Photo Credit: (NBCSports)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
The NFL Draft has ended, the schedule for every NFL team is in the books, and training camp is underway. It is time to predict how the upcoming NFL season should unfold for every team in 2022. I will break down every team's best off-season move, worst off-season move, positions to upgrade, their final record, and of course the playoffs.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (13-4) DIV (4-2)
Ls- @Bal, @CLE, vs. KC, @TB
Since their Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the only clear observation that the Cincinnati Bengals have made is to improve their roster from the prior season. Upgrading the offensive line all across the board was a huge point of emphasis by Cincinnati in the offseason. The Bengals know how important it is to keep Joe Burrow upright and healthy. Bringing in Alex Cappa and La’el Collins were huge moves by the defending AFC champs. We all know how dynamic this offense will be going into 2022 with the talents of Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and of course Ja’Marr Chase. This defense for Cincinnati is super underrated as well where some players do not get enough recognition like Jessie Bates III, Vonn Bell, and Trey Hendrickson.
Best Move: Signing La’el Collins (3 years, $21,000,000)
Worst Move: Drafting Cam Taylor-Britt
Position(s) to upgrade: LB, TE, & DE
2. Baltimore Ravens (10-7) DIV (4-2)
Ls- @NE, vs. BUF, @TB, @NO, vs. DEN, @CLE, @CIN
It was an injury baffled season for the Baltimore Ravens in 2021. Lamar Jackson did not have one of his better seasons and did miss some time. Lamar needs to and is looking to have a bounce-back season in 2022. Many questions about Lamar getting a new contract have been in the headlines. The Ravens were able to add some talented players in the draft and in free agency but there are still question marks surrounding this team. When it comes to the receiving core, many experts have doubts. Going into the season with Rashod Bateman as your WR1 simply is not enough and will show when teams make Baltimore pass to beat them. The Ravens do not have an easy schedule, and this will be a challenge for John Harbaugh.
Best Move: Drafting Kyle Hamilton
Worst Move: Not upgrading the WR position
Position(s) to upgrade: WR, OG, OLB, & DE
3. Cleveland Browns (8-9) DIV (3-3)
Ls- vs. LAC, @BAL, @MIA, @BUF, vs. TB, @CIN, vs. NO, @WAS, @PIT
The Cleveland Browns went out this offseason and made the splash move of trading for Deshaun Watson who has not played in almost two years. Cleveland gave up a whole lot to get Watson which included 3 first-round picks, a third-round pick, and 2 fourth-round picks. The Browns also gave Watson a huge 5-year, $230,000,000 deal. The whole situation brings a lot of uncertainty when it comes to Cleveland because we simply do not know if Watson will be the same player he was prior. Watson will be out for 6 games due to suspension, so it is tough to predict the record for this team. The Browns still have one of the top rosters in the NFL but there are still a few glaring holes with players in positions that need to prove themselves.
Best Move: Trading for Amari Cooper
Worst Move: Giving Deshaun Watson a 5-year, $230,000,000 contract
Position(s) to upgrade: DE, SS, WR, & C
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-12) DIV (1-5)
Ls- @CIN, vs. NE, vs. NYJ, @CLE, @BUF, vs. TB, @MIA, @PHI, vs. CIN, @IND, vs. BAL, @BAL
Sorry Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but this is going to be a rough 2022 season for your team. The Steelers lost their franchise QB to retirement after the 2021 season concluded. Even still, the Steelers were only able to win 9 games in 2021. Pittsburgh was able to go out and grab Mitch Trubisky and draft Kenny Pickett, but both will struggle behind this average offensive line. Najee Harris is an up-and-coming player and should be the workhorse for this Steelers offense but it simply will not be enough. When it comes to the defense, Pittsburgh still has a solid front 7 but the secondary still has question marks, especially at the CB position. This is a tough AFC and division for Pittsburgh to play in, so I do not expect them to make a whole lot of noise in 2022.
