NFL specialists debate: 2022 MVP and Tremendous Bowl LVII picks, plus groups to look at this offseason
Welcome to the NFL offseason. The Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl LVI champs, and we’re already looking forward to the favorites for subsequent yr’s title sport. Caesars Sportsbook says it is the Kansas City Chiefs (13-2 odds), adopted by the Buffalo Bills (7-1) and Rams (10-1). Which groups do our specialists assume will play in Tremendous Bowl LVII? You may need to scroll all the way down to see their picks.
We additionally requested our panel of 12 ESPN NFL insiders to make their picks for 2022 MVP (trace: It is an all-quarterback race), together with probably the most attention-grabbing group of the offseason. We’re only some weeks away from the beginning of 2022 free agency, and the spring could possibly be stuffed with a number of beginning quarterbacks altering groups, very like we noticed in 2021, when Matthew Stafford was traded to the City of Angels and instantly earned his wings (and a hoop).
Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo are among the many high-profile signal-callers who could change teams, however there could possibly be extra motion earlier than April’s draft.
Let’s get into the three questions for our panel, beginning with their early Tremendous Bowl picks:
What’s your early Tremendous Bowl LVII decide?
Stephania Bell, fantasy soccer analyst: 49ers over Bills. Twice the bridesmaids within the postseason throughout the Kyle Shanahan period, the 49ers have the expertise to win all of it if their inheritor to the quarterback throne, Trey Lance, continues to develop. Josh Allen and the Payments had been a possession away from the Tremendous Bowl, and they are going to be again — however ultimately the Niners’ protection (with some incoming enhancements within the secondary) helps tip the dimensions of their favor.
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Bills over 49ers. The Payments will undergo some adjustments with Ken Dorsey as the brand new offensive coordinator, however I nonetheless anticipate a quarterback-centric system designed round Josh Allen‘s high-end bodily skills. And with a protection that may restrict explosive performs, this group has the make-up of a championship squad.
Mike Clay, fantasy soccer author: Packers over Bills. Aaron Rodgers will return for another run and, after successful 13 regular-season video games however failing to achieve the Tremendous Bowl in three straight seasons, the Packers lastly get excessive. Naturally, Rodgers will retire after successful Tremendous Bowl MVP.
Tristan H. Cockcroft, fantasy soccer author: Bills over Cowboys. What?! The Cowboys within the Tremendous Bowl?! Take into account it extra the product of a wide-open NFC in my estimation — although an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers group would stay powerful to wager in opposition to — but it surely’s the Payments who stand out as one of many sport’s most balanced total groups, with a quarterback in Josh Allen who’s an absolute famous person.
Dan Graziano, nationwide NFL author: Chiefs over Rams. The AFC is hard to choose as a result of there are such a lot of good groups. The NFC is hard to choose as a result of there seem like so few. With out realizing who’s going to be the quarterback in locations reminiscent of Inexperienced Bay, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and many others., it is method too early to evaluate who the true contenders will probably be. However as of now I am going to wager on Patrick Mahomes & Co. bouncing again, as a result of that looks like as secure a February wager as any.
Eric Moody, fantasy soccer author: Bills over 49ers. Josh Allen is among the league’s high dual-threat quarterbacks, Stefon Diggs is an elite broad receiver, Gabriel Davis is an up-and-comer on the precipice of a breakout season and cornerback Tre’Davious White will probably be again following an ACL tear. After shedding consecutive playoff video games to the Chiefs, the Payments will probably be extremely motivated to atone for his or her errors.
Jason Reid, senior NFL author, The Undefeated: Chiefs over Cowboys. After stewing all offseason concerning the Chiefs’ gorgeous second-half collapse within the AFC Championship Sport, Patrick Mahomes will return higher than ever. Similar to they rebuilt their offensive line final offseason, the Chiefs will transfer so as to add pass-rushers this spring. Vast receiver Mecole Hardman will lastly take a giant step ahead to assist future Corridor of Famers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. For Dallas, Dak Prescott will lead a dominating offense. On protection, linebacker Micah Parsons will probably be second to none within the sport whereas taking cost of a top-five unit.
Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: Chiefs over Rams. With a nasty style of their mouths following a second-half collapse within the AFC Championship Sport loss to the Bengals, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will return on a rampage. And the Rams will make a return to the Tremendous Bowl by operating it again for an additional season with many of the similar gamers.
