EASTERN DIVISION: THE BILLS DIVISION
For two years, the Bills have been at the top of the Eastern Division and it's hard to believe they will give way with a high-quality roster. The Patriots heated them up last season, but they're making major changes. The Dolphins have added a lot of luster to climb into the race for the throne, while the Jets have the potential to show some nice upside.
BILLS BUFFALO< br>Record in 2021: 11-6, division champions, playoffs
ONLY IN THE LEAD
Who can dethrone the Bills in the East Division? The short answer: no one! Truth be told, their biggest opposition comes more from a robust schedule than from the teams in their section. In the first eight weeks, they will notably see the Rams, Titans, Ravens, Chiefs and Packers. The test will be revealing.
The Bills' already well-rounded roster has been enhanced by the addition of veteran Von Miller on the defensive front. The latter, despite his age, rendered great service to the Rams last year, after his acquisition. He won the Super Bowl with two teams and will be an outstanding mentor for the young defensive line in Buffalo.
The offensive core remains the same with high quality receivers around quarterback Josh Allen. The emergence of Gabriel Davis hints at a dominant aerial attack. The ground game is less formidable, but the addition of dynamic rookie carrier James Cook, who should also excel at catching passes, brings an additional threat. The Bills are the team to beat in the NFL, nothing less.
Prediction for 2022 (divisional champions, playoffs): 13 – 4
› Key additions: Von Miller (linebacker), Jordan Phillips and Tim Settle (tackles) , Jamison Crowder (receiver), Rodger Saffold (guard)
› Rookie to watch: Kaiir Elam (cornerback) will be quickly launched into the bath. Tre'Davious White is recovering from a knee injury, and Levi Wallace is gone. His outfit will be crucial.
› Key departures:Cole Beasley (receiver), Jon Feliciano and Cody Ford (guards), Daryl Williams (blocker), Levi Wallace (cornerback), AJ Klein (linebacker), Harrison Phillips and Star Lotulelei (tackles)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 5
The Bills have played five prime-time games this season, including the very first game, in addition to a Thanksgiving matchup and a another on Christmas Eve.
Record in 2021: 9-8, excluded from the playoffs
MAKE OR BREAK
This is the year young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has to raise his game. is still very young, but such is the ruthless cycle of life for an NFL quarterback.
Fans and the media that follow the Dolphins want to see the third-year center throw more long passes. Last season, according to Pro Football Focus, only 5.3% of his passes went at least 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Tagovailoa was 30th with just 29 pass attempts of 20 yards or more.
The acquisition of receiver Tyreek Hill is therefore no accident, he who is a constant threat on the vertical plane with 11 touchdowns of 40 yards or more in the last three seasons. New head coach Mike McDaniel, the 49ers' former ground game coordinator, will certainly want to focus on the ground game and then open the air game. Moreover, the Dolphins, for this purpose, have greatly improved their offensive line.
The playoffs are not out of reach, but the American conference is so strong…
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from the playoffs): 9 – 8
› Key additions: Tyreek Hill (receiver), Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert (bases), Terron Armstead (blocker), Connor Williams (guard), Melvin Ingram and Trey Flowers (linebackers)
› Rookie to watch: Erik Ezukanma, 4th round pick, finds himself behind three quality receivers, but he impressed in camp. Slowly but surely he could contribute.
› Key Departures: DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Will Fuller (receivers), Jesse Davis (guard), Justin Coleman and Jason McCourty ( cornerbacks)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 10
The Dolphins offense hasn't finished in the top 10 in yards gained in a season since 1998, the longest such drought in the league.
< strong>NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Record in 2021: 10-7, playoffs
In theory, the Patriots should build on their recovery from last season, with quarterback Mac Jones doing well in his rookie year. However, there are several upheavals within the organization and it is legitimate to ask a few questions.
For the first time in ages, the offense will not be led by Josh McDaniels, who left for the Raiders. It is the former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the former special teams coordinator Joe Judge who, after having made potatoes in Detroit and New York respectively, take control of the attack. There is reason to wonder how well Bill Belichick can win this bold gamble.
