*NFL WEEK 18 RECAP (2022 Season)

It is always great to finish up a mediocre season with a win over Dallas. Although, all in all, It doesn’t erase all the bitterness I feel. Missing out on the playoff sucks. Nonetheless, this win left a sweeter taste in my mouth as we look to take some severe and critical steps in 2023.

Sam Howell showed some flashes of potential greatness. I liked what I saw. However, knowing that we have the 16th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, we should prioritize the O-line and add better protection to whoever is our QB in 2023.

Defensively, we need to resign Payne at all costs. Our secondary played better in the second half of the season after we traded William Jackson III — Kendall Fuller is our top corner, and Ben St Juste, Derrick Forrest, and Kam Kurl are solid. We need to add depth or draft another corner who could contribute immediately.

OC Scott Turner was fired. I didn’t think Turner was the main issue, but he was scapegoated. Ron Rivera will probably look at QB coach Ken Zampase or maybe at Buffalo’s OC Ken Dorsey for the job.

WASH 26 — COWBOYS 6

Next up, Washington will focus on the Draft while the team sale looms in the background.

And for the rest of the league,

EAGLES 22 — NY GIANTS 16
The Eagles finally clinched the NFC East title and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Jalen Hurts looked okay here but not as mobile as earlier in the season; maybe having a first-round bye will serve him well to recover. Next, Philadelphia has a week off, and then they will host the lowest-seeded team after the first round of games.

The NY Giants are limping into the playoffs. Daniel Jones has played well but not consistently enough to inspire much confidence. On the other hand, Saquon Barkley can be explosive when healthy, and their Defense is getting crucial players back in time for the 1st round of games. Next, the NY Giants visit Minnesota. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

49ERS 38 — CARDINALS 13
The 49ers are streaking into the playoffs with 10 straight wins and as the number 2 seed in the NFC. The only question here is rookie QB Brock Purdy and how he will adjust to the post-season pressure. Next, San Francisco hosts Seattle. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The Cardinals finished an extremely disappointing 4-13 season. Kliff Kingsbury was fired. The friction between Kingsbury and Kyler Murray was palpable throughout most of the season. In retrospect, I initially thought that the hiring of Kingsbury was a head-scratching move by Arizona, Mostly because Kingsbury seemed unqualified to coach an NFL team. Next, Arizona’s top priority will be to find a qualified NFL Head Coach to maximize Kyler Murray’s potential.

CHIEFS 31 — RAIDERS 13
The Chiefs finished the season strong with a 14-3 record and the number 1 seed in the AFC. Unfortunately, Kansas City doesn’t seem as dangerous and dynamic as previous years. But most importantly, they won 10 out of their last 11 games, which is reason enough to consider them favorites. Next, Kansas City will host the lowest-seeded team after the AFC first round of playoff games.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a mediocre season. They went from a 10-7 playoff team under Rich Bisaccia last year to a 6-11 pathetic showing in 2022. The hiring of Josh McDaniels was an overreach. In addition, the benching of Derek Carr pretty much ended his run with the Raiders. Also, the rumors about the Tom Brady and McDaniels reunion have already begun. Next, the Raiders need to figure out the QB position and resign Josh Jacobs.

BRONCOS 31 — LA CHARGERS 28
Russell Wilson had his best game of the season, giving Bronco Nation some hope for 2023. Nevertheless, the Broncos finished this forgettable season at 5-12. The trade for Russell Wilson is looking like a massive mistake. Next, Denver will enter the offseason searching for a new Head Coach that can work and maximize whatever is left out of Russell Wilson.

The LA Chargers were locked in for the 5th seed spot in the AFC. As a result, the outcome of this game would not affect their playoff position. However, it is not a good sign to lose your last game of the season right before the playoffs. Next, the LA Chargers visit Jacksonville. Advantage, Jacksonville Jaguars.

LIONS 20 — PACKERS 16
The Lions were eliminated earlier in the day after Seattle beat the Rams. Nevertheless, Detroit was determined to play spoiler. This was a successful season for Detroit; they finished 9-8 and look like a team ready to take the next step in 2023. Next, Detroit needs to continue to build around Jared Goff and upgrade its Defense.

The Packers got eliminated from the playoffs by losing this close game at home. Green Bay used to own Detroit, but the tables have turned in the NFC North. Sadly, this might’ve been Aaron Rodgers’s final game in Green Bay. Next, Green Bay will enter the offseason dealing with all the rumors and the uncertainty regarding Aaron Rodgers.

JAGUARS 20 — TITANS 16
The Jaguars had an outstanding season. They went from 3-14 in 2021 to 9-8 in 2022 and became AFC South Division Champs. A remarkable turnaround. Jacksonville finally has a legit Head Coach and a franchise QB. Next, Jacksonville host the LA Chargers. Advantage, Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Titans were considered contenders entering the 2022 season; however, injuries, turnovers, and other inconsistencies led this team to a losing season. Their GM was fired in November, plus Ryan Tannehill had a season-ending injury. Rookie QB Malik Wills was thrown in replacement but did not look NFL-ready. Next, Tennessee must improve its O-line and add depth throughout its roster. But finding a new GM that can work well with Mike Vrabel is priority number 1.

SEAHAWKS 19 — LA RAMS 16
The Seahawks took care of business by beating their Division rival. And Detroit did them a solid by beating the Packers, thus securing Seattle’s playoff berth. This was a remarkable overachieving season for Seattle. Geno Smith was a revelation; nobody saw this coming. Next, Seattle visits San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.

