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Debriefing the 2022 NFL Playoffs & Super Bowl 57 Preview/Prediction

Updated: Feb 12, 2023


Image Credit: (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)


Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/

Twitter: @nicholasmullick

Well now that was another great year of playoff football. So many fun games were played and I love watching every game. However only two teams can make the Super Bowl, one in the AFC and one in the NFC Conference. Before we talk about the Super Bowl lets first debrief teams that did not make it.


Miami Dolphins

Well it was a lot closer then what many had anticipated. Especially as the Bills were many fans prediction to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 57. The Dolphins have talent on this squad, however despite the talent and how close the game was it was not enough to beat the Bills.


Imagine if this team did not fail Tua Tagovailoa during the season with how they treated his concussions. Maybe the Dolphins would have advanced in the playoffs. By the way it is getting concerning that Tua still is in Concussion protocol.

Even though I think he will be back next season, if he chooses to retire, I would not blame him one bit. No matter if he stays or does not, the Dolphins need to find a reliable backup QB that can stay healthy. I like Teddy Bridgewater, but even he can’t stay healthy. Skylar Thompson, despite having a great story, has been mostly terrible this season. If they can figure out there QB issues then they should be back here. At least you exposed the Buffalo Bills and hired Vic Fangio as the defensive coordinator for next season.

Seattle Seahawks

Out of all the teams that made the playoffs, almost nobody entering the season saw the Seahawks even sniffing close to a playoff game. However a lot went right for this squad along with this adding more ammo to how great of a coach Pete Carroll is. Geno Smith finally has emerged as a great QB in this league having a career year. It looks like he is going to get paid a lot of money in the offseason and it is well deserved. What also went right was how they drafted. The 2022 Seahawk draft class has potential to level the 2017 New Orleans Saints draft class with how great the drafting was. Unfortunately for the Seahawks it just was not enough to top the 49ers who were the more talented and healthier team. The future is bright for the Seahawks as they also have a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft due to the Russell Wilson trade. Plus they currently have 31.5 million in cap space and can stretch it out to around 46 million if they restructure deals. They should be back here next year if they make the right moves.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nobody expected the Buccaneers to do anything in the Playoffs. Especially with how terrible this team has played this year and the only reason why they even made it to the playoffs is because the NFC Souuth was terrible. The team has been horrendous all season and injured almost everywhere. It also does not help that Todd Bowles is the head coach of this team and has not learned a single thing from his previous tenure coaching the New York Jets. I would say it is a better thing to part ways, but the Buccaneers have decided not to and are keeping Bowles as the head coach.

Byron Leftwich was once considered as a candidate to be a head coach for an NFL Team last year. With how bad this season has gone it has exposed him to the point where he has lost his job as the offensive coordinator with the Buccaneers.



I would like to say the Buccaneers could make their return to the playoffs, however it will be tough to do with the cap hell this team is in.


The Buccaneers are 55.5 million under the cap now. Welcome to Saints territory Buccaneers. They may have to blow it up this offseason and it might be the time to do it if Tom Brady is truly gone from Tampa.


UPDATE

So Tom Brady yet again announced his retirement from the NFL. I am not surprised as it was clear he suffered a ton of regression. I hate to say it, but he should not have come back to play as last year was the best time to do it going out on top. If this is truly the end of Brady’s career I will say, enjoy retirement Brady. See you in Canton, Ohio in 5 years.


Now that Brady is gone Tampa it is time to do what has to be done. Blow it all up and purge big pieces in the offseason. You are not going to win with the current core that you have now.


Baltimore Ravens

Let's be real Baltimore’s chances of advancing in the playoffs were squandered the moment it was confirmed Lamar was not playing in the wildcard game against the Bengals.



Yes I know Baltimore’s defense is excellent, but with how bad the offense is with Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown at QB. Huntley still looked like he was playing hurt and Anthony Brown is a scrub. They just did not have enough offensive talent to overcome Cincinnati. Maybe it is finally time to give this offense more weapons excluding Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman.


