Five unexpected NFL season predictions


Offseason revealed the folly of trying to predict the NFL. Who expected Russell Wilson to move to Denver? Who would have guessed that wide receivers would move like pin balls and be pushed like A-list movie stars?

In this case, there is no fun in not trying. Here are five bold predictions for the 2022 season.

Seismic wide receiver deals will produce subtle changes. The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins have both placed massive bets that Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill will turn them, but the massive out-of-season spots may only produce ripples on the field. There are exceptions, like Stefon Diggs with Buffalo, but adding a receiver on a large scale rarely has a motivating effect on the franchise.

Neither Adams nor Hill is in a position to change this direction. In Las Vegas, Adams’ relationship with Fresno’s college buddy Derek Carr, and his ability to line up anywhere, should make for an easy transition. But Adams is also entering a 30-year-old season, His relationship with Aaron Rodgers It couldn’t be duplicated, and the Raiders didn’t do much to tackle their offensive line, which was a bigger problem than the receiving corps that already included Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrew.

For Miami, defenses last year showed they figured out how to limit Hill – his yards-per-goal dropped from 9.5 to 7.8 (23rd in the NFL to 68th), and that was with Patrick Mahomes throwing in his passes in place of Tua Tagovailoa. Adams and Hill are great players, but they won’t have the impact their new teams hope for.

Trevor Lawrence will shoot 4500 yards. Lawrence suffered a lost rookie season under Urban Meyer, who was Strange behavior and amazing helplessness The Jacksonville Jaguars were sentenced in 2021. But Lawrence remains one of the top potential players to enter the league in recent years. Chad Khan hired Jaguar owner Doug Pederson for his history of working with young quarterbacks, and his persistence has given Jacksonville a chance to cleanse after last year’s disaster.

Jaguars have been upgraded up front. Wideout Christian Kirk may have been an overpayment that rocked the market, but contracts aren’t working and Jacksonville’s wide reception team will improve. Lawrence and Clemson’s teammate Travis Etienne will return for the 2021 first round, having missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury. Jaguar’s team is likely a year away from the competition, even in poor South Asia, but Lawrence is on the cusp of a breakthrough.

The San Francisco 49ers will win the NFC title. The AFC is so full of star players that at least one team with Super Bowl aspirations will miss the playoffs. NFC technology is wide open and features key competitors question marks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive line suffered injuries at training camp, which Tom Brady missed due to mysterious personal reasons. The Los Angeles Rams are facing the stress of redundancy and the prospect of continuing Matthew Stafford’s facility problems. The Green Bay Packers lost Adams and showed a mile in January under achievement under Rodgers and Matt LaFleur.

The 49ers aren’t perfect, but they may have the highest ceiling in NFC. The presence of Tre Lance should make coach Kyle Shanahan’s prolific attack all the more dangerous. There aren’t many that are the three best and most versatile blockbusters of Depo Samuel, Brandon Ayok and George Keitel. Nick Bossa is a franchise-altering passing striker, and defense coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a coaching star in the making. It may not look smooth early on as Lance takes over and the San Francisco team breaks into a reformed offensive coaching staff. But in the end, bet on Shanahan – who has LaFleur owns the big games – To find out.

Kirk Cousins ​​will lead the league in passing yards. Fill in the result box It was never a cousins ​​problemHe has a coach and support staff – good or bad – that will make him more productive. Kevin O’Connell, who has worked with Cousins ​​for years in Washington, replaced Mike Zimmer as the Minnesota Vikings coach, who should lean the team more toward passing. Justin Jefferson is one of the best receivers in world football, and Adam Thielen looked completely healthy this summer.

The Vikings will play a lot of close matches, and their defense – the third most yards allowed and ninth most points allowed last season – will give up a lot, giving the Cousins ​​ample opportunity to stock up on stats. He passed 4,221 yards last year even though he missed a game and played under Zimmer’s first spirit. The Vikings, undoing their strikingly poor record in close matches, could challenge the Packers at the NFC North. Even if they don’t, Cousins ​​will throw a lot of passes into a lot of good receivers in a system that fits.

Chicago Bears will be selected first in the 2023 draft. Under new head coach/general manager Matt Eberflus and Ryan Pauls, the Bears implemented a roster reset that left them bereft of proven talent all around when attacking, especially along the line and at wide reception. Their top players, linebacker Rockian Smith and passing striker Robert Quinn, spent the break with varying degrees of disappointment with the franchise. Even the schedule that includes NFC East and AFC East will save 2022 for Chicago.

If the Bears go down to the bottom of the league, they will focus oddly on quarterback Justin Fields, a brilliant talent that the Bears have failed to fully support. Chicago will have to decide if it wants to use the quarterback’s first-choice – Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio’s CJ Stroud are the top two leaders in a respectable class – and move on from the fields. Bears can also exchange pick or take a quick ride like Jalen Carter of Georgia or Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. However, discussion will be inevitable – and potentially harmful to all involved.