On defense, the loss of cornerback JC Jackson leaves a big hole and the linebacking squad is completely reshaped. Yes, of course, Belichick has a knack for finding suitable replacements by kicking a trash can, but the fact remains that the team, despite the renewed life of 2021, could go through a phase of transition.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 9 – 8
› Key additions:DeVante Parker (receiver), Trent Brown (blocker), Raekwon McMillan and Mack Wilson (linebackers), Jabrill Peppers (safety)
› Rookie to watch: Tyquan Thornton (pick of second round) finally become a successful rookie receiver for the Patriots? It will take eight weeks (collarbone injury) to find out.
› Key starts: JC Jackson (cornerback), Shaq Mason (guard), Ted Karras ( center), Chase Winovich, Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy (linebackers)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 5
The Patriots inherited a league-high five-game schedule with a rest window of less than a week.
JETS NEW YORK
Record in 2021: 4-13, excluded from the playoffs
A STEP TOWARDS THE LIGHT
< p>Leaving aside playoff hope, there's reason to believe the Jets have a lot going for them this season. In the gloomy universe of this team, it would already be a huge step.
Of course, to do this, Zach Wilson will have to reveal himself more in his second season as a quarterback, he who is recovering from a knee injury. The organization gave him additional weapons with rookie receiver Garrett Wilson and veteran tight end CJ Uzomah. Elijah Moore, who had an interesting rookie season, should also continue to improve.
Defensively, the secondary was often a shameful sieve last season. The Jets are banking on the fourth overall pick, cornerback Sauce Gardner, to be a game changer. He'll have plenty on his plate, as will another first-round pick, defensive end Jermaine Johnson. Robert Saleh's defensive system works with pressure, and according to Next Gen Stats, the Jets were 30th in applied pressure percentage.
There's a way to go, but the Jets could approaching the threshold of respectability.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 7 – 10
› Key additions: Laken Tomlinson (guard), Duane Brown (blocker), CJ Uzomah (tight end), Jordan Whitehead and DJ Reed (safeties), Kwon Alexander (linebacker)
› Rookie to watch: The Jets have unearthed an offensive weapon with great potential in Breece Hall, a carrier who will contribute in all aspects of the game.
› Key Starts:Morgan Moses (blocker), Jamison Crowder (receiver), Marcus Maye (safety), Shaq Lawson (defensive end)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 0
Since 2020, the Jets show a repulsive 0-12 record against teams in their division.
NORTH DIVISION: STILL A FIERCE STRUGGLE
Will the Bengals come down from their magic carpet ride after the last magical season? Nothing indicates that they are weakened, on the contrary, but the competition could be brutal. The Ravens will be healthy and they are still there. The Steelers should take a step back, but you should never bet all your marbles against a team led by Mike Tomlin. The Browns, due to the suspension of Deshaun Watson, should have a hard time.
Record in 2021: 8-9, excluded from the series
BACK IN FORCE
Everything indicates that the Ravens' poor season in 2021 is just an aberration and the result of an endless series of injuries. Quarterback Lamar Jackson himself missed five games, and the carnage also demolished the backfield.
There have also been major injuries in the secondary (Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, among others). The team has just invested in getting a makeover in order to better defend against the pass with rookie safety Kyle Hamilton, announced as an exceptional player. He will be with Marcus Williams, who had a great start to his career with the Saints.
On the defensive front, Odafe Oweh is a player to watch, he who risks exploding in his second season. Thanks to a healthy ground attack, the defense is likely to be less overtaxed. There are, of course, outstanding questions with the air strike. With the departure of receiver Marquise Brown, the young Rashod Bateman, first round choice last year, will have to work twice as hard. The North Division still looks strong, but the Ravens never shy away from challenges.
Prediction for 2022 (division champions, playoffs): 11 – 6
› Key additions: Morgan Moses (blocker), Demarcus Robinson (receiver), Marcus Williams (safety), Michael Pierce (tackler), Kyle Fuller (cornerback)
< p>› Rookie to watch: Center Tyler Linderbaum dominated in Iowa. Some believe his style doesn't fit with the Ravens' physical play. He will know how to show his value.
› Key starts: Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins (receivers), Alejandro Villanueva (blocker), Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young (corners), Bradley Bozeman (center)
< p>NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 25
In 2021, the Ravens defense dropped to 25th place in both yards and points allowed, the one who housed
Record in 2021: 10-7, division champions, Super Bowl finalists
This is clearly not an urban legend. Defeated Super Bowl finalists often experience a painful aftermath the following season.
