The first half(ish) of the 2022 season is in the books, and we know… nothing? Is Geno better than Russ? Are the Rams the worst defending champs ever? Is this single Tom Brady ready to mingle? Find out all this and more with The Circuit’s 2022 NFL 2nd Quarter Polls!
Is anybody great besides KC and Philly? Should Aaron Rodgers retire? Did Jeff Saturday really just get hired? Here are my thoughts and observations on the 2022 NFL season at the halfway(ish) point of the season!
Three Things I got Right…
The Texans would be bad with a capital B…
Last year I picked Houston to go 0-17. This year I wasn’t as pessimistic, but I certainly wasn’t hopeful for them. This team is awful, and their lack of talent is finally catching up with them. I would be stunned if they won another game this year, and fully expect Bryce Young to be in Houston 6 months from now.
The Eagles would be good…
I thought Philly would win the NFC East this season, and that is looking good so far. I’m still not convinced Hurts is an above-average starter, but I’m getting closer by the game. I expected these Eagles to get a home playoff game, but it looks like even I may have underestimated these pesky birds.
The Vikings Would Win the NFC North…
I’m going to keep hammering this one every quarter because I was on this! Now did I expect the Aaron Rodgers look alike to go fully Us on the real Aaron Rodgers and take his place in the real world? I did not, but that seems to be the case this year. These Vikings are good, and people need to start taking them seriously in the watered down NFC.
Now For the Fun Part! Three Things I Regret…
The Ravens wouldn’t win the AFC North…
Gahhhhh!!!! I never believed in the Bengals, I thought Baltimore would be really good this year, and yet… I picked Cincinnati to win the division. Their schedule seemed so soft! The Ravens had/have no receivers! The analytics told me to pull Baltimore in the 4th inning because a lefty who hits .001 better off of righty’s with a birthmark on his right elbow was coming up to the plate. I went full Kevin Cash on the Ravens, and I should have gone full Dusty Baker (kudos if you understand all these baseball references. And fuck you, Kevin Cash.). Baltimore is winning this division, and I regret many things.
The Packers were… competent?
Again, I expected Minnesota to win this division with relative ease. But I at least thought Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t be getting outplayed by Jared Goff and Zach Wilson. Jesus. This team is truly awful, and it’s baffling. For anyone who dared to think Rodgers was better than Mahomes, I hope you are saying your hail Mary’s every night (see what I did there) because both quarterbacks lost their best receiver and one got BETTER, while the other looks like 2015 Payton Manning. Woof.
Thinking the Rams won the Super Bowl last season…
Oh wait, they did? Are you sure? Because Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp are out there looking like Oscar the Grouch… surrounded by garbage. They are on their way to being the worst defending champion in the history of the sport, and their only competition for that title is the 1999 Denver Broncos, but Elway retired before that season! Now granted, the Rams probably wish Stafford had retired right now, but still… the argument could be made that this is the most disappointing team in NFL history.
Now let’s take our final predictions at who will be bringing home some hardware in awards season:
MVP: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Josh Allen, just like he has more than almost any QB this season, has really fumbled this one away. Mahomes is dazzling once again this year, and is the clear choice for MVP. Who is second? Jalen Hurts? Give me a break. Mahomes is going to easily win his 2nd MVP this year (what should be his 4th).
Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys)
Parsons is a defensive scheme unto himself. The Cowboys would be out of the playoff picture without Parsons, and that disproportionate value makes him the clear defensive player of the year.
Coach of the Year: Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks)
Sirianni, Daboll and McDaniel have all been phenomenal, but I expected all those teams to be improved from last season. But the Seahawks? I thought they were a lock to be 4th in their division, and they are on the precipice of running away with it. Pete Carroll looks like he’s having more fun than ever now that he got the mediocre cook out of the kitchen.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints)
Remember when I picked Malik Willis to win this award in the preseason? I think I liked his chances better when he was holding a clipboard. Despite how poorly the Saints have played this year, Olave has looked great. If only he had an elite, Super Bowl winning offensive coach…
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner (New York Jets)
The Jets have been another great surprise this season, and Gardner has arguably been their MVP. They continue to win games against the likes of Josh Allen and the artist formerly known as Aaron Rodgers with a quarterback barely touching 100 yards passing. Plus, Gardner wearing the cheesehead at Lambeau is an iconic image.
Jim Tomsula Worst Coaching Award: Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos)
Cousins You Like That!? Award: Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)
Tua has been really impressive so far, but who saw Geno coming? I genuinely didn’t realize he was still in the league before this season, and now he’s a top-5 MVP contender. Geno has gone from career back-up to a big payday sooner rather than later. You like that?
