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10 questions for stretch run of NFL regular season: Tom Brady to increase playoff streak? Miami to salvage 12 months?

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The 2022 NFL season has been the league’s best season ever. In reality, 158 games have been inside one rating within the fourth quarter, the most-such games through the primary 14 weeks in NFL history. With so little separation within the standings between many of the league with only 4 games to play, there are many key questions left to be answered before the beginning of the playoffs. 

Here’s a take a look at 10 of the most important questions across the league, and what may lie ahead for the remainder of the 2022 season and beyond. 

Will this be the last we see of Aaron Rodgers?

While Aaron Rodgers once called his football future a “beautiful mystery,” the back-to-back reigning NFL MVP has 58.3 million reasons to return to the Green Bay Packers in 2023. His three-year extension price $150 million that he signed last offseason has a guaranteed option for that enormous sum of $58.3 million. 

It could be wild to see him walk away from that cash in addition to a shot at continuing to play with a rapidly-developing Christian Watson, the receiver the Packers chosen with the thirty fourth pick within the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-4, 208-pound wideout, who ran 4.36 40-yard dash on the mix, has caught seven receiving touchdowns within the last 4 games, tied for the sixth-most within the NFL this season. 

With the Packers off to a 5-8 start — Green Bay’s worst record through 13 games since 2008 when Rodgers first became the starter — there’s a robust probability the four-time NFL MVP doesn’t need to exit on the sour note that’s the 2022 season. Expect Rodgers back at Lambeau Field in 2023. 

Who’s most definitely coaching for his or her jobs?

The truth of coaching within the NFL is simply 14 of 32 teams make the playoffs, so there are a minimum of 18 unhappy ownership groups every 12 months without starting to count playoff teams feeling like they’ve hit a ceiling. In each of the last 10 seasons, there have been a minimum of five recent head coaches, with the last coaching cycle’s nine being essentially the most in that span. Here’s a take a look at a number of head coaches who will most definitely be sweating out the primary few days of their offseason.

Jeff Saturday (Colts): Saturday knew he was coaching for his job after coming off the set of ESPN’s television studios to switch the fired Frank Reich as Indy’s interim head coach. The previous Colts center, who was a six-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and Super Bowl XLI champion, has loads of street cred built up within the organization, but a few of his game management tactics have raised eyebrows. Indianapolis has lost three in a row since his debut win against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Nathaniel Hackett (Broncos): The Broncos are the NFL’s most disappointing team. They’re 3-10, already eliminated from playoff contention and have the league’s lowest scoring offense at 14.9 points per game. Russell Wilson’s passer rating has dropped 18.1 points from 2021 (103.1 to 85.0), the fourth-largest decline by any player in his 1st season with a team because the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (minimum 300 attempts each season). Hackett may very well be a dead man walking so far as his job security goes. 

Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals): Kingsbury is in an identical position to Hackett. His highly-compensated franchise quarterback, Kyler Murray, has been down and out this 12 months when he has played. The team has gone 4-9 with loads of offensive struggles. The quarterback openly ripped into Kingsbury’s offense, saying “schematically, we were type of f—–” when talking a couple of fourth-and-1 interception he threw early in a 25-24 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 12. 

Regardless that the Cardinals signed Kingsbury to a contract extension, tying him to the Cardinals through the 2027 season, do not be surprised if Murray, the quarterback with $190 million in guaranteed money (the second most within the NFL behind only Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson), throws his weight around to assist pick a coach he prefers. Sean Payton on Line 1

Which rookies are leading ROY races?

Latest York Jets general manager Joe Douglas can take a victory lap regarding his 2022 NFL Draft class. His first two selections in essentially the most recent draft were fourth overall pick cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the odds-on favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Yr at -500, and tenth overall pick wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the odds-on favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Yr at +150. Each have played significant roles in Gang Green’s rise this season. They’re 7-6 and neck-and-neck with the Patriots and Chargers for the AFC’s final playoff spot. 