The reflex is often to think that the next logical step for a finalist team is to take the next step by going for the big trophy. However, in the last 27 years, only one team defeated in the Super Bowl has returned to the final game the following season, the Patriots four years ago.
So it's undeniable, but we must not not believe that the Bengals are a flash in the pan. They found their leader in Joe Burrow, a quarterback who in all likelihood will continue to improve.
This same Burrow benefits from many quality receivers. The team's most glaring shortcoming, the offensive line that has struggled so much in pass protection, has also been attacked head-on by three crucial signings in the free agent market. No one will be able to say that the Bengals were stingy in protecting their jewel. The tabbys will be in the game again.
Prediction for 2022 (Series): 11 – 6
› Key additions: Alex Cappa (guard), Ted Karras (center), La'el Collins (blocker), Hayden Hurst and OJ Howard (tight ends)
› Rookie to watch:By selecting defensive back Dax Hill, the Bengals want to bet on a versatile player who can play in several positions in the secondary. A beautiful luxury!
› Key starts: Riley Reiff (blocker), Quinton Spain (guard), CJ Uzomah (tight end), Larry Ogunjobi (tackle), Ricardo Allen ( marauder)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 14
Over the past 27 seasons, only 14% of defeated Super Bowl finalists reach the playoffs the following season.
Record in 2021: 9-7-1, playoffs
ERA OF TRANSITION
Hard to imagine the Steelers completely downgraded . It's not in their DNA to surrender easily. However, it is equally difficult to imagine them as serious contenders.
The Ben Roethlisberger era is over. It's not like his temporary successor, Mitchell Trubisky, inspires unwavering faith.
Capable of interesting flash ideas at times, he has a knack for slipping away quickly.
One thing is certain, whether it's with Trubisky or young first choice Kenny Pickett, the offense will have to open the valves . Aerial conservatism has become blatant and opposing defenses are putting their efforts into the ground game, which works behind a porous line. In this regard, despite the arrival of young carrier Najee Harris, the Steelers have fallen to 28th place in the ground.
Defensively, TJ Watt will have to be helped. He's coming back from a fabulous season, but in NFL history, 12 players have had at least 20 sacks in one season and only two have had at least 14 the following year.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from the playoffs): 7 – 10
› Key additions: Mitchell Trubisky (quarterback), James Daniels and Jesse Davis (guards), Mason Cole (center), Myles Jack (linebacker), Levi Wallace (cornerback)
› Rookie to watch:George Pickens seemed destined to become an impact receiver in his Georgia debut. A major injury has held him back, but he could turn into a pleasant surprise.
› Key departures: Ben Roethlisberger (quarterback), JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington ( receivers), Eric Ebron (tight end), Trai Turner (guard), Stephon Tuitt (defensive end), Joe Schobert (linebacker), Joe Haden (cornerback)
KEY NUMBER: 10
As many as 71.9% of passes attempted last year by the Steelers were for less than 10 yards in the air.
Record in 2021: 8-9, excluded from the playoffs
THE PRICE TO PAY
The acquisition of star quarterback Deshaun Watson has caused a lot of noise. On the field, no doubt he has everything to elevate the Browns to the next level. However, his shady off-field actions [allegations of sexual misconduct] raised the prospect of a suspension, and that is now the price the Browns must pay.
Watson will be out 11 games and when he returns it may well be too late to right the boat. Jacoby Brissett will be in charge in his absence. He can get a few wins, nothing more. The ground game should still dominate, but without the presence of a quarterback that the opposing defenses respect, it could get complicated. There is also less depth at the receiver position.
On defense, however, there is everything for the Browns to be competitive, if the youngsters in the secondary respond well. On the front, Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney make an excellent duo, but the interior leaves something to be desired.
Everything suggests that with Watson in 2023, the Browns will be one to watch, but 2022 feels like the season wasted.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 6 – 11
› Key additions: Deshaun Watson (quarterback), Amari Cooper (receiver), Chase Winovich (linebacker), Taven Bryan (tackle)
› Rookie to watch: The departure of veteran receiver Jarvis Landry leaves the door wide open for third-round pick David Bell to take his place as an insert winger. He will have plenty of opportunities to seize.
› Key starts:Baker Mayfield (quarterback), Jarvis Landry (receiver), JC Tretter (center), Austin Hooper (tight end), Mack Wilson (linebacker), Troy Hill (cornerback)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 7
Newcomer Amari Cooper is one of a select group of seven receivers in history to have accumulated more than 7,000 yards and 40 touchdowns before the age of 27.
