The 2021-2022 NFL season gets underway Thursday night as the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grab a beer, order some wings, and glue yourself to the couch because it’s football season once again. Every fan comes in with the hope that it’s their year, and all of that hope will disappear after your team’s offense goes three and out on the first possession. There’s no better feeling than yelling at the television on a Sunday.
After much deliberation, I’m ready to make my playoff and awards predictions. Buckle up those chinstraps, and let’s go.
Once again, Tom Brady took his team to the Super Bowl and walked away with another ring. Every fan should have seen this coming especially if your team plays in the AFC. Why would it be any different? Brady runs the league, and the Bucs are going to be contenders once again with all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team. The rich, do in fact, get richer.
So who will stop Brady’s reign of terror? The best bet plays in Green Bay, and his name is Robert Paulson. Actually, his name is Aaron Rodgers, and he’s the reigning MVP. Despite falling to the Bucs in the Conference Championship Game, the Packers still have #12 under center for at least one more season, which automatically makes Green Bay a contender.
The NFC West is the group of death as the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are all talented enough to not only make the playoffs but win a Super Bowl. In the East, someone has to win the division right? In the South, maybe this is the year I stop believing in the Falcons. I can’t make any promises.
NFC Title Game – Bucs over 49ers
Special Note: As a Giants fan, I’m contractually obligated to give a prediction for the NFL season. With a horrible offensive line and mediocre quarterback, I’m not expecting to light up the scoreboard. However, I believe in Joe Judge and the defense. The Giants should be on the “In The Hunt” graphic all season. Final record: 8-9.
Ask yourself one question: Can *insert team here* beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs?
That’s the only question that matters. So far, no team without Brady has beaten Mahomes in the playoffs. To go one step further, the Kansas City Chiefs have never played a road playoff game since Mahomes become the permanent starter. Why should that change this year? Frankly, I don’t think it will. Mahomes is going to be a man possessed after the Chiefs were embarrassed in the Super Bowl. A pissed-off Mahomes is a quarterback that I wouldn’t want to see if I’m on the other sideline.
The teams with the best chances of stopping Mahomes are the same two teams that faced the Chiefs in the playoffs a season ago. Those teams are the Browns and the Bills. Top to bottom, the Browns roster is more talented than the Chiefs. Cleveland has the best 1-2 rushing attack in football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Plus, Myles Garrett is one of the favorites to win MVP. I hate to channel my inner sports talk show host, but Cleveland’s success will come down to Baker Mayfield. If he moves the chains, the Browns will go far.
In Buffalo, the Bills are coming off their most successful season of the 21st century. Last year was not a fluke for Josh Allen (more on him late), and the young quarterback should be even better than he was a season ago. The biggest non-move of the offseason was the return of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. If their defensive line improves, expect a rematch with Kansas City for the AFC Championship.
In other news, Lamar Jackson might rush for three thousand yards after every running back in Baltimore suffered catastrophic injuries. Don’t count out Mike Tomlin, who’s never had a losing season. Also, the “Year Two” jump for quarterbacks is real. CC: Justin Herbert.
AFC Title Game – Chiefs over Browns
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Bucs and Chiefs are still the two best teams in the NFL. I expect a closer Super Bowl this time around, but I’m still picking the GOAT to win by a field goal.
Super Bowl – Bucs over Chiefs
MVP – Josh Allen
If the Bills make the playoffs again, then Allen will have to be spectacular once again. He still needs to take care of the ball, but there’s a chance his stat line could look like this: five thousand yards, 42 passing TDS, and 10 rushing TDs. That’s good enough to win NFL MVP.
Offensive Player of the Year – Josh Allen
See the above.
Defensive Player of the Year – T.J. Watt
If it’s not Aaron Donald again, I’ll take T.J. Watt, who finished 3rd and 2nd in voting the previous two seasons.
Comeback Player of the Year – Dak Prescott
This is the easiest award to predict. Dak was on pace for record-setting numbers before his injury in 2020. Expect the QB to light it up once again.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Trevor Lawrence
The bet to place is that a QB will win this award. Why not go with the number one overall pick? Lawrence will struggle at first but expect a huge second half once he gets in sync with Urban Meyer.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Patrick Surtain II
Surtain II is a s-t-u-d. Add his name to the list of elite Denver cornerbacks.
Coach of the Year – Kyle Shanahan
The 49ers should jump from 6 wins a season ago to at least 11, probably 12, no matter who lines up at quarterback. If that happens, Shanahan should take home this award for the first time.
Enjoy the season.
What are your predictions for the upcoming NFL season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.