Latest York’s defense is allowing 11.0 fewer points per game (18.7) than they did in 2021 (29.7), once they were the worst scoring defense within the NFL. Gardner’s play has made him one in every of the highest five cornerbacks in your complete league. He has the very best Pro Football Focus coverage grade (88.7), and essentially the most pass breakups (13) within the NFL this season.

Wilson’s 868 receiving yards are essentially the most by a rookie in Jets history, breaking the record of 844 set by former first overall pick Keyshawn Johnson in 1996. Nonetheless, Wilson has someone gaining on him within the race for Offensive Rookie of the Yr: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson. He leads all rookies and ranks tied for sixth in your complete league with seven receiving touchdowns, all of which have are available the last 4 games. The race between Wilson and Watson will probably be one in every of the season’s charming subplots during the last 4 weeks. 

Will Tom Brady’s long streak of playoff berths get snapped?

Tom Brady’s NFL-record streak of 13 straight seasons making the playoffs from 2009-2021 is not coming to an end in 2022. He also went down with a knee injury to start out the 2008 season, which marked the one time he missed the playoffs since 2003. Yes, there is a probability the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could choke away their NFC South division result in the Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons, each at 5-8 and one game back of the 6-7 Buccaneers, but, come on, it’s Tom Brady. He didn’t un-retire to miss the playoffs. 

The Bucs have a troublesome matchup this week against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, but their final three — against the Kyler Murray-less Arizona Cardinals, Sam Darnold’s Carolina Panthers and rookie Desmond Ridder’s Atlanta Falcons — should allow them to sneak back into the playoffs because the NFL’s worst division champion. 

Should we expect Brady to return to football in 2023?

Brady finalized a divorce this past October along with his wife of 13 years, international supermodel Giselle Bündchen, with one in every of the most important reasons being her frustration from his football retirement ending after 40 days, in accordance with People. It could be more stunning for him to hold it up for good than it will be for him to hit free agency and play for a recent team. Brady has dominated the sport of football with seven Super Bowl wins, five Super Bowl MVPs, 15 Pro Bowl appearances, 88,105 passing yards and 641 passing touchdowns. The one thing left that may very well be on his profession to-do list is to play for his hometown San Francisco 49ers. There could also be a gap for Brady to slip in for a 12 months with Trey Lance coming off a season-ending broken ankle and Jimmy Garoppolo set to turn out to be a free agent.

Are the subsequent 4 games Daniel Jones’ last with the Giants?

If the Latest York Giants discover a technique to blow a 7-2 begin to the season and miss the playoffs in Brian Daboll’s first season as head coach, that may likely confirm 2022 as Daniel Jones’ last 12 months with the G-Men. The previous sixth overall pick in 2019 was former general manager Dave Gettleman’s guy, something that was made clear when recent general manager Joe Schoen declined Jones’ fifth-year contract option. 

Latest York hasn’t won a game since Week 10 against the Houston Texans, the worst team within the NFL, and are 0-3-1 since Week 11. In that span, the offense scored greater than 21 points only once, which was last week of their 48-22 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

The Giants face a must-win game this week on “Sunday Night Football” against the Washington Commanders. A loss would crack open the door for other teams’ playoff hopes. Unfortunately for Latest York, Jones is 0-9 in his profession in prime-time games with more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12). Those nine straight losses represent the longest prime-time losing streak to start a profession since a minimum of 1950.

Can Dolphins get back heading in the right direction and salvage season with playoff berth?

Two weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins were browsing with an 8-3 record and holding first place within the AFC East while averaging the sixth-most points per game within the NFL (25.6) as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa put up NFL MVP numbers. Nonetheless, the waves have come crashing down in Weeks 13 and 14 following consecutive road losses to the 49ers, 33-17, and Chargers, 23-17. 