SOUTH DIVISION: TRANSFORMED TEAMS
For the past few seasons, the Titans have had control of the South Division, but they've lost a few big chunks. For their part, the Colts are still trying to revive themselves with another veteran quarterback, while the Jaguars and Texans, in reconstruction mode, are embarking on new coaches. The portrait of this section could change.
Record in 2021: 9-8, excluded from the playoffs< /p>
Last season, the Colts came within a whisker of making the playoffs, but Carson Wentz's performance didn't convince anyone and they're now looking to veteran Matt Ryan for a fresh start. He therefore becomes the fourth pivot in as many seasons to manage the attack in Indianapolis.
Ryan should be more up to the task than Wentz in key moments and experience less brain cramps. Beware, however, his average of 7.1 yards per pass attempt last season was his lowest in his last eight seasons.
Alongside him though, the running game led by Jonathan Taylor is devastating and will take a ton of pressure off Ryan.
The Colts defense is nothing to sneeze at, even though question marks in the tertiary. Will the addition of Stephon Gilmore, who is not getting any younger, produce the desired effects? The pressure on the quarterbacks should be effective with the arrival of Yannick Ngakoue, especially if his young teammate Kwity Paye explodes in his second year.
The division is not strong and the Colts can rise to the top.
2022 Prediction (Division Champions, Playoffs): 10 – 7
› Key Additions: Matt Ryan (Quarterback), Stephon Gilmore (cornerback), Yannick Ngakoue (defensive end), Rodney McLeod (safety)
› Rookie to watch: Picked in the second round, receiver Alec Pierce will start alongside Michael Pittman Jr and will be a towering target (6'3″, 210 lbs).
› Key starts:Carson Wentz (quarterback), Jack Doyle (tight end), TY Hilton and Zach Pascal (receivers), Mark Glowinski (guard), Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin (corners)
< strong>NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 33
The Colts had 33 turnovers last season, which earned them the second-best total in the league, behind the Cowboys.
Record in 2021: 12-5, division champions, playoffs
ONE STEP BACK?
The Titans deserve credit for making the playoffs last season despite a host of injuries. It got to the point where 52 different starters had to be used. In theory, they could bounce back, but the offense has suffered significant upheaval.
The departure of receiver AJ Brown can potentially hurt a lot. The Titans have protected their back by adding an excellent technician in Robert Woods, but who knows if he will be fully recovered from his knee injury?
They also bet on Treylon Burks in the first round at the draft, but many analysts see it as a polish. The offensive line was also cut from starting guard Rodger Saffold and, on defense, two linebackers jumped ship.
In this division, the Titans will still be competitive, but there is reason to believe that the best days could be behind them. Everything will of course depend on the state of health of the horse Derrick Henry, their outstanding carrier, but crippled in 2021. The confidence of quarterback Ryan Tannehill also seemed affected at the end of the course.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 9 – 8
› Key additions: Robert Woods (receiver), Austin Hooper (tight end), Jamarco Jones (guard)
› Rookie to watch:If Ryan Tannehill starts handing out a few interceptions, the pressure will be on to replace him with Malik Willis. The young quarterback is athletic, but remains a question mark.
› Key starts: AJ Brown and Julio Jones (receivers), Anthony Firkser (tight end), Rodger Saffold (guard), Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans (linebackers), Jackrabbit Jenkins (cornerback)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 91
Last year, the injuries have ravaged the Titans to the point where they have used 91 different players, a league record for a non-strike season.
Record in 2021: 3-14, excluded from the playoffs
A NEW BOSS
After the delightfully anarchic mess that grew up under the immortal Urban Meyer, the Jaguars have opted for a coach who can bring order to the Cabin by Doug Pederson.
Unloved at the end of his time in Philadelphia, he nevertheless has a Super Bowl title under his golf cap. He has experience managing quarterbacks and that's probably a blessing for young Trevor Lawrence, who struggled in his rookie season.
The Jaguars rained down the dollars, in the offseason, for questionable additions like receiver Christian Kirk. He's not a bad player, far from it, but betting on him as number one is a huge risk. An intriguing player on offense will be carrier Travis Etienne, who has missed his entire rookie season. This offense badly needs its dynamism.
