Dustin Baker’s 2022 NFL Standings Predictions

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Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Dustin Baker’s 2022 NFL Standings Predictions

According to Vegas sportsbooks, the most likely matchup for Super Bowl LVII is the Buffalo Bills versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — which all but guarantees that particular combination will not occur.

Thinking outside of the box, considering dark horses, roster strength, team age, and parity in the NFL, these are 2022 NFL standing predictions.

** = Wildcard Playoff Participant

AFC East

Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Buffalo Bills: 13-4
Miami Dolphins: 9-8
New England Patriots: 8-9
New York Jets: 6-11

One team reaches the January tournament from the AFC East. Unsurprisingly, it’s everybody’s darling pick for the Super Bowl.

AFC North

CBS Sports Radio Host Wants Lamar Jackson on Vikings
Jul 29, 2022; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports.

Baltimore Ravens: 11-6
**Cincinnati Bengals: 10-7
Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-8
Cleveland Browns: 7-10

After a downplayed-by-the-world “bad” season for Lamar Jackson, the Ravens rebound to win the division, while the Bengals do enough to snag a postseason berth.

AFC South

Aug 20, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Indianapolis Colts: 11-6
Tennessee Titans: 8-9
Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-11
Houston Texans: 3-14

The world learns Matt Ryan is still a productive and reliable passer — unlike his predecessor, Carson Wentz — and the Colts win the division. The rest of the teams are borderline comical.

AFC West

Oct 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Kansas City Chiefs: 12-5
**Denver Broncos: 11-6
**Los Angeles Chargers: 10-7
Las Vegas Raiders: 8-9

Murderer’s Row — that’s the AFC West in 2022 and the foreseeable future. The Chiefs strategy of recognizing defensive shortcomings pays off vis-a-vis the Tyreek Hill trade. Still, this division is deadly.

NFC East

Aug 26, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

Dallas Cowboys: 10-7
*Philadelphia Eagles: 10-7
Washington Commanders: 7-10
New York Giants: 6-11

Because the Cowboys have onboarded playmakers on defense, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs, they’re balanced. It will keep them atop the NFC East. The Eagles nibble at Dallas’ heels all season.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers and D.J. Wonnum
Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent via USA TODAY NETWORK.

Green Bay Packers: 11-6
**Minnesota Vikings: 11-6
Detroit Lions: 6-11
Chicago Bears: 4-13

The Packers return to earth from 13-win seasons, and the Vikings experiment with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell is relatively successful. The Lions and Bears do not seriously threaten either team.

NFC South

Jan 16, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) is congratulated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 12-5
New Orleans Saints: 8-9
Carolina Panthers: 7-10
Atlanta Falcons: 2-15

The Buccaneers should romp in this division, win it easily, and cruise into the postseason. The Saints could be sneaky, but they no longer have Sean Payton to lean on for consistency.

NFC West

vikings Kyler Murray's Trade Availablity
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Arizona Cardinals: 11-6
**Los Angeles Rams: 10-7
**San Francisco 49ers: 10-7
Seattle Seahawks: 5-12

AFC Playoff Seeds

  1. Bills
  2. Chiefs
  3. Colts
  4. Ravens
  5. Broncos
  6. Chargers
  7. Bengals

NFC Playoff Seeds

  1. Buccaneers
  2. Cardinals
  3. Packers
  4. Cowboys
  5. Vikings
  6. 49ers
  7. Eagles

AFC Playoffs

Chiefs over Bengals
Chargers over Colts
Broncos over Ravens

Chargers over Bills
Chiefs over Broncos

Chiefs over Chargers

NFC Playoffs

Cardinals over Eagles
49ers over Packers
Vikings over Cowboys

Buccaneers over 49ers
Cardinals over Vikings

Cardinals over Buccaneers

Super Bowl LVII

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals

Super Bowl Champion

Kansas City Chiefs

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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