Football, Sports

2022 NFL postseason predictions

Since 1990, more than 75 per cent of Conference Championship victors have been seeded in the top two. It has been almost an entire decade since an NFL team seeded third or lower have even appeared in the Super Bowl—the last time being the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. This season may see a continuation of these steady trends, but two teams may disrupt these tendencies come Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. 

The Top Seeds

#1 Green Bay Packers

The Packers are led once again by the reigning MVP and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is looking to return to his first Super Bowl since 2010. The future Hall-of-Famer has lost four straight NFC Championship Games, but with a number one seed and a bye in the wild card round, the path to the ultimate game is possibly the most straightforward of Rodgers’ career. With All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari returning right before the playoff push, the Packers are not only the favourites to win the conference, but the front-runners to bring home another Lombardi to “Titletown.”

#2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Led by the “G.O.A.T” Tom Brady, the Buccaneers remain poised to lift the Lombardi trophy for the second year in a row, a feat that has only been achieved once this century, accomplished by the very same quarterback almost two decades ago. Despite many believing Tampa Bay to be the favourite to win the NFC, the Bucs have shown serious lapses in the latter half of the season, and will likely have to go on the road in the conference championship game again to capture a berth in Super Bowl LVI.

Potential Spoiler – #4 Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have returned to their magnificent form under head coach Sean McVay’s first two seasons, with 2009 number one overall pick Matthew Stafford and NFL leading receiver Cooper Kupp driving one of the top offences in the league. On the other side of the ball, three-time Defensive Player of the Year—and the most dominant player in all of the NFL—defensive tackle Aaron Donald has spearheaded a superb defence along with first team all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Although the Rams have talent loaded on both sides of the ball, the history of their quarterback in the playoffs has raised questions about the potential of a Super Bowl return for Los Angeles.

American Football Conference (AFC)

#1 Tennessee Titans

For just the second time since their heart-breaking SuperBowl XXXIV defeat in the 1999 season, the Tennessee Titans have finished the season atop the AFC. Losing to Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game just two seasons ago, the Titans are looking to finally dethrone the back-to-back AFC Champions and return to the ultimate game for the first time in two decades. A team complete with strong offensive and defensive lines, and formidable playmakers on offence such as Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, the Titans boast a 7-2 record this season at Nissan Stadium, and will look to prove to the rest of the league that both this season and the future of the conference will run through Nashville. 

#2 Kansas City Chiefs

A team that needs no introduction, the Super Bowl LIV champions and the 2020 AFC Champions will look to return to the big game for the third year in a row, a feat that has only been achieved once since the early 1990s by the New England Patriots. Led by former MVP Patrick Mahomes and his reliable receiving crew of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs struggled early on this season, but have since won nine of their last ten heading into Wild Card Weekend—a trend that may seem intimidating to those trying to knock off the kings of the conference in late January. 

Potential Spoiler – #4 Cincinnati Bengals

The dark horse in these NFL playoffs, the Bengals have already beaten AFC favourites Kansas City in January this season and will look for similar results through the end of the month. A strong front seven on defence and two of college football’s most recent superstars—former LSU Tigers Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase—lead Cincinnati’s “new kids on the block” mentality, as head coach Zac Taylor looks to become the second-youngest frontman to win the Lombardi Trophy.

The McGill Tribune Predicts:

AFC Championship Game: Chiefs defeat Bengals 

NFC Championship Game: Packers defeat Buccaneers 

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