05 Sep 2022
Here's a quickie NFL preview for the 2022 season. Teams are listed in their predicted finish in their division.
Buffalo Bills - Finished 1st in the division two years in a row! Make it three!
Miami Dolphins - Last year was supposed to be the year that the offense was better aligned with Tua. All the experts saying, "oooo, no, we meant this year!"
New England Patriots - I correctly called their second-place finish in this division last year, but see a fall to third this year.
New York Jets - Followed up a 2-14 season with a 4-13 record last year. Seems like a 5-win team every year.
Pittsburgh Steelers - My continuing logic on Pittsburgh is that it's an every-other-year kind of team. That logic has fallen apart as they've maintained some better-than-average consistency the last eight years. But I'm stubborn, and my math means they'll be "good" this year. I correctly predicted 9 wins last year...this year they win the division!
Baltimore Ravens - This is a team I love to root against after they beat the Broncos on the road in the playoffs years ago and somehow won a Super Bowl. Their win tallies the last 3 years? 14, 11, and 8. The experts like a bounce-back year and so do I. Second place.
Cincinnati Bengals - Super Bowl hangover and third place. It seemed every game was close, and it was fun, but maybe they can't keep it going.
Cleveland Browns - They seem perpetually bad. The "Jets" of the AFC North, if you will. And with the Watson drama they should settle in nicely at the bottom of this division.
Indianapolis Colts - I predicted them to win this division last year and it didn't happen. The AFC South is the "NY Jets" of divisions: terrible. Someone's gotta win it and it might as well be the Colts with a new old QB in Matt Ryan.
Tennessee Titans - Somehow improved last year despite having terrible metrics. They were worse at the end there with Derrick Henry at RB instead of, I think it was Pollard. So I see regression from 12 wins down to 7.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Name me a player on this team. You can't? That's still better than the Texans. Their quarterback is not Blaine Gabbert. It's not Blake Bortles, either. Not Nick Foles. Not Gardner Minshew. Ok ok. We know Trevor Lawrence is their QB now. And that has some people on the edge of their seats about how good this team can be. 5 wins?! 6 wins?! The sky (if by "sky" we mean 6 wins) is the limit!
Houston Texans - Imploded two years ago and the fallout continues. Last place.
Los Angeles Chargers - This division is almost a toss-up. Hopefully it's as competitive as advertised. So might as well take a flyer on these guys, though they perpetually disappoint.
Denver Broncos - I keep on overrating the Broncos. Aaaand I'mma do it again this year. Playoffs! Russell Wilson hopefully doesn't get injured...
Kansas City Chiefs - Won 14 games two years ago. And 12 last year. Let's say 9 this year.
Las Vegas Raiders - Some folks have them winning the division. But the Raiders are the Jets of the AFC West. They're just comfortable in the cellar. Though, *checks notes*--woah! They went to the playoffs last year? Surely I cannot remember why. Last place.
Dallas Cowboys - From 9-7 to 10-6 to 8-8 to 6-10 to 12-5??!! I couldn't remember they finished first because so many people think they'll finish second in the division this year. As for me, they'll be the first repeat NFC East champions since the Eagles in 2003 and 2004.
Philadelphia Eagles - Actually were good last year and may still improve. I see 10 or 11 wins and playoffs.
New York Giants - From 3-13 to 5-11 to 4-12 to 6-10 to 4-13. The NY Jets of the NFC East. I'm rooting for them to stay healthy and win some games.
Washington Commanders - 7-9 to 7-10 to I predict 4 wins this year...I think they'll finish last.
Green Bay Packers - Rodgers is still QB, so I've got them first in this division.
Minnesota Vikings - Still a fun team to root for. Some chatter about them displacing the Packers. But they've had a horrible scoring defense two years in a row, and somehow the defense is a strength? They usually know how to beat up on the weaker teams though managed a loss to Detroit last year. Another 2nd place finish, but at least they'll make the playoffs!
Detroit Lions - Looked surprisingly good for only having 3 wins last year. Let's make it 6 this year!
Chicago Bears - Might eke out 4 wins.
New Orleans Saints - C'mon, Jameis Winston, stay healthy! I've got them winning the division though I don't know why their defense is good-they led the NFC in fewest points allowed last year. Hopefully they keep it up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Bruce Arians-coached teams are so predictable. They fall apart after year 3. So Tampa Bay rode him to his typical 13-win year-3 season and fired him. But Tampa Bay will still get worse. I have them with 10 wins and second place.
Carolina Panthers - 5 wins three years in a row. They take great strides this year and get to 6.
Atlanta Falcons - Went from 7 wins three years ago to 4 wins two years ago to 7 wins last year. Let's say 4 wins this year!
San Francisco 49ers - I guess they'll win the division? Lots of questions marks in the west. Given their injuries last year and their change of QB this year, they have their own questions but still enough to win the division with 11 wins.
Arizona Cardinals - They keep on starting out good and then faltering. Let me give a surprising prediction that they'll finish ahead of the Rams.
Los Angeles Rams - Won the Super Bowl last year after lots of buzz. They didn't look great on their way to the championship. A couple steps back this year.
Seattle Seahawks - I'm still upset about their playoff win from 12 seasons ago. Remember? When they won 7 games and hosted a playoff game?!? The Washington Commanders hosted a playoff game two years ago at 7-9 and I wasn't nearly as upset. I think they'll finish last in this division without Russell Wilson.
The third year of expanded playoffs gives us an extra team, a 7th, in each conference. There's only one first round bye in this format.
1st Round: Buffalo, San Diego, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Denver, Kansas City, Baltimore.
2nd Round: Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Baltimore.
3rd Round: Buffalo, Denver.
1st Round: Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Tampa Bay.
2nd Round: Dallas, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Minnesota.
3rd Round: Dallas, Green Bay.
Super Bowl: Buffalo over Dallas.
I'm 2-for-12 so far with predicting Super Bowl winners, having predicted Green Bay (Green Bay won), then New Orleans (the Giants of New York), then Green Bay (Baltimore), then Denver (Seattle won), then Denver (New England won), then Denver (Denver won), then Pittsburgh (New England), then Denver (Philadelphia), then Green Bay (New England), then Los Angeles Rams (Kansas City), then Kansas City (Tampa Bay), then Kansas City (Los Angeles Rams). Good thing I've got a day job.