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2022 NFL Awards & Playoff Predictions

With the regular season in the books and the playoffs around the corner, it’s time to hand out my official awards for the 2022 NFL season, From MVP to Worst Coach of the Year! It’s also time to make my playoff picks. It’s the most exciting time of the football year!

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The 2022 NFL season was quite an interesting one. We saw the world rally around Damar Hamlin, and for one week, it seemed like everyone was on the same page about something. We saw the Colts pull off one of the best tank jobs in NFL history. We saw Mahomes continue his climb to the greatest of all-time, and we saw perhaps the worst Super Bowl defense ever. What a year! Before we hand out some awards and make some picks, let’s start by looking at my preseason over/under predictions!


AFC East

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Buffalo Bills (Over/Under=11.5 wins) OVER = 13-3

Miami Dolphins (Over/Under=8.5 wins) OVER = 9-8

New England Patriots (Over/Under=8.5 wins) UNDER = 8-9

New York Jets (Over/Under=5.5 wins) UNDER = 7-10


AFC North

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Cincinnati Bengals (Over/Under=9.5 wins) OVER = 12-4

Baltimore Ravens (Over/Under=10.5 wins) UNDER = 10-6

Pittsburgh Steelers (Over/Under=7.5 wins) UNDER = 9-8

Cleveland Browns (Over/Under=8.5 wins) UNDER = 7-10


AFC South

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Indianapolis Colts (Over/Under=9.5 wins) OVER = 4-12-1

Tennessee Titans (Over/Under=9.5 wins) UNDER = 7-10

Jacksonville Jaguars (Over/Under=6.5 wins) OVER = 9-8

Houston Texans (Over/Under=4.5 wins) UNDER = 3-13-1


AFC West

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Kansas City Chiefs (Over/Under=10.5 wins) OVER = 14-3

Los Angeles Chargers (Over/Under=10.5 wins) OVER = 10-7

Denver Broncos (Over/Under=10.5 wins) UNDER = 5-12

Las Vegas Raiders (Over/Under=8.5 wins) OVER = 6-11


NFC North

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Minnesota Vikings (Over/Under=9.5 wins) OVER = 13-4

Green Bay Packers (Over/Under=10.5 wins) UNDER = 8-9

Detroit Lions (Over/Under=6.5 wins) UNDER = 9-8

Chicago Bears (Over/Under=6.5 wins) UNDER = 3-14


NFC East

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Philadelphia Eagles (Over/Under=9.5 wins) OVER = 14-3

Dallas Cowboys (Over/Under=10.5 wins) UNDER = 12-5

New York Giants (Over/Under=7.5 wins) UNDER = 9-7-1

Washington Commanders (Over/Under=7.5 wins) UNDER= 8-8-1


NFC South

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Over/Under=11.5 wins) UNDER = 8-9

New Orleans Saints (Over/Under=8.5 wins) OVER = 7-10

Carolina Panthers (Over/Under=6.5 wins) OVER = 7-10

Atlanta Falcons (Over/Under=4.5 wins) OVER = 7-10


NFC West

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Los Angeles Rams (Over/Under=10.5 wins) OVER = 5-12

San Francisco 49ers (Over/Under=9.5 wins) UNDER = 13-4

Arizona Cardinals (Over/Under=8.5 wins) UNDER = 4-13

Seattle Seahawks (Over/Under=5.5 wins) UNDER = 9-8


19-13! Spoiler alert; that’s VERY profitable. Really, I got slaughtered by the NFC East and the NFC West. 5 of the 8 divisions I hit 3-of-4, which is solid. I’m really kicking myself over the Giants. This stupid team. I picked them to win the NFC East each of the past two seasons and they burned me, so I swore them off. And of course, this is the year they finally get good. Other than that, I stand by my decisions; no one thought the Rams would be this bad. No one thought Seattle was a playoff team, and no one thought the Jets would be even remotely competent with Wilson & White. And if ya did, you’re either A) lying or B) hopefully made some bets. Overall, I’m happy with these results! But next season, we’re shooting for 24-8.