One thing is for sure, John Harbaugh's job is at stake next season and he needs to make a deep playoff run in order to save it. There were many times this season where the Ravens looked unprepared to play this season. Maybe now that Greg Roman is gone as the offensive coordinator it might improve, but we will see.

However something that is a big issue is at QB. Lamar Jackson is pissed off and if this franchise does not pay him then he may want to leave here. Can’t really blame either side here as Baltimore does not want to pay him due to being injury prone and Lamar wants to get paid for his services. Plus it is clear Jackson does not want to play on the franchise tag as well, so if things roll the right way Lamar could be playing on a different team next season. Unless the offer on a potential Jackson trade is good this team may be screwed offensively.


On a side note how the Hell did Tyler Huntley even get a spot in the Pro Bowl. The guy had under 1,000 passing yards and only threw 2 touchdowns.


Minnesota Vikings

I said this when writing my Playoff Picture article, that the Vikings are absolute frauds. I mean I saw this when they were down 33 points against a Jeff Saturday coached Colts team. They have not been playing like a top seeded team would be and have not won convincingly this season. That again was showcased in their loss to the Giants. Normally many would do the whole cliché of pointing to Kirk Cousins being the issue, but that was not the case as Cousins was fine in this game and mainly the offense did what they could. Their defense was the problem and played like trash not only in this game, but the entire season. The poor defensive performance has resulted in defensive coordinator Ed Donatell losing his job.


The Vikings have to make a point to retool this defense with how much they struggled and they already have desires to lock up Justin Jefferson Long term as his rookie deal is almost up in a few years. There is just one problem, they’re kind of 20 million under the cap right now.


The Vikings are going to have to make tough decisions in the offseason and notable names could be playing on different teams. I trust GM Kwesi Adofo Mensah will make the right moves though and they have something with O'Connell as the coach too. They should be back next season.


Los Angeles Chargers

Out of all the teams that lost in the playoffs, the loss that had the most damage on a team is the Los Angeles Chargers. It is not only that they lost, but in how they did it. They had a 27-0 lead against a Jacksonville Jaguars team and even made Trevor Lawrence look like Nathan Peterman. But oh boy, you talk about blowing leads this definitely goes in the record books for the Chargers. They lost that game 31-30 in the most embarrassing loss in the franchises history.


You know how the Chargers could have avoided this, if the brilliant head coach did not play all of their starters in a meaningless Week 18 game against the Broncos. Maybe Joey Bosa and Kenneth Murray would be 100% in this game, but what they could have used is WR Mike Williams. He suffered an injured back in that Broncos game and it was so severe that he could not play in not only the Wildcard round, but the entire playoffs. Back injuries are no joke you know. To those blaming this loss on Justin Herbert that is incorrect, this is 100% on coaching.


One thing for sure is that Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi has been way over his head as the offensive coordinator throughout his tenure with the Chargers. It should be no surprise that the Chargers decided to part ways with Lombardi after this game.



Can I ask the Chargers a question, Why Is Brandon Staley Still here? I don't care if he is a nice guy in the locker room, the guy has been severely out coached many weeks and that loss to Jacksonville is one that coaches don’t recover from. The fact that he is still here means that you might as well write of the 2023 season. Coaching matters in the NFL and this season proves that Staley is not a good head coach.


Jacksonville Jaguars

You want to know the funniest part of this entire season for the Jaguars? Just getting to this spot and making it to the Divisional round of the playoffs goes to show how terrible of a head coach Urban Meyer was. Unfortunately they had to face a more competent head coach in Andy Reid and the Chiefs in the second round. It just was not enough to overcome the Chiefs. They also failed to capitalize on Mahomes playing with an ankle injury.


Despite the loss, hold your heads high Jaguars because there is a lot of excitement here that is intriguing for the future. You may own this team for the next few years to come with how bad the AFC South was this season.


Maybe they can help build this team more in free agency. Oh right Trent Baalke is the GM and already locked the Jaguars into cap hell being 20 million under the cap with some of the contracts he signed last offseason. Well it should not be too bad when it comes to the restructuring he can do with contracts.


