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Super Bowl, MVP, bold picks and more

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Super Bowl, MVP, bold picks and more

The NFL is finally back this week with the 2022 regular season set to get underway Thursday with a barnburner of an opening matchup as the defending Super Bowl champion Rams face this season’s odds-on favorites to win it all, the Bills.

Can Josh Allen and the Bills get over the hump following an off-season power shift that saw the AFC get stronger? Or, will Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs be Buffalo’s kryptonite in the playoffs for a third straight season?

Russell Wilson was traded to the Broncos, former MVP Matt Ryan is now wearing a Colts uniform, and Davante Adams is reunited with his college QB Derek Carr over in Las Vegas. The Chargers and Ravens are led by two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson, respectively, and cannot be overlooked.

Subsequently, the race for an NFC championship is wider than it was a year ago. The Rams are looking to repeat and to do so they’ll need to hold off Tom Brady’s Bucs and Aaron Rodgers’ Packers. The Eagles made several bold moves this summer, Trey Lance took over behind center in San Francisco, and the Saints are getting several key weapons back from injury and hoping to disrupt the NFC power structure.

As we do each year, we’ve rounded up a panel of Sportsnet’s NFL contributors to collect their picks and predictions for the upcoming football season.

Let’s dig in.

Donovan Bennett, Writer/Host

Eight division winners: CIN, IND, BUF, KC – MIN, TB, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Chiefs over Buccaneers
MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Player poised for big season with new team: AJ Brown (Eagles)

One bold prediction: The New England Patriots will finish below .500 for just the second time in two decades.

Mike Koreen, Sr. Editor

Eight division winners: BAL, IND, BUF, KC – GB, NO, PHI, SF
Super Bowl matchups: Chiefs over Packers
MVP: QB Justin Herbert (Chargers)
Player poised for big season with new team: WR AJ Brown (Eagles)

One bold prediction: The New Orleans Saints beat out Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC South.

Drew Livingstone, SN YouTube Manager

Eight division winners: BAL, IND, BUF, KC – GB, NO, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Buccaneers over Bills
MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Player poised for big season with new team: WR Davante Adams (Raiders)

One bold prediction: Bengals suffer a Super Bowl appearance hangover and miss the playoffs entirely.

David Morassutti, Associate Editor

Eight division winners: CIN, IND, BUF, LAC – GB, TB, DAL, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Buccaneers over Chargers
MVP: QB Josh Allen (Bills)
Player poised for big season with new team: WR Julio Jones (Bucs)

One bold prediction: The New England Patriots missed the playoffs. After surprising many by grabbing a wild-card spot in 2021, the Patriots face a tough schedule, especially in the second half, and the competition in the AFC makes it tough for them to sneak in.

Hayley McGoldrick, Associate Editor

Eight division winners: CIN, IND, BUF, LAC – GB, TB, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Chargers over Buccaneers
MVP: QB Josh Allen (Bills)
Player poised for big season with new team: WR AJ Brown (Eagles)

One bold prediction: With an upgrade at his team’s quarterback position, Michael Pittman Jr. will have an even better season than last and be one of the league’s top receivers with Matt Ryan under center.

Shoaib Alli, Radio Producer

Eight division winners: CIN, IND, BUF, LAC – GB, TB, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Bills over Packers
MVP: QB Joe Burrow (Bengals)
Player poised for big season with new team: WR Christian Kirk (JAX)

One bold prediction: Look out for the Lions, who will finish with a winning record for the first time since…2017! They have great offensive pieces like shifty RB DeAndre Swift and Pro Bowl tight end TJ Hockenson, plus new additions DJ Chark and Alabama rookie Jameson Williams (working his way back from a torn ACL). QB Jared Goff will have plenty of time to assess the field behind a strong offensive line, and with rookies Aiden Hutchinson and Josh Paschal added to the defensive line, Detroit will be tough all season.

Emily Sadler, Staff Writer

Eight division winners: BAL, IND, BUF, LAC – MIN, TB, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Bills over Rams
MVP: QB Justin Herbert (Chargers)
Player poised for big season with new team: QB Russell Wilson (Broncos)

One bold prediction: So strong is the stacked AFC West that even the last-place team – the Raiders, by an inch – finishes the season with a winning record.

Mike Johnston, Staff Writer

Eight division winners: BAL, IND, BUF, LAC – GB, NO, PHI, LAR
Super Bowl matchups: Colts over Eagles
MVP: QB Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
Player poised for big season with new team: OT Terron Armstead (Dolphins)

One bold prediction: Jameis Winston has a career year, outperforms Tom Brady in the NFC South and finishes as a top-five MVP candidate after leading the Saints to a division title. Winston will also be named Comeback Player of the Year.

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