Every yr, one team is crowned NFL champion. They’re the lucky 3.125 percent.
The road to the Super Bowl leaves 31 losers in by the wayside. A few of these teams may have their dreams dashed. Others will merely have undergone the motions in rebuilding years, deferring imagined future success at the price of realized awfulness. Either way, a straightforward fact stays; regardless of who you’re rooting for, they’re probably not going to win Super Bowl 57.
We won’t know the precise reason why your fandom led to disappointment within the upcoming season. Perhaps your roster was too reliant on unproven prospects. It may very well be the football gods simply decided you didn’t want it badly enough. Perhaps you’re a fan of the Cleveland Browns.
Either way, your team is generally destined for disappointment relatively than a parade with the Lombardi Trophy. Let’s discuss why, running down each franchise in alphabetical order.
(Also: Take a look at our preseason power rankings and our head coach rankings as training camps proceed!)
Kingsbury’s legacy as an NFL head coach has been one which loses when the weather gets cold (3-13 after November 7 the past two seasons). Now he’ll start 2022 without DeAndre Hopkins and with a troublesome early schedule. His quarterback, Kyler Murray, may or will not be distracted late within the season depending on how good the most recent Call of Duty is.
There are a couple of stars here (Grady Jarrett, Kyle Pitts, possibly Drake London!), however the connective tissue between them has long since rotted. All we are able to hope for is that Marcus Mariota remains to be competent enough to throw the ball to Kyle Pitts/Drake London 20 times per Sunday.
The Ravens have averaged 13 points per playoff game since 2014. Since 2018, 12 NFL quarterbacks have played at the very least 150 snaps within the postseason. Jackson ranks twelfth in expected points added amongst that group, behind trade bait like Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff. Now his top wide receivers Rashod Bateman (not bad!) and a few combination of Devin Duvernay, James Proche and Tylan Wallace (at the very least barely troubling!).
Buffalo took a 9-0 lead early within the 2020 AFC title game just for the Chiefs to erase that deficit in fewer than five minutes of game time. One yr later, the Bills took a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds to play at Arrowhead Stadium, only to present up a game-tying field goal and get thoroughly ruined by the following coin toss.
In each cases Josh Allen got hamstrung by awful luck and a passing defense that allowed Patrick Mahomes to throw for greater than 700 yards and 6 touchdowns without an interception. That secondary may very well be even worse in 2022 with Tre’Davious White coming off a torn ACL, rookie Kaiir Elam struggling and 2021 starting corner Levi Wallace now a Steeler.
After a hot start, Darnold was one in every of the league’s worst quarterbacks.
Mayfield has occasionally been proficient, briefly been excellent, and mostly been a alternative level quarterback or worse within the NFL. These are your two selections, Matt Rhule. Good luck!
The Bears’ receiving corps are so shallow that losing N’Keal Harry — 57 catches in three NFL seasons — was a big blow. Fields’ offensive line got worse, even after being sacked on 12 percent of his dropbacks last yr. And now Roquan Smith wants a trade, which is merely the most recent chafing dish to be delivered to this potluck of sadness.
Cincinnati made common sense moves to bolster its title defense, rebuilding the offensive line and making upgrades in an often lacking secondary (twenty fourth in pass defense DVOA). But so did a lot of the other contenders within the AFC.
The Bills, Raiders, Broncos, Dolphins and Browns, to call a couple of, all got demonstrably higher from a pure talent standpoint. The Bengals have a goal on their backs they didn’t have in 2021; the remaining of the conference spent the offseason buying hunting gear.
Cleveland has the defensive chops to win games regardless of who’s quarterback, even when the team’s efficacy against the run is a little bit suspect. The query is how long Jacoby Brissett might be the team’s starting quarterback, and what can he get done with a lineup of pass catchers that starts off solid (Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones) before getting very shaky. In fact, the Browns can at all times opt to spam Nick Chubb carries as an alternative and possibly still win eight games.
Mike McCarthy fit perfectly into the Jason Garrett-shaped hole at the highest of the Cowboys’ organization chart. He’s ok to win games within the regular season after which ultimately fails to seek out the second gear needed to repeat that success within the playoffs. He’s only 5-7 within the postseason since his 2010 Super Bowl run.
The Broncos have invested heavily of their secondary (and the guy you see above). They’ll need those defensive backs to step up with a purpose to coverage for a median front seven ahead of them. Denver ranked seventeenth in sack rate, twentieth in pass defense DVOA and twenty first in run defense DVOA despite a top three scoring defense.
The Lions have never won a Super Bowl. This isn’t the yr that may change. Detroit’s 2022 offering is healthier than last yr’s, but that group only won three games.
McCarthy’s burden has change into Matt Lafleur’s, as the present Packer head coach is 2-3 within the playoffs. Two of those losses have come at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers is about to show 39 years old and has few proven options in his passing arsenal (besides future Hall of Famer Romeo Doubs) now that Davante Adams is a Raider.
The Texans may not yet be done bottoming out, even after last yr’s 4-13 season. On the plus side, should Davis Mills stink he’ll clear the trail for a draft pick alternative because the team’s franchise quarterback.
Indianapolis threw one other bandage on the wound created by Andrew Luck’s retirement, but Matt Ryan isn’t the MVP candidate he once was. He’s still strong enough to push this team into the postseason, but asking him to guide a comeback drive late in a playoff game with an untested receiving corps may ultimately be the team’s undoing.
