Super Bowl 2022: After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV, and managed to keep their entire core of starters together in free agency, it looks like the Bucs have a legitimate chance to repeat.
Who will comprise the 14 NFL playoff teams once the 2021 season is finished? Who will be the Super Bowl 2022 winner in the next calendar year? Check out Sportsnaut’s predictions, which will be updated each week during the regular season based on the latest standings.
Predicting of 56th Super Bowl 2022 winner, playoff team
- 1 Predicting of 56th Super Bowl 2022 winner, playoff team
- 1.1 AFC West champions: Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
- 1.2 AFC North champions: Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
- 1.3 AFC South champions: Tennessee Titans (8-4)
- 1.4 AFC East champions: New England Patriots (8-4)
- 1.5 AFC Wild Card predictions: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers
- 1.6 NFC West champions: Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
- 1.7 NFC North champions: Green Bay Packers (9-3)
- 1.8 NFC South champions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
- 1.9 NFC East champions: Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
- 1.10 NFC Wild Card predictions: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings
- 2 So who will win Super Bowl LVI?
- 3 NFL playoff bracket: Full postseason predictions for AFC and NFC
AFC West champions: Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
A sleeping giant is finally awake. The Kansas City Chiefs offense finally settled in, crushing the Las Vegas Raiders and moving atop the AFC West standings. It took until November for Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill to get comfortable, but it seems this passing attack is now finding its rhythm.
There are still some challenges left on the Chiefs’ schedule and the AFC West could be decided on Dec. 16 at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Chargers. But with the Raiders tumbling down the standings and the Chargers not quite ready to take control of this division, the door is open for Mahomes and the Chiefs to control their destiny. While not the Super Bowl 2022 favorites, this version of the Chiefs can compete with anyone in the AFC.
AFC North champions: Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
It’s all about the quarterback position in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson’s 500-yard, four-touchdown performance in a comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5 was among the greatest regular-season performances we’ve seen in some time.
With that said, it’s definitely going to be tight in the AFC North. There’s still some major long-term questions regarding the running back position in Baltimore, and we saw the Miami Dolphins shut down Jackson using safety blitzes in Week 10.
The team’s once-vaunted defense has also given up north of 340 passing yards in four of their ten games this season. While there are many reasons for their struggles, the loss of Marcus Peters surely has hurt.
The Cleveland Browns aren’t going away and have a few winnable games coming up. Pittsburgh is always a threat to play football past December thanks to a nasty defense and reliable veteran leadership, but their lack of an offensive line continues to hold them back. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals are proving they’re no pushovers either with strong offensive and defensive units. The AFC North remains up for grabs.
AFC South champions: Tennessee Titans (8-4)
We’ll see if Tennessee can still run away with the AFC South without Derrick Henry. Sure there are issues on defense (24.1 points allowed per game), and losing King Henry for the regular season hurts, but the combination of Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones still makes this offense one of the more talented bunches in the NFL. They just need to get healthy first.
Taking down the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football was impressive, then, they doubled down and crushed the Kansas City Chiefs. Losing to the Houston Texans will likely be forgotten about, but it could be an early sign of distress if their running game continues to struggle. Hanging with the Buccaneers until the final drive shows some legitimate talent.
Carson Wentz is ensuring the Indianapolis Colts aren’t forgotten about and Jonathan Taylor is first in the NFL with 1,205 rushing yards. Once believed to belong to the Titans, the Colts are putting up a serious fight for the division title.
AFC East champions: New England Patriots (8-4)
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has been a sensational leader and appears ready to lead the New England Patriots to the AFC East division title. They have yet to lose on the road in 2021, making them a tough out in the playoffs.
Bill Belichick’s defense is entirely different when it has an elite pass rusher like Matt Judon. They’re allowing a ridiculously-low 15.8 points per game, the fewest in the NFL. Riding a six-game winning streak, the Patriots are the hottest team in football.
AFC Wild Card predictions: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers
Losing to the Jaguars remains inexplicable but inconsistency has been a major drawback for the Bills in 2021. While their defense is sturdy, it’s also hemorrhaged massive amounts of yards to Derrick Henry (143) and Jonathan Taylor (185). Now they’ve lost lockdown corner Tre’Davious White to a torn ACL for the rest of the season. It could prove to be a major blow to their championship aspirations.
Josh Allen is good enough to elevate this team in the playoffs, but a lack of an explosive running attack continues to hold the offense back.
