(Image Credit: Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
The 2022 NFL Regular Season has officially concluded. It is now playoff time and I am super excited, yet upset that the NFL Football will be concluding. Now it is time to go through who made the Playoffs for both the AFC and NFC. I will also give my prediction of who will be playing in Super Bowl 57.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)
Is it just me or has it been very weird how the NFL has not marketed this team as the best team that we have seen in years. Maybe it's because it was expected or that they have another ring, but the point is the Chiefs team is very stacked. Especially on offense, excluding a truly consistent running back and a true number 1 receiver this team has almost everything you want for an offense. They got a Fantastic o-line, franchise QB, franchise TE, a bunch of depth at wide receiver, and potential at running back. Their defense is also pretty solid as well and the Chiefs could yet again represent the AFC in the superbowl. The question is if they have enough depth on both offense and defense to pull it off along with executing it on the field.
2. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
First off I want to start off by saying thank goodness Damar Hamilin is doing well in his recovery. Not only was he able to facetime the team last week, but he was even released from the hospital. That was the best news of the entire season for not only the Bills, but the entire NFL.
The Buffalo Bills yet again are in the playoffs and they are super loaded on both defense and on offense. It just sucks Von Miller can’t rejoin this defense and bolster it for their playoff push. However if there is ever a year to finally get a SuperBowl in Buffalo, this is the year to do it. If not, then I really don’t know what they can do next to fully build this team except oh IDK get another running back. As let's be real, the Bills running game is terrible. Maybe they can get someone out of retirement and get them to ring chase. Hell they did it with WR Cole Beasley.
3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Out of all the teams in the AFC, I really don’t know what to think of the Bengals. There is a part of me that says they are one of the big 3 in the AFC and another part of me that says don’t overrate this team. Then again I sorta felt that way last season with the Bengals and they surprised almost everybody. A majority of the offense has gotten a lot healthier and should be prepared for the playoffs and the defense is still holding up.
A big problem for the Bengals now, is losing OG Alex Cappa for the majority of the playoffs due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 18. Plus they just don’t perform as consistently in certain half of games. One moment they perform well the first half and don’t the next. In other games they perform well the second half and don’t the next. The Bengals have to be consistent when they play in the playoffs or else they don't represent the AFC in the Superbowl for a second year in a row.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
Thank goodness the Jaguars are in the playoffs. I am not saying this just because the Jags are my second favorite team, the Titans are absolutely derailed by injuries and if they made it, they would have been crushed by the Chargers. At least we get a more competitive matchup in the playoffs with the Jags in. The Jags are showcased a clear example as to why coaching matters in the NFL. Say what you want about how Doug Pederson’s tenure with the Eagles ended, but he is such a great coach. You can’t take away the Super Bowl he won with them either and him being a part of this team. The best part of this season is that it adds on to why Urban Meyer is the worst coach in NFL History.
The Jags have talent on this team and Trevor Lawrence has finally showcased why he was chosen 1st Overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. The offense has looked very legit the past few weeks and the surprise to me is how well Travis Ettienne has looked coming back from that Lisfranc injury. Christian Kirk actually had a career year with the team and showcased why he was given the big bucks. The defense on the other hand could definitely be a problem. Excluding Tyson Campbell this secondary is kind of terrible. Also this is important to note that Riley Patterson their kicker has a knee injury and it could be an issue for them. Plus they have been playing scrappy football most the season and if they are a little bit more consistent with how they play they could be sleepers for a deep playoff push.
5. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7)
Is it wrong for me to say that the Chargers are the worst coached team in the playoffs not named the Buccaneers. There are so many games that the Chargers could have won this season if it was not mishandled by terrible coaching decisions by both head coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Week 18 to me is definitely going in the long list of reasons why Staley is not a good coach. He basically played all of the starters in a meaningless game. not only a portion of that game, but the entire game. What is your major malfunction, Staley? Why in the world would you do that? You are stuck with the 5th seed and have nothing to play for and you risk injury to your entire team when playoffs are around the corner. Now Mike Williams and Joey Bosa may not play in the wildcard due to your shenanigans. If both can’t play then that is a major problem as both were big pieces to the Chargers success. If the Chargers lose to the Jaguars in the Wildcard, they should fire Staley for what he did in Week 18.