Best Move: Drafting George Pickens
Worst Move: Drafting Kenny Pickett
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, LT, RT, CB, & TE
1. Indianapolis Colts (11-6) DIV (5-1)
Ls- @DEN, @TEN, @LV, vs. PHI, @MIN, vs. LAC
The ending for the Indianapolis Colts season last year just gave every single Colts fan a total headache. Not making the playoffs by a week 18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars caused the Colts to move on from their QB in Carson Wentz after one year. For the replacement for Wentz, Indianapolis traded with the Atlanta Falcons for their franchise QB in Matt Ryan. Indianapolis gave up a 2022 third-round selection for Matty Ice. Ryan will bring veteran leadership and incredible QB play to this Colts team which has a very talented roster surrounding Ryan. The AFC South is one of the weakest divisions in the NFL and the Colts still have one of the strongest run games with Jonathan Taylor. The Colts were also able to go out and add Stephon Gilmore in free agency to help the defense.
Best Move: Trading for Matt Ryan
Worst Move: Drafting Jelani Woods
Position(s) to upgrade: LT, WR, SS, & DE
2. Tennessee Titans (9-8) DIV (4-2)
Ls- @BUF, vs. LV, @IND, @KC, @GB, vs. CIN, @PHI, @JAX
It was a questionable offseason for the Tennessee Titans. After winning the AFC South at a record of 12-5 in 2021, I have the Titans dropping to 2nd place at a record of 9-8. This is a tough schedule for Tennessee, and even with Derrick Henry, I only have Tennessee winning 9 games. A huge shocker in the offseason was the Titans trading star WR A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 18th and 101st pick in the draft. Tennessee was able to add Treylon Burks with that 18th pick but Brown was one of the best WRs in the NFL. The Titans were able to add Robert Woods in free agency, but he is coming off a torn ACL. There will also be tremendous pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill because the Titans did draft QB Malik Willis in the 3rd-round. If Tannehill struggles early on, noise for Willis to play will be made.
Best Move: Drafting Malik Willis
Worst Move: Trading A.J. Brown
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, LB, DE, SS, & CB
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-10) DIV (3-3)
Ls- @WAS, vs. IND, @LAC, @PHI, @IND, @KC, vs. BAL, @TEN, vs. DAL, @NYJ
Having the 1st overall pick once again in the draft allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to select Travon Walker out of Georgia. Walker will be paired up with Josh Allen on the Jaguars' defensive line to rush opposing QBs at a high level. Walker had a huge ceiling coming out and Jacksonville hopes he fills that potential in year 1. The other huge selection was LB Devin Lloyd who was grabbed at 20 for Jacksonville. The Jaguars did go out in free agency to upgrade the offensive line by adding Brandon Scherff. In addition, the Jaguars upgraded the receiving core by adding Christian Kirk. Kirk got a questionable huge deal in many people's eyes with a 4-year, $84,000,000 deal. Trevor Lawrence will be looked to improve in year two because only winning 3 games simply is not going to cut it.
Best Move: Drafting Travon Walker
Worst Move: Signing Christian Kirk (4-year, $84,000,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, CB, SS, FS, C, & DE
4. Houston Texans (2-15) DIV (0-6)
Ls- vs. IND, @DEN, vs, LAC, @JAX, @LV, vs. TEN, vs. PHI, vs. WAS, @MIA, vs. CLE, @DAL, vs. KC, @TEN, vs. JAX, @IND
Lovie Smith is the new head coach for the Houston Texans in 2022. Smith takes over a team that surely lacks the explosive talent that you want to see on a competitive NFL team. There is no set QB at the helm for Houston with the projected starter as Davis Mills who has struggled in the past. The Texans traded QB Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns for a huge amount of draft picks. If the Texans do not hit on those draft picks, they will be looked at as if they lost the trade. This Houston team is in a clear rebuild mode and it will take a few years to turn them into a competitive team that we can bank on. The Texans did use their two 1st-round selections on Derek Stingley Jr. and Kenyon Green but finding that future franchise QB must be done next year, or the franchise could be set back for a decade.
Best Move: Drafting Kenyon Green
Worst Move: Drafting Derek Stingley Jr.
