Just as the Bengals unexpectedly played the Super Bowl, so another team could unexpectedly make the playoffs in 2022
Last season the Cincinnati Bengals showed the world that, even if you’ve been one of the worst teams in the last two seasons, you can get to the Super Bowl if you have the support of a good quarterback and a good selection of players.
Head coach Zac Taylor’s team had just been the worst in the 2019 season, in which they had a record of two wins and fourteen losses; the following season they went 4-11-1, ahead of underperforming teams like the New York Jets (2-14), Houston Texans (4-12-1), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) and the Atlanta Falcons (4-12).
The 2021 season arrived and there were doubts with the team, because Joe Burrow, the starting quarterback and in whom they placed all their trust, and recovered from a serious injury that he had in his rookie season, but he showed that he was 100 percent and had an excellent performance. This was combined with the selection of Ja’Marr Chase, which was a resounding success, as the receiver finished with impressive numbers of 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns on 81 receptions. A great duo that led the team to play the Super Bowl.
With this as background, it is interesting to think about which team would be the new ‘Bengals’, that is, the organization that will surprise locals and strangers during the following season.
From the 2002 to 2021 season, the Dolphins have only managed to enter the Playoffs twice (2008 and 2016), while in 11 seasons they finished with a losing record. Under the command of Brian Flores an improvement was seen in the team, but in all three years they were out of the postseason. Now with the arrival of Mike McDaniel things are expected to change.
The team had very good additions to the offense during free agency by signing the now former receiver of the Kansas City Chiefs, Tyreek Hillwho will be a fundamental piece in the development of Tua Tagovailoa; former San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert and former Arizona Cardinals RB chase edmondsjust to mention a few.
All of them will be important weapons on offense, but we cannot forget the incorporation of the tackle Terron Armsteadwho is considered one of the best in the NFL and, if he stays healthy, will be the protection that Tagovailoa needs.
So with this team and if McDaniel manages to be effective in planning, we could see a renewed Dolphins that will fight to be protagonists in the Playoffs.
I see the panorama very complicated, but the only thing that makes me put them on this list is the effect Russell Wilsonbecause since Peyton Manning they had not had an elite quarterback, which would mean an important emotional blow that permeates everyone on the team, one of them Jerry Jeudywho could show his full potential and become the quarterback’s favorite weapon.
In his 10 seasons as a pro, Wilson has only missed the postseason twice, so going into next season, the Broncos would be the dark horse of the season.
Continuing in the American West we have the Raiders, a team that has suffered ups and downs and has not been able to consolidate, but this campaign will have the spotlight on and could compete to win its division thanks to the great additions, especially that of Davante Adams, former catcher for the Green Bay Packers.
There is no doubt that Adams will impose on the team’s offense and will bring all the experience gained playing alongside Aaron Rodgers. He is a consistent WR, in good physical condition and who in his last two seasons has added 29 touchdowns. He will be essential to Derek Carr.
They put together a worthy team to fight to get to the big game.
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Which team will be the surprise in the 2022 NFL season?