December 10, 2023

2022 Divisional Round Predictions

5 min read

2022 Divisional Round Predictions

By Tim Lazenby

Now that the Wild Card round is out of the way, we get to see the divisional champs finally at play.  After a wild first round, will those teams with momentum charge forward or will the champs abruptly halt their progress.  The Divisional Round is sure to excite, so let’s get into these highly anticipated heavyweight bouts.

Divisional Round NFC

It’s down to four teams.  In a battle between three juggernauts and a feisty team with a losing record, which two NFC teams will continue on in their quest for glory?  Featuring familiar foes and newly acquainted enemies, the Divisional Round in the NFC will be one to watch.  The tension is building, so let’s see what it brings.

NFC Game 1

Philadelphia Eagles 8-9-0 (6) vs Los Angeles Rams 12-5-0 (1)

Last Game: Los Angeles 37 @ Philadelphia 19 (09-20-2020)

Philadelphia leads all time series 22-20-1

The AFC champions are the same team who took it all last year.  The Los Angeles Rams are just as strong this season, if not stronger, so it will be no small task for the underdog Eagles.  And while AJ Brown and crew will look like they belong with the big boys, the Rams will not be hospitable.  The pressure will be on for Jalen Hurts to prove he is the one to lead the charge, and that pressure will be overwhelming.

The Rams enter this game in their usual fashion.  The defense led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey will be too much for even the most skilled players on the Eagles to overcome, with the Rams shutting the door over and over again.  And while the Rams’ offense will be a threat all over, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford will continue to do their thing, showing the naysayers that 2021 was no fluke.

The Los Angeles Rams advance, taking the lead early and never letting go of it.

NFC Game 2

Arizona Cardinals 11-6-0 (5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-6-0 (2)

Last Game: Arizona 27 @ Tampa Bay 30 (11-10-2019)

Arizona leads all time series 11-10-0

In a showdown featuring the oldest franchise and one of the youngest ones, this bout will not disappoint.  Playing with the most gusto yet, the Arizona Cardinals’ offense will be on full display.  In a show of talent they haven’t displayed in some time, Murray’s Cardinals will eat the pressure and press on to make this a truly difficult time for the Buccaneers.  Unrelenting and electric, Arizona will show they are the team to beat.

The Buccaneers will also be a wonder to watch.  As good as the Cardinals play, Tampa Bay will match the pace and do their best to one up this incredible opponent.  The ground game on both sides will be a sight to see, but I see the Buccaneers overcoming the insurmountable odds here.  Despite the back and forth, with Tampa Bay winning the ground game, it will land them just short..

Arizona Cardinals advance, winning past regulation.

Divisional Round AFC

Just like the opening round, the AFC will feature new blood in the Divisional Round.  And unlike the NFC, the teams will be led by younger captains, steering their ships toward greatness.  With one match featuring two teams that missed the playoffs last year, there will be one new team fighting in the Conference Finals; but which will it be?

AFC Game 1

Miami Dolphins 10-7-0 (6) vs Los Angeles Chargers 14-3-0 (1)

Last Game: Los Angeles 21 @ Miami 29 (11-15-2020)

Miami leads all time series 19-16-0

This will be a battle between two of the most improved teams in the league.  And while the newly acquired talent for the Miami Dolphins will play well, this will be the toughest test for Tua Tagovailoa yet.  As he faces off against his draft rival, will his efforts be enough?  For any chance of success, Tua has to lead the way.  In frantic fashion, the Miami offense will be looking for answers all game.

The Los Angeles Chargers couldn’t get into the playoffs last season, but that won’t be a problem in 2022.  And once they are there, it’ll be a sight to behold.  While Justin Herbert leads the offense, the unstoppable defense will make him even mightier.  The Dolphins’ efforts will be met by the Chargers every time, with the Chargers shutting the door time and time again.  Staley and crew will be frightening in this game.

Los Angeles Chargers advance, dominating both sides of the ball. 

AFC Game 2

Cincinnati Bengals 12-5-0 (4) vs Buffalo Bills 13-4-0 (2)

Last Game: Cincinnati 17 @ Buffalo 21 (09-22-2019)

Buffalo leads all time series 17-15-0

While the other games will feature excitement, this may be the most awe inspiring match of this round.  Last year, the Bengals played the part of underdog and now people are aware of the beast.  This round, however, will not be as easy as the first.  And while the team will have improved from last season, you have to question if it’s enough to overthrow Josh Allen and company.  Can Joe Burrow get it done again?

After gaining revenge for 2021, the Bills have no plans of conceding defeat against the Bengals.  But even though the Bills are fantastic, the Bengals are not to be taken lightly here.  I see the Bills as the more complete team, but it’s impossible to ignore one of the best offenses in the entire NFL.  This matchup is sure to go back and forth numerous times before one team finally relents.

Buffalo Bills advance, overcoming numerous lead changes.

We’re only getting started, folks.  Be sure to tune in as we continue our quest to predict the Super Bowl in 2022.


Follow me on Twitter @NFLazenby