Predictions for awards, team, and individual
Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
The 2022 season is almost here. Teams named their 53-man rosters on Tuesday, practice squads have been built, fantasy drafts are being done, and coaches are implementing game plans for week 1 opponents. Here I will make some predictions for the 2022 season.
There are five active MVPs at the moment: Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Aaron Rodgers. This January, I think that number will become 6. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a solid team around him. He’s probably the only quarterback with arm strength equal to or greater than Mahomes. He’s a solid runner too. He’s the most talented of the true dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL. I think Allen gives the Bills their first MVP since Thurman Thomas won it 31 years ago.
Coach of the year is a sometimes confusing award. It seems more often than not, the winner of the award is the coach of one of the best teams, not what coach actually did the best job. I personally feel Zac Taylor was the coach of the year last year over Mike Vrabel because taking a 4-win team that was only expected to win 6 or 7 games to the Super Bowl is more impressive than Vrabel taking a team that was expected to do good and losing their first playoff game.
But this is about this season who I’m predicting. Just based on historically how the coach of the year voting goes, I’m predicting Sean McDermott of the Bills. Once again, the Bills have a pretty solid roster and McDermott is a great coach.
Rookie of the year is a tough award to predict. After having a preseason full of drops, would anyone have predicted Ja’marr Chase would have won that award last year? Let someone who knows a Bengals fan tell you that the answer is no. It definitely will not a be quarterback though. Defensive players dominated the top of the draft, so we may have a defensive player win the award. I think Aidan Hutchinson gets the award. He was, in my opinion, the best player in the draft. He was a Heisman finalist as a defensive player, which is so hard to do, and finished 2nd, which is even harder. That’s the highest a defensive player has finished since Manti Te’o also finished 2nd in 2012. The Lions have had multiple busts over the last 20 years, but I do not think Hutchinson will join this infamous list.
Comeback player of the year is sometimes a feel-good story. Everyone loved seeing Alex Smith win the award after he almost died of an infection after his surgery to repair the devastating knee injury he had. Seeing Eric Berry win it after the best season of his career after beating cancer was terrific too. Derrick Henry missed 9 games after averaging 117.1 yards per game with an injury. He was on pace for 1,990 yards and had a shot to be the first player with 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. I think he wins the award this year. He’s probably the best running back in the NFL. He’s got power and is faster than people realize.
This isn’t an award, but I do have a pick for the most overhyped off-season acquisition. Davante Adams to the Raiders. He made a massive downgrade at quarterback. I’ve always thought Derek Carr was an overrated quarterback. I understand they played together in college, but that was 9 years ago and for only 2 seasons. I don’t think that’s as big of a deal as everyone makes it seem. This leads to me to my next one.
The worst coaching hire in my opinion was Brian Daboll to the Giants. I don’t think he had anything to do with the Bills’ success the last few years because almost every single season he’s been an offensive coordinator in the NFL, his teams have finished near the bottom in the NFL. He was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator during the disaster that was the 2012 season. He’ll be unemployed within 3 seasons.
Now on to team “awards”. The most overrated team heading into the 2022 season is the Las Vegas Raiders. This isn’t a terrible team by any means, but this team is not a contender either even with Davante Adams. I’ll repeat something I said in a previous article. Derek Carr cannot win big games. He has won a total of 8 games in almost 60 tries against playoff teams (by playoff teams I mean teams that made the playoffs the year he played them). Josh McDaniels is a great offensive coordinator, but a terrible head coach. I think this team has a good record early as teams may not know how they’re going to use the Carr and Adams connection, but they lose the majority of their games down the stretch and finish with only 7 or 8 wins. They are also the playoff team from 2021 I think is the most likely to miss this season.
The most underrated team is tough. I’m going with the Jaguars though. Trevor Lawrence I think is going to be a good quarterback. He’s got some good receivers now and a good running back. Doug Pederson was a good hire as well. I’m not necessarily saying this team will make the playoffs, but don’t be surprised if come week 18 this team has one of those playoff scenarios where if they win and like 3 or 4 teams lose, they make the playoffs kind of like the Chiefs had (and pulled off) in 2006.
The following “award” should be no surprise with some of the stuff I’ve said about them already. The best overall team, aka “On paper Super Bowl champions” is the Buffalo Bills. They have probably the best all-around roster. I’m not saying they will win the Super Bowl because let’s be honest, how often do the on-paper preseason champs wind up winning it all? It’s very uncommon. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, one of the best receivers, and arguably the best defense in the NFL. They do have a tough schedule this season though so we will see how good they actually are.
The worst team, in my opinion, is the Texans. All offseason I had thought it was the Seahawks, but I’ve changed my mind. The Texans don’t really have any weapons and they don’t have any good players on defense. Their best player is probably Laremy Tunsil, and while this kills me to say as a former offensive lineman, if your best player is an offensive lineman there is definitely a problem. This team will be lucky to win 2 games and will likely be the number 1 pick. Lovie Smith definitely has his work cut out for him with this team. Hard to believe just 3 years ago, this team led the Chiefs 24-0 in the 2nd quarter of a divisional round playoff game. If this team winds up well this season, Lovie Smith deserves a massive pay raise.
Predictions are fun to make. We’ll see come January how accurate it was.