On defense, the Jags won't break anything, but if the offense comes out of its torpor even a bit, a few victories of more than last year's three are possible.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 5 – 12
› Additions keys: Christian Kirk and Zay Jones (receivers), Brandon Scherff (guard), Evan Engram (tight end), Foyesade Oluokun (linebacker), Darious Williams (cornerback)
› Rookie to watch: Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, who was the team's second first-round pick last auction, jumps right into Myles Jack's boots in the middle of the defense.
< strong>› Key starts: DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault (receivers), Andrew Norwell and AJ Cann (guard), Taven Bryan (tackle), Myles Jack (linebacker)
NUMBER REMEMBER: 130
The Jaguars have racked up 130 losses in eleven years. This is the highest total ever seen over an 11-season period.
Record in 2021: < strong>4-13, excluded from the playoffs
STILL THE MISERY
In Houston, there is a new head coach in Lovie Smith. That's about the extent of the changes for this season compared to last year.
There are, of course, a few additions here and there that aren't uninteresting, like cornerback Steven Nelson, but nothing to puff out the chest. The most reassuring thing is that the organization has finally been able to replenish its draft picks to ensure that it builds its foundation for the future.
It's a great idea to give the ball to second-year quarterback Davis Mills. He did very well in his rookie year, with 16 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in just 11 starts. Seeing him on a full season with another year of baggage, the Texans will know what to expect in 2023.
It's a safe bet that they will crumble again this season with a uncompetitive roster and that the team will find themselves in the Bryce Young and CJ Stroud derby next spring. Unless Mills can turn water into wine.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 4 – 13
› Key additions: AJ Cann (guard), OJ Howard (tight end), Steven Nelson (cornerback), Jerry Hughes (defensive end)
› Rookie to watch: Running back Dameon Pierce excelled in preseason games and the Texans gave him a free hand for the starting role. He promises to be one of the great surprises of 2022.
› Key departures: Deshaun Watson (quarterback), David Johnson (carrier), Jordan Akins (winger close), Justin Reid (safety) and Terrance Mitchell (cornerback)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 25
Under Lovie Smith in 2021, the Texans defense went from nine forced turnovers a year earlier to 25.
WEST DIVISION: THE DIVISION OF DEATH
Smart is anyone who can accurately predict how the frantic struggle in football's toughest division will end. The Chiefs are far from having said their last word, but they have lost some good assets. The Chargers knocked on the door of the playoffs last year, in addition to having stocked up on ammunition. The Broncos and Raiders aren't left out either, thanks to the addition of big stars.
CHARGERS LOS ANGELES
2021 record: 9-8, excluded from the playoffs
READY TO TAKE THE LEAP
The Chargers did what was necessary during the offseason to address their shortcomings by adding several quality pieces. The brilliant Justin Herbert enters his third season, and even in a ruthless division, this team has what it takes to aim for a breakthrough at the top.
Herbert finds himself very well surrounded with many weapons on offense. His line largely does the job with only one questioning at the right blocker position.
Last season, it was in defense that the cracks were visible. However, the Chargers negotiated to obtain Khalil Mack, question of forming a deadly tandem with Joey Bosa. Tired of being abused by running, they also added muscle in the middle of the forehead with Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson. In the secondary, they hired the best cornerback available in JC Jackson. It was necessary in a division where strong quarterbacks take their toll.
If they miss the playoffs again, no one can blame management. In these pages, confidence reigns.
Prediction for 2022 (divisional champions, playoffs): 12 – 5
› Key additions: Khalil Mack and Kyle Van Noy (linebackers), JC Jackson (cornerback), Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day (tackles), Gerald Everett (tight end)
› Rookie to watch: The Chargers had already greatly improved their offensive line in 2021 and they added guard Zion Johnson in the first round this year. A starter from day 1.
› Key starts:Bryan Bulaga (blocker), Jared Cook (tight end), Kyler Fackrell and Uchenna Nwosu (linebackers), Chris Harris (cornerback)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 8
Newcomer JC Jackson had more interceptions (8) than all Chargers defensive backs combined (7) last season.
CHIEFS KANSAS CITY
Record in 2021: 12-5, division champions, conference final
< p>By dint of accumulating victories, division titles and the big contracts that come with them, the Chiefs have necessarily had to make some heartbreaking choices in the last few months. Starting with the trade that sent the Tyreek Hill missile to Miami.