Tim Tebow Playoff Charge Award: Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
What? WHAT? This sounds silly in my head as I write this, but it’s true. The Bucs looked miserable for a month there, but the schedule is going to get easier and they play in the worst division in football. This team is going to be 9-8, end the season on a 3 game winning streak and get ready for another playoff run.
Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble Award: Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders)
This team is horrific. How do they go from a wide receiver being blacklisted due to drunk driving and an interim coach to the guy many believed to be the best WR in the game (I did not) and an offensive savant at coach and get WORSE? This was supposed to be the year Carr became an MVP candidate, but now he has the Raiders contemplating drafting a qb. Face firmly up anus.
Randy Moss Most Impactful Transaction Award: AJ Brown (Philadelphia Eagles)
Von Miller has been stellar, but AJ Brown went to the Eagles and they quite literally have never lost with him on the team. He gives this offense a new dimension, and has been a big reason why Hurts has punched so far above his weight class this season. Also, speaking as a die-hard Eagles fan, let’s introduce some of that electric green into these uniforms! That mixed with the midnight green could be the best looking uniforms in the league. But I digress.
Now let’s make some revised playoff predictions!
1 Kansas City Chiefs
2 Buffalo Bills def 7 Cincinnati Bengals
3 Baltimore Ravens def 6 Los Angeles Chargers
5 Miami Dolphins def 4 Tennessee Titans
The Bengals are going to sneak in due to Cleveland being a clown show and the Jets being, well, the Jets. And everyyyyyyone is going to say “Oh, here we go again! Going to the Super Bowl!” Buffalo will quickly dispel that notion.
Ravens. Damn! They will get the better of the Chargers, who will inevitably miss a field goal, go 0-3 on 4th downs on their side of the field, and Herbert will get hurt. In the first half. Ravens advance!
Mike Vrabel deserves to be in the Coach of the Year conversation with how poor the Titans skill position players are sans Derrick Henry. They won’t let their quarterback throw! They’re playing with a running back under center and it’s… working? But not for long, as Tua and the Dolphins will keep their magical season rolling another week.
1 Philadelphia Eagles
2 Minnesota Vikings def 7 New York Giants
6 San Francisco 49ers def 3 Seattle Seahawks
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 5 Dallas Cowboys
The Vikings are really good, and the Giants are a really good story. There’s a difference there, and when the bright Northern lights are on, Kirk Cousins will outduel Daniel Jones. Probably.
Love this Seattle team, but the 49ers have too much talent. This won’t be particularly close.
Haha heeeere weeeee goooooo. Tom Brady is single and he is ready to mingle baby!!! The Cowboys have an elite defense, but they also have Mike McCarthy, who looks like he should be running a below-average hot dog stand off Broadway. The Bucs will keep their late-season rampage going.
1 Kansas City Chiefs def 5 Miami Dolphins
2 Buffalo Bills def 3 Baltimore Ravens
Mahomes vs. Hill is full of intriguing storylines, but give me the greatest player ever and the best offensive coach ever and the Chiefs over Tua and a rookie head coach and the Dolphins.
Bills-Ravens is a really fun matchup, one that could even go to overtime. But the lack of weapons in Baltimore makes me lean Buffalo in this classic game.
6 San Francisco 49ers def 1 Philadelphia Eagles
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers def 2 Minnesota Vikings
I love my Eagles, and every week I become more of a believer, but the 49ers have too much talent, experience and defense to pick against them. I think the Eagles can hang, but in the end they won’t have enough.
Get ready for this. I’m telling you right now, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will be hosting the NFC championship game in the year of our lord 2022. You like that, Gisele?
1 Kansas City Chiefs def 2 Buffalo Bills
It’s officially time to abandon my preseason pick. The Bills are not going to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs. Mahomes hasn’t won a Super Bowl in a few years now, so he’s going to look to change that.
6 San Francisco 49ers def 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not only is this Brady trying to go to yet another Super Bowl, in a year he looked washed, but it’s also against his former protege. This is like Obi-Wan vs. Darth Vader in New Hope. The padawan will strike him down, but the master will be more powerful than we could ever imagine (next season when he goes to either Miami or San Francisco… how about THAT for a tease???). 49ers in a thriller!
1 Kansas City Chiefs def 6 San Francisco 49ers
(Super Bowl MVP: Patrick Mahomes)
Like I said earlier, Mahomes hasn’t won in a couple years so he feels due. If Trey Lance was playing I might have a different pick here, but the Chiefs are going to once again take down Jimmy G in the Super Bowl!
There you have it! All of my 2nd quarter polls from the 2022 NFL season. Make sure to check back in towards the beginning of December for my 3rd quarter polls!