After eight weeks of the 2022 NFL season, it is time for Super Bowl candidates to become a little easier to point out. Some teams are almost definite predictions, while others may have a great record, but there is still a feeling that they cannot go all the way. Here are five unbiased Super Bowl Candidates based on team strength and other stats, in no particular order.
Super Bowl Candidates: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have been Super Bowl candidates even before the season began. The Bills lost in the AFC Divisional Round last season in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs. Their defense could not stop Kansas City from scoring a touchdown with only seconds left on the clock. On the final day to make trades, the team added two players, running back Nyheim Hines and safety Dean Marlowe, to an already stacked roster.
Buffalo Bills Defense
In the offseason, the Bills added solid depth to their defense. The largest example was signing free-agent linebacker Von Miller. They also added depth in other positions throughout the defense which was much needed. According to ESPN, the Bills’ defense currently totals 21 sacks and 11 interceptions. Last season, the Bills totaled only 19 interceptions. Jordan Poyer, safety, has four interceptions this season. Buffalo’s defense did well last season, but the front office saw the key issues and was sure to add the needed depth.
Buffalo Bills Offense
The Bills’ offense is one of the best in the league. The connection between quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been strong, but the team has multiple offensive weapons. There are currently six players who have over 100 receiving yards, according to ESPN. Diggs leads the team in receiving yards, totaling 764 yards. Allen totals 2,198 passing yards along with 306 rushing yards. Allen is a big player who is a powerful runner and who is always determined to get the first down and more. Allen is a leader to this team determined to be a Super Bowl Candidate.
The bills also have a strong run game, with Devin Singletary leading the team with 323 yards. The addition of Nyheim Hines adds to their already strong offense. He may not be the lead guy but will be someone to take the load off of Singletary. Buffalo has only lost one game this season so far and does not look to be slowing down. If the Bills continue to play how they have been, they are definitely Super Bowl candidates this season.
Super Bowl Candidates: Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles may have made the playoffs in the 2021 season, but for them to be undefeated after eight weeks is impressive. The goal of the Eagles’ offseason was for quarterback Jalen Hurts to develop, as there was still uncertainty about him around the league. The Eagles have also been one of the healthiest teams in the league this season which has helped them greatly.
Philadelphia Eagles Defense
Philly’s defense has been very underappreciated around the league. They have totaled 23 sacks this season and ten interceptions. According to ESPN, their opponents only average 16.9 points per game. Defense making key stops is why this team is still undefeated, and could potentially continue to win for more weeks to come.
Philadelphia Eagles Offense
Football fans should have expected big things from this Philadelphia offense as soon as they traded for A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft. Brown is currently the team’s top receiver totaling 659 yards from 39 receptions, according to ESPN. The team also still has DeVonta Smith, who totals 420 receiving yards. The two of them together are huge threats to opponents.
The run game for the Eagles has also been strong with running back Miles Sanders and Hurts’ ability to run the ball. Sanders totals 563 yards and five touchdowns. Hurts also total six rushing touchdowns. Many quarterbacks may force the ball onto teammates despite them not being open. This is what causes many turnovers. Hurts has developed as a quarterback and is able to understand when he has to try to score himself rather than forcing throws. The Eagles have only thrown two interceptions this season. If Philly can maintain their momentum, they are definite Super Bowl candidates.
Super Bowl Candidates: Kansas City Chiefs
Similarly to the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs have been Super Bowl candidates since before the 2022 season even began. This is a team that has made it to the playoffs every season since 2015 and has made it to the Super Bowl twice in the last three seasons. They may have two losses this year, but they are still definite Super Bowl Candidates
Kansas City Chiefs Offense
The Chiefs’ offense is one of the most creative in the league. There were questions surrounding how the offense would do after wide receiver Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins. While he is missed, the Chiefs have done well without him. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 2,159 passing yards this season, and 20 touchdowns, which is first in touchdowns in the league according to ESPN. The chemistry between Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce has also been a big factor in the success of this team. Kelce leads the team in receiving yards at 553 yards.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense
The Chiefs lost many players on their defense in the 2022 offseason, such as Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward, but they were sure to have other players in the secondary to remain Super Bowl Contenders. The team has relied on their younger players and it has paid off so far. The team also has a stacked defensive line, which is making it hard for opponents to get a flow on offense. The defense totals 19 sacks this season according to ESPN.
Super Bowl Candidates: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are a more complicated team to add to the list of Super Bowl contenders, but after big moves before the trade deadline, they are in it to win. On the last day to trade, Miami received running back Jeff Wilson Jr. and linebacker Bradley Chubb.
Miami Dolphins Offense
During the 2022 offseason, Miami stacked their offense in order to be able to compete with AFC East rival, the Buffalo Bills. The most notable addition to the offense was wide receiver Tyreek Hill who has done a great job for the Dolphins. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has two great targets between Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The offense also has two running backs, who were a part of the 2019 San Francisco 49ers who played in the Super Bowl. Who else impacts the offense that was a part of that 49ers Super Bowl team? Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.
This season, Tagovailoa has 1,678 passing yards, according to ESPN. Of course, the Dolphins’ stats were impacted by the devastating head injury that Tagovailoa had in week four of the season, but since returning the quarterback has been playing very well. If his decision-making can stay consistent, there is no reason that the Dolphins are not Super Bowl Candidates this year.
Miami Dolphins Defense
The defense for Miami is what kept me hesitant to put the Dolphins as a contender. Then they added Chubb to their roster, and this could be the missing piece that the team needed. This season with the Denver Broncos, Chubb has 26 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles, according to ESPN. Miami’s defense has not been bad, but when going up against teams such as the Chiefs and the Bills, it felt like the team needed more, and now they have it. According to ESPN, the average points scored against the Dolphins is 24 points. If this average can lessen, the Miami Dolphins are Super Bowl candidates.
Super Bowl Candidates: Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have earned the right to be discussed as Super Bowl candidates this year. They lead the NFC North and only have one loss this season, which came from the undefeated Eagles. There seems to be a different energy with this coaching staff, and before the trade deadline, the Vikings traded for tight end T.J. Hockenson. Making the trade for Hockenson is similar to Miami trading for Chubb. It demonstrates the team feels they can win and are motivated to do so. Despite being underestimated by many, the Minnesota Vikings are Super Bowl candidates.
Minnesota Vikings Offense
The Minnesota Vikings offense has done well considering the team has won six out of their seven games played. With the addition of Hockenson, that is one more weapon on this offense for quarterback Kirk Cousins to throw to. The team also has a strong run game with running back, Dalvin Cook. Cousins has a total of 1,734 passing yards and that should go up quickly with another target. Cook totals 561 rushing yards, according to ESPN. Between Hockenson, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen the Vikings are definitely Super Bowl Candidates.
Minnesota Vikings Defense
Despite not being talked about as often as other teams, the Vikings’ defense has done rarely well. According to ESPN, the team totals 21 sacks and 38 tackles for loss. There have only been seven interceptions but also seven forced fumbles. If this defense continues to play how they have been, and continue to force fumbles, this team is Super Bowl Candidates.
Brief Honorable Mentions: Super Bowl Candidates
The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are two teams who can quickly jump on this list in future weeks. If they maintain consistency and stay healthy, there is no reason for these two teams not to be Super Bowl Candidates.
For more NFL content, Check out my Underestimated Player Spotlight to see who I chose this week.
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