Tagovailoa’s MVP candidacy has fallen right into a ditch as his passer rating has declined from the very best within the NFL (115.7 from Weeks 1-12) to bottom 10 in your complete league (73.1 since Week 13, twenty sixth in NFL).The largest shift within the Dolphins’ last two games has been the way in which opponents have decided to defend them. Through Tagovailoa’s first nine starts, teams only showed a two-high safety look, one which’s designed to limit deep passes downfield (41% of the time), but now they’re seeing it greater than half the time (61%). In tandem with the two-high look has been zone coverage on early downs to limit deep shots downfield after which going with a heavy dose of press-man coverage, 85% of the time, on third down. 

The Dolphins’ playoff hopes are alive with a 62.1% to see the postseason, in accordance with SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh. If head coach Mike McDaniel can work out ways to assist Tagovailoa beat the coverage they have been facing the last two weeks, there is no reason why the Dolphins cannot break through in 2022 and snap their five-season playoff drought, the third-longest lively streak within the league. 

Are the Chargers moving into the postseason?

Expect the Los Angeles Chargers and their superstar quarterback Justin Herbert to be playing postseason football for the primary time in Herbert’s three-year profession. During the last three games, quarterback Justin Herbert has accomplished 70% of his passes, averaging 325.5 passing yards per game while throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions. 

The Chargers also finally have each of their top wide receivers — Keenan Allen and Mike Williams — healthy, so those numbers should  climb against what stands because the second-easiest remaining schedule in football: vs. the 7-6 Titans in Week 15, on the 4-8-1 Colts in Week 16, vs. the 4-9 Rams in Week 17 and on the 3-10 in Broncos in Week 18. 

The Tennessee Titans are the one team they are going to face with a winning record the remainder of the way in which, however the Titans have lost three in a row while allowing essentially the most passing touchdowns and second-most passing yards within the NFL in that span. Herbert should cook them before continuing to dominate against three teams who must be packing it for the 12 months within the Colts, Rams, and Broncos. 

Will Patrick Mahomes break single-season passing yards record?

Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (4,160) and passing touchdowns (33) this 12 months, all while playing in his first season without now-Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, his former WR1. Yet Mahomes is on pace to throw for five,a quarter mile this season, which can be the third most in NFL history in a season, trailing only Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s 2013 NFL MVP season (5,477) and Drew Brees’ 2011 season (5,476) in 2011.  

Mahomes will face three teams which were like his punching bags within the last 4 games: on the Texans in Week 15, vs. the Broncos in Week 16 and on the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18. To ensure that Mahomes to interrupt Manning’s record, he must average 330 passing yards per game during the last 4, which can be only 10 more yards than his current league-leading mark of 320 passing yards per game. Mahomes may have ample opportunity to interrupt the single-season passing yards record. 

Are the Eagles losing one other game this 12 months?

The Philadelphia Eagles, the owners of the very best record within the NFL at 12-1, are cruising toward their best regular season ever, needing just two more wins to interrupt their single-season wins record of 13, which was done in 2004 and 2017. Each of those seasons led to the Super Bowl, with 2017 culminating of their first Super Bowl title. The Eagles have the highest scoring offense, averaging 29.7 points per game, they usually have won consecutive games by 25 or more points against teams with winning records, making them the fifth team to achieve this because the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Two of the previous 4 won the Super Bowl within the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 1996 Packers. 

Only half of the Eagles’ remaining 4 games are against teams with winning records, however the Christmas Eve game on the 10-3 Dallas Cowboys in Week 16 is the one game left that would seriously pose a challenge. The opposite three games are on the 3-10 Chicago Bears in Week 15, vs. the 4-9 Latest Orleans Saints in Week 17, and vs. the 7-5-1 Latest York Giants in Week 18.

Philadelphia won the previous Week 6 meeting 26-17, and it led to the Cowboys defense having a complete reset. Dak Prescott will probably be the Dallas starter this time around as a substitute of Cooper Rush. If the Eagles can frustrate the Cowboys defense once more, they will not be losing one other regular-season game. Rating third within the NFL in total offense (392 yards per game), and second in total defense (297 yards allowed per game), the Eagles are the NFL’s most complete team, making it very possible additionally they won’t lose one other game through everything of the 2022 season. 

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