Kevin Seifert, nationwide NFL author: Bills over Packers. The Payments have been so shut the previous two years, and ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index ranked them as the perfect group of 2021 (whatever the final result of the playoffs). And at this second, there are many causes to assume Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the remainder of the Packers’ elite gamers are headed again to Inexperienced Bay for another run at a championship.
Mike Tannenbaum, NFL front-office insider: Chiefs over Cowboys. Patrick Mahomes stays the perfect participant on the planet. The Cowboys will lastly recover from the hump by correcting their largest drawback — self-discipline — and dramatically lower down on penalties (they led the league in 2-21). Continuity will serve Dak Prescott effectively, and the Cowboys will probably be within the high 5 within the league in offense and protection.
Seth Walder, sports activities analytics author: Chargers over Packers. That the Chargers missed the postseason hid the truth that Justin Herbert produced an impressive season. Just a little optimistic regression on protection, and so they might shortly develop into harmful.
Discipline Yates, NFL analyst: Bills over Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is just not with the Packers subsequent season, the sport adjustments, however with Rodgers beneath contract in Inexperienced Bay, I feel the Packers discover a option to do sufficient to maintain the roster intact to some extent that one other profitable season is on faucet — this time with a visit to the Tremendous Bowl, the place they arrive up simply brief in opposition to the high-powered, Josh Allen-led Payments.
Who’s your decide to be subsequent season’s MVP?
Bell: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Name it recency bias in order for you, however there is no such thing as a denying the success of the Bengals’ 2021 season hinged on Burrow’s management and can to win as a lot as his play. Get the person some safety and after an offseason that will not be targeted on recovering from ACL reconstruction, we might see a fair higher yr from him.
Bowen: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers. He had 38 landing throws final season with greater than 5,000 yards. An ascending pocket thrower with simple motion skill and upper-tier arm expertise, Herbert can have the numbers — and the big-game moments — to win the MVP subsequent season.
Clay: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen has been high six in Total QBR every of the previous two seasons whereas typically carrying your complete Buffalo offense with each his arm and legs. The Payments are constructed for an additional title run, and that can place him for sturdy MVP consideration.
Cockcroft: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. I hate that the MVP award is boiling down to close certainty of going to a quarterback nowadays, to not point out sometimes these on high-seeded contenders, however this will probably be some of the deserving awards amongst those that match these standards. The Payments must be super as a group, and Allen is already proper there within the dialog for greatest participant within the league. A 13-4 season (or a season in that vary) will give him excellent odds of an MVP win.
Graziano: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Broncos. That is proper — I went there. I do not know. Successful three MVPs in a row is hard, however primarily due to voter fatigue. My prediction is that Rodgers will probably be in a brand new place, taking part in in addition to ever with Nathaniel Hackett as his coach … and that looks like a narrative voters might get behind, no?
Moody: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Following a torn ACL and MCL throughout his rookie season in 2020, Burrow had a surprising 2021 season. In 2022, he ought to attain profession highs with a younger group of offensive playmakers, one other offseason to hone his craft as an expert quarterback and contemporary motivation after a heartbreaking Tremendous Bowl loss.
Jason Reid: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. Sure, Mahomes struggled early final season. Sure, he performed poorly within the second half of the AFC title sport. However he’s additionally able to overcoming seemingly insurmountable conditions with little time remaining on the sport clock. Simply ask the Payments.
Jordan Reid: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs. With minimal transferring components exiting the constructing, Mahomes will not be glad with how final season ended. That can stay on his thoughts your complete 2022 season as he goes on to win his second MVP award.
Seifert: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. There’s motive to fret about Allen’s long-term trajectory, given the punishment that comes alongside along with his bodily taking part in type. However he completed the 2021 playoffs taking part in on the highest stage of his profession. That ought to carry into the close to future, particularly the 2022 season.
Walder: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers. I am unsure Herbert obtained the credit score he actually deserved final season, when he ranked third in QBR and second in whole EPA — forward of Aaron Rodgers. With Tom Brady retiring, age an element for Rodgers and certain regression from Buffalo’s protection, Herbert and Patrick Mahomes must be the favorites getting into the season.
