Bold predictions for the rest of the 2022 NFL Season

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Penn State alumnus and current Commanders WR Jahan Dotson breaking a tackle against Michigan. Dotson is my early pick for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Ethan K.

With Week 2 of the 2022 NFL Season wrapping up tonight, many players have given fans an early look into what this season may look like, whether good or bad, for them and their franchise. The absence of major stars across the league have allocated for players like Alex Highsmith of the Pittsburgh Steelers to prove why he is a riser superstar edge rusher whilst T.J. Watt misses a few weeks with a pectoral injury. Other players, including Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan, have struggled heavily in their seemingly-locked-up starting roles. With that being said, another 15 games remain for these players, meaning that their early season success or failure could prove meaningless at the end of the season. These four predictions may be bold, but, based on the early signs from Weeks 1 and 2 of this season, prove possible to happen in the near future. 

 

Jahan Dotson wins the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award

From the start of Dotson’s career at Penn State, any fan could see the superstar potential inside of the 5’11” receiver from New Jersey. As one of the major assets on struggling 2020 and 2021 Nittany Lion teams, we got a big look into Dotson’s play-making ability, amazing hands, and phenomenal route-running deception. Despite mediocre quarterback play from Carson Wentz, Dotson has still found the endzone a multitude of times and racked in just shy of 100 receiving yards in his opening two NFL games. His underrated route-running has been put widely on display and he continues to make absurd catches with defenders draped over him. Dotson was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Week (SI.com) after his two-touchdown performance in the Commanders’ win over Jacksonville during opening weekend. With an incredible first two games, and showing no signs of slowing down, Jahan Dotson is a sneaky pick at claiming the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

 

Denver struggles, Russell Wilson proves why his nearly $250 million contract was an overpay

I will just say it how it is. No, Russell Wilson has not been good in his first two weeks as a Denver Bronco. It is understandable that it can be difficult to adjust to a new offense, but Wilson has had all offseason to build chemistry with his receivers and attempt to transform Denver into a Super Bowl contender. As of now, they have been the opposite of a Super Bowl contender—they look like a bottom-ten team in the entire NFL. That may be a bit harsh, but losing to a Geno Smith-led Seattle, the very team that Denver gave Noah Fant, Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks and a fifth-round selection to in exchange for Wilson and a fourth-round pick (ESPN.com), and barely beating a mediocre Texans team led by a struggling Davis Mills is pathetic for a quarterback as talented as Wilson. Injuries have been rough on Wilson over the last year, but he still can not be playing irregularly average, as he currently is, to warrant a massive five-year, $245 million contract. He has thrown just two touchdowns in two games, has posted a QBR (Quarterback Rating) of just 86.5 and threw an interception. While his numbers are not terrible, the former Seahawk needs to step up and play like the former Super Bowl-winning-QB that he is if he wants any chance at bringing Denver back to the playoffs. 

 

Houston wins the AFC South behind a Pro Bowl season from rookie running back Dameon Pierce

Yes, I mentioned earlier that Russell Wilson could barely beat a mediocre Houston Texans team. Thus, how is that team going to win their division? Simply put, the rest of their division is even worse. Indianapolis has looked awful, with former MVP Matt Ryan playing as if he should have retired years prior to the start of this season. The Tennessee Titans have not looked like their usual selves, with Derrick Henry struggling to perform in Week 1. Jacksonville, led by an up-and-down Trevor Lawrence, seemingly has the best chance at challenging Houston for the title, but Houston’s bolstered secondary and impressive play from Dameon Pierce lead me to believe that the Texans will take the AFC South crown. Pierce has shown excellent field vision regardless of the mediocre run-blocking that he receives. He fights through tackles with ease and can be extremely explosive when he hits a hole and breaks downfield. Despite registering just over 100 yards over his first two games, he has shown enough that he could soon be the RB1 and receive additional carries on his way to sneaking into the Pro Bowl after locking up the very poor AFC South Division.

 

The Detroit Lions muster a playoff berth behind stellar campaigns from D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown

Playing in an always-tough NFC North Division makes it consistently difficult for a team of the Lions’ caliber to make the playoffs. The Lions, despite plenty of atrocious seasons, have had a plethora of solid seasons that, had they been in any other division, would have resulted in a playoff berth. With the Packers and Bears appearing weak enough that they will not be able to get over the hump this year, this may be the Lions’ year. I have the Vikings pulling away and taking the division, but a 10-7 season from Detriot should be enough for them to sneak into the playoffs. That record seems extremely reachable considering the consistent elite production from 2021 third-round draft choice Amon-Ra St. Brown. Coming out of the draft, I like St. Brown a lot but saw him as more of a consistently solid slot receiver, not the do-it-all playmaker that he has played like. His play style and sudden emergence as a top receiver feels very similar to that of Cooper Kupp, now the league’s unanimous number-one wide-out. D’Andre Swift, another young stud on the Lions’ offense, has been almost equally as impressive, boasting 262 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns across Weeks 1 and 2 (ESPN.com). If the powerful Detroit offensive weaponry continues its dominance, don’t be surprised to see the Lions take a Wild Card spot in the 2022 edition of the NFL Playoffs.