Hill and Patrick Mahomes were a masterful duo that will be impossible to recreate. Not to pretend the Chiefs are going to sink, but without the most dangerous player in the NFL, this offense must reinvent itself with new receivers (JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-
Scantling), which have nothing to do with Hill's intimidating presence. We will also have to see how involved rookie receiver Skyy Moore (2nd round) will be.
On defense, solid contributors have also left, especially in the secondary with Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Charvarius Ward, two quality starters. With Justin Reid replacing Mathieu, the Chiefs get a productive but less versatile player.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Chiefs looking for themselves at the start of the season, then finding their stride.
Prediction for 2022 (Series): 10 – 7
› Key additions: JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (receivers), Ronald Jones (carrier), Justin Reid and Deon Bush (safeties), Carlos Dunlap (defensive end)
› Rookie to watch: Another offensive find from Andy Reid? Carrier Isiah Pacheco (7th round) is hyper explosive and has looked good in camp. The Chiefs love speed.
› Key starts: Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson (receivers), Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen (safeties), Charvarius Ward (cornerback), Anthony Hitchens (linebacker)
NUMBER REMEMBER: 8
The Chiefs become the first team in history to start a season against eight straight teams that had a winning record in the previous campaign.
Record in 2021: 7-10, excluded from the playoffs
FINALLY A REAL QUARTER
Since 2015, Broncos fans have been treated to Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco , Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater and several other trash as quarterbacks. Here they are finally with a real player worthy of this position in Russell Wilson.
For a few years, it has been repeated that the Broncos have good foundations, but that the most important position leaves something to be desired. Now there are no more excuses.
There is a new head coach on board in Nathaniel Hackett, who led the Packers offense for the past three seasons. He inherits another great situation.
Ex-head coach Vic Fangio was a respected defensive guru, but his departure could hurt the defense.
< p>For this organization which stagnated, it was more important than anything, however, to breathe new energy into the attack.
There is depth in the receivers, a good line and a formidable tandem on the ground (Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon). Nothing is guaranteed, but a first appearance in the playoffs since 2015 is realistic.
Prediction for 2022 (Playoffs): 10 – 7
› Key additions: Russell Wilson (quarterback), Billy Turner and Tom Compton (blockers), Randy Gregory (linebacker), DJ Jones (tackle)
› Rookie to monitor:With quarterback chasers like Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory often finding themselves on the sidelines, Nik Bonitto could take over.
› Key starts: Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater (quarterbacks), Noah Fant (tight end), Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan (cornerbacks), Shelby Harris (defensive end)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 6
In the Broncos' last six seasons, the offense has averaged no more than 21 points per game.
LAS VEGAS Raiders
Record in 2021: 10-7, playoffs
A SECOND CHANCE< /strong>
The Raiders find themselves in an exciting position, having hired renowned Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new pilot. His first tryouts with the Broncos were disastrous in 2009 and 2010, but he's probably matured a lot since then.
The offense, which was already working quite well with Derek Carr, will certainly not regress with the addition of one of the best receivers in the league, Davante Adams. With the latter, in addition to Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, Carr has everything to draw. The offensive line, however, looks like a glaring gap.
The Raiders' defense has traditionally been a problem for several years, but the arrival of Chandler Jones, paired with Maxx Crosby, promises an excellent duo to chase down quarterbacks. In the secondary, results will depend on the development of several young players, including safeties Tre'von Moehrig and Johnathan Abram. In any other division, it would be unthinkable to place the Raiders in fourth place. This is simply the cruel reality of the AFC West.
Prediction for 2022 (Excluded from playoffs): 9 – 8
› Key additions:Davante Adams and Mack Hollins (receivers), Chandler Jones and Jayon Brown (linebackers), Rock Ya-Sin (cornerback)
› Rookie to watch: The Raiders don't were not given a choice until the third round, which could limit the impact of the rookies. McDaniels likes to use multiple carriers and Zamir White (4th round) will have to get noticed, knowing that Josh Jacobs is in his last year of contract.
› Key Departures: Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards (receivers), Trent Brown (blocker), Yannick Ngakoue (defensive end), Casey Hayward (cornerback), Cory Littleton (linebacker)
NUMBER TO REMEMBER: 2
Josh McDaniels becomes the second coach (after Mike Shanahan) to coach the Raiders and Broncos.
Prediction for playoff teams: