- Bills (East)
Performing as expected, the Bills hold a 6-2 record through Week 9 and remain favorites to Super Bowl LVI. The Bills offense remains strong averaging 28.5 points per game, 5th most in the NFL. Josh Allen has thrown 19 touchdown passes, second most in the NFL with another 4 touchdowns on the ground. On the other side of the ball, the defense has allowed the fewest points per game and the third fewest yards per game in the league. Barring catastrophic injury issues, the Bills continue to be the favorite to win Super Bowl LVII.
- Chiefs (West)
The Chiefs are the second seed in the AFC through Week 9. With a record of 6-2, Mahomes has proven fears about the departure of Tyreek Hill false. Mahomes is first in passing yards and passing touchdowns, having thrown only 6 interceptions in the process. Shifting from previous years, Kansas City’s offense doesn’t have a true wide receiver one this season. Instead, Andy Reid has designed plays to spread the ball to all 5 Chiefs receivers, lifting weight off of 33 year old, 3 time All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. Regardless, Kelce is 6th in receptions, 7th in receiving yards, and tied for first in receiving touchdowns through 9 weeks this season among all pass catchers. Despite their tremendously difficult schedule this season, Mahomes and Kelce will inevitably lead the Chiefs to an 8th straight playoff berth, continuing the longest streak in the NFL.
- Ravens (North)
The Ravens overtake the Bengals as favorites to win the AFC North. While the Bengals are only one win behind the Ravens, the Ravens have the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL and the Bengals have the 15th easiest strength of schedule. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is 4th in MVP odds and passing touchdowns and once again is the league’s most versatile quarterback. In addition, the Ravens have managed to go 6-3 despite injuries to their running back core and defensive backs. Barring injury to Jackson who essentially comprises the teams entire offense, the Ravens look to take back the division in 2022.
- Titans (South)
The Titans are 5-3 despite a poor offense and a mediocre defense. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been average, throwing for a thousand yards and 6 touchdowns to 3 interceptions through Week 9. The Titans wide receiver core has been abysmal with just 658 combined receiving yards. The defense is 15th in yards allowed and 9th in points allowed. The lone highlight on Titans as usual: Derrick Henry. The 28 year old running back is averaging 129.6 rushing yards per game in the last 5 weeks and has scored 7 touchdowns in the same span. Assuming King Henry avoids injury, the Titans are sure to make the playoffs in arguably the worst division in football.
- Eagles (East)
The Eagles are 9-0 with the 18th easiest remaining strength of schedule. With the addition of receiver AJ Brown in the offseason, head coach Nick Siriani has managed to establish arguably the most effective running offense in the NFL. Combining the ability of runningback Miles Sanders and Quarterback Jalen Hurts behind an elite offensive line, the Eagles average the 6th most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Siriani’s run scheme also unlocks the big play potential of AJ Brown through play action as Brown is 7th in yards per receptions among all receivers in 2022. The key to both the run and pass game lie in quarterback Jalen Hurts who is currently 7th in completion percentage and second in yards per attempt in addition to being 6th among all QB’s in rushing yards. The Eagles defense has allowed the 3rd fewest yards per game and 4th fewest points per game giving the team the opportunity to flex its rushing potential resulting in the second highest average scoring margin in the league of 11.3, only behind the Bills. With a relatively easy schedule ahead and a scheme fully embracing the team’s strengths, the Philadelphia Eagles look secure as first seed in the playoffs.
- Vikings (North)
The Vikings are the second seed in the NFC with a record of 7-1. Stacked at every position with superstars, the offense has proven lethal, ranking 8th in points per game despite being 15th in yards per game. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson ranks second in receiving yards with 867 but has failed to find the endzone much. Instead, All-Pro running back Dalvin Cook is tied for 6th in rushing touchdowns with 5. The Vikings defense has struggled however, ranking 25th in yards allowed per game and 12th in points allowed. The primary highlight of the offense has been recently acquired outside linebacker Za’darius Smith who leads the league in sacks with 8.5 and has led the team to rank 8th in sacks per game. If the offense continues to thrive and the defense can tighten up coverage, the Vikings lie unchallenged for second seed in the NFC.
- Buccaneers (South)
Tom Brady began his inevitable climb back from below .500 with a last second game winner over the Rams on Sunday to move the Buccaneers to 4-5 good for 4th seed in the NFC. The Buccaneers offense has struggled of late, virtually unable to establish a rushing attack, ranking 32nd in rushing yards per game. Instead, 45 year old quarterback Tom Brady has been forced to throw the ball at an absurd rate, ranking first in pass attempts per game despite only ranking fifth in passing yards per game. The Buccaneers offense is experiencing a decline in efficiency this year but volume continues to prop up the offense’s stats. On the other side of the ball, the defense continues to perform at an elite level, ranking 9th in yards allowed per game, 5th in points allowed per game, and 3rd in sacks per game. If Brady’s body can sustain such a massive workload and the defense continues to shut down opposing offenses, the Buccaneers should be expected to win the NFC South for a second year in a row.
- Seahawks (West)
The Seahawks have surprised the league managing to go 6-3 despite largely being considered the worst team in the league entering the season. The offense ranks 11th in yards per game and 4th in points per game. The key to the offense’s success: Geno Smith. Smith is 3rd in passer rating, 6th in yards and 5th in touchdowns despite only throwing 4 interceptions. Smith is the favorite to win comeback player of the year, playing better than Russel Wilson last year allowing the team to have a strong passing attack coupled with the threat of rookie running back Kenneth Walker III on the ground. Walker averages 5.1 yards per attempt on the season, 10th among running backs. The offense has single-handedly kept the team in the race to win the NFC West despite the defense allowing the 24th most yards per game and 22 most points per game. If the Seahawks offense continues to play at an elite level and the defense can clean up their act a little, Seattle stands to upset the 49ers and Rams to win the NFC West title.