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Tank's 2022 NFL Season Predictions

Brian van der Brug. Getty Images.

AFC East 

  1. Buffalo Bills 14-3
  2. Miami Dolphins 10-7 (WC)
  3. New England Patriots 7-10
  4. New York Jets 6-11

The Buffalo Bills were 17 seconds away from the AFC Championship Game. No team is in a better position to win the Super Bowl. They have a strong, balanced offense and a strong defense. After years of suffering, the Bills are due; look for a magical season in Western New York. 

The Miami Dolphins have committed to Tua Tagovailoa; they improved the offensive line, added Tyreek Hill, and improved the running game. New coach Mike McDaniel was hired to use Tua's tools. If he cannot succeed with this team, then the Dolphins will need a new quarterback. Nothing less than the playoffs is respectable in Miami as their defense is strong enough to keep every game close. 

The New England Patriots stumbled at the end of 2021. Mac Jones did not shine when given a chance to carry the load. The Patriots could be vulnerable with Josh McDaniels no longer running the offense. In addition, free agent departures and age could bring down the Patriots' defense, as it may be time for a rebuild in Foxboro. 

Zach Wilson could be ready to go in Week 1, but an injury to the New York Jets quarterback has fans of Gang Green already dreading what could be another lost season. The Jets should show improvement, but they are still far from being able to contend for the playoffs. 

AFC North

  1. Baltimore Ravens 11-6
  2. Cincinnati Bengals 9-8 
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-8
  4. Cleveland Browns 5-12

The Baltimore Ravens stumbled last season and missed the playoffs. Injuries played a role in Baltimore's downfall. When playing at their highest level, the Ravens are a Super Bowl contender. However, Lamar Jackson has often struggled with turnovers when the lights are at their brightest. 

The Cincinnati Bengals won their first playoff game in 30 years and went to the Super Bowl, where they had the lead in the fourth quarter. The Bengals with Joe Burrow got to the big game far ahead of schedule. It would not be a surprise if they suffered a setback and a Super Bowl hangover and miss the playoffs. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a year of transition. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring, the Steelers' future lies with Kenny Pickett. However, the first-round pick will start the season on the bench. Mitch Trubisky will be the signal caller in the interim. It could be a bad season in Pittsburgh, but they will still find a way to avoid a losing season with their stout defense.

The Cleveland Browns rolled the dice when they traded for Deshaun Watson, who will not be allowed to play for 11 games after his suspension for his treatment of massage therapists. Maybe the trade will pay off down the road, but with the suspension, the Browns have decided to punt on 2022. 

AFC South

  1. Indianapolis Colts 11-6
  2. Tennessee Titans 10-7 (WC)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars 6-11
  4. Houston Texans 4-13

The Indianapolis Colts choked away a playoff spot last season with Carson Wentz struggling at quarterback. Hoping to take advantage of the skills of Jonathan Taylor, the Colts acquired Matt Ryan and should be among the elite teams in the AFC. If not, the seat could get toast for Frank Reich. 

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Derrick Henry might be close to breaking down as he has been forced to carry the Tennessee Titans on his back the last four seasons. Henry has at least one more good season in his legs; the question is, with Ryan Tannehill showing his warts in the playoffs, can the Titans make a strong playoff push?

Hiring Urban Meyer was one of the worst decisions in NFL history. Meyer's behavior was bizarre and impeded the development of Trevor Lawrence. The quarterback in his second season is bound to play better as the Jacksonville Jaguars hope to begin to turn things around. 

The Houston Texans are a great mystery as nobody knows what the fuck they are doing as they continue to spin their wheels. Clearly one of the worst teams in the NFL again, the Texans can only hope that in next year's draft, they land the players that can help them turn things around. 

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 12-5
  2. Denver Broncos 11-6 (WC)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers 9-8
  4. Las Vegas Raiders 8-9

The Kansas City Chiefs have played in the last four AFC Championship Games. They missed a third straight Super Bowl appearance with a second-half collapse against the Bengals. Salary cap issues have forced the Cheifs to give up Tyreek Hill, but they remain one of the best offenses in the NFL as they again make a deep playoff run. 

The Denver Broncos made the biggest splash of the offseason, acquiring Russell Wilson from the Seahawks. Playing in the best division in the NFL, look for the Broncos to get to the postseason, but make a quick exit. The Broncos have new owners and hope for a return to the playoffs. 

The Los Angeles Chargers spent the offseason improving their secondary as they signed J.C. Jackson. They missed the playoffs by losing the final game of the regular season in 2021. Justin Herbert appears on the verge of stardom at quarterback, but the Chargers continue to play road games at home as each game draws more fans of the visiting team; this stress again will be their downfall as they again miss the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.

The Las Vegas Raiders made the playoffs despite the drama of Jon Gruden getting fired over leaked emails. Josh McDaniels has been hired as the new coach to revamp the Raiders' offense and hopefully take them to the next level. However, in the toughest division in the NFL, they will fall just short. 

NFC East

  1. Dallas Cowboys 9-8
  2. Washington Commanders 8-9
  3. Philadelphia Eagles 7-10
  4. New York Giants 5-12

The NFL's worst division is awash in mediocrity. The Dallas Cowboys have the most talented team but always find a way to suffer a letdown. They will win games they should not win and lose games they should win. In the end, they will win the division as Dak Prescott will get the needed wins against divisional foes before another home playoff loss. 

