We’re in early October, and that means that the NFL is a quarter(ish) of the way through the season! Who’s the MVP? Are the Eagles this good? Can Brady make it through the season? Find out here with The Circuit’s 1st Quarter Polls!
We’ve had about a month of football now, and it has been… ugly. Awful quarterback play and even more awful coaching has given us some truly terrible games, but that doesn’t stop us! Let’s start with what I got right, and what I regret from my preseason predictions…
Things I got Right…
The Chiefs Would Not Miss Tyreek…
Tyreek Hill was amazing with the Chiefs, but I never thought they would miss him. Much like my Pujols theory in baseball, superstars changing teams rarely works in football either. Hill has played well in Miami, but the Chiefs look even better now that he’s gone. KC traded a speedster for some offensive line protection, which was an absolute upgrade.
Jacksonville Would Be Much Improved…
Urban Meyer was maybe the worst coach in NFL history, and Trevor Lawerence was a rookie; of course they were going to be better! I flirted with picking them to win the division in the preseason, and even though I went with Indy in the end, I expected the Jags to be much improved, and they are.
The Vikings Would Win the NFC North…
I was enamored with this Minnesota team in the preseason, and so far that pick looks pretty good. They have not been as great as I thought they would be, but Green Bay looks a lot worse than I expected so everything worked out. I’m not ready to write off Aaron Rodgers, but I am feeling confident the Vikings will win this division.
Now For the Fun Part! The Things I Regret…
Convincing Myself the Bengals Wouldn’t Suck…
Okay, do the Bengals suck? Probably not. But they aren’t as good as everyone acted like they were last February. They were an average team that got hot at the right time, nothing more. All winter I told myself I wouldn’t pick the Bengals to make the playoffs… but then I saw their schedule and it was so weak! Damnit! I knew this team wasn’t good but their schedule convinced me they would fall ass-backwards into 10 wins. I hate myself for this.
The Saints Would Be a Wild Card Team…
The NFC sucks… How are the Saints this bad? They still might make the playoffs ultimately (sorry Giants, this won’t last forever), but that doesn’t mean they’re good. This team looks terrible, and Jameis is exactly who we thought he was. Not good.
Thinking the Colts Would be Better…
What the fuck? Speaking as an Eagles fan, any team that replaces Carson Wentz should be better by a significant margin. How are they not? Matt Ryan has won an MVP and played in a Super Bowl. Jonathan Taylor is a top-5 running back in the league, and they have a good defense. How they aren’t better than they were with Wentz makes absolutely no sense to me, and never will. Carson Wentz is awful! AWFUL (thanks again, Nick Foles. We’ll never forget).
Now let’s take our final predictions at who will be bringing home some hardware in awards season:
MVP: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Did you SEE that spin-move touchdown pass to CEH against Tampa? That’s it, that’s the MVP moment right there. Josh Allen has been impressive and Jalen Hurts has his team rolling, but Mahomes is the guy. He’s been the guy. It’s laughable that he only has 1 MVP, but he is poised to win his 2nd without Tyreek Hill.
Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys)
I’m not old enough to have seen Lawrence Taylor play, but it’s hard to imagine he was better than this guy. It’s unfortunate he plays for an incompetent franchise, because it would be amazing to see this guy play in the Super Bowl. Parsons has the statistics, the impact and the narrative to win the award.
Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll (New York Giants)
I hate myself for not backing this team more in my predictions; I even said in a podcast they were going to win the NFC East! I ultimately think they will fall short of the playoffs, but there is no denying they are punching multiple classes above their weight. Anyone who can make Daniel Jones look decent deserves the Coach of the Year award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints)
The only good thing in New Orleans (aside from Zion actually showing up to camp in shape), is Chris Olave. They nailed this pick, and he could be a nice building block for them in the future.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aidan Hutchinson (Detroit Lions)
I have not seen a rookie defender jump out to me yet, so I’m going with the guy who 1) I thought was the best defender in this class so I’m trying to confirm my own beliefs, and 2) dominated a single game and had a bunch of sacks. Hutchinson hasn’t been amazing all year, but that shining performance is enough for me to give him the award (for now).
Jim Tomsula Worst Coaching Award: Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos)
Has this guy ever played Madden? There is no excuse for being this bad at clock management when there is a video game that can train you in these exact situations. He has been awful, the Broncos have underachieved horrifically and I would not be surprised if he is a one-and-done coach, much like the namesake for this award.
Cousins You Like That!? Award: Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
Firstly, I think people are greatly overreacting to his injury. He was cleared by an independent doctor that the PLAYERS ASSOCIATION deemed the best choice for their safety. This wasn’t a conspiracy theory where the league put their reputation on the line for Miami to maybe beat the Bengals. Come on. “Oh, he stumbled”. Yeah, so did Mahomes in the playoffs two years ago. He couldn’t stand up and everyone screamed he was concussed; his head wasn’t even hit! Now osiouvly Tua did have his head hit, but stumbling doesn’t automatically mean you’re concussed. What happened was awful, but it’s football. These guys know the risks, they aren’t idiots. Now, Tua proved my prediction right when he played, leading the Dolphins to a potential #1 seed and looked really competent. If he can get back early enough, look for Miami to be dangerous.
