The NFL’s 2022 season got its official start on September 8th. Now, as we barrel toward the playoffs with all the force of Mean Joe Greene, it’s time to start making your predictions for the rest of the season and for Super Bowl LVI.
But which teams are setting themselves up for success, and which are struggling to make an impact on the field? Today, we’re looking at the teams leading their divisions and those making a late-season push to gear you up for the Playoffs and help you make your Super Bowl predictions. Keep reading for what you need to know.
The Kansas City Chiefs Are (Probably) Winning the AFC West
It’s no secret that the Kansas City Chiefs are the team to beat in your AFC West division brackets. Since 2016, they’ve ruled their division, with six consecutive division titles in the rearview of this year’s performance. So, you can most likely expect Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to comfortably pull off a seventh repeat.
But that division title isn’t guaranteed; the 2022 season got off to a shaky start for the pride of Kansas City, especially where the performance of their defensive line is concerned. And less than two months into the season, they’re ranking low on important stats like total yards allowed per game (25th) and points allowed per game (25th).
That said, there’s every reason to believe that the Chiefs will come out on top this season as well, thanks to a roster of some of the NFL’s top players, like defensive end Michael Danna. Plus, the team is bolstered by stand-out athletes in offensive and special positions, like:
- Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
- Tight end Travis Kelce
- Center Creed Humphrey
When the Playoffs start, look to the Chiefs to blitz straight to Super Bowl LVI—and maybe cinch their second win since 2020. The Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders are the Chief’s biggest threats.
The Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins Lead the AFC East
No team has been to the Super Bowl more than the New England Patriots, and only the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the big game as many times. But even with a solid 2021 season behind them, 2022 hasn’t been the team’s year so far. If they emerge victorious, it’ll be thanks to their phenomenal coaching and tough defensive line.
Instead, the smartest bet for your 2023 Super Bowl odds out of the AFC East is the Buffalo Bills. Led by quarterback Josh Allen, the Bills have been showing their might in game after game, and they’ve got the rankings to prove it. Six weeks in, the Buffalo Bills have:
- The top defensive line
- The second-best defensive line
Down south, the Miami Dolphins started the season strong and seemed to be fighting for the top of most NFL playoff bracket predictor lists. However, early injuries have thrown that somewhat into question.
Even so, the Dolphins have a couple of secret weapons in their arsenal that the Buffalo Bills do not: wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. So this year, look for the Bills and the Dolphins to rule their division.
The Tennessee Titans Control the AFC South
Let’s face it: there aren’t many sensible NFL midseason predictions that have the four teams of the AFC South division making it to the Super Bowl in 2023. These teams enter 2022 plagued by a variety of issues, including:
- Restructured coaching staffs
- New players
- Lackluster performances
But they aren’t all competing at the same level. The Tennessee Titans led their division in 2021, and we look for them to do the same this year—that is, if quarterback Ryan Tannehill can improve his game. Plus, they’ve got running back Derrick Henry on their roster, ESPN’s top choice for the position in 2022.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could break through, however. They come into the 2022 season with a new coach in Doug Pederson, a switch that has so far seemed to benefit the team, albeit in minor ways. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, at least, is performing better than ever under Pederson’s leadership.
The Baltimore Raven Fly High in the AFC North
So far this season, the title of King in the AFC North must go to the Baltimore Ravens. This is true despite a somewhat disappointing start to the 2022 season, which has been marred by high-profile losses (despite significant leads) to the Giants, Bills, and Dolphins.
That said, the Ravens are far from the most hopeless team in the North. They’re still one of ESPN’s top 10 teams this year, thanks in part to cunning coaching by John Harbaugh, who leads his time with the sort of grit and determination that make Super Bowl Dreams come true.
Following the Ravens, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals are shaping up to be the next favorites despite a slow start. They came into 2022 after an impressive 2021 season, but so far, they’ve failed to fulfill the promise of the previous year.
However, in recent weeks, the team’s defensive line has been performing significantly better, and we’re still months away from the playoffs. Cincinnati could pull through, and it might come down to whether the Bengals' Joe Burrow can hold his current lead in TDs over Lamar Jackson of the Ravens.
Los Angeles Chargers Surging to Top the NFC West
The Los Angeles Chargers emerging victorious in their division is one of the easier Super Bowl predictions to make this year. The team entered the season as the champions of the 2021 Super Bowl, and it’s very likely they’ll continue to dominate their division.
The biggest threat to the Chargers are the San Francisco 49ers. Few teams in the entire league can match the defensive power of the 49ers, backed by powerhouse players Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. But even they may not have the strength to drag their team into the postseason.
The other two teams in the division aren’t likely to go very far. The Arizona Cardinals made a few productive changes to their roster this year, especially with regard to their passers, but this isn’t the team to look for in the playoffs this year.
The Seahawks are looking slightly better than the Cardinals, mostly thanks to quarterback Geno Smith. Still, we have bigger expectations for this team in the 2023 season once they’ve had time to improve their offensive and defensive lines.
Eagles Expect to Lock in the NFC East
If there’s one team in any division that is dismantling our expectations this year, it’s the New York Giants. Heading into the midseason, the Giants have a jaw-dropping 6-2 record no one saw coming—least of all the fairly strong teams they’ve managed to triumph over along the way, like the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Baltimore Ravens.
So, it’s worth considering whether to give the Giants a prime spot on your NFL picks against the spread Super Bowl teams.
Still, as division leaders, the Philadelphia Eagles should not be counted out. When it comes to running the ball this year, they’re ranked fourth in the league, meaning there’s an excellent chance we’ll see them in the playoffs, and maybe as one of the Super Bowl picks. Plus, receivers A. J. Brown and Davonta Smith are looking unstoppable.
We don’t expect much from the Washington Commanders, who are struggling to integrate Carson Wentz into their roster. The true NFC dark horse? The Dallas Cowboys, who have performed against expectations and are reintroducing Dak Prescott to the field after an early-season injury.
The Buccaneers Aim to Sink the NFC South
Down south, our NFL midseason predictions come down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and QB legend Tom Brady. The team has its issues, but with Brady at the helm, we fully expect them to power through the season and into the playoffs.
The rest of the division isn’t much of a threat to Tampa. The Atlanta Falcons suffer from a poor defensive squad and a quarterback that’s only so-so. The Carolina Panthers have potential, but it’s probably too late for them to really make a play at the playoffs.
In New Orleans, the Saints may have a shot thanks to some promising new additions to the team. If the Buccaneers have a challenger, this is it.
The Vikings are Conquering the NFC North’s Top Spot
This season, the Minnesota Vikings have completely rebuilt their defensive strategy and reimagined how they run their offense. As a result, they’ve had an impressive season so far, making them a top NFC North choice for NFL midseason predictions.
But never underestimate the power of the Green Bay Packers. The duo of head coach Matt LeFleur and QB Aaron Rodgers is a proven combination. Together, the two have never lost a division title.
The Chicago Bears are barely worth considering this year, with a 3-6 record going into the midseason. In Detroit, the Lions are faring only marginally better, but with such a poor defense we don’t see them going too far once the season ends.
Hedge Your Bets With Tipico
As we enter into the NFL midseason, the playoff race is starting to solidify, with frontrunners and hopeful underdogs emerging. Be sure to follow our picks here as time starts running out and each game’s stakes are raised.
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