advertisement

Surprise players, teams and storylines develop during every NFL season.

Some quarterback has a breakout first half. An unexpected team goes undefeated through September. A perceived contender falls flat on its face.

With that in mind, Colin Cowherd provided five bold predictions for 2022 on Friday’s edition of “The Herd.”

advertisement

1. Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North

Colin’s thoughts: “They have pivoted to an offensive coach who will support Kirk Cousins. Between Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and a certainly serviceable offensive line, I like their roster. It’s a wonky division. Kirk Cousins, like Tua, finally has a coach that supports him. I think it matters when any of us have a boss that trusts us, respects us. I think Minnesota is going to pop. 

“No team that wins eight close games the following year duplicates it, and no team that loses eight close games including two overtime losses duplicates that. I think the Vikings win the NFC North. I think they beat the Packers in the opener, and they start pulling away by Thanksgiving.”

2. Dallas Cowboys miss the playoffs

Colin’s thoughts: “Lots of areas concern me. Didn’t land Von Miller and lost Randy Gregory. Don’t have a world-class pass rush. That means you can double more often Micah Parsons. They had notable losses on the offensive line, an aging offensive line. La’el Collins [and] Connor Williams [left], and Tyron Smith is a Hall of Famer, but can’t stay healthy. 

“The wide receiving corps isn’t nearly as dynamic. CeeDee Lamb moves to one, but Cedrick Wilson’s gone, Amari Cooper’s gone and Michael Gallup’s off an ACL tear. And the truth is, I don’t think they have an elite coach, and I think as the game has gotten more sophisticated, that is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

3. Bill Belichick retires after the season

Colin’s thoughts: “He hasn’t named coordinators. He’s got kids on the staff. The reality is Bob Kraft and Belichick have always had a little bit of a turbulent relationship. Kraft was close with [Tom] Brady. Every book you read about New England, Kraft tolerated a lot of the surliness of Belichick. They were 28th-ranked in passing. DeVante Parker helps a little. I don’t think they’re close to Buffalo. Belichick doesn’t necessarily love what’s happened in the league where players have more power and defense isn’t as important.

“I think Belichick retires as the greatest coach of all time after another 9-8 year.”

4. Russell Wilson wins NFL MVP

Colin’s thoughts: “I think between Brady to Tampa and [Matthew] Stafford to the Rams, when you come to a team and all they need is a catalyst, there is a certain energy that you bring to a team in hopefulness. And let’s be honest, Aaron Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs, played his best football with Nathaniel Hackett, who is now Russell Wilson’s coach. Now [the Broncos] have five prime-time games and seven nationally-televised games. I actually think it helps them. It creates urgency, an energy around the program. I think they have the perfect mix of youth between their coach and some of their defensive and offensive players and solid veteran guys.

“I think [Wilson] puts up big numbers and wins the MVP because he’s the best story.”

5. Los Angeles Rams repeat as Super Bowl champions

Colin’s thoughts: “There’s also room for improvement. The games were close in the playoffs San Francisco and Tampa Bay and the Cincinnati Super Bowl and Stafford led the NFL in interceptions. There’s room for improvement. The division’s weaker, they have upgraded at wide receiver with Allen Robinson, they have upgraded at linebacker and leadership with Bobby Wagner, and let’s just be honest: the NFC’s not as good, nor as deep.

“The NFC’s got a few good teams at the top, but it’s not like the AFC where you got to go through the Bills and the Chiefs and the Bengals and the Ravens and the Broncos.”