Yates: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen completed 2021 on a tear and is firmly entrenched within the dialog for greatest participant in all of soccer. Buffalo had a stretch of inconsistent play throughout this previous common season that stored him out of the MVP dialog, however I believe he will probably be an annual contender going ahead.
Which is probably the most attention-grabbing group of the offseason?
Bell: Packers. The standing of Aaron Rodgers is unknown at this level, which already makes them probably the most attention-grabbing. If he goes, it not solely impacts how the Packers look subsequent season (what does free agent Davante Adams do?), however there may be additionally a ripple impact. Clearly wherever Rodgers lands makes that group one to look at, however how different groups subsequently pursue expertise acquisition and trades makes them extra intriguing, too.
Bowen: Packers. Aaron Rodgers could possibly be transferring on. And Davante Adams, the league’s greatest broad receiver, is a free agent. Matt LaFleur’s membership may need a a lot totally different look subsequent season if Rodgers and Adams are taking part in elsewhere.
Tim Hasselbeck considers Aaron Rodgers too precious for the Packers to commerce away.
Clay: Buccaneers. The Bucs have been a powerhouse since Tom Brady‘s arrival, however the GOAT’s retirement coupled with a CVS-receipt-length checklist of free brokers has severely clouded this group’s outlook. Discovering a option to retain not less than just a few free brokers (Chris Godwin, Ryan Jensen, Carlton Davis, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Whitehead, Ndamukong Suh, and many others.) might preserve them in wild-card rivalry, however which may not matter a lot if they do not discover their option to a standout quarterback — a tricky job contemplating the present obtainable choices.
Cockcroft: Broncos. They’ve each the cap area and draft capital (5 picks within the first three rounds) to mount a critical commerce pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, in addition to a brand new coach in Nathaniel Hackett who was Rodgers’ offensive coordinator the previous two seasons. How this group crafts itself getting into 2022 is a key story to look at unfold.
Graziano: Eagles. They’ve three first-round draft picks, and regardless of what was mentioned in a postseason information convention, will we actually know the way assured they’re in Jalen Hurts as their long-term QB reply? These three first-rounders imply the Eagles have to not less than discover the opportunity of buying and selling for a veteran. And if not, and so they resolve to construct round Hurts, it will be fascinating to look at what meaning by way of how they allocate their offseason sources.
Moody: Broncos. Contemplating the group is available in the market for a franchise quarterback, and after what the Rams had been capable of accomplish with Matthew Stafford this season and the Buccaneers with Tom Brady the yr prior, the thought of Aaron Rodgers transferring to Denver is intriguing. The addition of Rodgers would make the Broncos fast Tremendous Bowl contenders as a result of they have already got offensive playmakers, reminiscent of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Javonte Williams.
Jason Reid: Packers. It will be enjoyable watching all the twists and turns because the Packers try to please Aaron Rodgers and retain famous person broad receiver Davante Adams, who’s a free agent. Nicely, enjoyable for everybody besides the Packers.
Jordan Reid: Packers. With commerce rumors of Aaron Rodgers swirling and Davante Adams set to develop into an unrestricted free agent, they’re set for an eventful offseason. Does Adams get a brand new deal or the franchise tag, or is he elsewhere?
Seifert: 49ers. Prior to now three seasons, the 49ers have performed in two NFC Championship Video games and one Tremendous Bowl. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helped them get there in each circumstances. He additionally performed a giant function in them falling in need of a championship. If studies about their intent to maneuver on from Garoppolo are correct, it will likely be fascinating to see how they construct round presumed alternative Trey Lance — and if they’re any higher with him in 2022.
Tannenbaum: Broncos. I consider they are going to commerce for Aaron Rodgers. They might develop into the Packers West in a short time — and so they simply employed Nathaniel Hackett from Inexperienced Bay as head coach.
Walder: Vikings. The brand new regime has to make an important determination on Kirk Cousins that’s going to set the monitor for the franchise for years to return. Do they transfer on from Cousins, hoping to seize worth for him in the trade market, and begin over at quarterback? Or recommit to him, prolong his contract to decrease his fast cap hit and hope to win within the brief time period? It is a tough spot with big penalties.
Yates: Steelers. For the primary time in practically 20 years, the Steelers will want a brand new beginning quarterback. In what looks as if an offseason that might embrace some notable veteran trades, does Pittsburgh method the place that method or work to draft its successor to Ben Roethlisberger?