NFL 2022-23 Season Underway

NFL Season Preview

All-Pro+Reels+from+District+of+Columbia%2C+USA.+Licensed+under+CC+BY-SA+2.0.+Justin+Herbert%2C+quarterback+for+the+Los+Angeles+Chargers+during+a+game+against+the+Washington+Football+Team+on+September+12%2C+2021.

All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Justin Herbert, quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers during a game against the Washington Football Team on September 12, 2021.

Harrison Kemmer , Managing Editor

Purgatory is over. The football season is here, and every team has hopes and aspirations towards winning Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona on February 12th. With that said, there are only about 13 teams that have a legitimate shot at hoisting the coveted Lombardi Trophy. These include the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and all four teams in the AFC West (Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Las Vegas Raiders). 

Change was the main theme of the NFL offseason. Whether teams were hiring new coaches, signing or trading for superstar players, or even getting new alternate helmets with the new two-helmet rule (more on this later in the story), the NFL was in a state of constant flux. 

Ten teams were looking for new head coaches following disappointing 2021 campaigns and all have found the man they think can lead them to the promised land. My favorite coaching hire was Doug Pederson to the Jacksonville Jaguars, as he is the man tasked with turning around a franchise that had the most drama in the history of the NFL last season. After the Urban Meyer debacle that included kicking the kicker and an inappropriate experience at a bar, the Jaguars pressed reset after one very long season. They hired Pederson, along with a new offensive and defensive coordinator. Pederson has a history of turning around franchises, after he won Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is tasked with turning second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence into the All-Pro lock he was supposed to be coming out of Clemson. I think this hire will thrust the Jags into playoff contention this year. 

My least favorite hire was Matt Eberflus to the Chicago Bears. I have nothing against Eberflus, as I think he is one of the best defensive minds in football. I think the Bears should’ve hired an offensive-minded coach to help quarterback Justin Fields in his maturation process as a second year signal caller. I am also not fond of the other moves new GM Ryan Pace made. He made no attempt to give Fields any weapons on offense, as he surrounded him with multiple backup WR’s. The offensive line is terrible, and the defense has been the one consistent spot on the field in the last decade for the Bears. Again, nothing against Eberflus, I just think the Bears should have gone with an offensive guru. 

Now on to old faces in new places. QB Russell Wilson went to the Broncos. QB Matt Ryan is now a Colt. Edge Von Miller is on the Bills and receiver Amari Cooper is on the Cleveland Browns. Edge Khalil Mack is on the Chargers along with corner J.C. Jackson. QB Baker Mayfield is on the Carolina Panthers and WR Davante Adams is on the Raiders. Wideout Tyreek Hill is on the Miami Dolphins and QB Carson Wentz is on the Washington Commanders (no longer the football team). Safety Tyrann Mathieu is on the Saints and QB Deshaun Watson is on the Browns (albeit suspended for the first 11 games). OT La’el Collins is on the Bengals and WR A.J. Brown is on the Eagles. With all these star players on new teams, the NFL landscape has changed dramatically and made the AFC West the best division in football. 

A very fun rule that has been  implemented is the two-helmet rule. In 2013 the NFL banned alternate helmets to promote player safety, as a broken-in helmet is safer than a new one, but this year the league revoked that rule. Twelve teams took advantage of the rule, and some of the best were the New England Patriots “Pat the Patriot” helmet, the Cowboys Thanksgiving throwback, the New York Jets stealth helmet, the Carolina Panthers black alternate helmet, and the Houston Texans battle red helmet. 

Now onto the predictions! 

Super Bowl Prediction: Bills over Rams 

MVP: QB Justin Herbert 

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Jonathan Taylor

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Micah Parsons 

Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Breece Hall

Defensive Rookie of the Year: S Jaquan Brisker 

 

AFC East (seed in parentheses)

Buffalo Bills (1): 16-1 

MVP: QB Josh Allen 

Breakout Player: RB James Cook (Rookie)

Player to Watch: Kaiir Elam (R)

 

Miami Dolphins (7): 10-7

MVP: WR Tyreek Hill

Breakout Player: Tua Tagovailoa 

Player to Watch: WR Cedrick Wilson Jr.

