NEW YORK, NY – With Yankees pitchers dropping like a greased football in Daniel Jones’s hands on a blindside hit, I’m done with baseball. Infection from a freaking tattoo? I can’t, wake me when the playoffs start. With the NFL season on the horizon, I reckon it’s time to turn our attention yonder. Here are 10 Bold(ish) Predictions for the 2022 NFL Season.
Jets: Hall is Best Rookie RB, Moore is Top WR
Bryce Hall will be the NFL’s leading rusher amongst rookies. Elijah Moore will lead the team in receiving, not Garrett Wilson. By all accounts, Hall is a beast. Moore had a studly seven game stretch last year before he got hurt, and I think he’ll be the guy over Wilson for at least this year.
The maligned Giants QB will have a good year and put the Giants in a tough spot. The Giants’ coaching staff seems to have Jones getting rid of the ball quickly, but in creative ways. Not sending three guys on quick slants and outs, like the last coaching staff, with nary a hint of pre-snap motion or misdirection. I expect at least a functional year from Jones and he’ll put the front office in a bind about whether to move on from him or not.
Steelers Finish 9-8
It doesn’t matter if they drag Bubby Brister out of his local bar and throw him behind center. Mike Tomlin will find a way to have another winning season.
Biggest Disappointment: Arizona Cardinals
The whole “watch more film” clause in Kyler Murray’s contract was a huge red flag. Also, they’ll never get the same production out of James Connor, DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for six games, and they have big secondary and pass rush issues on D. They have some weapons in the passing game even without Hopkins, but something is festereing down in the dessert. I have a feeling things will get ugly, and Kliff Kingsburgy does not seem like the right captain to quell a mutiny.
Biggest surprise: Detroit Lions
I’ve been watching Hard Knocks and I like the cut of Dan Campbell’s jib. And in case you haven’t noticed, they’ve been building slowly from the trenches and have used a ton of picks on D-lineman the past two years. That’s includes 2022 top pick Aidan Hutchinson, who looks like a player. They’ve also built a top-tier offensive line and have stockpiled some real talent on offense with Swift, St. Brown, Hockenson – and coming soon – Jameson Williams. They only won three games last year but they were in most of their games to the end, with seven losses by eight points or fewer. Look for the Lions to make a jump this year, take the over on wins. They also have the fifth easiest strength of schedule. Guess who are the top four? The NFC East teams because they play each other. That sound you hear is me laugh-crying. Craughing? Lauying?
Aaron Rodgers: Top Five in MVP voting
Rodgers is free-falling in Fantasy Drafts like the “…good girl living in Reseda who loves her momma…” thanks to Davante’s surprising departure. But I would not bet against this guy making it work with a bunch of no-names. Instead of game planning to get Adams open, Rodgers will spread it around and find the open guy. Romeo Doubs looks like an early dark horse candidate to get some big action. On a related side note, Mahomes will be alright without Tyreek too, and Ju-Ju will be his #2 receiver after Kelce.
MVP Runner Up: Justin Herbert
WIth superstars Russell Wilson and Devante Adams added to an already strong division, expect some big time barnburners in the AFC West. And expect Herbert to make the jump into the 45 TD range.
MVP: Josh Allen
With youngsters Gabriel Davis and Isiah McKenzie ready to step in for the aging Beasley and Sanders, I don’t think the Bills offense will miss a beat. Dalvin Cook’s kid brother James is also in the mix as an explosive change of pace/receiver type back. Allen’s rushing prowess puts him over the top in a close MVP race over Herbert.
AFC Division Winners: Bills, Broncos, Ravens, Colts
The AFC West is the tough one, as all four teams should be good. These teams are going to beat up on each other. I thing the Bengals and Titans will fall off a bit.
NFC Division Winners: Cowboys, 49ers, Packers, Buccaneers
I’d like to pick against the Cowboys, Pack or Bucs, but I don’t see any true threats to their supremity. The Vikings might push the Packers, but they won’t get there. New Orleans has the D to compete with anyone, but I’m not ready to take Jameis over Brady. One of the other three NFC East teams could threaten the ‘Boys if they just beat up on the other crappy divisional foes. The Eagles have plenty of weapons, but I’m not sure if an inaccurate QB with a run first mentality can feed all those mouths.
What did I miss? Let me know if the comments. And come back tomorrow for Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.