2022 NFL Season Preview and Predictions

Who will win Super Bowl LVII

There are a whole lot of very, very good teams this year. But there is no perfect team. Even the betting favorites and the defending champs have issues to overcome if they’re going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Arizona in February.

It is almost impossible to predict accurately how a National Football League season is going to play out. That’s what makes it fun. So, on the day the Rams and Bills kick it off at SoFi Stadium, this writer says we should get ready to cue up Rage Against the Machine because the final game of the 2022 NFL season is going to be the Battle of Los Angeles.

Here’s a look at how each division, playoff round, and Super Bowl LVII might play out.


1) Chiefs
2) Raiders
3) Broncos
4) Chargers

This is, simply put, the best division in the history of professional football. I could honestly see any of these teams winning it, that’s how tight it is. I’m not going to try and make my money predicting the Kansas City’s reign, not with the stability of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes still intact and an improved defense. Yes, the loss of Tyreek Hill will be a challenge, but not one they can’t overcome. I am bullish on the Raiders (you’ll see just how much in a bit). In 2007, Josh McDaniels was calling the plays in New England when the Pats added Randy Moss and Wes Welker. They shattered the single-season scoring record. This year Davante Adams is Moss, Hunter Renfrow is Welker, and Vegas has better tight ends and running backs with Derek Carr, the most underrated QB in the league. This offense could flirt with 600 points. The Broncos won seven games a year ago with a bunch of tomato cans under center and an over his skis head coach. With a top-10 defense and Russell Wilson in town, Denver is ready to make a huge leap. The Chargers might have the most talented starting 22 in the entire league. However, they have zero depth and as the preseason showed us, they still haven’t fixed their perpetual special teams problems. If one impact starter gets hurt, and one almost always does, the Bolts season could fall apart fast. Plus, I have seen this franchise waste amazing seasons from Philip Rivers far too many times to think they’ll be able to put a winner around Justin Herbert, who might already be the best QB in the game.


1) Colts
2) Jaguars
3) Titans
4) Texans

The Colts would have made the playoffs a year ago if they had literally anyone other than Carson Wentz at quarterback. They made a huge upgrade in Matt Ryan, another guy who still has a few productive years to pad his Hall of Fame resume (and yes, like Rivers he will get some serious consideration for Canton). Indy should win this division handily. Jacksonville has become a trendy “sleeper” team and for good reason. Simply getting rid of Urban Meyer, the single worst head coach in league history, should be worth four wins. Trevor Lawrence is getting the help he needs to live up to his 1st overall pick hype. I would not be surprised to see the Jags win eight or nine games, which moves them past Tennessee. The Titans had an awful off-season, trading away AJ Brown and keeping Ryan Tannehill. They overachieved a year ago to get the #1 AFC seed but they won’t even make the playoffs this year. Houston is in full rebuild mode and, as much as I respect Lovie Smith, will be picking in the top 5 of next year’s NFL Draft.


1) Bengals
2) Ravens
3) Steelers
4) Browns

This division was the hardest for me to pick a winner in because Baltimore and Cincinnati are both going to be extremely good. I give the very slight edge to the Bengals because they have the one thing the Ravens don’t: a vertical passing threat. Cincy invested heavily in their offensive line to keep Joe Burrow upright and the defense should be good enough again to win the always punishing North. The Ravens will be right there with them because they simply cannot go through the same kind of injury issues that plagued them last year. They lost nearly their entire running back room before the end of September and had to finish a few games with no cornerbacks left. Just being healthy will put Baltimore back in the playoff picture. There might not be a head coach I respect more than Mike Tomlin. He’s never had a losing season and as far as I’m concerned somebody should start making his HOF bust right now. Pittsburgh will be back in the post-season hunt again but until they realize Mitch Trubisky is not a viable starter and improve the offensive line they don’t have the firepower to hang with the Bengals and Ravens. Cleveland has a tremendous defense but their offense is going struggle in a huge way, even after Deshaun Watson comes back. The Browns should finish in last place and they will, which is fitting after the missteps they made this off-season.


1) Bills
2) Dolphins
3) Patriots
4) Jets

If Buffalo does not win this division, it will be an upset of 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team proportions. The Bills are as loaded as anyone in football. Sure, they have question marks on the offensive line and youngsters at cornerback, but they have one of the league’s best pass rushes and the dynamic Josh Allen, who just keeps getting better running an offense with all kinds of playmakers. Miami invested heavily in the offense to help Tua Tagovailoa but I still have major question marks about his ability to be any more than that dreaded “game manager” that no QB wants to be known as. The Patriots are either going to make everyone re-think how coaching staffs should be assembled or be a complete disaster. I’m not concerned with Matt Patricia or Bill Belichick calling plays during a game. I want to know who’s helping 2nd-year starter Mac Jones during practice when he needs reminder to clean up his footwork or which read to make. The Pats are already light on offensive playmakers so this experiment is fascinating but I doubt it’s going to end well. However, they still won’t be as bad as the Jets. New York had a good Draft and seem to be going in the right direction but they’re still a year away from being a year away from being a contender.


