If you've been waiting patiently for the NFL schedule to be released, you're not going to have to wait much longer and that's because the official date is now set. The league has announced that the 2022 schedule will be dropping on Thursday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET, marking the third straight year that the schedule release has come in May. 

Before 2020, the NFL schedule was generally released in April, but that date got pushed back two years ago due to the pandemic. The NFL liked the May release date so much that the league has apparently decided to stick with it moving forward. 

This year's schedule release will be coming with a few twists and the biggest one is that the NFL will be releasing several games before May 12. 

  • Amazon's first game to be announced on April 28. With Amazon taking over "Thursday Night Football" this year, the NFL will be celebrating the company's first game by announcing the two teams in the game on the first night of the NFL Draft. The first "TNF" game on Amazon will be played Sept. 15. 
  • International games will be announced early. The NFL will be holding a total of five international games this year and the league plans to announce the participants in those games on Wednesday, May 4, more than a full week before the schedule release (We do know who the home teams will be in each international game and we'll go over that). 
  • Each team will be able to announce its home opener early. Although the schedule won't be coming out until 8 p.m. ET, all 32 teams will be able to announce the opponent for their home opener a full two hours before that at 6 p.m. ET.  
  • Several other games will be announced early. From May 9-12, the NFL will announce the times and dates of several "select" games.  

Although we don't know much else about the 2022 schedule, here are a five things we do know: 

  • Thursday night opener in Los Angeles. The defending Super Bowl champion annually plays host in the opening game of the season, which means the Rams should be playing host in the Thursday night opener. Their home schedule consists of the Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, Cowboys, Raiders, Broncos, Bills, so they'll be playing one of those nine teams. The Cowboys, Raiders, Bills or Broncos would seem to be the most attractive game for that spot. The Cowboys were in the game last year, so the NFL might be hesitant to put them in the opener for the second straight year. The NFL has tried to avoid nonconference games in the opener -- there's only been one AFC vs. NFC matchup over the past 14 years -- but the league might not have an option here. In the end, I think the Bills will get the spot because they're one of the best teams in the AFC and we'd get to see Von Miller going up against the team he won a Super Bowl with last season. 
  • Home teams set for the international games. The five home teams for the international games will be the JaguarsSaintsPackers Buccaneers and Cardinals. The Bucs will be heading to Munich to host the NFL's first-ever regular-season game in Germany and it might be happening in Week 10, according to one leak. On the Cardinals' end, they'll be in Mexico City while the other three teams will be hosting a game in London
  • The Monday night doubleheader will be returning. After a one-year hiatus, the Monday doubleheader will be returning for the 2022 season. This year's doubleheader will have one big change: Part of each game will be airing simultaneously. According to the Sports Business Journal, the tentative plan would be for one game to start at 7 p.m. ET and then for the other game to start around 8 p.m. ET, which means there would be a roughly two-hour window (8-10 p.m. ET) where the two games would be airing at the same time. Although the kickoff times aren't set in stone, the networks are: One game will air on ESPN while the other airs on ABC. 
  • Christmas Day tripleheader is coming. With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, most teams will have that day off with the NFL choosing to play the majority of games on Christmas Eve (Saturday, Dec. 24). However, there will definitely be some football played on Christmas Day and it's looking like the NFL is planning a monstrous tripleheader. NFL scheduling guru Mike North recently revealed the information on the "Sal Sports and Stuff" podcast and he also revealed that the games will kickoff at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET. 
  • Every home-and-away opponent for all 32 teams. Although we don't know the time and dates for any game yet this year, we do know who each team will be playing and you can check out the home-and-away opponents for all 32 teams by clicking here.

The NFL schedule release has become a major offseason event for the league and this year is no exception. The NFL and CBS Sports will both offer plenty of coverage on the night of the official release.