New York Giants

Well it was fun while it lasted. For where many anticipated this team to be this season, this was an excellent season. In fact, this is the best season that the New York Giants have had in a very long time. Nobody expected the Giants to make the second round of the playoffs. The emergence of Daniel Jones and Saqoun Barkley finally staying healthy were a big boost to this team's improvement. It is just a shame that they could not face a fraudulent team every round of the playoffs. Along with their defense being one of the worst in the playoffs not named the Vikings. They got destroyed by the Philadelphia Eagles.


The future is bright with the New York Giants and it is great seeing the Giants finally having a good coach in Brian Daboll. Just like the Jacksonville Jaguars it shows that coaching matters in the NFL. They should be back here if they can bring back both RB Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones next season.


Dallas Cowboys

I keep saying this, but the Cowboys are the most annoying and frustrating teams in the NFL. No matter the talent they have on this squad they always fall short. The Cowboys Defense is legit and the offense was starting to get in check, but they fell flat. Many expected them to fall flat against the Buccaneers (Not from me) but it turns out that they had to wait a week against the 49ers for them to fall.


What this game really showed us is that there may be an issue with Dak Prescott. I kind of saw it with how badly he performed the 2nd half of the season, but he was terrible against the 49ers. Before you say yes I know he threw 4 TDs against the Buccaneers, but Tampa is legit one of the the worst teams that has ever made playoffs and their secondary was awful. You know who else's secondary was bad, San Francisco's. Dak kept constantly overthrowing and under-throwing receivers all game. He even threw two dreadful interceptions in that game.


I don’t want to hate Dak, but man he was a big reason why they lost this game. I still think that he will be a Cowboy next season, but Prescott has to play better. It does not help that McCarthy is a terrible head coach and the play calling was abysmal.


I need to ask Dallas a question, WTF were you guys thinking running the play below?


Was Chuck Pagano somehow typing up the playbook before the game began? Like seriously why in the world would you A) Put Elliot as the only blocker and snapping the ball, B) not just throw a Hail Mary alone when the 49ers secondary is beaten up and injured.


The fact that the entire coaching staff has not been fired for this play call immediately is just laughable. Oh right it's probably because Jerry Jones is comparing Mike McCarthy to Tom Landry and wanting to keep them as long as Landry was there.



McCarthy would have to be 85 years old in order to have the same amount of years Landry coached as a Cowboy. Never Change Jerry! Never Change!


UPDATE

So you “parted ways” with Kellen Moore after the game, huh. Honestly it is not a surprise that the Cowboys did this after how that play was even able to be mentioned at that moment. Someone had to bite the bullet after this game and Moore was the one to take it. To me, I don’t mind Kellen Moore as he is a pretty solid offensive coordinator. This won’t be the last we hear of Moore as he will easily get another coaching job in the NFL. Not as a head coach as Moore is clearly not ready for that position yet.


So who are you planning to have replace him. Brian Schottenheimer, you promoted him to the offensive coordinator role? You do realize he pretty much ruined Seattle's offense in 2020 right?

Buffalo Bills

Even though the Buffalo Bills were my pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and eventually win it, I got concerned with every minute they played in this year's playoffs. Especially with how that game against Miami went there were some major red flags. Especially with how their defense performed allowing Miami to score 31 points with Skyler Thompson as their QB. They sorely missed both DE/EDGE Von Miller and S Micah Hyde on this defense. It was made apparent when the defense collapsed against the Cincinnati Bengals.


For those saying Josh Allen is the problem of this team and sucks as a QB, you don’t know what you are talking about. Did you forget that Allen has been playing with an elbow injury all season. Along with the running game being super inconsistent this season and Gabe Davis’s regression.


The real man to blame is offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and I got to say he is the most overrated OC in the league today. I really don’t get why fans want him as a Head Coach as he has shown many that he is not ready for that role. The Bills will retain him unless he gets hired for one of the head coaching role, but the offense has to do better with the play calling.