The Jags brought in a Super Bowl-winning head coach (Doug Pederson) and spent the offseason adding veteran and rookie talent. That’ll help, however the craters left behind by Meyer’s transient tenure will need time to chill before they might be fully filled in.
The Chiefs’ defense ranked twenty fourth in overall DVOA but still won 12 games and made it to the AFC title game since the offense ranked third. That’s the advantage of having Mahomes, but now he’ll need to operate without Tyreek Hill and is coming off the least efficient season of his profession. Can he return to MVP form with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman as his top wideouts?
Vegas traded for Davante Adams and signed Chandler Jones and Anthony Averett to bring some veteran stability to a defensive core in need of upgrades. Was that enough for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in 20 years? Is Josh McDaniels worthy of his spot as head coach or simply the most recent rotten branch of the Bill Belichick coaching tree?
Los Angeles boasted an explosive offense behind a rising Justin Herbert but was ultimately undone by a defense that gave up 27 points or more nine times. The Chargers brought in JC Jackson, Khalil Mack, and a particularly vital Austin Johnson/Sebastian Joseph-Day combination to handle an awful run D.
Will that be enough? Or will Herbert wind up on the losing end of firefights for the third straight yr?
Stafford remains to be throwing well despite discomfort, nevertheless it’s value noting he was awful to complete the 2021 regular season. In his final three games, he had eight turnovers against six touchdowns.
He was, by way of EPA, worse than Tim Boyle over that stretch. And now it’s August and he’s already sore.
In two seasons — 23 games — Tagovailoa has only thrown 51 passes 20+ yards downfield. 19 quarterbacks had greater than that in 2021 alone. The Dolphins added Tyreek Hill to assist unlock his downfield passing, but when he stays trigger shy Miami may only make a transient appearance within the postseason.
There’s rather a lot to love concerning the Vikings’ 2022 prospects. Adding Za’Darius Smith in addition to draft picks Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth should spark improvement for a mid defense — but will they be enough to derail Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Matthew Stafford?
The Patriots roughly sat the 2022 offseason out because of limited cap space. Which means few additions to a roster that got absolutely starched by the Bills within the Wild Card round last yr.
Mac Jones also has to contend with defenses who discovered they may leave his wideouts in single coverage with a purpose to bring chaos to his pocket. After rating sixth in completion percentage over expected (CPOE) through the primary 12 weeks of the season, the rookie slid to twenty fifth as opponents dialed up the pressure.
The engineers behind probably the most successful era of Saints football, Sean Payton and Drew Brees, have each retired. Of their place is longtime assistant Dennis Allen (8-28 as an NFL head coach) and Jameis Winston (is Jameis Winston). There might be three or 4 fun Taysom Hill gadget plays en path to eight or nine wins.
Brian Daboll could also be the best selection at head coach. Daniel Jones is nearly definitely the unsuitable selection at quarterback. The embattled passer may have to prove his flashes of athleticism might be strung together into something approaching consistency if he wants one other shot at starting somewhere — anywhere — in 2023.
Wilson was the Jets’ fourth-most efficient quarterback in 2021. He accomplished just 55 percent of his passes, threw 11 interceptions against nine touchdowns as a rookie, and led the league in yards lost via sack — impressive considering he missed 4 games. Latest York upgraded its offensive line, receiving corps and run game in hopes of unlocking his potential. Any growth could also be incremental relatively than exponential in 2022.
Hurts was higher than he’s given credit for late in games, even when the final result is just average passing. His 3.4 percent completion rate over expected within the fourth quarter or time beyond regulation of close games suggests he made plays several quarterbacks weren’t.
It also ranked only thirteenth amongst 29 qualified QBs, including non-stars like Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Tannehill. That won’t be enough to win consistently within the playoffs. Philly is hoping the addition of AJ Brown will fix that.
Ben Roethlisberger’s old man arm was a detriment to the Pittsburgh passing game; he only accomplished 18 passes 20+ yards downfield last fall. Now that duty falls to Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky, neither of whom look particularly able to step right into a starting role despite a potent receiving corps and star-studded defense.
Lance was electric in spurts last season but only played 145 snaps as a rookie. Now he’ll take care of defenses which have spent all season grinding his tape and plotting against him. Still, if any team is insulated from the occasional bad throw it’s the Niners, who rode Jimmy Garoppolo to 1 Super Bowl and two NFC title game appearances the last three seasons.
Russell Wilson is gone. So are Chris Carson and Bobby Wagner.
Seattle, home of the league’s oldest coach, isn’t committed to a rebuild. As a substitute the plan appears to be to grind out possessions with Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker and hope Geno Smith (or possibly Drew Lock) can surprise them at quarterback. That’s quite the gamble in a league that’s minimized the run game over the past decade.
The Bucs are a soundly constructed team. Betting against Touchdown Tom is a idiot’s errand.
But since we’re 30 teams deep, let’s push forward with reason to consider a rebuilt interior offensive line — Alex Cappa is a Bengal, Ryan Jensen is injured and Ali Marpet retired — could diminish the stellar sack rate that kept him churning the past two seasons in Tampa. Hit a 45-year-old Brady enough and you would knock the wheels of Tampa’s latest hype train.
The Titans secured the AFC’s top seed despite Derrick Henry missing half the season since the defense leveled as much as where head coach Mike Vrabel needed it to be. But they flamed out with an 0-1 playoff record after a rehabbed Henry struggled to make a difference and Ryan Tannehill slumped. Now Tannehill goes into 2022 with recent faces atop the depth chart at each wideout and tight end and coming off his worst season in Tennessee.