL's latest team to go from last place to first. This has happened in 17 of the last 19 seasons, and the Ravens are in a great position to continue this trend. Baltimore gets back six starters who suffered season-ending injuries last year, along with a healthy and motivated Lamar Jackson , who is entering his fifth-year option. That's a major boost to a Ravens team that lost five games by three points or fewer last season, including a one-point defeat to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams.Read more from Jamison Hensley Cleveland Browns It's difficult to forecast Cleveland's season without knowing whether quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended. But if he isn't, the Browns win their first division title since 1989.Read more from Jake Trotter AFC SOUTH Houston Texans The Texans will enter their Week 6 bye at 2-3. Houston has three of those five games on the road but could win at the Chicago Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars .Read more from Sarah Barshop Indianapolis Colts The Colts will get their first victory over New England coach Bill Belichick at Gillette Stadium for the first time since 2006 in Week 9. The Colts have lost six straight to the Patriots at their home stadium by an average of 19.6 points a game in that span.Read more from Mike Wells Jacksonville Jaguars The Jaguars, who have won four games the past two seasons combined, will end two long losing streaks by beating Washington on the road in the season opener. They've lost 17 consecutive road games dating back to a victory in Oakland on Dec. 15, 2019, and 16 consecutive games against NFC teams dating back to beating the Giants in the 2018 season opener.Read more from Michael DiRocco NFC EAST Dallas Cowboys The Cowboys break the NFC East jinx and win the division in back-to-back years. The last time the same team won the NFC East in consecutive years was Philadelphia in 2003-04. The Cowboys have not gone to the playoffs in back-to-back years since 2006-07.Read more from Todd Archer New York Giants The Giants will win twice as many games after the bye as before their break in Week 9. So that's two wins in their first eight games and four in their final nine. It's a byproduct of the tough early schedule, the easier post-bye matchups (beginning with home contests against the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions ) and the time it takes to get acclimated to a new coaching staff.Read more from Jordan Raanan Washington Football Team Washington wins 10 games and makes the playoffs. The Commanders bolstered their offense with Wentz and first-round receiver Jahan Dotson . Defensively, this will matter: In 2021, they faced six quarterbacks who finished in the top 10 in total QBR and nine of the top 14. This season they face two who were in the top 10 and only five in the top 14.Read more from John Keim NFC SOUTH Atlanta Falcons Falcons coach Arthur Smith will once again show he can get the most out of a roster, but the Falcons will struggle against this schedule. Rookie Desmond Ridder will start multiple games this season with Atlanta finishing with a top-5 pick in the 2023 NFL draft..Read more from Michael Rothstein New Orleans Saints The Saints will start 3-1. And they'll finish 3-1 down the stretch -- taking advantage of a rare December bye to heal up and peak at the right time while earning their way back into the playoffs.Read more from Mike Triplett NFC WEST Arizona Cardinals A year after the Cardinals won 11 games and went to the playoffs, they won't win more than seven and will miss the postseason.Read more from Josh Weinfuss Los Angeles Rams The Rams win at least five of their first six games. Four of that stretch are at home and two are against the Falcons and Panthers. Read more from Sarah Barshop San Francisco 49ers That 49ers post the best record in NFC West division games, going 5-1 and sweeping Arizona and Seattle. Think that's not bold? Considering the Niners are 5-15 combined against the Seahawks and Cardinals since coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017, it would be a big step forward against their divisional counterparts. That type of performance in the division would go a long way toward a return to the playoffs but you'll have to pay extra for that type of prediction here.Read more from Nick Wagoner