Now let’s re-do my QB tiers. You can go check out my preseason predictions post for where I had ranked the 32 starting quarterbacks at the beginning of the season (spoiler alert: Russell Wilson dropped).


Tom Hanks Quadrant (These guys can do it all by themselves. Just like Hanks can open a movie, these guys can carry a team with no help. See Cast Away)

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1- Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)




2- Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)

3- Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)

4- Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

5- Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)

6- Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars)

7- Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)

8- Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles)


You might notice there is some space between Mahomes and everyone else. That’s representative of the gap in talent between Mahomes and everyone else. I’m growing quite tired of people saying anyone is even in the same stratosphere as this guy; he’s the best we’ve ever seen. Better than Rodgers. Better than Montana. Better than Brady. Will he win as much as Brady? Unlikely. But he’s just a much better player, and people need to stop pretending he isn’t.


The rest of the top tier is pretty unsurprising, with the exception of Hurts. I had to put him here because of the team's success, but I don’t know if I really believe he’s elite.


Kevin James Quadrant (These guys need some help from the supporting cast. If they have to do it alone, it won’t be pretty. If

they’re in an ensemble, they shine. See Grown Ups vs. Zookeeper)

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9- Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

10- Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)

11- Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)

12- Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)

13- Jared Goff (Detroit Lions)

14- Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders)

15- Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams)

16- Brock Purdy (San Francisco 49ers)


Rodgers took quite the tumble from the preseason, but I think a change of scenery (looking at you, Tennessee) will help him find his mojo again next season. Tua vs. Dak is an interesting debate, I just prefer the accuracy of Tua over the interceptions of Dak. Call me crazy. And Big Jock Brock is flying up the board here; by this time next year, he may well be #2. I’m kidding. Kind of.


Nicholas Cage Quadrant (50/50 these guys mess around and make the playoffs, or they mess around and give you a top-five pick. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s Pig, sometimes it’s Willy’s Wonderland)

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17- Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)

18- Daniel Jones (New York Giants)

19- Deshaun Watson (Cleveland Browns)

20- Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos)

21- Ryan Tannenhill (Tennessee Titans)

22- Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)

23- Mac Jones (New England Patriots)

24- Matt Ryan (Indianapolis Colts)


Kyler Murray is the Trae Young of the NFL; spectacular in college, had one strong season in the pros, but overall hasn’t lived up to expectations and seems like he’s no fun at all to play with.


Wilson is, I don’t know. What is Wilson? He can’t be this bad, he just can’t be. If they get Payton next season, I expect him to be much better.


And then there’s Watson. I get it, no one wants him to be good. But the man didn’t play football for nearly two years. Of course he looked bad! I expect him to be back to his old self next year when he has time to get back into it. If he still looks this bad next Halloween, then maybe he is cooked. But let’s give him some time before we declare his prime over.



James Corden Quadrant (These guys give you a shot at the #1 pick. If you’re playing them, you’re delighted. If they’re your quarterback, you’re drinking early on Sundays. See Cats)

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25- Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers)

26- Sam Darnold (Carolina Panthers)

27- Justin Fields (Chicago Bears)

28- Marcus Mariota (Atlanta Falcons)

29- Taylor Heinicke (Washington Commanders)

30- Andy Dalton (New Orleans Saints)

31- Davis Mills (Houston Texans)

32- Zach Wilson (New York Jets)


Jesus these guys are bad. Pickett will likely move into tier 3 next season, but the rest of these guys might be out of the league before they George Jefferson it (move on up, if you didn’t get that reference). Fields is a bust; the dude can’t throw the football. Wilson is an effing nightmare on and off the field, and the other 6 guys I don’t even expect to be playing next season.


Now let’s look at what I got right and wrong about the 2022 NFL season!



Three things I was BIG RIGHT on…

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1- The Chiefs would be just fine…

Remember when people thought the Broncos would win the AFC West? And the Chiefs would miss the playoffs? If you picked anyone but KC to win the division, I genuinely question if you have ever watched a football game. Mahomes is on the team! That’s all you need to know. Stop trying to be smart and just actually, you know, be smart. Pick the Chiefs again and again. Like I did.


