Updated: Sep 8
The NFL season is quickly approaching. Here are 5 of my bold predictions for the 2022 NFL season:
1. Lamar Jackson Will Finish 2022 as an MVP Candidate
Lamar Jackson had his worst statistical season of his career in 2021 and played just 12 games due to injury. He played a few great games but the bone bruise in his ankle which kept him out of the final 5 games was a lingering issue.
While he lost his top target, Marquise Brown, over the offseason, he has a very talented young receiver in Rashod Bateman and one of league's most reliable Tight Ends, Mark Andrews.
Jackson's unmatched rushing ability was a huge factor in his 2019 MVP season where he combined for 43 total touchdowns. Jackson has similarly skilled targets, coaching staff, and team around him as he did in 2019 and now, has a weaker division and is fully healthy.
While is playstyle is volatile, it is unmatched and very exciting. Along with Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, Jackson will be an MVP candidate at the end of 2022.
2. The Bills will win 15 games
The Bills were involved in one of the most exciting games in recent memory, losing to the Chiefs in a playoff overtime thriller.
It was a showcase of their explosive offense which could be even better in 2022 with a more experienced Josh Allen. He already has one of the most underrated receivers in the league in Stefon Diggs and has a more experienced Gabriel Davis, who emerged in the playoffs with 4 TDs in a single game.
After further strengthening the best defense in the league, the Bills will finish the regular season atop the NFL. They added 8 time pro bowler Von Miller in the offseason and already have a young, talented front.
The Bills are in an average division and have the most firepower of any team in the NFL, making me extremely optimistic about 2022.
3. Trey Lance will lead the 49ers on a playoff run
An established and well coached team, the 49ers have everything in place for 2nd year QB Trey Lance. With an NFC championship appearance in 2021 and Super Bowl appearance in 2019, it is clear that San Francisco is capable of success.
Despite average performances from QB Jimmy Garoppolo throughout last year's playoffs, the Niners beat the Cowboys as well as the MVP-lead Packers. The defense is among the best in the NFL, led by DE Nick Bosa and one of the most underrated linebackers in the league, Fred Warner.
The offense is extremely versatile with the ultimate swiss army knife in Deebo Samuel and a top 3 Tight End in George Kittle. PFF describes the 49ers line as a "high-end potential" line which is further proof that Lance is surrounded with tools to succeed.
Lance will have a 2022 season much like Patrick Mahomes' 2018 season. Like Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith during his rookie season, Trey Lance sat behind Garoppolo last year which will be a noticeable boost for his preparedness this season.
4. Kirk Cousins will take a major step and the Vikings will Make a Run
New Viking's coach, Kevin O'Connell, comes from the pass-heavy Rams where he assembled a Super Bowl-champion offense.
Combine that with a talented Minnesota offense with one of the league's best RB-WR duos of Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson and there is vast potential.
11th year QB Kirk Cousins receives an unjust amount of hate and is criticized for performing poorly in big, primetime matchups despite keeping the team in many difficult games.
In 2021, the Vikings were 8-9 but lost 5 of those games by less than 5 points and kept almost every game close. Cousins was 8-8 last season and threw for over 4,200 yards and 33 TD for the 2nd straight season, ranking him 9th in both categories in 2021.
With the addition of O'Connell, a healthy Irv Smith, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook, and bottom 12 strength of schedule, Cousins has a favorable set up for 2022.
5. Each AFC West team will have 10+ wins
After an insane 2021, the AFC West got even better. The Broncos added Russell Wilson, the Raiders added Davante Adams, the Chargers added JC Jackson and Khalil Mack, and the Chiefs are largely the same but remain the team to beat.
The Broncos have been a QB away from success for many seasons and now, have a proven winner. Their defense has one of the highest-potential secondaries in the league and the offense has adequate skill position depth.
The Chargers have an explosive offense that will been even better in 2022. Among the worst in the NFL in 2021, the defense has a much better outlook after adding one of the best CBs in football and a former DPOY. After a few narrow losses and aggressive game management, the Chargers have room for improvement this season.
Despite losing Tyreek Hill in the offseason, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense remains top 3 in the NFL. No matter the players around him, Mahomes will make it work, giving me little cause for concern for the Chiefs. Once a weak point, the defense is now more than serviceable. The team also used much of their compensation from the Hill trade to further bolster their defense in the draft.
The Raiders were one of the surprise teams of 2021 but are here to stay. QB Derek Carr had a great season and now, has the best WR in the league and a healthy Darren Waller to throw to. The team made the playoffs last season despite a midseason coaching change and while I am not extraordinarily high on new HC, Josh McDaniels, he has produced incredible offenses in the past (albeit, with Tom Brady.)
My 2022 NFL Predictions:
MVP: Josh Allen
OPOY: Justin Jefferson
DPOY: Myles Garret
OROY: Kenny Pickett
DROY: Aidan Hutchinson
CPOY: Derrick Henry
Coach of the year: Sean McDermott