There we go: the NFL finalized its Week 18 schedule to put a cap on the 2022 regular season, setting the stage for the upcoming playoffs tournament. That includes the kickoff time for a penultimate matchup between the New Orleans Saints (7-9) and Carolina Panthers (6-10) at the Caesars Superdome.
As expected, the Saints and Panthers will kick off at noon CT/1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 8. This one doesn’t have any playoff implications so it makes sense to bump it down into an earlier time slot, saving the more-prominent games for bigger spotlights in the afternoon and evening. The Saints-Panthers game will be one of eight games in Sunday’s early-afternoon slot.
Two games will kick off on Saturday, pitting the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders against each other at 3:30 p.m. CT followed by the Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars matchup at 7:15 p.m. CT. Both of those tilts will be broadcast simultaneously on ESPN and ABC.
As for Sunday night’s feature: the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions will square off in a win-and-you’re-in scenario for Green Bay, though the Lions will need an earlier loss by the Seattle Seahawks (to the Los Angeles Rams) to qualify for postseason play. We’ll be pulling for former Saints assistant coach Dan Campbell to pull off the upset against the Packers.