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, WR, RB, RT, RG, DE, LB, & FS
1. Buffalo Bills (14-3) DIV (5-1)
Ls- @LAR, @MIA, @CIN
The Buffalo Bills have proven that they are one of the top teams in the entire league. Josh Allen has proven that he is arguably a top 5 QB right now and has put Buffalo back on the NFL map. The Bills were able to improve their roster in the offseason with the addition of Von Miller to finally give them a star pass rusher that they have been missing on the defensive side of the football. Other additions such as Rodger Saffold II, Jamison Crowder, James Cook, and Kaiir Elam are players that Buffalo are banking on getting them over the hump in the playoffs. Buffalo have been eliminated each of the past two years by the Kansas City Chiefs, so it is critical for them to prove the doubters wrong. There is no doubt that the Bills will be able to win the AFC East because their roster is clearly more talented than the rest.
Best Move: Signing Von Miller (6 years, $120,000,000)
Worst Move: Drafting Kaiir Elam
Position(s) to upgrade: CB, RT, RG, & DT
2. Miami Dolphins (9-8) DIV (4-2)
Ls- @BAL, @CIN, @CHI, @SF, @LAC, @BUF, vs. GB, vs. NYJ
One of the biggest spenders in the NFL offseason was the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins made a big move when trading for star WR Tyreek Hill for five total draft picks. Miami gave up a heavy price of a first-round, second-round, fourth-round, fifth-round, and sixth-round pick for Hill. The Dolphins are banking on the potential that QB Tua Tagovailoa will take that next step in year 3 under the helm. With the likes of Jalen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert in the fold, Tagovailoa has no excuses to take that next step, or the Dolphins could be looking for a different option at QB next season. This is a tough AFC, and I have to see it to believe it with Tagovailoa.
Best Move: Signing Connor Williams (2 years, $14,035,000)
Worst Move: Trading for Tyreek Hill
Position(s) to upgrade: RT, DE, OLB, & SS
3. N.Y. Jets (7-10) DIV (2-4)
Ls- vs. BAL, @CLE, @CIN, vs. MIA, @GB, @DEN, vs. BUF, @NE, @SEA, @BUF
Surprisingly, the N.Y. Jets had one of the best offseasons in the NFL. The Jets had one of the best drafts in taking Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson II, and Breece Hall. These are all talented players that were high on a lot of draft boards. The Jets have been able to add a lot of talent to their roster, but they are still really a year away from competing in the AFC East and AFC as a whole. QB Zach Wilson had an up and down rookie campaign but showed some flashes of talent. With the improved offensive talent around Wilson, do not be surprised if the Jets are able to put up a decent amount of points in games. This Jets team should be a sleeper team for 2022.
Best Move: Drafting Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
Worst Move: Signing D.J. Reed (3 years, $33,000,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: LT, DE, OLB, CB, & FS
4. New England Patriots (7-10) DIV (1-5)
Ls- @MIA, @GB, @CLE, @NYJ, vs. IND, @MIN, vs. BUF, vs. CIN, vs. MIA, @BUF
It's hard to have a Bill Belichick-led team at a record of 7-10 but there just were not a lot of impressive moves that the New England Patriots made to allow them to frankly win this division or improve based on last year. QB Mac Jones has looked to have gotten into better shape but to argue if there is enough offensive talent to get this Patriots team over the hump in the AFC East is too hard to say. A move that had a lot of people scratching their heads was the selection of Cole Strange at pick #29 in the first round. Strange was not projected to get picked in the first round and even the early second round. The Patriots will have to prove the doubters wrong in 2022 but for right now I have them finishing 4th in the AFC East.
Best Move: Trading for Devante Parker
Worst Move: Drafting Cole Strange
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, OLB, CB, MLB, & WR
1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) DIV (4-2)
Ls- @IND, @SF, @LAC, vs. LAR, @LV
The Kansas City Chiefs had their 2021 season end when they fell to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship. The Chiefs came into the offseason and had to address the problem of trading Tyreek Hill and replacing the loss of Tyrann Mathieu. The Chiefs ended up trading Hill to the Miami Dolphins for five draft picks. In the draft, Kansas City took Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis. When it came to replacing Hill, Kansas City went out in free agency and signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The AFC West did get even more challenging with the amount of talent brought in by other teams in the division, but I still think Patrick Mahomes has a lot to prove and will still end up winning this division.