The Washington Commanders have a defense that could be dangerous but an offense that is among the most feeble in the NFL. Carson Wentz has not been good since injuring his knee in 2018; look for the struggles to continue as the Commies fall just short of the postseason.

The Philadelphia Eagles have fans hopeful as Jalen Hurts got them into the playoffs last season. However, defenses are likely to make adjustments that will force Hurts to rely more on his arm, which spells bad news for the Eagles as they fall short on their quest to return to the playoffs.

The New York Giants are in a bad spot. They have been poorly run since they won Super Bowl LVI a decade ago. Daniel Jones is not the answer at quarterback and never was. This season will be one of evaluation as the Giants need to take out the trash before they can begin turning things around. 

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NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers 13-4
  2. Detroit Lions 10-7 (WC)
  3. Minnesota Vikings 8-9
  4. Chicago Bears 4-13

Aaron Rodgers took home a third straight MVP award, but the Green Bay Packers suffered more playoff heartbreak as their special teams failed epically in the Divisional Playoffs. Again, the Packers will be among the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, as they should easily win the NFC North. 

Do not sleep on the Detroit Lions. The Lions finished 3-13-1 in 2021 but lost several games on the final play and were among the best teams against the spread. Add in Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall pick, and there is a sense the Lions are ready to roar. Look for them to win ten games and get into the playoffs as the surprise team of 2021. 

The Minnesota Vikings are continuing their endless voyage on the sea of mediocrity. Kirk Cousins' inability to win the big game continues to be the big issue in Minnesota, as the Vikings fail to reach the playoffs again.

There is a joke that the Chicago Bears hired a new GM and coach with the same first name as their previous occupants, not to confuse the team's ownership. If that does not tell you the state of this once proud franchise, nothing else will. The Bears will be in the fight for the worst record against the Seahawks and Texans, both teams committed to tanking. The only difference is the Bears don't need to tank to collect the losses. 

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints 11-6
  2. Carolina Panthers 9-8 (WC)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-10
  4. Atlanta Falcons 3-14

The New Orleans Saints have a different look as Dennis Allen takes over for Sean Payton. Expect a more defensive mindset which will benefit the Saints. Jameis Winston will have a strong season as the Saints march to the top of the NFC South and make a run to the NFC Championship Game. 

The Carolina Panthers will make some noise this season as Baker Mayfield is playing with a chip on his shoulder, has a big season, and takes the Panthers to the playoffs. His presence will help alleviate pressure off Christian McCaffery, who will be in the discussion for the MVP award, as he stays healthy for the entire season. 

Something does not feel right with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady. Brady retired after last season but decided to return after sitting at home for two months. Reports are that Giselle is not happy with Tom. Brady took an 11-day break in the preseason. This is the year it falls apart. Brady struggles, making his decision to return look like a mistake as the Buccaneers sink to ten losses.

The Atlanta Falcons are going to lose, and they are going to lose often. Marcus Mariotta, who has thrown 18 passes in the last two seasons, will be the quarterback, as the Falcons could be in for a season of tanking and among the worst teams in the NFL.   

NFC West

  1. Los Angeles Rams 12-5
  2. San Francisco 49ers 11-6 (WC)
  3. Arizona Cardinals 8-9
  4. Seattle Seahawks 2-15

The Los Angeles Rams got their Super Bowl rings at home and now hope the City of Los Angeles will embrace them as they hope they can forget the two decades they spent in St. Louis. Aaron Donald has a case to be considered one of the greatest defenders in NFL history as Matthew Stafford enjoys another season of throwing to Cooper Kupp. 

The San Francisco 49ers are committed to Trey Lance but have Jimmy Garoppolo just in case things go sour. Lance will play well, but his inexperience will lead to the 49ers settling for the Wild Card. Look for the rivalry with the Rams to turn into one of the best in the NFL over the next five years. 

The Arizona Cardinals have dreams that they could be the third straight team to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. However, those dreams will feel like they are far from reality as Kyler Murray will struggle without DeAndre Hopkins, who will miss the first six games after a PED suspension. Expect the Cardinals to begin wondering if they have the right quarterback as Murray wonders if it is too late to return to baseball. 

The Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos for Drew Lock. Lock failed to win the starting quarterback job as Geno Smith will start in Week 1. The Seahawks are rebuilding and tanking; look for Pete Carroll to step down from a team that is mere traces of the team that went to two consecutive Super Bowls. Shame on Seattle for not having Russel Wilson play his entire career with the Seahawks; they will be lucky to win two games. 

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Playoff Picks

AFC Wild Card

  • Chiefs 34 Titans 20
  • Dolphins 24 Colts 20
  • Broncos 27 Ravens 17

NFC Wild Card

  • Rams 34 Panthers 16
  • Saints 20 Lions 17
  • 49ers 34 Cowboys 10

AFC Divisional

  • Bills 31 Broncos 23
  • Chiefs 27 Dolphins 24

NFC Divisional

  • Packers 27 49ers 23
  • Saints 27 Rams 24

AFC Championship

  • Bills 45 Chiefs 30

NFC Championship

  • Packers 27 Saints 20

Super Bowl LVII

  • Bills 37 Packers 27

NFL Awards

  • Coach of the Year: Dan Campbell, Detriot Lions 
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions 
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints 
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams 
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffery, RB, Carolina Panthers
  • MVP: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills