The 2022 NFL season is upon us; it kicks off on September 8th at 7:20 p.m CST. This article will highlight seven teams that I believe are in the front running for being the potential 2023 Super Bowl Champion.
The Los Angeles Rams are one of the top teams, if not the top, contending for the Super Bowl this year. The Rams won last year’s Super Bowl while having a solid team built around 2021 Offensive Player of the Year, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, defensive tackle Aaron Donald. This offseason, the Rams extended Kupp’s contract, reconstructed Donald’s, and signed former Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson. They also have a trustworthy quarterback in Matthew Stafford and other superstars such as corner-back Jalen Ramsey and running back Cam Akers. However, this offseason, the Rams did lose linebacker Von Miller to the Bills’ and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. This team is known as the “super team” of the NFL.
The Buffalo Bills are another team that is looking good going into this season. They are led by superstar quarterback Josh Allen, who is a 2-time Pro Bowler and is considered undoubtedly a top 5 MVP candidate for this year. They also have cornerback Tre’davious White, safety Jordan Poyer, and pass-rusher Von Miller capping off this complete team. They are also built around offensive threats such as their wide receiver duo, Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. They did not lose anybody significant this year and added more firepower.
In addition, the Kansas City Chiefs are in the front running for a Super Bowl. Leading this team is former MVP Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is a 3-time Pro Bowler in his five seasons and led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory in 2019. Other than Mahomes, the Chiefs also have stars such as tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones. However, they did lose two large pieces in speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill and All-Pro safety Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu.
The Cincinnati Bengals are another team looking to get revenge after losing last year’s Super Bowl. They are led by a young core surrounding quarterback Joe Burrow, who has only played one full season but has shown fans what a playmaker he is. Along with Burrow, this team has many young studs. They consist of 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, running back Joe Mixon, safety Jessie Bates III, and defensive end Trey Hendrickson. They did not lose anybody important but instead built an offensive line by signing players like La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Carras. This team is young and talented going into this season and is built for the future.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the 2021 Super Bowl Champions and exited in the NFC Divisional Round last season. This team is led by 7-time Super Bowl champion and 3-time MVP Tom Brady, who came back to the Buccaneers this year after initially considering retirement. Other premium talents on the Buccaneers consist of wide receiver Mike Evans, as well as the linebacker trio of Lavonte David, Devin White, and Shaquille Barrett. The Bucs did lose future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement, as well as losing wide receiver Antonio Brown to off-field issues in Week 17 of last season. They gained more assets to help out their core when they picked up 7-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones, as well as defensive tackle Akeim Hicks to bulk up the defensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys were an excellent team last year and are hoping to repeat their regular season success, but more importantly advance further in the playoffs. They bring a lot to the table with the quarterback-wide receiver duo of Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb on the offensive end, and cornerback Trevon Diggs and Defensive Rookie of the Year, linebacker Micah Parsons, on the defensive end. The Cowboys had an unfortunate offseason flaw in trading 4-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. Dallas has a huge advantage this season by being in the NFC East, which is seen as a weak division.
Another team on the rise is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are the only team on this list that was not in the playoffs last season. They have a lot to prove, with young star quarterback Justin Herbert under center and aggressive coach Brandon Staley calling plays.
Saint Paul’s Sophomore, Aidan Smith, predicts “Justin Herbert will be the 2022 NFL MVP.”
Besides having Herbert, the Chargers also made many trades and signings this offseason to boost their chances at a winning Super Bowl. Some of these include the signing of All-Pro cornerback JC Jackson or their trade for former Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack. Although they had these great moves and did not lose a lot of players, they still are very young and inexperienced while having a mediocre offensive line. They also have an extremely tough division, which could put some setbacks on their season.
Why the New Orleans Saints didn’t make the cut:
Our very own New Orleans Saints did not cut for many reasons. One of them is the quarterback situation.
My list is filled with teams with quality quarterbacks they can rely on. On the other hand, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions in his last full season as a starter, leading the 2019 Buccaneers to a 7-9 record, third in the NFC South division.
The other potential problem is the coaching situation. New head coach Dennis Allen might throw off some players and be a challenging change for the veteran players.
The last primary reason the Saints are not on my list of contenders is that they are in the same division as the Buccaneers. If the Saints cannot beat out the Buccaneers to win the NFC South, they will not receive a home-field advantage in the playoffs, which has shown to lower their Super Bowl chances.
If I had to rank this Saints team among the NFL teams, I would place them around 13th for these reasons.