Best Move: Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster (1-year, $10,750,000)
Worst Move: Losing Tyrann Mathieu
Position(s) to upgrade: RT, LB, DT & FS
2. Los Angeles Chargers (12-5) DIV (3-3)
Ls- @KC, @ARI, @LV, vs. TEN, @DEN
If you are looking for a team who could easily be one of the most dangerous teams come playoff time, it is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have found their QB in Justin Herbert and have talent on offense to work with which includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler. However, Los Angeles clearly wanted to improve their defense and did so by adding Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson in free agency. The Chargers have an all-around solid team but they just need to start closing games out better and I think they will in 2022. Obviously, the offensive line has to protect Herbert better and give him more time, which is why they selected Zion Johnson out of Boston College in the first round. The Chargers will finish 2nd in the AFC West but will still be a force in the playoffs.
Best Move: Trading for Khalil Mack
Worst Move: Drafting JT Woods
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, RT, DE, & TE
3. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) DIV (3-3)
Ls-@LAC, vs. DEN, @KC, @NO, @JAX, vs. NE, @PIT
For the first time in a couple of years, the Las Vegas Raiders are a team that looks like they can make a lot of noise in 2022. The Raiders and Derek Carr were able to bring in arguably the best WR in the NFL in Davante Adams. In addition to Adams, the Raiders have a boat load of talent on offense that includes Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, Demarcus Robinson, Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, and Keelan Cole. In addition, the Raiders were also able to improve on the defensive side by bringing in Chandler Jones and Johnathan Hawkins but some work on the secondary would have been a huge plus. We all will see how Josh McDaniels does with his second run as an NFL head coach come 2022. I do think it may be rough for the Raiders because of the teams in the AFC West but still a 10-win ball club.
Best Move: Trading for Davante Adams
Worst Move: Not upgrading the secondary
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, C, RG, CB, ILB, & FS
4. Denver Broncos (10-7) DIV (2-4)
Ls- @LAC, @JAX, @TEN, vs. LV, vs. KC, @LAR, @KC
Bringing in not only a new QB in Russell Wilson but also a new head coach in Nathaniel Hackett were the huge storylines for the Denver Broncos this offseason. The Broncos knew that they had to upgrade the QB position, and trading for Russell Wilson of course had to be their number one goal if they wanted to compete in this division. Denver has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Losing Tim Patrick this early in camp is a big hit though. The offensive line for the Broncos will be the point of emphasis however because they need to protect Wilson and keep him healthy. The Broncos were also able to bring in Randy Gregory to help out the defense but more addition to the trenches would have helped. I do have the Broncos winning 10 games as well but again, it will be tough in the AFC west.
Best Moves: Trading for Russell Wilson
Worst Move: Not improving the trenches
Position(s) to upgrade: RG, RT, DT, CB, & ILB
1. Green Bay Packers (12-5) DIV (5-1)
Ls- @MIN, @TB, @WAS, @BUF, @PHI
Since trading Davante Adams in the offseason to the Las Vegas Raiders, many people have been doubting the Green Bay Packers ability to put up points on offense in 2022. I of course am not buying that theory simply because of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers still have a lot of other talented players on offense such as Aaron Jones, Randall Cobb, A.J Dillon, Allen Lazard, and Robert Tonyan. The two rookie WRs to watch in this offense are Christian Watson out of North Dakota State and Romeo Doubs out of Nevada. Green Bay has an upcoming defense that improved even more in the draft with the selections of Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. There are big question marks on if this offensive line can stay healthy in 2022. All-Pro David Bakhtiari is still trying to get back on the field after tearing his ACL in 2020. In addition, Elgton Jenkins will be trying to return after tearing his ACL in 2021. The NFC North still runs through Green Bay and the Packers should be able to take this division with 12 wins.
Best Move: Drafting Christian Watson
Worst Move: Trading Davante Adams
Position(s) to upgrade: RT, RG, WR, & FS
2. Minnesota Vikings (9-8) DIV (4-2)
Ls- vs. NO, @MIA, vs. ARI, @BUF, vs. DAL, vs. NYJ, @GB, @CHI
Kevin O’Connell is the new head coach for the Minnesota Vikings and is looking to turn around this 8-9 ball club from a year ago. The Vikings had a very unusual draft after trading back twice with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Minnesota ended up selecting safety Lewis Cine in the first round which was a huge head-scratcher for most. Many viewed Cine as a day 2 guy. Minnesota was able to bring in OLB Za’Darius Smith which will help out their pass rush even more in 2022 but Smith will have to stay healthy after being out the majority of the 2021 season. The Vikings were also able to select Andrew Booth Jr. to improve on their CB group that will be under the microscope the most this year. There are still a lot of talented players on this Vikings team like Dalvin Cook. Cook has to prove he can stay healthy in 2022 for the Vikings to have a chance to win the NFC North.
Best Move: Signing Za’Darius Smith (3 years, $42,000,000)
Worst Move: Trading back & drafting Lewis Cine
Position(s) to upgrade: RT, TE, DE, CB, & RG
3. Chicago Bears (6-11) DIV (2-4)
Ls- vs. SF, @GB, vs. HOU, @MIN, @NE, @DAL, @NYJ, vs. GB, vs. BUF, @DET
The 2nd team in the NFC North to go with a new head coach in 2022 is the Chicago Bears. The Bears hired Matt Eberflus to put the Bears moving in the right direction after being on the decline since 2018. The Bears seemed to have found a QB they can get behind with Justin Fields who had an up and down rookie campaign but showed some flashes throughout the season. The Bears did have to say goodbye to Khalil Mack in the offseason after trading him to the Los Angeles Chargers. In the draft, Chicago did add Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker to help improve the secondary. Overall, this roster for Chicago is lacking a lot of experience and holes of elite talent. It is clearly a rebuilding year for the Bears and to expect more than 7 wins for this team is a little rich especially with a new coaching staff coming in.
Best Move: Drafting Jaquan Brisker
Worst Move: Trading Khalil Mack
Position(s) to upgrade: RG, RT, WR, DE, DT, & LB
4. Detroit Lions (4-13) DIV (1-5)
Ls- vs. PHI, vs. WAS, @MIN, @NE, vs. MIA, vs. GB, @CHI, @NYG, vs. BUF, vs. JAX, vs. MIN, @NYJ, @GB
To put the Detroit Lions out of 4th place in the NFC North is something that could happen in 2022 because this roster has improved a lot over the years. 2nd-year head coach Dan Campbell really had this Lions team playing hard throughout a tough 2021 season. Sure, Detroit still has to find that franchise QB because Jared Goff certainly is not the future but the weapons such as Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Andre Smith, T.J. Hockenson, Jameson Williams, and Jamaal Williams are there. The Lions will rely heavily on Aidan Hutchinson to lead this defense for years to come after taking him 2nd overall in the draft. It will be tough for Detroit to win a lot of ball games because there are still some positions that need to be solidified and filled but this will be a team that does not go down easily in 2022.
Best Move: Drafting Aidan Hutchinson
Worst Move: Not upgrading the QB position
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, LG, RG, DT, DE, ILB, & SS
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) DIV (5-1)
Ls- @NO, vs. KC, vs. LAR, @SF
Tom Brady of course is the talk here for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after coming out of retirement for yet another season. One player that will not return for the Buccaneers due to retirement is Rob Gronkowski. Even with the loss of Gronk, Tampa will be one of the teams to beat in the NFC and will make a deep playoff run with Brady under the helm. Questions of how healthy a player like wide receiver Chris Godwin will be in 2022 will be a highlight of focus for this team. The Buccaneers have had a very up and down training camp with bringing in Julio Jones but now losing Ryan Jensen for multiple weeks. Even still, I expect this Buccaneers offense to be high flying and put up a lot of points. The defense for the Buccaneers will still be one of the best in the NFL, even after losing Ndamukong Suh and replacing him with Akeem Hicks. Tampa should be able to win the NFC South, but New Orleans could give them a run for their money this year.