1) Rams
2) 49ers
3) Cardinals
4) Seahawks

The Rams had one of the better off-seasons for any defending Super Bowl champ I can remember. They brought in Bobby Wagner to play middle linebacker, a position that’s long been a need for L.A. Head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead both signed contract extensions. Matt Stafford had an elbow issue but says he feels great. They added Allen Robinson, one of the league’s most underrated wideouts. And, there’s Aaron Donald, the most disruptive defensive lineman perhaps EVER. The Rams are primed for another run. The 49ers might have the best defense in football and plenty of playmakers on offense. But, Trey Lance is such an unknown that I can’t move them above the Rams. The Cardinals could not have handled the Kyler Murray contract situation any worse. Neither could Kyler Murray, who displayed the kind of behavior that worried scouts when he left Oklahoma. He’s not a leader and that’s not the position where you can’t have a leader. Losing Chandler Jones to Vegas will hurt the Arizona defense more than people realize. The Seahawks are in full rebuild mode, whether they want to admit it or not. This is the year people get to see just how much Russell Wilson meant to that offense.


1) Buccaneers
2) Saints
3) Panthers
4) Falcons

I’m not going to try and make my money predicting the downfall of Tom Brady, no matter how turbulent his off-season was or how many offensive linemen are gone with injuries. Until he starts looking like 2015 Peyton Manning on the field, I say the Bucs win the division. New Orleans has a fantastic defense that will keep them in games and if Sean Payton was still there I’d seriously consider picking the Saints to win the South. But, Jameis Winston has proven time and again he’ll put up monster numbers but make enough bad decisions to sabotage his own team. They’re going to be a tough playoff out, though. Carolina and Atlanta are a coin flip for me but if the Panthers get even capable QB play from Baker Mayfield they’re better than the Falcons, who are also entering rebuild territory.


1) Packers
2) Vikings
3) Lions
4) Bears

I’m not going to try and make my money figuring out what Aaron Rodgers is thinking at any given moment. What history has shown us is he doesn’t fit well with young wide receivers and that’s all he has so there will not be a 3rd straight MVP award for the Green Bay passer. But, they have a good enough running game and arguably the best defense since Rodgers became the starter and that should be enough to win the North. But, beware the Vikings. Former Aztec Kevin O’Connell is a brilliant offensive mind and has worked with Kirk Cousins before in Washington, where they developed a solid relationship. Bold (perhaps reckless) prediction: Cousins throws for 5,000 yards and the Vikings challenge the Pack for division supremacy. Detroit is, finally, maybe, hopefully moving in the right direction. But, I’m not going to try and make my money predicting a franchise as historically inept as this one is going to suddenly make a playoff push. Chicago might be the worst team in the league. OK, the Bears are the worst team in the league. They whiffed big time on Justin Fields then didn’t get him any help on offense. It’s going to be a rough year in the Windy City.


1) Eagles
2) Cowboys
3) Giants
4) Commanders

Philly is hands down the class of this awful division. They had a fabulous Draft, including that trade for AJ Brown, and are on a serious upward trajectory. The Eagles might even end up with the #1 seed in the NFC because they get basically six guaranteed wins just playing the rest of the East. I honestly don’t know why people think the Cowboys are going to be good. Dallas lost a ton on the offensive line, sent Amari Cooper packing and didn’t replace him, and still think Ezekiel Elliott is a 1,500-yard back. Oh, and Mike McCarthy is a terrible head coach. If they finish over .500 I’ll be shocked. The Giants and Commanders are both simply bad teams with bad quarterbacks who will be picking in the top-10 again next year.


1) Bills
2) Colts
3) Chiefs
4) Bengals
5) Raiders
6) Ravens
7) Broncos

Indy sneaks into the #2 seed because they're going to whip up on a bad division, for which their reward is ... Russell Wilson and the Broncos. Denver wins. The Chiefs handle the Ravens at home and in a rematch of last year's Wild Card game the Raiders get revenge against the Bengals.


Bills over Broncos
Raiders over Chiefs

Josh Allen and Derek Carr outduel Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes in an epic weekend of playoff football.


Raiders over Bills

Buffalo was 0-6 in games decided by one score in 2021. Until they learn how to win when it's close, and this shootout is going to be close, it's gonna be a party on the Vegas strip.


1) Eagles
2) Rams
3) Packers
4) Buccaneers
5) Vikings
6) 49ers
7) Saints

The Rams get an overmatched New Orleans team and win handily while the Packers lose at home (again) to San Francisco and Minnesota tops Tampa Bay in the final game of Brady's career.


49ers over Eagles
Rams over Vikings

The last Alabama quarterback to win a playoff game in the NFL was Ken Stabler. Jalen Hurts does not end that streak this year. McVay gets a good game from his protégé but the Rams experience wins out.


Rams over 49ers

It was so much fun last year let's do it again this year, with the same result.


Raiders 41, Rams 38

In one of the highest scoring Super Bowls of all time Carr finally gets the credit he deserves, leading the Silver & Black to their 4th championship.

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