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The NFL Should've Put These 5 Games in Primetime Slots
The 2022 NFL schedule is out and, for the most part, the scheduler makers did an excellent job with primetime games. But nobody is perfect, as there are still a few instances where football fans could have spent their evening watching a much better matchup.
There are five games on the upcoming schedule that should have been primetime matchups. But every new primetime game replaces a current one, so there also has to be a primetime battle the same week that isn’t deserving on top billing.
Here are the five matchups we would’ve liked to see under the lights for a national audience.
Week 3: Packers at Buccaneers
Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady. Is there really much more to add?
In a league full of young quarterbacks, the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still contending due to their elder statesmen behind center. Rodgers is the back-to-back MVP in search for his second Lombardi Trophy. Meanwhile, Brady finished as the MVP runner-up in 2021 after leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns at 44 years old.
A matchup between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks certainly boasts more juice than the Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, ESPN’s current Monday Night Football game. With the Cowboys and Giants already scheduled for a nationally-televised Thanksgiving game, replacing them with Rodgers and Brady should have been the move.
Week 7: Colts at Titans
Sometimes, throwing division rivals on primetime isn’t worth it. But in this case, it certainly beats the alternative.
The Indianapolis Colts moved on from Carson Wentz and pulled off a surprise deal for Matt Ryan. While he’s not the MVP he was five years ago, may fans are certainly intrigued by how he’ll fit on his new team. Meanwhile, most people forget that the Tennessee Titans were the AFC’s top seed in 2021, so they should once again be a contending team.
Week 7 has one of the worst primetime schedules of the season, with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins on Sunday night and the Chicago Bears at New England Patriots on Monday. Swapping out either of those games for Colts-Titans would be a major upgrade.
Week 11: Chiefs at Chargers
Elite quarterbacks, explosive offenses, and a long history as AFC West rivals. Say no more.
The second Thursday night game of 2022 (and the first on Amazon) pits the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs together at Arrowhead Stadium. But this matchup is so good, it deserves a rematch in primetime as well. With Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert leading the way, these teams can put up points in epic fashion.
In order to get this game under the lights at SoFi Stadium, we’re going to move the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals matchup out of Monday Night Football. No disrespect to either of those teams, but football fans want to see these teams as often as possible.
Week 12: Saints at 49ers
We already knew the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys would occupy two of the three Thanksgiving games. But we see a missed opportunity for the evening’s third and final contest.
In order to avoid primetime overload for the Chiefs and Rams, we’re going with another matchup featuring worthy playoff contenders. The New Orleans Saints have been slept on this offseason but once again boast a strong, well-rounded roster. The same can be said for the San Francisco 49ers, who are just two seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance.
This NFC matchup could have massive playoff implications as both the Saints and Niners fight for Wild Card spots. It’s also a better matchup than the New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings, NFC’s Thanksgiving Day matchup.
Week 15: Bengals at Buccaneers
For the fifth game that deserved a primetime slot, the NFL missed a golden marketing opportunity.
With the season winding down, a matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have featured two things. First, the game sees two of the last four teams to play in the Super Bowl going head-to-head. But second, and more importantly, it would serve as a metaphorical “passing of the torch” from Brady to Joe Burrow, Cincy’s wunderkind QB.
Putting this game in primetime requires two swaps. First, we’ll kick the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders out of SNF. Then we’ll move next week’s Bucs-Cardinals from SNF and put the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in its place. That would also ensure Brady’s final primetime regular-season game is at home if he retires after the season.
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