Brad’s 2022 NFL Preview: AFC Regular Season Analysis and Predictions

Now that I have thoroughly analyzed the upcoming college football season, it is time for me to publish my third annual NFL preseason football guide. Much like my college preview, I have gone through and analyzed every NFL team’s regular season and postseason, as well as selected my disappointment and surprise teams and upsets to watch out for.

The records below include all regular season games but do not include playoff games, which will be analyzed in a later entry. The teams marked in bold font are the ones predicted to make the 2022 NFL playoffs. Without further ado, here are my AFC regular season predictions, with analysis, for my third annual NFL preview guide.

AFC East

1Buffalo (14-3)

Positional Strength: Quarterback

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at Kansas City (October 16)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at New England (December 1)

Bottom Line: The Bills fulfill potential from the past few seasons and become team to beat in AFC.

2New England (10-7)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Buffalo (December 1)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Cleveland (October 16)

Bottom Line: Belichick will find a way to lead this team to a winning record and a playoff berth despite lackluster offense.

3Miami (8-9)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Running Back

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Green Bay (December 25)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Chicago (November 6)

Bottom Line: Tyreke Hill is a nice addition to offense but mediocre defense will ultimately lead to losing season in 2022.

4NY Jets (3-14)

Positional Strength: Defensive Line

Positional Weakness: Quarterback (see photo above)

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Cincinnati (September 25)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. Detroit (December 18)

Bottom Line: The perennially rebuilding Jets have some young talent,, but until they actually show some semblance of progress, you have to rank them at or near the bottom of the league and certainly the basement of this division.

AFC North

1Baltimore (10-7)

Positional Strength: Quarterback (see photo above)

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Buffalo (October 2)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: vs. Miami (September 18)

Bottom Line: As long as everyone can stay healthy, this team should be much improved from last year’s 8 win campaign, but key personnel losses including Marquise Brown and four contributing defenders, will prevent this squad from being elite.

2Cincinnati (9-8)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at Baltimore (October 9)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at NY Jets (September 25)

Bottom Line: The Bengals won’t be able to replicate their 2021 Cinderella season but are still good enough to make the playoffs this season.

3Cleveland (9-8)

Positional Strength: Running Backs

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at Cincinnati (December 11)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Carolina (September 11)

Bottom Line: Every year there is that one team that doesn’t quite make the playoffs but ends the season with a ton of optimism heading into the following season. That will be the Browns in 2022, as Watson’s 11 game suspension will be too much for them to overcome, but he will show enough brilliance down the stretch to get fans excited about the future.

4Pittsburgh (7-10)

Positional Strength: Linebacker

Positional Weakness: Quarterback

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Baltimore (December 11)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Carolina (December 18)

Bottom Line: The Steelers have gone a remarkable 22 years without a losing season. I am predicting that epic streak to end in 2022, as this team lacks a proven quarterback and doesn’t have a strong enough defense to make up for it.

AFC South

1Indianapolis (11-6)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at New England (November 6)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Minnesota (December 17)

Bottom Line: The Colts have alternated between playoff seasons and non-playoff seasons each of the past five seasons. I am projecting that trend to continue in 2022, as I believe the Colts will win this division and play in the postseason. Matt Ryan should be rejuvenated now that he has a dominant run game to rely on for the first time in his career.

2Tennessee (8-9)

Positional Strength: Running Back

Positional Weakness: Wide Receiver

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Indianapolis (October 23)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Houston (October 30)

Bottom Line: The Titans have overachieved for several years in a row now, but I think they finally take a step back in 2022 largely because of their brutal schedule that features inter-divisional games against Kansas City, Green Bay, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and the LA Chargers.

3Jacksonville (3-14)

Positional Strength: Linebacker

Positional Weakness: Secondary

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Dallas (December 18)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Houston (January 1)

Bottom Line: Lawrence may end up in the club with Gino Toretta, Andre Ware, and Tim Couch, as elite college quarterbacks that didn’t prosper in the NFL. Massive offseason personnel changes, including the loss of D.J. Chark and three key offensive lineman, won’t help his cause in 2022.

4Houston (2-15)

Positional Strength: Defensive Line

Positional Weakness: Running Back

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Tennessee (October 30)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Jacksonville (October 9)

Bottom Line: This team is in massive rebuild mode, as they lack elite talent at almost every position including quarterback.

AFC West

1Kansas City (12-5)

Positional Strength: Quarterback

Positional Weakness: Linebacker

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. LA Rams (November 27)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Denver (December 11)

Bottom Line: The loss of Tyreek will really hurt this team’s ability to stretch the field like they have done in years past, but there is still enough talent here for them to win a seventh straight division title and contend for the conference crown.

2LA Chargers (11-6)

Positional Strength: Quarterback

Positional Weakness: Defensive Line

Biggest Predicted Wins of the Year: vs. Kansas City (November 20), vs. LA Rams (January 1)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Cleveland (October 9)

Bottom Line: The Chargers are poised for a breakout season as Herbert finally get this squad to the playoffs in 2022.

3Denver (9-8)

Positional Strength: Quarterback

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: vs. Kansas City (December 11)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Carolina (November 27)

Bottom Line: Russell Wilson (pictured above) is certainly an upgrade at quarterback, but I have enough concern about the Broncos’ offensive line to call them to fall just short of a playoff berth this season.

4Las Vegas (7-10)

Positional Strength: Wide Receiver

Positional Weakness: Offensive Line

Biggest Predicted Win of the Year: at LA Rams (December 8)

Worst Predicted Loss of the Year: at Jacksonville (November 6)

Bottom Line: Somebody has to finish last in this incredibly stout division. Davante Adams will certainly provide a spark on offense, but an already lackluster run defense, lost three key defensive lineman in the offseason.

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