2022 NFL playoff predictions after Week 1 action


Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and as anyone in football can tell you, ALL Super Bowls are won in Week 1, so congratulations to the Buffalo Bills for locking up the Lombardi Trophy before anyone else could play a down. Week 1 is all about the overreaction, which is why Trey Lance has made everyone forget about Ryan Leaf or Jamarcus Russell after he fell flat on his face against the Bears in a Midwest Monsoon on Sunday. The goal is to avoid the overreaction and not let whatever you saw in Week 1 completely dictate what the rest of the season looks like.

But there are some lessons to take away from Week 1, and it is okay for those lessons to alter how you might view the rest of the season. In fact, every week of the NFL season offers lessons that can dictate how we view the rest of the season going forward. So today I am starting what I intend to be a 22-week series of using what we have seen in the NFL so far, and using that information to guess where the league will go next. Introducing the Weekly Playoff Projections, where every week we take what we know about the 2022 season so far, and take a completely educated guess as to who will dominate in the NFL the rest of the season and win the Super Bowl.

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These are not power rankings. These are not picks based off any analytical data or insider knowledge. These are picks based off what I have seen during the season so far. I could be wrong, I could be right. Either way, I will be back again next week to offer an updated projection to cover any of my past mistakes. So without further ado, here are the inaugural playoff projections for the 2022 season.


1 Seed: Buffalo Bills (15-2) East Winner
No team looked better in Week 1 than the Bills. Josh Allen looked like an MVP candidate. Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis will haunt secondaries all year. The running game looks brutal to stop. And the Bills have one of the truly elite defenses in the league. From top to bottom, the Bills look like the class of the NFL.

2 Seed: Kansas City Chiefs (13-4)
Losing Tyreek Hill was supposed to make Patrick Mahomes a mortal man. Well, such proclamations may have been premature after Mahomes threw five touchdowns and the Chiefs eviscerated the Arizona Cardinals.

3 Seed: Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
No contract extension, no problem for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Yeah, it was just the Jets they beat, and yeah, the receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired, and yeah, the Ravens got only 63 yards on the ground. But to start the season, the Raven look like the best team in the AFC North. By default.

4 Seed: Indianapolis Colts (9-7-1)
Always fun to start the season with a tie. But Matt Ryan gives the Colts a bonafide winner at QB in a division that has been run by Ryan Tannehill the last few years.

5 Seed: LA Chargers (12-5)
The Chargers could probably win any other division in football except for maybe the AFC East. I do not know what brings more heat: Justin Herbert's passes or the Chargers pass rush.

6 Seed: New England Patriots (9-8)
I will always count on The Hoodie to somehow scheme his way into the playoffs. He got his annual slip up in Miami out of the way early this year.

7 Seed: Cincinnati Bengals (9-8)
The post Super Bowl hangover will be brutal for the team, but there is still enough talent on this squad to sneak in the back door of the playoffs.


1 Seed: Tampa Bay Bucs (13-4)
It was a bad opening week for much of the NFC powers that be, except for the team led by the best quarterback in NFL history. The Bucs offensive line could be a concern, but you can say that about everyone’s o-line this year.

2 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles (11-6)
A.J. Brown certainly delivered in his debut with the Birds. The running game looked great (against the Lions) but this looks like a team that can score some points this year in a division that might not be the laughing stock we usually think it to be.

3 Seed: Minnesota Vikings (11-6)
IIs this a product of the Vikings being good, or the fact that the Packers look as disastrous as Aaron Rodgers’ off-season?

4 Seed: San Francisco 49ers (11-6)
The offensive line concerns are real. Outside of that, to draw any major conclusions from their week 1 loss in the rain seems a bit of a stretch. Look to see the Niners drop though if they cannot figure out the running game with Elijah Mitchell out.

5 Seed: Green Bay Packers (11-6)
Having No. 12 under center is still worth something. If there is anyone who can figure out a way to win with a bunch of JV receivers, is Aaron Rodgers.

6 Seed: LA Rams (10-7)
The Rams will be in a lot of divisional dog fights this year, and we saw how a midseason lull is not a death knell for the defending champs.

7 Seed: New Orleans Saints (9-8)
Don’t sleep on the Saints. Sure, they barely escaped with a win over the Falcons, but this was a team that had one of the top defenses in the league last year, an elite running back in Alvin Kamara and plenty of options for quarterback Jameis Winston to attempt to get the ball to.


(5) Chargers over (4) Colts
The Chargers have too much firepower on both sides of the ball. The Colts won’t be able to keep up.

(3) Ravens over (6) Pats
This is very much an indictment on Mac Jones early ability to win playoff games.

(2) Chiefs over (5) Bengals
No second half meltdown this time.

(4) Niners over (5) Packers
While Niners fans squabble over who should be starting at quarterback for this one, Kyle Shanahan gets to once again pick the wings off his favorite playoff victim in Aaron Rodgers.

(3) Rams over (6) Vikings
There is no way in hell I am picking a Kirk Cousins team in the playoffs. Especially against this Rams team. I don’t care where they are playing.

(2) Eagles over (5) Saints
Death. Taxes. Saints losing outdoor playoff games in the dead of winter.


(2) Chiefs over (3) Ravens
Lamar Jackson's time with the Ravens has featured one embarrassing playoff flameout after another. Seems fitting his time in Baltimore would end in the same fashion.

(1) Bills over (5) Chargers
This will be the best playoff game of the bunch. You’ll be watching the Super Bowl three weeks later wishing to the football gods for another dose of Chargers-Bills. You will pine for this matchup from this day, until your last day. Unless the Chiefs and Bills top it in the AFC Title Game.

(4) Niners over (2) Eagles
This is the assumption that the Niners defense will so ruin Jalen Hurts’ day that it won’t even matter that Trey Lance threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

(1) Bucs over (6) Rams
The Bucs should have beaten the Rams last year in the playoffs. Everyone knows it. Tom Brady definitely knows it, and he will have a bye week to stew on it a bit more. His retirement is once again pushed back.


(2) Chiefs over (1) Bills
This could be the second-best game of the playoffs. I am also expecting this to be the week in and week out pick for the AFC Title Game. The question is how often I flip-flop between picking the Chiefs or Bills. This week, I am picking the Chiefs in an upset win on a missed field goal.

(1) Bucs over (4) Niners


(2) Chiefs over (1) Bucs
Patrick Mahomes gets his revenge as this time it is Tom Brady's offensive line that is unable to keep him upright. America then curls up in front of their Twitters to watch the next “Will he, won’t he retire?” session from Brady.

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