A Quick Guide to the 2022 NFL Season 

Calvin Lymper , Staff Writer

 

Pictured above: Josh Allen, the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, during the Week 1 game versus the Los Angeles Rams (picture from the New York Times)

 

The 2022 NFL season kicked off on Thursday, September 8, with a marquee matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills. The Rams have just come off a very successful season, including a Super Bowl win, and are looking to defend their title. However, the Bills, the Super Bowl favorite this year, led by quarterback Josh Allen, defeated the Rams 31-10 during Thursday’s game. Josh Allen began his campaign for the coveted MVP award with a 297 passing yard performance along with 3 touchdown passes. 

One of the biggest questions coming into the season is whether or not the Rams would be still as strong coming into this season as they finished last season. During the offseason, they suffered two huge losses to their team: future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller signed to the Bills, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. walked away from the team in free agency. However, the team signed linebacker Bobby Wagner and wide receiver Allen Robinson II to fill those new holes. Wagner was strangely released from the Seattle Seahawks after 10 incredible seasons, and Robinson II is coming out of an unusual Chicago Bears situation with an underdeveloped quarterback in Justin Fields. Robinson II should flourish next to reigning Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp.

Besides the Rams and the Bills, there are many other contenders in the mix. The Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all considered by NFL experts to be other teams to consider for the Super Bowl glory.

 

Pictured above: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in action (picture from Football Outsiders)

 

The Kansas City Chiefs are the most consistently successful NFL team in the past few years. All-star quarterback Patrick Mahomes is back in action after a disappointing loss in the playoffs last year, supported by tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Mecole Hardman and former Steeler Juju Smith-Schuster. The Chiefs offense lost a key piece in the offseason in wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins. While Hill was a huge piece of the Chiefs’ roster the past few years, Mahomes still will be at a very high level that can continue to elevate this team far into contention. The Chiefs lost last year in the AFC Championship vs the Cincinnati Bengals after struggling due to Mahomes’ passing mistakes.

The Cincinnati Bengals came from behind in last year’s playoffs, going all the way to the Super Bowl. They are running it back with their main core again, led by fan-favorite quarterback Joe Burrow and their wide receiver room remains strong, led by LSU product Ja’Marr Chase. They are expected to make another championship push this year, now with Super Bowl experience. 

The Los Angeles Chargers had too weak of a defense to push them into the playoffs last year, although they boasted one of the best offenses. The Chargers also added Pro Bowl linebacker Khalil Mack and cornerback JC Jackson in free agency, two of the best defensive players in the NFL. These two will join the menacing linebacker Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James to help advance the Chargers far on the defensive side. Young quarterback Justin Herbert has every weapon he needs to bring the Chargers far. Runningback Austin Ekeler, along with receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen look to be productive for Herbert. The Chargers look to overthrow the Rams as the new kings in Los Angeles by the end of this season.

Tom Brady is back in his 23rd season, now playing at 45 years old. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers still remain in shape to be contenders this year, with a very strong offense and great linebacker core on the defensive side. Brady retains his options of Pro Bowl wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and even the addition of veteran receiver Julio Jones from free agency. Former head coach Bruce Arians retired after the previous season, but the Bucs still look in good shape with new head coach Todd Bowles, who used to be the defensive coordinator of the franchise. The Buccaneers are still feared to be one of the top teams in the NFL.

 

Pictured above: Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft (picture from MLive.com)

 

There are many storylines and questions NFL fans can follow entering the season. One of which is who the best rookie will be. The 2022 NFL Draft saw a rare defensive-heavy focused draft. Jaguars defensive lineman Travon Walker, Lions lineman Aidan Hutchinson, and Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner lead the race for the defensive rookie of the year award. On the offensive side, Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, Falcons receiver Drake London, and Jets runningback Breece Hall are the biggest names in the running for offensive rookie of the year.

Another storyline NFL fans can follow is the Denver Broncos’ acquisition of star quarterback Russell Wilson, who looks to be the missing piece in a potential playoff Broncos team. The San Francisco 49ers look to test out young quarterback Trey Lance at the starting position after benching him in his rookie year. The Philadelphia Eagles have added A.J. Brown to their wide receiver core, and this gives their young quarterback Jalen Hurts a chance to improve heavily. Star receivers Davante Adams, a former Packer, and Tyreek Hill, a former Chief, have both been traded from their respective teams. Adams is now headed to the Las Vegas Raiders, and Hill to the Miami Dolphins, and many fans wonder what impacts that will have on both the receivers’ former and new teams.

With a wide collection of stories and teams to follow, the 2022 NFL season is definitely set to be a great one for football fans. It will all be a 32-team race to Glendale, AZ, where Super Bowl LVII is being held.