The worst thing is that this season may have been their best chance. The Bills currently are 20 million under the salary cap right now.


Now before I say, no this is not the end of the Bills as they should be back in the playoffs next season. I trust GM Brandon Beane to make the right moves, they should be back here next season. However, they need to make the Super Bowl or else the question of Job Security will start to grow.


San Francisco 49ers

If there is a team to really feel bad for is the San Francisco 49ers. No matter how much talent they have or what they do, bad luck just creeps up on them. This team was cursed this season at the Quarterback season.


Earlier in the season it happened to Trey Lance when he suffered his ankle injury. He had 2 surgeries due to how bad it was.

Then came Jimmy Garoppolo where he suffered ankle injury that took him out for the rest of the season.

Now Brock Purdy who looked like was going to be a star QB in the League also got hurt. He suffered a severe Torn UCL Injury in the Conference Championship. The Injury is so bad that he is going to need Tommy Johns surgery to repair it.





Purdy basically suffered what Ben Roethlisberger did in the 2019 season. That injury pretty much ended Ben's football career. Purdy might not play until 2024 and even if he does he will never be the same QB with this type of injury which absolutely sucks.


When Purdy got injured the Journeyman legend Josh Johnson came into play. Then he also got injured due to a Concussion.





One thing is for sure now, they have to resign Jimmy Garoppolo. Now yes I know he likely does not want to come back here, but for a team in win now mode they have to get a QB. We don’t know if Lance is the guy, Purdy likely won’t play next season and Josh Johnson may already plan his next Journey in the Football World. If they can’t get Jimmy G back then they better pray that Lance has developed this season.


Cincinnati Bengals

Oh dear where to begin with the Cincinnati Bengals. Let's get one thing out of the way now. The officiating was absolutely garbage in this game. So many missed calls that went the Chiefs way and it was ridiculous.




Even with the horrible officiating it was clear that they got way too cocky. They talked way too much that they did not show it on the field. It may result in Eli Apple being out in Cincinnati.

You can tell the amount of talking that they did fueled the Kansas City Chiefs and it resulted in the Bengals losing. Maybe if their offensive line was healthy the Bengals would probably have resulted in the offense being more organized. It is just a shame that this happened to a Bengals team as it just feels like a tremendous missed opportunity.


Now that we have gone through which teams have been eliminated let's now get to who will be in Super Bowl 57.


Kansas City Chiefs

The new dynasty in the NFL has yet again made the Super Bowl. They are sure to play better than they did against Super Bowl 55 where they got humiliated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It got a bit scary for the Chiefs but they are at least here.


They should thank the gods that Patrick Mahomes ankle injury was minor. From when I originally saw it I thought he tore his Achilles or broke his ankle. Luckily it is just a sprain. Let face facts everyone, Patrick Mahomes is hands down the best QB in the NFL today. It really is not even close, just look at how he played through that ankle injury. It just made him better.


When the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill I was wondering who was going to recapture the speed that this team was losing. Well they may have found that speed, but at a different position at running back. His name is Isiah Pacheco who has turned out to be one of the big steals of the 2022 NFL Draft class. He is a freaking playmaker not only on offense, but special teams as well just like Tyreek Hill. With Jerrick McKinnon in the backfield along with a hopefully returning Clyde Edwards-Helaire this running core got scary.


At receiver they have a ton of depth with Mercole Hardman, Marquez Valdes Scantling, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney. A big concern is that every one of them is a bit banged up, but should be able to play in the SuperBowl.




I would not worry Travis Kelce, the best tight end in the league, is still a Chief and should yet again be a force to be wrecked with. With how good that o-line is too, this offense is very strong.


The defense while lacking in the secondary (Excluding Trent McDuffie) , their defensive line and pass rush is still solid. Especially Chris Jones where you can make an argument that he is better than Aaron Donald. I still prefer Donald at defensive tackle, but Jones is a clear 2nd. Nick Bolten and Willie Gay have held up the linebacking core very well.


This team has the potential to get Andy Reid another ring, but he has to face his final test in order to get rid of past demons.


Philadelphia Eagles

If you were to tell me two years ago when they drafted Jalen Hurts and fired Doug Pederson that the Eagles would make the Super Bowl a few years later, I would have called you crazy. This goes to show how much of a genius GM Howie Roseman is.


Just look at how he handled the QB position the past few seasons. We all thought Carson Wentz was going to be the guy long term. However, Howie Roseman saw the writing that Wentz may not be the guy and decided to draft Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft. I was perplexed by them doing it, but my goodness was it the right move as Jalen Hurts has been an excellent talent at quarterback. When looking at Wentz he was so bad that he may be out of the league in 2023 and getting out of him when they did was a brilliant move.


Hurts also has talent around him as well which is a plus. Especially at running back with Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell. A hidden gem to that running back core is Boston Scott who has basically been in the Darren Sproles role for the Eagles this postseason. At tight end the Eagles have Dallas Goedert who has been a fantastic get for the Eagles when they drafted him. He has done a phenomenal job replacing Ertz full time. At wide receiver they are loaded. They should legit send Jon Robinson flowers every year for that AJ Brown trade which was a tremendous get for the Eagles


Roseman finally hit on a draft selection at wide receiver in Devonta Smith. He has turned into one of the best receivers in the sport. Imagine if the Eagles made the right decision drafting Justin Jefferson over Jalen Reagor this offense would not only be terrifying, but just frightening. I still don’t understand what Roseman was thinking taking Reagor over Jefferson in the 2020 NFL Draft.


They still have a phenomenal offensive line as well. I am a bit concerned with OT Lane Johnson as he clearly is not 100%, but he is apparently going to tough it out until the Super Bowl is over.



Speaking of tough lets get to this defense which has become one of the best in the league. There pass rushing core is phenomenal with Fletcher Cox, Robert Quinn, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Hassan Reddick, and many more. In the interior o-line is a fantastic core in Javon Hargrave, Milton Williams, and Jordan Davis. They even have nice ring chasers in Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh to bolster the interior d-line. At linebacker a player who has been unstoppable is TJ Edwards and I got to say he is a fantastic get when he went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Heck even Kyizer White has been a great piece on this defense.


The one issue I had with this team last year was at secondary and boy did they improve this year. First off is James Bradberry who was an excellent piece when he played with the Giants, but since Dave Gettleman wrecked there salary cap he and the Giants had to part ways. There loss, Philadelphia’s gain and Bradberry has been a fantastic piece. Darius Slay is yet again having a fantastic season as well. You know who has been great piece as well, Avonte Maddox when healthy he has a big impact on this defense.


The Eagles safety core got better when they acquired Chauncey “CJ” Gardner Johnson via trade for next to nothing. Thank the Saints for giving the team another talented piece. Even Marcus Epps who I thought was toast when playing with the Minnesota Vikings years ago has developed well with a change of scenery in Philadelphia.


Jake Elliot has yet again been an automatic kicker this season too which is a boost as well. Nick Sirianni has been a very great coach with the Eagles. Has he been cocky, yes but you can’t deny how important his coaching has been post the Pederson era. The Eagles were a mess when they blatantly tanked in Pedersen’s final game coaching the Eagles. He has been great managing the culture of the locker room.


This team is an absolute juggernaut with little to no weakness on the team. You know what else scares me with this team long term, they have a Top 10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. You can thank the New Orleans Saints for that again and this team is not going away anytime soon.


Who will win in the Reid Bowl? Or the Kelce bowl as Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce are brothers. Lets see my Prediction.


Prediction for Super Bowl 57


I originally picked this Super Bowl as Buffalo vs Philadelphia. It stinks I could not get the AFC right, but I just think the Eagles are the more complete team compared to the Chiefs. I know never go against Mahomes, but I just can’t see a weakness in Philadelphia. Compared to the Chiefs there are obvious weaknesses. I will be picking the Eagles to win the Super Bowl and the score I am going with 42-22.


Score: 42-22























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