The Buffalo Bills kicked off the 2022 NFL season with a convincing win over the Rams that has me feeling great about my prediction for the Bills to win the Super Bowl this year. But not so great about my prediction to make the Rams the No. 1 seed in the NFC. But there’s 284 games to go.
It’s that time again: Saturday night before the first NFL Sunday of the season, and I’m burned the hell out from the week. All I have left in the tank before I enjoy the couch all day tomorrow are my award predictions and Week 1 picks. You’ve probably seen me write clues or outright pick winners for these awards in other articles as I’m freelancing with several different places this year. But I always like to put this together in a list on my blog.
- Most Valuable Player: Justin Herbert, Chargers
- Coach of the Year: Mike McDaniel, Dolphins
- Assistant Coach of the Year: Leslie Frazier, Bills
- Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Herbert, Chargers
- Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt, Steelers
- Offensive Rookie of the Year: Dameon Pierce, Texans
- Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aidan Hutchinson, Lions
- Comeback Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
I already detailed my Herbert MVP case here. Not expecting another WR or RB to go off like Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor did last year, I doubled up with OPOY for Herbert.
Another one I’ve been hinting at is Mike McDaniel for COTY in Miami. I think he gets the edge for bringing his system to Miami and making Tua better. While I have the Chargers with the division win, I think Herbert’s MVP season detracts from Brandon Staley. While I have the Vikings going 10-7 and making the playoffs under Kevin O’Connell, I think people will say he took over a team loaded with offensive stars who just needed to finish games better by literally not fumbling in OT or missing a short FG. Nathaniel Hackett in Denver is going to get passed over for Russell Wilson getting the credit for a turnaround. McDaniel is going to get the lion’s share of credit for turning around Miami, so that’s my pick.
I have to cop to some cheating on Assistant Coach of the Year. Obviously, in picking the Bills to go 17-4 and win it all while praising their defense, I expected great things. This is a hard award to predict, and I notice every winner has been on a team with 11+ wins. Not liking a lot of the options out there, I just went with Frazier in Buffalo after that dominant performance we saw in LA. Von Miller is going to pay off so well.
Not loving the DPOY options, but I went with T.J. Watt over Myles Garrett just because I think Watt is better at stripping the ball and creating more splash plays. If he plays a full 17 games, that sack record could belong solely to him. The Steelers also need to play ugly games this year to get by. Defense must step up.
For OROY, it’s wild to think this is the first season since 2007 where no rookie QB is starting Week 1. Kenny Pickett had the best shot, but Mitch Trubisky won the job. I just don’t see Tomlin pulling Trubisky for the rookie until after the bye at the earliest. That makes it too hard for Pickett to win the award. There are a shitload of wide receivers to choose from, but none are in that great of a situation. Ideally, you want someone with a high pedigree (high draft pick) who will start right away and has a great shot to be the leading receiver on a team with a decent quarterback. That’s how you get an Odell Beckham, Justin Jefferson, or Ja’Marr Chase kind of season, but even Jefferson lost the award to Herbert in 2020.
QB shouldn’t be in the mix this time, but I don’t see the George Pickens love. FanDuel is +700 on Pickens as the leader. He’s stuck in a Trubisky-led offense with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and Najee Harris getting balls too. As great as the Steelers are at scouting WRs, none of them have ever had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. I just don’t see a WR2 (at best) in Pittsburgh without Ben Roethlisberger getting it done.
So, I ended up picking Dameon Pierce, the Texans starting back. The offense might be surprisingly decent, and he is scheduled to start the season as RB1. I wanted to go Kenneth Walker in Seattle, but his hernia worries me. But Pete Carroll trying to run without Wilson makes sense, and Penny always gets hurt. I also think Isaiah Likely is a huge darkhorse in Baltimore, but he’s not even the best tight end on his team, and no tight end (or OL) has ever won the award.
Should be an interesting class to follow, and the depth of the WR class (13 taken in top 54 picks) is going to lead to so much shit-talking between fans about how that draft turned out.
NFL Week 1 Predictions
Started the year off with a win as I was on the Bills and the under on Thursday night. Just thought it’d be a much closer game than 31-10.
Week 1 and Joe Flacco, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, and Geno Smith are starting games. Is it 2015 again?
The Colts have been hard to trust in Week 1 under Frank Reich, so I am hedging with Houston. Almost wanted to do the exact same thing with the Saints in Atlanta, but man, that Atlanta team looks terrible.
I’m all in on the Baker Mayfield Revenge Game. He won’t go off, but he’ll get to hold a win over them.
Jaguars demand to schedule Carson Wentz every week.
Really looking forward to the Chargers-Raiders and Chiefs-Cardinals games in the late-afternoon window. These West races are going to be incredible. I think the Cardinals can surprise some people tomorrow if the Chiefs struggle on defense like they did to start 2021.
We waited seven months for this. Feels good to be back.