The LA Rams were a long shot at repeating Super Bowl Champs. Their salary cap issues, lack of draft picks, and multiple injuries to crucial players were too much for the Rams to overcome. Next, the Rams need to figure out if Sean McVay will return or take some time away from coaching and start making some salary cap space.

BENGALS 27 — RAVENS 16
The Bengals clinched the AFC North for the second straight season. Coincidently, they will run this game back against Baltimore on wildcard weekend. Next, Cincinnati hosts Baltimore. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens are entering the playoffs with no Lamar Jackson and looking anemic on all sides of the ball, especially on Offense. Next, Baltimore visits Cincinnati. Advantage, Cincinnati Bengals.

VIKINGS 29 — BEARS 13
The Vikings finished the season looking strong at 13-4 and as NFC North Champs. Unfortunately, Minnesota has been unreliable from week to week, and their Defense is shaky at best. I don’t expect them to go far in the playoffs. Kevin O’Connell has done an outstanding job as a rookie Head Coach. Next, Minnesota hosts the NY Giants. Advantage, Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears should feel great about Justin Fields; he looked like a dynamic playmaker throughout the season. But unexpectedly, Chicago landed the 1st overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. As a result, the rumors are running ramped about them selecting a QB and moving away from Fields. Next, Chicago needs to cut the crap and use their number 1 overall pick as leverage to trade back and add more picks.

BILLS 35 — PATRIOTS 23
The Bills played inspired and motivated to win this game for Damar Hamlin, and in the process, they also eliminated New England from playoff contention. Buffalo finished the season strong, winning 7 straight games, and had the AFC East title in the bag weeks ago. Next, Buffalo has Miami. Advantage, Buffalo Bills

The Patriots were a clown show the entire season. Their OC fiasco was beyond insane; Belicheater is getting exposed as a coach who benefited from all the cheating and rule-bending they did the last 20 years. Especially in the early 2000s. Next, New England will need to find a competent Offensive Coordinator and undo all the damage done to Mac Jones’s QB development.

FALCONS 30 — BUCCANEERS 17
The Falcons needed to win this game and show some signs of hope for 2023. Rookie QB Desmond Ridder finally found the end zone, throwing for 224 yards, 2 TDs, and no picks. At 7-10, Atlanta had some good moments this season, but they are still in rebuilding mode. Next, Atlanta will probably release Marcus Mariota and stick with Ridder as their QB next season as they continue to rebuild through the Draft.

The Bucs didn’t need to win this game, but it is always good to finish the season on a winning streak. At 8-9, Tampa Bay is entering wildcard weekend with a losing record but with lots of hope; they are getting a bunch of crucial players back from injury and should be the favorite to beat Dallas. Tom Brady has never lost against the Cowboys. Next, Tampa Bay hosts Dallas. Advantage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

DOLPHINS 11 — NY JETS 6
With this win and with some help from Buffalo, Miami clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2016. Rookie Head Coach Mike McDonald should be commended this season for the exceptional coaching job. But, sadly, their cinderella run might end on Wildcard weekend. Tua has been ruled out, and rookie QB Skylar Thompson doesn’t inspire much confidence. Next, Miami visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.

The NY Jets looked like a playoff-bound team early in the season. However, they lost 6 games in a row, and the whole mess with QB Zach Wilson worsened things. On top of all that, Head Coach Robert Saleh scapegoated and fired Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Next, the NY Jets need to go out and find a new OC and a new franchise QB. It will be a long off-season for the Jets.

TEXANS 32 — COLTS 31
The Texans stupidly fired Lovie Smith — It was probably because they won this game, and by winning, they did not land the number 1 overall pick in the upcoming Draft. Oddly, Houston fired Head Coach David Culley last year after his first and only season. It doesn’t look good for Houston to fire two black Head Coaches after only 1 season on the job. Next, Houston is actively searching for a new Head Coach; they have requested interviews with 49ers DC DeMeco Ryan and Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon. But Houston needs to address and fix all their cultural issues first if they want to be taken seriously as an NFL franchise.

The Colts are another mess of a team. The Jeff Saturday experiment was a disaster, and now they are searching for a new Head Coach and a new franchise QB. They have requested to interview Rams DC Raheem Morris. Also, Lions DC Aaron Glenn and OC Ben Johnson are in the mix. Next, Indianapolis will likely select a QB with the 4th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

STEELERS 28 — BROWNS 14
The Steelers took care of business by winning this game. However, Miami beating the Jets eliminated Pittsburgh from playoff contention. Nonetheless, this was a remarkable season for a team in the middle of rebuilding. Next, Pittsburgh must determine if Kenny Pickett is the quarterback answer and continue rebuilding through the Draft.

Not surprisingly, the Browns finished this season with a losing record. Nevertheless, at 7-10. their overall record was better than I expected. I thought Jacoby Brissett did an excellent job running the Offense until Deshaun Watson could return from suspension. However, I was surprised by how much their Defense struggled. As a result, DC Joe Woods was relieved of his duties. Next, Cleveland needs to find a new DC and continue to get Deshaun Watson in NFL form.

PANTHERS 10 — SAINTS 7
The Panthers had a late-season surge that brought them within a game of winning the NFC South. At 7-10, Interim Head Coach Steve Wilks has made a case to be retained as the permanent coach. But Carolina’s front office seems focused on an offensive-minded Coach. Next, Carolina needs to hire a head coach and figure out their QB situation.

Without Drew Brees and Sean Payton, the Saints lost their first season since 2016. New Orleans has many pieces to be a contender, but injuries and inconsistent QB plays have plagued the Saints this season. Next, New Orleans needs to add more depth to critical positions and figure out their QB situation.

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