Best Move: Signing Akeem Hicks (1-year, $10,000,000)
Worst Move: Not Resigning Ronald Jones II
Position(s) to upgrade: C, RB, LT, & OLB
2. New Orleans Saints (11-6) DIV (5-1)
Ls- vs. CIN, @ARI, @PIT, vs. LAR, @TB, @PHI
Sean Payton's time with the New Orleans Saints has come to an end and now Dennis Allen will be taking over as the Saints head coach in 2022. The Saints are hoping for a huge bounce-back season by Jameis Winston after he tore his ACL in 2021. New Orleans is hoping to get the old Michael Thomas fully back and healthy. Since Thomas has been so in and out of the lineup the past two seasons, the Saints selected Chris Olave and signed Jarvis Landry in the offseason. Two huge moves to get this passing game going again. The left tackle spot on the offensive line does need an improvement but besides that, this could be a high-flying offense in 2022 for the Saints if players stay healthy. For the defense, signing Tyrann Mathieu to a 3-year, $28,300,000 contract was a huge splash move to help secure up the secondary for the Saints.
Best Move: Drafting Chris Olave
Worst Move: Signing Marcus Maye (3-year, $22,500,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: LT, DT, CB, & OLB
3. Carolina Panthers (3-14) DIV (1-5)
Ls- vs. CLE, @NYG, vs. NO, vs. SF, @LAR, vs. TB, @CIN, vs. ATL, vs. BAL, @DEN, vs. PIT, vs. DET, @TB, @NO
A huge QB competition will be on notice here for the Carolina Panthers between Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and rookie Matt Corral. The QB spot is the position that will hold this team back from winning if they do not get it solved and that is why I have the Panthers only winning 3 games. All three of the guys listed above are not the answer for Carolina in the future. There are a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball for this Carolina team, but not having a QB will grant little success in today's league. One such player needs to stay healthy in 2022 or he may see his way out of Carolina next year and that is Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has had the injury bug the past two seasons and it has hurt the Panthers greatly. The NFC South is a tough division to win. It will be a challenge for the Panthers to take down both the Buccaneers and Saints in 2022.
Best Move: Drafting Ikem Ekwonu
Worst Move: Drafting Matt Corral
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, WR, TE, C, & MLB
4. Atlanta Falcons (2-15) DIV (1-5)
Ls- vs. NO, @LAR, @SEA, vs. CLE, @TB, vs. SF, @CIN, @LAC, @CAR, vs. CHI, vs. PIT, @NO, @BAL, vs. ARI, vs. TB
2nd-year head coach Arthur Smith has a rough road ahead for him with the Atlanta Falcons after losing franchise QB Matt Ryan in a trade to the Indianapolis Colts. The Falcons replaced Ryan in the offseason with Marcus Mariota in free agency and selected Desmond Ridder in the draft. This Atlanta team has arguably one of the worst rosters in the NFL and it is going to be a challenge for them to rack up wins in 2022. The best player on this Falcons roster is Kyle Pitts who caught 68 balls for 1,026 receiving yards in 2021. Pitts will have to carry this offense alongside Cordarrelle Patterson and 1st-round draft pick Drake London. It will be interesting to see how short of a leash Arthur Smith will be on in 2022 if the Falcons do not win a lot of games.
Best Move: Drafting Drake London
Worst Move: Signing Marcus Mariota (2-year, $18,750,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, WR, LG, C, DE, DT, SS, & FS
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-5) DIV (4-2)
Ls- vs. MIN, @WAS, @ARI, vs. DAL, @CHI
The NFC East has turned into a rotating door every year when it comes to the division winner. The Philadelphia Eagles have turned their roster totally upside down with the amount of talent that they brought in this offseason. One huge player that the Eagles received was A.J. Brown when they traded with the Tennessee Titans on draft night. Not only do the Eagles have talented weapons throughout their offense, but Philadelphia also has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The pressure will surely be on Jalen Hurts to perform at the highest level this season. Two of the biggest additions as well for the Eagles were selecting Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean in the draft which will certainly benefit this defense for years to come. Signing James Bradberry was also a huge signing for Philadelphia to help bring more talent to their CB room as well.