2- The Patriots were a fluke last season…

They were not as good as their record indicated a year ago, and after Bill decided to pick his coaching staff by blindly throwing darts at names on a board. I never thought this was a playoff team, even when they were in a win-an-in position.


3- The Vikings would have a great record…

From the jump I was on this Vikings team. However, despite me being right about their record, I was wrong about how they would get there. I expected O’Connell to unlock Cousins. That did not happen. But regardless, I nailed this one.


Now for the fun part!


Three things I was BIG WRONG on…

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1- The Giants would go under…

See my over/under section^^. Damnit.


2- The Colts would be decent…

Yikes. I didn’t fully understand the depths of how bad this team was until they hired Jeff Saturday. And by then, it was far too late.


3- That I ever doubted the Bengals…

What a ride I went on with this team. I swore I wouldn’t be a prisoner of the moment and I wouldn’t pick them to win the AFC North. Then I did. Then I regretted it. But now I’m fully on board. This team is legit, Burrow is elite, and I won’t doubt this team again.


Now let's hand out some awards!


MVP:

Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)

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This doesn’t even deserve an explanation. If you don’t understand how good he is, may I suggest you watch tennis, or maybe some water polo.


Defensive Player of the Year:

Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers)

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Micah Parsons blew this. He was the front-runner for months, but really fell off as the season ended. Bosa took the opposite approach, surging after Thanksgiving and ended up as the sacks champion. Bosa is the best player on the best defense in the league.


Coach of the Year:

Brian Daboll (New York Giants)

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I give Daboll this award with clenched teeth. I’m so mad at myself for not believing in this stupid team!


Offensive Rookie of the Year:

Christian Watson (Green Bay Packers)

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People really focused on that dropped pass in week 1. But as the season went along, and it became clear Rodgers had declined, Watson came on strong. He looks like he has some #1 potential, and can be a great weapon for Jordan Love moving forward.


Defensive Rookie of the Year:

Aidan Hutchinson (Detroit Lions)

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Vindication! Hutchinson was my winner at the 1st Quarter Poll, and it felt like I was on an island with picking him over Gardner. For a while it did seem like Gardner should win, and I still think Sauce is the better player, but Hutchinson was special this season, and the Lions were a better story than the Jets.


Jim Tomsula Worst Coaching Award:

Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos)

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Haven’t flinched on this one for even a second. Hackett ran the table from week 1 to the playoffs. Impressive!


Tim Tebow Hot Streak Award:

Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars)

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By definition, this award could go to no one else. Lawrence took Jacksonville from a 3-7 start to a 9-8 finish with a division crown. Was he perfect down the stretch? No. But neither was Tebow! Lawrence has Jacksonville inspired and excited, and the future is (finally) bright for the Jaguars.


Mark Sachez Butt Fumble Award:

Zach Wilson (New York Jets)

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This is partially because Wilson is truly awful, and partially because I really love the idea of giving a Jet this award. But Wilson really did faceplant into a metaphorical anus in that fateful press conference, wouldn’t you say?


Kirk Cousins You Like That? Award:

Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)

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I can’t believe this guy is in the playoffs. To go from the start of his career in New York to where he is now is truly incredible, and I think we all like that.


Randy Moss Summer Transaction Award:

Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)

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Could have gone AJ Brown here, but Hill really took Miami to the next level. The Eagles definitely make the playoffs without Brown, but there’s no way Miami does without Hill. (I just hope he’s happy not catching horribly thrown passes from Skylar Thompson this weekend instead of catching 60 yard, no-look touchdown bombs from Mahomes)


Now it’s time to make my playoff predictions! Who is going to the Super Bowl???


Wild-Card Round

AFC

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1 Kansas City Chiefs (bye)

2 Buffalo Bills def 7 Miami Dolphins

3 Cincinnati Bengals def 6 Baltimore Ravens

4 Jacksonville Jaguars def 5 Los Angeles Chargers


The Bills and the Bengals are going to tear the Dolphins and Ravens, respectfully, to shreds. These will be ugly, double-digit wins.


