2022 NFL Preview

September 6, 2022

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High on August 27, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

At long last, Lord Football returns.

I’ve been doing this annual NFL preview at WTOP for over a decade (and for several years elsewhere before that) but for those new to this: I’ll go division by division and predict win-loss records for every team. I’ll do a brief overview of each team and explain the logic behind each prediction.

Just be aware there’s a really good chance you’ll read some things you may not like about your favorite team. If I’m wrong, enjoy your bragging rights. But if I’m right, be sure to give me my props.

Before delving into the predictions, here are some of the biggest factors affecting the 2022 NFL season.

AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

Playoffs | Awards

Can the Rams repeat?

The NFL is in the midst of its longest drought without a repeat champion (18 years). Last year’s defending champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, brought everyone back from the 2020 title team and had a comparable ’21 regular season, and they still lost in the divisional round. If they couldn’t pull it off, who can? The Rams certainly have a favorable path back to the Super Bowl given the conference in which they play. Which leads to the next question …

How will the talent disparity between the AFC and NFC play out?

With stars such as Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, Khalil Mack and Chandler Jones all migrating from the NFC to the AFC, the star power in the former is significantly dimmer — especially at quarterback, as two-time reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and obvious G.O.A.T. Tom Brady are the only highly decorated passers.

The list of NFC contenders isn’t long and the defending Super Bowl champion Rams may not even be the best team in their division, so while the NFC is wide open, it feels a lot like the conference champion will be little more than a sacrificial lamb for whichever juggernaut emerges from the AFC.

Will the AFC West become the first entire division to make the playoffs?

Fun fact: The names I listed in the previous question didn’t just defect to the AFC — they all went to the same division. Thanks to the expanded playoff format instituted last year and the most stacked division since the NFC East of the 1980s, there’s a real possibility all four teams get in.

I’ve been watching football faithfully for more than 30 years and covered it for about half that long, and I’ve never seen a division look as top-to-bottom good on paper as the AFC West.

Every team in the division has a QB with playoff pedigree. Each team has at least one pass rusher capable of wrecking a game. There are a couple of coaches with question marks over their heads, but none who seem incapable of leading a team to the promised land. Don’t be surprised if this is the first division in NFL history to have every team win at least 10 games.

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