Taking a major leap this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are still figuring out how to be more consistent. With that said, they have a strong formula to succeed down the stretch. Even if Joe Burrow struggles on a certain day, Joe Mixon can help power them to victory. Not to mention a ferocious pass rush. Ja’Marr Chase is simply the cherry on top on Sundays.
The final Wild Card spot, for now, belongs to the Los Angeles Chargers, but they haven’t convinced anyone they’re a contender just yet. Indianapolis is playing well behind Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor, the league’s leading rusher. Not to mention, Frank Reich’s a great coach. It should be a fun battle for the last playoff spot in the AFC.
- In The Hunt: Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins
NFC West champions: Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
The Los Angeles Rams are all-in and many viewed this team, especially after adding Odell Beckham Jr. before Week 10, as the Super Bowl 2022 favorite out of the NFC. But an ugly showing against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football puts the Arizona Cardinals back in control of the NFC West.
For the Cardinals, it comes down to health. The defense is holding its own, even after the J.J. Watt injury. But Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins remain sidelined with injuries. Thankfully for Arizona, the All-Pro talents are moving closer towards a return. With the Rams seemingly unable to put it all together, Arizona’s window to take the NFC West is back open.
NFC North champions: Green Bay Packers (9-3)
An off-season filled with drama in Green Bay continued with Aaron Rodgers and his Packers being blown out by New Orleans in Week 1. At that point, it seemed like the sky was falling in Wisconsin. Since then, these Packers won seven consecutive games before Aaron Rodgers had to miss Week 9.
At this point, it’s hard not to see the Packers as NFC favorites. Few teams have been able to slow them down, or even hang with them for a full game. Plus, already having wins over the Rams and Cardinals bodes well for any possible playoff rematch.
NFC South champions: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)
Tom is still terrific. The 44-year-old quarterback led the NFL in yards per game (317.7), and touchdowns (29), through ten games. Unfortunately, not everything is perfect in Tampa. That includes one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL and some major questions at cornerback.
Once again, Richard Sherman is set to miss extended action, and they have a lack of depth behind the veteran. The lack of balance on offense and defense could be concerning. Might that prevent the Bucs from repeating?
NFC East champions: Dallas Cowboys (7-4)
Don’t look now, but America’s Team could be back as the Super Bowl 2022 winner. OK, that might be a bit premature. The Cowboys have lost three of their last four games, but have battled several injury issues. In the long run, this team is still built to last.
Dak Prescott had Dallas averaging the third-most points in the NFL at 29.3 per game entering Week 12. The dynamic duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have combined for over 1,700 total yards out of the backfield. Meanwhile, Micah Parsons is running away with the Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy for a suddenly formidably Cowboys defense.
NFC Wild Card predictions: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings
The Los Angeles Rams will make the NFL Playoffs, but playing at home in Super Bowl 2022 feels increasingly doubtful. Heading into the bye on a two-game losing streak is bad enough, but the play of Matthew Stafford is raising doubts about his ability to deliver in key moments. There’s no denying the Rams talent, but it isn’t translating into victories as of late.
As for the rest of the wild card picture in the NFC, it’s a complete mess. The Philadelphia Eagles are playing a bit better as of late but still can’t string together more than two consecutive wins. Cam Newton has yet to elevate the Carolina Panthers to victory. Even after their Week 13 bye, it may be too little, too late to make a major impact in the win column.
The San Francisco 49ers are dealing with injuries, like usual but have been able to mostly overcome them. For now, we’re going with the 49ers and Vikings to earn the final two playoff spots in the conference.
- In The Hunt: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Washington Football Team, New York Giants, Chicago Bears
So who will win Super Bowl LVI?
There’s a lot of football to play, it’ll be much easier to figure out who might hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVI as the season goes on.
As for the road to Super Bowl 2022, here are some bold predictions: the Buffalo Bills take out the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game with the Green Bay Packers defeating Tom Brady and the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
From there, we get a duel between cold-weather teams in Los Angeles. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the best defense in the NFL facing Aaron Rodgers and a surging Packers’ defense. It would come down to the final minutes, a Super Bowl classic. more: sportsnaut.com
NFL playoff bracket: Full postseason predictions for AFC and NFC
- Wild card round: Bills over Bengals, Patriots over Ravens, Chiefs over Chargers
- Divisional round: Bills over Titans, Chiefs over Patriots
- AFC Championship Game: Bills over Chiefs
- Wild card round: Cardinals over 49ers, Cowboys over Vikings, Buccaneers over Rams
- Divisional round: Buccaneers over Cardinals, Packers over Cowboys
- NFC Championship Game: Packers over Buccaneers
- Super Bowl 2022: Buffalo Bills over Green Bay Packers