The interesting game is Jacksonville-Los Angeles. Staley made the brilliant decision to play all his guys and get them hurt in a completely meaningless game, so give me the Jaguars. They have the FAR superior coach (thanks again, Doug, for that Super Bowl!) They have an elite quarterback and a defense that is rolling. Plus they’re at home. Give me the Jags!


NFC

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1 Philadelphia Eagles (bye)

2 San Francisco 49ers def 7 Seattle Seahawks

6 New York Giants def 3 Minnesota Vikings

4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 5 Dallas Cowboys


The 49ers are going to barrel their way through Seattle. The Seahawks, and particularly Geno, are a great story. But it’s time for real football, and the 49ers are for real.


Upset! There’s no way all six home teams win, and even five is highly unlikely. But the Vikings have been living in the danger zone all season long with all their one-score games, and that comes back to bite them against Barkley and the Giants. Shoutout to my Long Island buddies who will be celebrating this win like it’s 2011!


Look, if you think Dallas will beat Tampa Bay, then I don’t know what sport you’ve been watching the last 20 years. What does Tom Brady do? Win playoff games. What do the Dallas Cowboys do? Lose playoff games. I don’t care that the Buccaneers can’t run the ball. I don’t care that the Buccaneers won four fewer games than the Cowboys. None of that matters. Tampa Bay is going to win because they have Tom Brady and the other team doesn’t. STOP OVERCOMPLICATING FOOTBALL. If your dog poops on the carpet every day for 20 straight days, guess where he’s pooping tomorrow; on the carpet!


Divisional Round

AFC


1 Kansas City Chiefs def 4 Jacksonville Jaguars

2 Buffalo Bills def 3 Cincinnati Bengals


The Jaguars are a great story, but it’s Mahomes. He’s literally never lost before the AFC Championship game, and he won’t start this year.


The other game is a fun one. I’m definitely rooting for the Bengals, but I think there’s something happening in Buffalo right now. Give me the Bills in a thriller.


NFC

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1 Philadelphia Eagles def 6 New York Giants

2 San Francisco 49ers def 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers


This Eagles team scares me. My heart wants to be all-in on this squad, but my head tells me they aren’t good enough. If they get the Giants, they will win (sorry Long Island buddies). If, however, they get the Buccaneers… they will lose. Tom Brady scares me far more than Daniel Jones, Kirk Cousins or Brock Purdy.


The Buccaneers will keep this game very close, but the 49ers will tough it out in the end. Unlike Dallas, San Francisco has a pedigree of winning big games, they have a real coach and their defense is trending in the right direction. I don’t feel great about it, and I would not be at all surprised to see Tampa in the Super Bowl, give me the 49ers in this contest.


Conference Championships

AFC

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2 Buffalo Bills def 1 Kansas City Chiefs


Okay. I want the Chiefs to win. I think the Chiefs are the better team. They have the better coach. They have the infinitely better quarterback. But then I saw them return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in their first play since Damar Hamlin went down. There is something in the air with this team. They feel like they are inevitable, and I think they are going all the way. This pick has nothing to do with analysis or actual football; this is purely narrative-driven. The Bills feel like a team of destiny, and who am I to deny destiny?


NFC

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2 San Francisco 49ers def 1 Philadelphia Eagles


Big Jock Brock vs. Jalen Hurts is a rather uninspiring QB battle this late in the playoffs, but one team has the arrow pointing up, and the other pointing down. Give me the 49ers, and some extra therapy after this crushing loss.


Super Bowl

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2 Buffalo Bills def 2 San Francisco 49ers (MVP: Josh Allen)


The team of destiny! There is something going on with Damar Hamlin and the Bills are riding that magic to the Super Bowl. Also, I picked them in the preseason to win it all, so I feel a slight obligation to stick with that.


There you have it! My official awards and playoff predictions for the 2022 NFL playoffs. Stay tuned for my 2023 NFL Mock Draft post after the playoffs are over, and make sure to check out all of our great content here at The Circuit!

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