Despite the awful coaching I got to say the Chargers did a fantastic job getting to the playoffs. Thank Justin Herbert for that, who once again showcased why he is a Top 5 QB in the NFL today. The defense pulled through this season and the Chargers finally got in. However it is going to be very difficult to trust this team with the coaching they currently have. Can they overcome it?
6. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
If you want to look at just the Defensive side of the Ravens, you can see why this team made the playoffs. They have the best defense in the AFC and honestly this is a superbowl caliber defense. Then you look at the offensive side of the Ravens and it is a disaster. Not only because this offense has not been that properly coached this season, but it is due to the QB position. Lamar Jackson is still dealing with his knee injury. It is starting to get concerning that he has still not practiced yet.
If Lamar Jackson does not play then the Ravens are absolutely screwed. You think Tyler Huntley is going to be a help on this team, he was horrible the last time he played. Thinking about it, I would rather have Huntley at QB than Anthony Brown. From what I saw from Brown, it baffles me how he was able to even sign a contract with an NFL team, especially with the way he has been playing. Brown is giving a true definition to the word scrub.
7. Miami Dolphins (9-8)
Well now that was a super up and down season for Miami, but you made it to the playoffs that is a plus. If you did not, the Dolphins were going to blow it up by firing head coach Mike McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier.
They have the tools to have a deep playoff run on both defense and offense. However the one question we all have is, Who will start at Quarterback? I really doubt Tua plays a snap the rest of the season with the concussions he has suffered in a few months. Concussions are no joke and the fact that he has not practiced at this point is concerning
Teddy Bridgewater is a solid option, but with his hand injury I am not so sure that he will be available to play either. The Dolphins may have to start Skylar Thompson again at QB. I don’t think Thompson is completely terrible, but from what I have seen from him, he has not been great with the games he has played. This team is screwed if they can’t figure out the QB position.
So, Tua is not playing this week and you're starting Skylar Thompson as well. Welp you're screwed Miami. Get yourself prepared for the 2023 offseason.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
You know, I still firmly believe that if Jalen Hurts was not injured the Eagles would only have one loss this season. I mean I love Gardner Minshew as he is the best 6th round QB I have ever seen in NFL history, but Jalen Hurts is super talented. How Hurts has played goes to show how much of a genius GM Howie Roseman is drafting him, well if you ignore the Jalen Reagor selection.
The Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC are clearly the most complete team in the NFL right now. They also desperately needed that bye week to ensure the health of their players. One thing I am concerned about is if OT Lane Johnson will be 100%. Apparently Johnson has a torn tendon in his abdominal area that needs surgery and since he got hurt this offense has not been as great as it was for the Eagles. Besides that and Hurts shoulder issues The Eagles are the best team in the NFL and there aim should be superbowl or bust.
2. San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
I got to say out of every team in the NFL that made the playoffs, the San Francisco 49ers are the most impressive. They had to overcome two season ending injuries at the QB position with Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppollo. If you were to tell me that they would not only make the playoffs, but get 13 wins I would have called you crazy. It is impressive that Brock Purdy is playing as good as he is right now and it goes to show how talented the 49ers offense is along with how great of a coach Kyle Shanahan is. Along with this defense being one of the best in the league. This team on paper should make a deep playoff push, however the one question focuses on Purdy himself. Will he be able to perform this well in the playoffs or will he crumble with intense pressure?
3. Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
If the season ended when the trade deadline hit I would have easily made the Vikings my pick to make it to the NFC Championship. However with how the second half of the season turned out it showcased that the Vikings are absolute frauds. Keep in mind this team was down by 33 points at one point against a Jeff Saturday led Colts team. Yes I know that they came back, but this is a fact that everyone needs to be reminded of. They have not beaten teams convincingly this season and It is concerning. However they did make it to the playoffs and the Vikings culture is better with the regime change.
