Toughest NFL schedules of 2022: Jets, Rams, Steelers among teams facing daunting slates
I put together a very rudimentary scoring system to evaluate schedules by relying on home/road advantages and disadvantages, as well as difficulty of opponent (which is admittedly subjective). I knew before I even began that the schedules for AFC West teams would rank among the most difficult. This division is going to be a meat grinder in 2022. There could be a brawl for division supremacy down the stretch, with the Chiefs -- the AFC West champs in each of the last six years -- set to play four of their final six games on the road. The Chargers don't have it much better, as they'll be visitors in four of their last seven games, including prime-time meetings with a Colts team looking to get back to the postseason after a massive letdown in 2021 (Week 16) and a battle for Los Angeles with the defending Super Bowl champion Rams (Week 17). To close out the regular season, they fly to Denver for a rematch with Russell Wilson's Broncos.
Speaking of Denver, the Broncos open the season with a return to Seattle for Wilson in front of a Monday night audience. From Weeks 3 through 6, they have meetings with San Francisco, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and the Chargers before getting a slight break with the Jets and Jaguars (though the Jacksonville game will be played in London's Wembley Stadium). There are few reprieves on the schedule from there, so Denver better be ready to run a marathon to the finish line.
As for the Raiders, they get to enjoy the comfort of Allegiant Stadium for four of their final six games. However, they will have to avoid a slow start in their first five games, a road-home alternating collection of contests against quality opponents: the Chargers, Arizona, Tennessee, Denver and Kansas City. And while they will be able to spend a good amount of time at home in the final six weeks, the opponents won't be punching bags. The Rams, New England, Pittsburgh and San Francisco await them from Weeks 14 through 17, before a Week 18 home game against the rival Chiefs.