Best Move: Trading for A.J. Brown
Worst Move: Drafting Cam Jurgens
Position(s) to upgrade: LT, CB, SS, & FS
2. Dallas Cowboys (10-7) DIV (5-1)
Ls- vs. TB, vs. CIN, @LAR, @GB, vs. IND, vs. PHI, @TEN
A team that really did not have a great offseason was the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys first decided to trade WR Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick. A move that was certainly not wise. Especially now when the newly acquired WR in James Washington hurt his foot in training camp. In addition, Dallas selected OT Tyler Smith out of Tulsa who was one of the most penalized OTs in college football. Smith is projected to play LG which will be an interesting transition for him. The Cowboys also lost Randy Gregory in free agency but did replace him with Dante Fowler Jr. on a 1-year, $5,000,000 deal. Dak Prescott did have a solid 2021 season but will be looked to carry this offense to new heights in 2022. One standout star Dallas unleashed last year was Micah Parsons who is arguably the best player on this Cowboys roster and will be a force in 2022. It should be a tight race in the NFC East, but I have the Cowboys finishing in 2nd.
Best Move: Signing Dante Fowler Jr. (1-year, $5,000,000)
Worst Move: Drafting Tyler Smith
Position(s) to upgrade: LG, RT, WR, DT, & SS
3. Washington Commanders (8-9) DIV (2-4)
Ls- @DAL, vs. TEN, @IND, vs. MIN, @PHI, vs. ALT, @NYG, @SF, vs. DAL
The Washington Commanders is the new team’s name, and Washington has a new QB in Carson Wentz after trading with the Indianapolis Colts for the services of Wentz. Washington saw the importance of retaining weapons around Wentz when they re-signed Terry McLaurin to a 3-year, $71,000,000 contract. In addition, the Commanders also selected Jahan Dotson out of Penn State in the draft. There are no excuses anymore for Carson Wentz to perform. This is probably the last shot for Wentz when it comes to being a starter in the NFL. If Wentz does not execute and win games, it should be the end. Washington's head coach Ron Rivera will have this loaded Commanders defense playing at an aggressive tone with the likes of Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne rushing the passer at an elite level. Washington is a very underrated ball club; the main question is if Wentz can put it together.
Best Move: Resigning Terry McLaurin (3 years, $71,000,000)
Worst Move: Signing Andrew Norwell (2 years, $10,000,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, RG, C, SS, & FS
4. N.Y. Giants (4-13) DIV (1-5)
Ls- @TEN, vs. DAL, vs. CHI, @GB, vs. BAL, @JAX, vs. HOU, @DAL, vs. PHI, @WAS, @MIN, vs. IND, @PHI
Big Blue now finds itself with a new GM in Joe Schoen and a new head coach in Brian Daboll. Both men come from Buffalo and are looking to bring some of the winning to a different part of New York. For the New York Giants, they had one heck of a draft when selecting Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal in the first round. New York has had a bad offensive line for years, and finally, it is starting to take shape. One player the Giants are hoping stays healthy this season is Saquon Barkley. This could be Barkley’s last season in New York if he does not put up an impressive campaign. Similarly, QB Daniel Jones is going into a make-or-break year as well. If Jones does not prove he is the QB of the future, Schoen certainly will go in a different way. This Giants team is young and having a new coaching staff is too steep of a challenge to win the NFC East in year 1.
Best Move: Drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux
Worst Move: Drafting Wan’Dale Robinson
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, LG, C, TE, DE, ILB, CB, & FS
1. L.A. RAMS (13-4) DIV (5-1)
Ls- @ARI, vs. LV, @GB, @LAC
The defending Super Bowl champs in the Los Angeles Rams are looking to repeat and have reloaded their roster with the talent to do so. The Rams went out and signed WR Allen Robinson to a 3-year, $46,500,000 deal to make sure this receiving core stays up to par for Matthew Stafford. In addition, Los Angeles also improved their defense by bringing in Bobby Wagner with a 5-year, $50,000,000 deal. The Rams did not have a draft pick until the 3rd round but obviously, they are not complaining because trading those picks allowed them to be the last team standing in the 2021 season. Los Angeles did lose Von Miller & Odell Beckham Jr. which were huge players for them down the stretch but this team still has Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Jalen Ramsey so we know they are going to be a tough team to take down in the NFC West.