Their defense still has problems, but you can’t deny how great this offense has performed. However there is one question that not a lot of people are asking. How will this team adapt to losing OT Brian O’Neil?
O’Neil to me is a top 10 Tackle in the NFL right now and is a big part of the Vikings o-line, but due to him tearing his Achilles he won’t be playing in the postseason. The offensive line is very important and losing O’Neil is going to hurt, Will this team respond well or be one and done in the playoffs.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
This team is by far the worst team that made the playoffs this season no question. The Buccaneers only made it in because the NFC South is absolutely trash this season and the Panthers/Saints choked their opportunities away. I will say nobody expects anything from Tampa this offseason and they could come out by getting another deep run with Tom Brady at QB. However he has yet again showed signs of regression. Or is it that his entire o-line is injured, they can’t utilize the RB properly and Byron Leftwich got exposed coaching wise. Speaking of, Todd Bowles is the head coach of this team, and he has learned nothing from his days as a New York Jets head coach. He is repeating the same mistakes and this defense has been very mediocre this season. Almost everything on paper to me is saying that this team has no chance to make it to the Superbowl. However, stranger things have happened in the NFL.
5. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
I don’t know what is crazier to me, the fact that the Cowboys have 12 wins in general or that it was not enough to win the NFC East. Overall this was a great step for the Cowboys in general as I did not expect the Cowboys to be as good as they have been this season. Their defense is one of if not the best defense in the NFL Right now. You can argue Baltimore’s or San Francisco's is better, but Dallas is definitely up there. Their offense is also playing well too. The question is if they can showcase it in the playoffs on a consistent basis.
Look, I respect Dak Prescott a lot, but he has to play better than he has been lately. In the last 7 games he has thrown 11 interceptions and they have been ugly ones at times. If the Cowboys want to go on a deep playoff push then he has to perform better.
Not only that but Dallas has been studying the Mike Tomlin special of playing down to competition. Especially against the Texans, Titans, Jaguars, and even the Commanders. They have looked burned out lately. Hopefully they can wake up and play well as I am pretty sure Jerry Jones will not be happy if the Cowboys don’t have a deep playoff run.
6. New York Giants (9-7-1)
The Giants like the Jaguars are yet another example as to why coaching matters in the NFL. Just look at Daniel Jones as when Joe Judge and Pat Schurmer was the head coach he was toast. When Brian Daboll was the coach he was performing like Phil Simms. Jones has performed so well that the Giants are likely going to have to extend him or franchise tag him. Even Saqoun Barkley has had a fantastic season where it looked like injuries have completely derailed him.
This Defense is a bit of an issue though. According to DVOA the New York Giants have the 2nd worst defense from all of the teams that made the playoffs. The worst is of course the Vikings, but the Giants have issues here too. Also, the Giants may not be fully ready to take the next step of a deep playoff push. Keep in mind though that we said this two times previously and they went on to beat the New England Patriots in the Superbowl. Lets see how the Giants perform in the playoffs.
7. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)
Ok I want to ask everyone to please raise your hand if you think the Seahawks were going to be anywhere close to the playoffs this season. If you are raising your hand you are either a Seahawks fan or lying to me. The only thing I thought this team was going to fight for was the 1st Overall Pick. Well they kind of did with the Broncos pick, but that is besides the point. This season goes to show how great of a coach Pete Caroll is. Plus how well drafting can help a team. Along with Geno Smith having a career year and is likely going to be the comeback player of the 2022 NFL Season. Their defense has also gotten better with Tariq Woolen leading in the secondary. If it was not for Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Woolen would be the Defensive rookie of the year.
However the Seahawks are going to have a challenging time in the playoffs as underdogs and will have to face San Francisco in the playoffs. They better hope their team is healthier then they have been the past few weeks or else they won’t have a chance making the playoffs.
MY Super Bowl 57 Prediction
Buffalo Bills vs Philadelphia Eagles