NFL Schedule 2022: Brady vs. Rodgers, Allen vs. Mahomes Among Top QB Matchups

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 13, 2022

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Any doubt about the importance of a franchise quarterback in the modern NFL was further erased last season when the Los Angeles Rams acquired Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions and proceeded to capture the Super Bowl LVI title.

The Rams already featured a roster ready to contend for a championship, and the upgrade from Jared Goff to Stafford was enough to put them over the top.

Other teams clearly took notice as an offseason of whirlwind QB movement was headlined by Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts and Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders.

It set the stage for another year of high-profile quarterback matchups, and now fans know when each game will take place following Thursday night's 2022 NFL schedule release.

So let's check out a week-by-week look at some of the top QB battles on the horizon this season.

Week 1

  • Josh Allen (Bills) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • Derek Carr (Raiders) vs. Justin Herbert (Chargers)
  • Tom Brady (Buccaneers) vs. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)

The 2022 season gets started on a high note as Stafford and the Rams open their title defense by welcoming Allen and the Bills to L.A. It's a golden opportunity for Buffalo, which has been on the cusp of title contention the last few years, to make a major statement.

Week 2

  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
  • Joe Burrow (Bengals) vs. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
  • Kyler Murray (Cardinals) vs. Derek Carr (Raiders)

The AFC West may be the best division in NFL history with four teams that all enter the season with hopes of making a deep playoff run. The head-to-head battles will be crucial in terms of making it to the postseason, so the pressure begins early for Herbert and Mahomes.

Week 3

  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Matt Ryan (Colts)
  • Matthew Stafford (Rams) vs. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • Aaron Rodgers (Packers) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)

Any meeting between Brady, 44, and Rodgers, 38, could end up being the last between two of the best quarterbacks ever. That said, it also wouldn't be a shock if they end up facing each other in this season's NFC Championship Game.

Week 4

  • Carson Wentz (Commanders) vs. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
  • Josh Allen (Bills) vs. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Derek Carr (Raiders)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)

Seeing Mahomes on the list every week in the season's first month showcases how difficult Kansas City's schedule is out of the gate. Their first eight games are all against opponents who finished 2021 with a record above .500, including Brady and the Bucs.

Week 5

  • Matt Ryan (Colts) vs. Russell Wilson (Broncos)
  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Deshaun Watson (Browns)
  • Dak Prescott (Cowboys) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
  • Joe Burrow (Bengals) vs. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
  • Derek Carr (Raiders) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)

Burrow and the Bengals surprised a lot of people by making it all the way to last season's Super Bowl before falling just short against the Rams. Now they'll try to establish themselves as perennial contenders by dominating the Ravens and the rest of the AFC North.

Week 6

  • Josh Allen (Bills) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Justin Herbert (Chargers)

A light week for marquee QB matchups is offset by fans getting to see another clash between Allen and Mahomes, who put on one of the best quarterbacking displays in playoff history earlier this year, with the Chiefs ultimately scoring a 42-36 overtime win.

Week 7

  • Aaron Rodgers (Packers) vs. Carson Wentz (Commanders)
  • Deshaun Watson (Browns) vs. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)

A wide gap has emerged between Wentz's strong numbers (140 TD, 57 INT) and his reputation after he wore out his welcome after just one season in Indianapolis. He'll look to secure a longer stay in Washington, which otherwise has a roster ready to contend.

Week 8

  • Lamar Jackson (Ravens) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
  • Aaron Rodgers (Packers) vs. Josh Allen (Bills)
  • Joe Burrow (Bengals) vs. Deshaun Watson (Browns)

Lawrence struggled as a rookie after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021. It was hardly an ideal situation given Urban Meyer's disastrous tenure as head coach, however, so he'll look to showcase his high-end talent more consistently in his second season.

Week 9

  • Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) vs. Justin Fields (Bears)
  • Matthew Stafford (Rams) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)

It could be a make-or-break year for both Tagovailoa and Fields, who've flashed upside early in their NFL careers but still have work to do before they reach the upper echelon of signal-callers. If clear progress isn't made in 2022, their teams could look elsewhere next offseason.

Week 10

  • Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
  • Matt Ryan (Colts) vs. Derek Carr (Raiders)
  • Dak Prescott (Cowboys) vs. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
  • Kyler Murray (Cardinals) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams)

All of the quarterback movement combined with the drama surrounding the brief retirement of Brady has led Rodgers, who's won NFL MVP each of the last two seasons, to fly below the radar entering 2022. How will he perform without Davante Adams as his top target?

Week 11

  • Deshaun Watson (Browns) vs. Josh Allen (Bills)
  • Derek Carr (Raiders) vs. Russell Wilson (Broncos)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Justin Herbert (Chargers)

Watson's status for 2022 remains unsettled as he faces 22 civil lawsuits from women who allege sexual assault and misconduct after he hired them for massage sessions. The Browns gave him a fully guaranteed $230 million contract to fill their longtime QB void.

Week 12

  • Tom Brady (Buccaneers) vs. Deshaun Watson (Browns)
  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • Matthew Stafford (Rams) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)

Murray was an MVP candidate after the Cards raced out to a 7-0 start last season. They collapsed after that, going 4-6 down the stretch and losing their playoff opener, which puts the spotlight on the dual-threat playmaker to put together a more complete 2022 campaign.

Week 13

  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Derek Carr (Raiders)

Jackson's play has trended in the wrong direction since winning the 2019 MVP, including 16 turnovers in 12 appearances last year. He's still among the league's most dynamic players and is a strong bet to bounce back this fall.

Week 14

  • Derek Carr (Raiders) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
  • Deshaun Watson (Browns) vs. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Russell Wilson (Broncos)

Does Carr belong among the top tier of NFL QBs? His 92.4 career passer rating ranks 10th among active quarterbacks and the Raiders showed faith by giving him a three-year, $121.5 million extension, but he still has a lot to prove entering 2022.

Week 15

  • Lamar Jackson (Ravens) vs. Deshaun Watson (Browns)
  • Kyler Murray (Cardinals) vs. Russell Wilson (Broncos)
  • Joe Burrow (Bengals) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers)
  • Matthew Stafford (Rams) vs. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)

The NFC doesn't feature nearly as much quarterback depth as the AFC, so meetings between the conference's top signal-callers occur less frequently. The matchup between Stafford and Rodgers at this stage of the season could be crucial in the race for the top seed.

Week 16

  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams)
  • Tom Brady (Buccaneers) vs. Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Matt Ryan (Colts)

The NFL is holding a tripleheader on Christmas Day for the first time, and it delivered a few presents for fans with Wilson vs. Stafford and Brady vs. Murray. At least one, and possibility a few, of those quarterbacks figure to remain in the MVP race at that late stage.

Week 17

  • Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
  • Matthew Stafford (Rams) vs. Justin Herbert (Chargers)
  • Josh Allen (Bills) vs. Joe Burrow (Bengals)

With the AFC West teams likely to beat up on each other, there's a strong possibility the Bills and Bengals could be fighting atop the conference standings. That could add a lot of drama to a Monday Night Football meeting between Allen and Burrow in the penultimate week.

Week 18

  • Lamar Jackson (Ravens) vs. Joe Burrow (Bengals)
  • Justin Herbert (Chargers) vs. Russell Wilson (Broncos)
  • Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Derek Carr (Raiders)
  • Dak Prescott (Cowboys) vs. Carson Wentz (Commanders)

No quarterback faces a more daunting schedule than Mahomes. He's facing off with a star quarterback most weeks and he'll be expected to carry the Chiefs to the playoffs despite the offseason trade of his top receiver, Tyreek Hill, to the Dolphins.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.