Best Move: Signing Aaron Robinson (3 years, $46,500,000)
Worst Move: Not replacing Von Miller
Position(s) to upgrade: LT, WR, OLB, & FS
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-7) DIV (3-3)
Ls- @DEN, vs. LAR, @LAR, vs. LAC, @ARI, vs. NO, @LV
Losing to their division rivals in the Los Angeles Rams really left a bad taste in the San Francisco 49ers mouths. Especially, when that game is the championship game. The 49ers are going to look like a very different team this year with Trey Lance now taking over at the QB spot. Jimmy Garoppolo is throwing but many question if that shoulder is fully healed. It will be an up and down season for Lance, but he did have a lot of talent coming out of North Dakota State. After a lot of offseason drama, the 49ers were able to get a deal done with their star WR in Deebo Samuel. Samuel’s deal is a 3-year, $71,550,000 deal. There are also rushing incentives included in Deebo’s deal because of the usage San Francisco has for Samuel in their running game. This 49ers team is still loaded, so I expect 10 wins.
Best Move: Resigning Deebo Samuel (3-year, $71,550,000)
Worst Move: Signing Charvarius Ward (3 years, $40,500,000)
Position(s) to upgrade: C, RG, LG, OLB, CB, & SS
3. Arizona Cardinals (9-8) DIV (4-2)
Ls- vs. KC, @LV, @CAR, @LAR, vs. NE, @DEN, vs. TB, @SF
Kyler Murray finally got his new contract from the Arizona Cardinals which was a 5-year, $230,500,000 deal. The contract came with a ton of headlines because of a 4-hour study clause that was later removed. Many experts are questioning if this Cardinals team and Murray can be one of the elites this season. Arizona did lose Chandler Jones and made an interesting move in the draft when they traded their first-round selection to the Baltimore Ravens for WR Marquise Brown. The Cardinals will have to figure out a way to score points because they will not have DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games due to PEDs. The NFC West is one of the most challenging divisions in the NFC so Arizona will have to show up constantly in 2022.
Best Move: Signing Kyler Murray (5 years, $230,500,000)
Worst Move: Trading a first-round selection for Marquise Brown
Position(s) to upgrade: RT, LG, RG, DE, WR, & CB
4. Seattle Seahawks (2-15) DIV (0-6)
Ls- vs. DEN, @SF, @DET, @NO, vs. ARI, @LAC, vs. NYG, @ARI, @TB, vs. LV, @LAR, vs. CAR, vs. SF, @KC, vs. LAR
We all saw what the Seattle Seahawks were when they did not have Russell Wilson due to injury last year. Now the Seahawks will not have Wilson for the entire season after trading him to the Denver Broncos for a bundle of draft picks, Noah Fant, Drew Lock, and Shelby Harris. This Seahawks team is in a total rebuild mode and expecting them to win games this season in the NFC West is just too much after losing a franchise QB. Seattle was able to lock in DK Metcalf to a 3-year, $72,000,000. The Seahawks were also able to upgrade their offensive line with the addition of Charles Cross in the draft. There are a lot of young and talented players on the Seahawks, but this team is just years behind right now without a true single caller under center.
Best Move: Resigning DK Metcalf (3 years, $72,000,000)
Worst Move: Trading Russell Wilson
Position(s) to upgrade: QB, LG, C, RG, RT, DE, LB, CB, & OLB
Las Vegas Raiders (7) at Cincinnati Bengals (2)
Baltimore Ravens (6) at Kansas City Chiefs (3)
Los Angeles Chargers (5) at Indianapolis Colts (4)
Los Angeles Chargers (5) at Buffalo Bills (1)
Kansas City Chiefs (3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2)
AFC Championship Game
Kansas City Chiefs (3) at Buffalo Bills (1)
San Francisco 49ers (7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2)
Dallas Cowboys (6) at Green Bay Packers (3)
New Orleans Saints (5) at Philadelphia Eagles (4)
Philadelphia Eagles (4) at Los Angeles Rams (1)
Green Bay Packers (3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2)
NFC Championship Game:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) at Los Angeles Rams (1)
Super Bowl LVII:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) vs. Buffalo Bills (1)
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady rides off into the sunset with his 8th Super Bowl ring after taking down his longtime foes in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are a loaded team that will make a deep run this coming season. They are the heavy favorites and should make a lot of noise if the entire team stays healthy. However, this is the way Tom Brady wants to retire and this Buccaneers team is still loaded with talent. With the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Leonard Fournette, and a projected top five to ten defense led by Devin White, Tampa gets the job done for Brady.