Tim Tebow Award: Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars)
I think they’re improved and I think the Colts are not. The AFC South champ could very likely be under .500, so if Lawrence can win 3 games after Thanksgiving that might be enough to steal this division from Indianapolis.
Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble Award: Mitch Trubisky (Pittsburgh Steelers)
I picked Trubisky in the preseason, and he’s already been benched. Baker is somehow making a run at Trubisky for this, but I’m sticking to my guns; Trubisky blew this chance to be relevant again. Ran right into that anus.
Randy Moss Transaction Award: Von Miller (Buffalo Bills)
Russell Wilson has been abysmal this season. Absolutely horrible. Miller on the other hand has helped make Buffalo one of the bet defenses in the league, and has Bills fans dreaming of Super Bowls come February.
Now let’s make some revised playoff predictions!
AFC Wildcard Round:
1 Kansas City Chiefs
2 Buffalo Bills def 7 Cleveland Browns
3 Baltimore Ravens def 3 Miami Dolphins
5 Los Angeles Chargers def 4 Jacksonville Jaguars
I think the Browns will tread water just enough for Watson to come back, and then all hell will break loose (early 2023 Super Bowl pick: Browns). The problem is the Bills are too good and physical to lose to the Browns this year.
I have the Dolphins at #6 because their quarterback situation looks doomed. If Tua can come back soon, they should be the #5 seed. I have no faith in that however, so I see them losing in Baltimore.
Jaguars vs. Chargers could be the most fun game of the year with two electric young quarterbacks, but the Chargers will have way too much talent for Jacksonville to seriously compete.
NFC Wildcard Round:
1 Philadelphia Eagles
2 Minnesota Vikings def 7 Los Angeles Rams
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 6 Green Bay Packers
4 San Francisco 49ers def 5 Dallas Cowboys
The Rams will make the playoffs, I believe in them. I don’t believe in them enough to keep them as my NFC Champ however, and I see Minnesota just having more firepower and surviving a tough playoff game to advance.
Brady vs. Rodgers is a classic matchup, but the Buccaneers with a healthier roster should be able to knock out the Pack.
Sorry Giants fans, the Cowboys will be the second NFC East team to make the playoffs. But be happy Giants fans, they’ll lose just like they did last year; Dak will make a mistake and McCarthy will stand there looking confused as to how scoreboards work. 49ers advance.
AFC Divisional Round:
1 Kansas City Chiefs def 5 Los Angeles Chargers
2 Buffalo Bills def 3 Baltimore Ravens
The Chargers are a fun, exciting young team, but they aren’t ready for this moment. Mahomes is motivated after losing to the Bengals last year, and they roll the Bolts.
The Bills are also motivated after having the worst 13 seconds ever (cue sex joke). The Ravens just won’t have enough on offense to keep up with Allen and the Bills scoring onslaught.
NFC Divisional Round:
4 San Francisco 49ers def 1 Philadelphia Eagles
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 2 Minnesota Vikings
This Eagles season reminds me a lot of the 2017 season; a team I was skeptical about all year long, the best record in the league and a young quarterback with a second-year head coach. All the ingredients are there, telling me to pick them to win the Super Bowl… But I can’t do it. I still don’t fully believe in Hurts, and the 49ers have the pedigree. Give me the 49ers in overtime to knock out my beloved Eagles.
Brady is going through it right now, but it will all be worth it in the end. Tampa Bay gets by Minnesota to host the NFC championship game.
AFC Championship Game:
2 Buffalo Bills def 1 Kansas City Chiefs
I love this Chiefs team and think Mahomes is playing maybe better than ever. But I picked the Bills in the preseason to win the Super Bowl, and I think they are the 2014 San Antonio Spurs; coming off a disastrous 13 seconds (cue different sex joke from before), they return to rampage their way to the championship.
NFC Championship Game:
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 4 San Francisco 49ers
Tom Brady vs. Jimmy G will be hyped immensely, and for good reason. I don’t care what anyone says, the Patriots wanted to move on to Jimmy in 2017 but didn’t because Brady was like a son to the owner. These two will finally face off 5 years later, and Brady will prove the mentor is still better than the protege.
2 Buffalo Bills def 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Super Bowl MVP: Von Miller)
How ironic would it be for Brady to lose the Super Bowl to the team whose ass he routinely kicked for 20 years in New England? The Bucs are good, but the Bills are better.
There you have it! All of my 1st quarter poll observations from the 2022 NFL season. Make sure to check back in towards the beginning of November for my 2nd quarter polls!