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We asked our staff to make a call for the 2022 season. Who will surprise - either good or bad? Here are their answers.
The Saints win the NFC South going away
Further, they finish with a 6-0 record in the division.
The Indianapolis Colts win the AFC with a 13-4 record and field both a top-10 offense and defense.
Further, Matt Ryan is in the hunt for his second MVP after throwing for 5,000+ yards and 35+ touchdowns.
The Denver Broncos go 5-1 in the AFC West and win the division with a 12-5 record.
They go into the playoffs as the team nobody wants to play, and Russel Wilson makes a strong play for MVP.
The Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North.
The latter years of the Mike Zimmer era created a narrative that the Vikings are a mediocre team. But there's a new head coach in the Twin Cities in Kevin O' Connell, and if he can unleash the Vikings offense, that narrative will be busted. Kirk Cousins is a better quarterback than most think—he was fourth in the league in passer rating in 2021 and seventh in touchdown percentage. Dalvin Cook is arguably a top-five back. Justin Jefferson is arguably the best wideout in the NFL. And if Danielle Hunter and Za'Darius Smith are close to 100 percent this season, Minnesota's pass rush will be legit. Green Bay spent the offseason acting like another division title was a foregone conclusion. The Packers are about to find out it ain't.
Jacksonville will have a winning record.
Interestingly, most others are looking at teams with a new head coach. It is always fascinating that a franchise can sink or swim with a new hire. We often look at rookie players and head coaches with rose-colored glasses. Of interest to me is that five of the 10 new head coaches are re-hires, several had awful records on their first attempt. The one with the hardest road is the only Super Bowl winner among them in Doug Pedersen. Jacksonville is in an eminently winnable division, but the development of Trevor Lawrence is key to lifting the team into playoff contention. Maybe they make the playoffs, maybe they don’t, but they will post a winning record.
The Vikings will lead the NFL in offensive points scored and win the NFC North.
The Vikings were a defensive-coached team that surprisingly had a good offense for the longest time. Thanks to Kevin O'Connell's presence and the talent in place on offense, the Vikings are poised to take the NFC North by storm. The window of opportunity is now for this team. They make a big statement in Week 1 against Green Bay and don't look back.
Los Angeles Chargers win the Super Bowl.
The Chargers have one of my favorite offenses and defenses this season. Yes, the division is tough, but that will only make them playoff ready. I believe they will lead the league in Total Offense, Points Scored, Sacks, and Takeaways on the road to being crowned Super Bowl champs in February.
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