 

New England Patriots: 5-12 

MVP: Edge Matthew Judon

Breakout Player: RB Rhamondre Stevenson 

Player to Watch: MLB Ja’Whaun Bentley 

 

New York Jets: 2-15

MVP: RB Breece Hall (R)

Breakout Player: DE Jermaine Johnson (R)

Player to Watch: QB Zach Wilson

 

 AFC North 

Cincinnati Bengals (2): 14-3

MVP: QB Joe Burrow 

Breakout Player: TE Hayden Hurst 

Player to Watch: RB Joe Mixon 

 

Baltimore Ravens: 9-8 

MVP: TE Mark Andrews  

Breakout Player: WR Rashod Bateman 

Player to Watch: DT Justin Madubuike  

 

Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-11

MVP: Edge T.J. Watt

Breakout Player: WR George Pickens (R)

Player to Watch: QB Kenny Pickett (R)

 

Cleveland Browns: 3-14

MVP: DE Myles Garrett

Breakout Player: WR David Bell (R)

Player to Watch: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

 

AFC South 

Indianapolis Colts (3): 13-4 

MVP: RB Jonathan Taylor 

Breakout Player: WR Alec Pierce (R)

Player to Watch: DE Yannick Ngakoue

 

Tennessee Titans: 8-9

MVP: RB Derrick Henry 

Breakout Player: RT Dillon Radunz

Player to Watch: CB Caleb Farley 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-9

MVP: QB Trevor Lawrence 

Breakout Player: WR Christian Kirk 

Player to Watch: TE Evan Engram 

 

Houston Texans: 1-16

MVP: RB Dameon Pierce (R)

Breakout Player: CB Derek Stingley Jr. 

Player to Watch: S Jalen Pitre 

 

AFC West

Los Angeles Chargers (3): 13-4 

MVP: QB Justin Herbert 

Breakout Player: RG Zion Johnson 

Player to Watch: CB Bryce Callahan 

 

Denver Broncos (5): 12-5

MVP: QB Russell Wilson 

Breakout Player: WR Courtland Sutton

Player to Watch: RB Javonte Williams 

 

Las Vegas Raiders (6): 10-7

MVP: WR Davante Adams

Breakout Player: WR Hunter Renfrow 

Player to Watch: S Jonathan Abram 

 

Kansas City Chiefs: 9-8

MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes 

Breakout Player: WR Skyy Moore (R)

Player to Watch: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire 

 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (2): 12-5

MVP: LB Micah Parsons

Breakout Player: DE Dorance Armstrong

Player to Watch: WR KaVontae Turpin

 

Philadelphia Eagles (6): 12-5 

MVP: QB Jalen Hurts 

Breakout Player: DT Jordan Davis (R)

Player to Watch: LB Kyzir White 

 

Washington Commanders: 7-10

MVP: WR Terry McLaurin

Breakout Player: WR Jahan Dotson (R)

Player to Watch: RB Brian Robinson (R)

 

New York Giants: 2-15

MVP: RB Saquon Barkley 

Breakout Player: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux (R)

Player to Watch: QB Daniel Jones 

 

NFC North 

 

Detroit Lions (4): 11-6

MVP: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

Breakout Player: RT Penei Sewell

Player to Watch: CB Jeff Okudah 

 

Minnesota Vikings (7): 10-7

MVP: WR Justin Jefferson

Breakout Player: CB Andrew Booth Jr. (R)

Player to Watch: EDGE Za’Darius Smith 

 

Green Bay Packers: 10-7

MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers

Breakout Player: WR Romeo Doubs 

Player to Watch: EDGE Rashan Gary 

 

Chicago Bears: 1-16

MVP: S Jaquan Brisker

Breakout Player: WR Darnell Mooney

Player to Watch: LT Braxton Jones 

 

NFC  South 

New Orleans Saints (3): 12-5 

MVP: QB Jameis Winston 

Breakout Player: WR Chris Olave (R)

Player to Watch: WR Michael Thomas

 

Carolina Panthers: 10-7

MVP: RB Christian McCaffery

Breakout Player: QB Baker Mayfield

Player to Watch: CB Jaycee Horn

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-9

MVP: LB Devin White 

Breakout Player: WR Russell Gage 

Player to Watch: EDGE Joe Tryon-Shoyinka

 

Atlanta Falcons: 1-16

MVP: TE Kyle Pitts

Breakout Player: WR Drake London (R)

Player to Watch: QB Marcus Mariota

 

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams (1): 13-4 

MVP: DT Aaron Donald

Breakout Player: RB Cam Akers 

Player to Watch: LT Joe Noteboom

 

San Francisco 49ers (5): 12-5

MVP: LB Fred Warner

Breakout Player(s): QB Trey Lance and WR Brandon Aiyuk 

Player to Watch: CB Charvarius Ward

 

Arizona Cardinals: 6-11

MVP: S Budda Baker

Breakout Player: WR Rondale Moore

Player to Watch: WR Marquise Brown

 

Seattle Seahawks: 6-11

MVP: WR DK Metcalf 

Breakout Player: LT Charles Cross 

Player(s) to Watch: QBs Geno Smith and Drew Lock

 

College Football Playoff Prediction

1 Ohio State vs 4 Arkansas

2 Georgia vs 3 Clemson

Championship: Ohio State over Clemson 

With many superstars on new teams, this will be an unprecedented season. The new head coaches will bring new life to teams that need it, and the new helmets will add new flare. The 2022-23 football season will be absolutely amazing, and all we have to do is sit down and watch.