We are only a few days away from the beginning of the NFL regular season after months of anticipation and excitement. The games will now start to count, and the trends and results of each contest will be critically important to charting out the way the 2022 campaign will unfold.
Here are three predictions for the compelling slate of Week 1 games.
Russell Wilson Will Have A Great Game Against His Former Team
The NFL gave fans a couple of really exciting revenge games right off of the bat. Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will suit up against his former teammates as a Carolina Panther on Sunday. However, the longest anticipated matchup will take place on Monday Night Football, when Russell Wilson leads the Denver Broncos into Seattle to play the Seahawks.
Wilson had 10 tremendous seasons in Seattle, highlighted by the team’s Super Bowl win against Denver, ironically. The Seahawks decided to move in a different direction this season, as veteran players who have been mainstays of their success are no longer present. The team has nowhere near the level of defensive talent it has boasted in recent years, which should allow Wilson to have a strong homecoming with his new cast of weapons.
Trevor Lawrence Will Open Some Eyes
It was largely an underwhelming rookie campaign for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He was highly touted coming out of Clemson University, lauded as one of the most skilled prospects to enter the NFL in close to a decade. The results on the field did not bear that out, as Lawrence threw 12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions in 2021. He also had an eight game stretch last year where he did not throw a touchdown pass in seven of those contests.
With that said, Lawrence should bounce back in a big way in 2022. It is widely known that the Jaguars made a huge mistake bringing in Urban Meyer as head coach before the 2021 season, as there was a lot of consternation, agitation and confusion behind closed doors. While Doug Pederson may not be an elite head coach at this stage of his career, he did win a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles. He will have Lawrence prepared each and every week, and that includes Week 1 against the Washington Commanders. Washington will still be without the services of star defensive end Chase Young, who will not be ready to take the field after tearing his ACL last year.
The 49ers Will Record At Least Six Sacks
The Trey Lance era will begin on Sunday in Chicago when San Francisco takes on the Bears. Lance’s play relative to the production the team received from Jimmy Garoppolo will be a main topic of the game before and after, but San Francisco should be able to control the game in other ways.
The Bears are projected to have one of the worst offensives lines in the NFL, which may hinder the development of their own second year quarterback, Justin Fields. While that will be a concern for Chicago each week, it is especially problematic to open their season against a team with such a ferocious pass rush. The 49ers were tied for top five in the NFL in sacks in 2021, which gives players like Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead a golden opportunity to start 2022 off in a strong fashion.