Spring winds down. Summer awaits. Vacations, barbecues, baseball, blockbuster movies and the wind-up to the NFL season.
For decades, the summer months have featured some of the most memorable films released. Of course, there have also been plenty of bombs. But each film — or at least the majority of them — hit theaters with optimism, that it will crush the box office and potentially garner a slew of awards.
Similarly, it’s this time of year that, theoretically, all 32 teams in the NFL have Super Bowl aspirations. That this will be the year they lift the Lombardi Trophy within nine months.
That includes the Buffalo Bills, NFL betting favorites to win the Super Bowl. But what about the New York Giants and New York Jets, two teams that, according to sportsbooks, face improbable odds to even reach the playoffs?
With the three New York franchises now in possession of their 2022 NFL schedules, we take a look at the three can’t-miss games for each team and compare them with past summer blockbusters.
Buffalo Bills enter 2022 NFL season as Super Bowl favorites
Hard to believe the Bills are just four years removed from a sub-.500 season. In 2018, Josh Allen was a rookie quarterback attempting to stay afloat as Buffalo opened the season with seven losses in nine games.
Since then, the Bills have gone 38-18, won two AFC East division titles, appeared in the conference championship game and now stand as favorites to win the Super Bowl with a strength of schedule that is tied for 12th in the league.
Week 1: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The original Star Wars burst onto the scene. Certainly no one thought it would take the world by storm the way it did. Which made the hype of Empire as high as could possibly imagine. And, boy, did it live up to that hype. That’s the situation we find ourselves in for the first game of the entire 2022 NFL season as Buffalo visits the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. This game will set the tone for the year. Are the Bills for real? Will Los Angeles get off on the right foot as it looks to become the first team since the Patriots in 2005 to successfully defend the league title?
Week 6: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Rocky IV (1985)
In terms of initial reviews, Rocky IV won’t pop out as one of the greater sequels ever. Over time, though, it has arguably become that (the previous film notwithstanding). And the box office showed that, becoming the highest-grossing movie in the Rocky franchise. What’s not to love? Rocky is back. Ivan Drago is a monster of an athlete and fighter. “If he dies, he dies.” An epic 12-round fight ending with Rocky knocking out Drago to avenge Apollo’s death. Well, we’re getting deep into an epic fight of our won between the Bills and Chiefs. Kansas City has ruled the AFC for four years, essentially. The Chiefs outdueled Buffalo in a legendary overtime playoff game in the divisional round last year, which led to an overtime rule change this offseason. They dispatched Buffalo in the AFC championship game two years ago. Let’s see if Allen and the Bills can start its revenge tour here.
Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills
“There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper, and it would vanish. It was so fragile.” Marcus Aurelius said it best in this Oscar-winning film. Perhaps the Bills should adopt it, with Rome representing Super Bowl glory. Russell Crowe portrays Maximus, who rises through the ranks in the arena as a way to lead a rising against an empire and its emperor. Ultimately, Maximus slays the ruler Commodus, leading to political reform within the empire. In a battle of heavyweights and potentially a preview of Super Bowl LVII, the Bills host Green Bay and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers with a chance at establishing itself as the heavy hitter in the NFL.
New York Giants hope to bounce back in 2022
Last season, the Giants tied the franchise record for most losses in a single season. Now the G-Men have to regroup, potentially a last chance for Daniel Jones to earn his keep at QB, which he might achieve if he can lead New York to its first year of double-digit victories since 2016. (Seems a tall order, to be sure, as NY online sportsbooks peg the over/under at 7.5 wins.)
Week 3: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
It’s the snobs vs. the slobs, a one-sided affair on paper that somehow sees Danny Noonan helping the takedown of Judge Smails as Bushwood Country Club explodes around them. The Giants look to do the same against Dallas early in the season. This Monday night game will be New York’s lone primetime game this season, the franchise’s fewest in nearly 20 years.
Week 5: New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)
The sequel to the hit original National Lampoon’s Vacation, this European adaptation sees the Griswolds win an all-expenses-paid trip overseas on the game show Pig in a Poke. From driving on the wrong side of the road in London to knocking over a stone monolith at the Stonehenge, plenty of hijinks occur. Ultimately, though, there wasn’t enough to duplicate the success of Vacation. The Giants head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London to take on the Packers, representing New York’s third trip as part of the NFL International Series, tying the G-Men with the Patriots for the most in the league. The Giants are 2-0 overseas, but bagging a third victory seems a tall order.
Week 12: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Tough one for Daniel Craig, an outlaw in 1873 who leads an attack against aliens that arrive to take over Earth. Relatively interesting plot. Plenty of action, despite its absurdity that leaves you wondering, “But … why?” You want to turn it off, but you keep watching for some reason, only to walk away with the realization that you’re not going to get that two hours of your life back. Speaking of, the Giants will play on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 1992. It’s been 30 years since that 30-3 loss to the Cowboys, and 40 years since New York has one on Thanksgiving.
Rebuild continues for New York Jets
Few teams have as long a shot at making the playoffs than the Jets. In fact, sportsbooks heavily favor Gang Green NOT to reach the postseason. How heavily? Try -1000, as opposed to +700 to defy the odds and qualify for the playoffs.
It’s been a rough decade for the Jets. New York has not reached the postseason since losing in the AFC championship in the 2010 season, averaging just 5.7 wins. The Jets have eclipsed five victories just once over the past six years. The Cincinnati Bengals went to the Super Bowl last season after going 6-25-1 over the previous two years — the best turnaround in NFL history. Could the Jets, who went 6-27 over the past two seasons, do the same? Highly doubtful. But we all thought that of the Bengals.
Week 1: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Some 30 years ago, the world sat on edge awaiting the release of a movie bringing the loved video game to the silver screen. Only disappointment followed. Considered a critical and financial failure, grossing just over $38 million against a budget of nearly $50 million, Super Mario Bros. was panned as confusing and inconsistent. Same could be said of the Jets in September. New York have lost 12 straight games that month, which dates back to 2018. We’ll see if the Jets can halt that skid in their season and home opener against Baltimore.
Week 8: New England Patriots at New York Jets
Considered the first American production, Godzilla came on the heels of 22 previous adaptations. The Godzilla franchise is legendary, to be fair. But let’s face it, few are actually great. So when the 1998 film released, the hope was to make it epic and revive the franchise. Actually, the hope was it would set off a trilogy. While it did turn a near-$250 million profit, Godzilla opened to negative reviews and was considered a box office disappointment, and sequels were canceled. The Jets have Godzilla 1998 hopes: snapping a long run of disappointment against the Patriots. In this game, New York will have its first crack at snapping a 12-game losing streak against New England that dates back six years.
Week 16: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
You ever see a movie but you would never admit to doing so? That’s this game. The Adventures of Pluto Nash, arguably the biggest box-office bomb in cinematic history with a take of $7 million after pouring $100 million into production, stars Eddie Murphy as a club owner in a colony on the moon in the 2080s, amid human cloning and mobsters. Almost more exciting than a late-season Jets-Jaguars matchup, huh? At least it’s a primetime game … on a Thursday … on Amazon Prime Video.