NFL: Predicting the AFC Divisional standings for the 2022 season

By Mason Mesbah

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame game looming on August 4th, NFL football is just around the corner. As fans flip channels missing NFL football, the question everyone is asking is what will the 2022 NFL season look like? With that in mind, Let’s take a look at the American Football Conference and try and predict the winners and losers of each division.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills 12-5
  • Miami Dolphins 10-7
  • New England Patriots 9-8
  • New York Jets 5-12

The AFC East is quietly becoming a very competitive division for the first time in about 20 years. It looked like the Josh Allen-led Bills were going to take the torch from Brady’s Patriots and dominate the next 10+ years, but after a big off season from the Miami Dolphins, a great draft from the Jets, and the reload by the Patriots led by QB Mac Jones, this division could get quite interesting. Buffalo, who many see as the best team in football, will still top the division this year, but the Dolphins will edge out New England as the runner up, potentially being decided by the week 16 matchup. As for the Jets, there is plenty of improvement and a lot to be excited about, but no big jump win-wise.

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts 10-7
  • Tennessee Titans 10-7
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 8-9
  • Houston Texans 6-11

The division with probably the most question marks comes next, with a tie for the division lead. Matt Ryan will finally be the bridge quarterback that can get the job done for the Colts, of course behind Jonathan Taylor’s dominance. However, Derrick Henry’s dominance is not to be overlooked, and assuming a healthy season, the Titans will be right with the Colts down to the wire. As for the Jaguars and Texans, both young teams will make strides, with the Jags a little more so. Jags QB Trevor Lawrence will be able to have a fresh start with an actual head coach, and brand new weapons on offense and defense, while Texans signal caller Davis Mills will possibly be able to keep his job with some wins, but his team is still nowhere near the playoffs – just yet.

AFC North

  • Cincinnati Bengals 12-5
  • Baltimore Ravens 11-6
  • Cleveland Browns 9-8
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 7-10

The AFC North is potentially the most competitive division, provided that the teams stay healthy and out of trouble. It could well continue to be a dog fight. After producing the AFC champions, a second playoff team, and two plus eight win teams, the division only got better with the Browns making a splash for QB Deshaun Watson, the Bengals filling those final holes, and Baltimore getting healthy and once again having a great draft. The Bengals will come out on top again, but this time with Baltimore right behind them. It gets a little more complicated after that until the Deshaun Watson suspension is announced and the Steelers decide who will be under center. The Browns have the potential to be right up there with the top teams with Watson playing but it could be much worse without him. Both the Browns and the Steelers, who will have their first losing season under Mike Tomlin, will finish right in the middle of the pack as the franchises shift into new eras.

AFC West

  • Los Angeles Chargers 12-5
  • Kansas City Chiefs 11-6
  • Las Vegas Raiders 10-7
  • Denver Broncos 10-7

Say hello to the new best division in the league, at least on paper. Davante Adams, Khalil Mack, Russell Wilson, JC Jackson, Chandler Jones and Juju Smith-Shuster are just a few of the big names that joined the West this off season. The Chargers have finally created a complete team on the defensive side, and this, combined with another jump from Justin Herbert putting him in the top tier of quarterbacks, will put the Chargers in front this year. The Chiefs will have an off year by their own standards but end up with 11+ wins without a drop off from Tyreek Hill’s departure. Now to the two teams tied at 10 wins, the Raiders and Broncos, who also end up being the bottom two in the division. The Raiders have the advantage over Russell Wilson and the Broncos. The friendship of Adams and Derek Carr prevails, along with their new pass rush duo that beats out the new loaded Broncos lineup. However, the possibility of all four teams making the playoffs, or these rankings being completely flipped, is very much alive.

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