Editor's Note: This blog is part of a series Flappr's Way-Too-Early NFL Predictions for 2022 Season. To read our previews for the other divisions in the NFL click on the corresponding link: AFC North - NFC East (more to come).
I have to tell you, I am enjoying the return of football. With the current state of affairs, it's nice to have a distraction.
Yes - it's nice to have distractions now and again, despite what others may tell you.
I have long hated the Detroit Lions and have enjoyed the fact that, for most of my life, the Lions have been the ONE team I could reliably laugh at when compared to my Bears.
I don't feel that way any longer.
Actually, I'm rooting for the Lions to win this division.
This change of heart is wholly connected to Lions Head Coach, and all-time football guy, Dan Campbell.
Football, nay America, needs more Dan Campbells - dudes who are just unapologetic meat heads who like to win and fuck shit up in the process.
There was a time when the sight of Campbell espousing football platitudes about "grit" might have made my eyes roll - but in an age where men are women and women are men, it's nice to see men be men and talk like fucking animals.
I don't know if Campbell's roster is ready to compete for the playoffs, but I think they're on the right track to get there soon enough.
Jared Goff kind of sucks, but he also doesn't suck as much as you think (67% Comp, 19:8 TD:INT, 91.5 QB Rating).
The Lions OL is actually very good and they added WRs DJ Chark and Jameson Williams to an offense that already includes Pro Bowl TE, T.J. Hockenson and a good tandem of RBs.
Their offense is going to be better and might even be good.
On defense, the Lions still look shitty. They drafted Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick and he should help a pass rush that the third fewest sacks in the league last year.
The defense holds this team back from playoff contention, but they improve by 4 wins over 2021.
Prediction: 7-9-1 (this team always finds a way to tie).
After 8 seasons, three playoff appearances and a trip to the NFC Title Game, the Vikings pulled the plug on the Mike Zimmer era in Minnesota.
I liked Zimmer, a Chicago-area guy, who had a no-nonsense approach to coaching, shit on the media and loves football so much he coached with an eye-patch:
How can you not love this type of autism-level love of football?
Well, the Vikings had enough of Zimmer (despite a 72-56-1 as coach) and GM Rick Spielman, who were fired and replaced by some dude named Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The New GM plucked Kevin O'Connell off of the Sean McVay coaching tree, hoping to steal some of the magic of the Rams offense.
Will it change the downward trajectory of this team? I don't think so. The Vikings are in an unenviable position of having enough good players (Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielan) to keep them from getting a high draft pick, yet too many holes on the roster to make them a serious contender.
It almost feels like this Vikings team would be best served by selling off assets and resetting the roster under this new regime, but they're not doing that - yet.
In March, the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to an extension through 2023, signaling that they're going to try and retool this roster on the fly. This approach never works unless you have a legend like Tom Brady at QB. A legend, Cousins is not.
Yes, Kirk Cousins has been an easy target for people to shit on, but he's not a bad quarterback (Pro Football Focus had him graded as fourth best among all passers).
Cousins does everything you want him to do within an offense, he just doesn't seem capable of making the "special" play when things break down. He doesn't seem like the right guy for a team that needs "special" play from the QB position to make them contenders.
The Vikings will tread water in 2022.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (CUNTS)
I fucking hate the Packers, I hate their fans, I hate their stupid fucking "Go-Pack-Go" chant. I hate that the Packers sell "stock" in the team and their stupid fucking fans buy it and think it means something.
Hey, if you're a Packers fan and you're reading this, fuck you, buddy. I hope you choke on a cheese curd, you fat fuck. Oh, and I'm sorry for using big words in this blog, make sure you thank the person explaining them to you, you illiterate scumbag.
*takes deep breath*
Thank you for letting me get that out of my system. Now here is where I get sad.
You fuckers have broken me. I don't even hate notorious cocksucker, Aaron Rodgers, anymore! I now accept that the Packers will dominate the Bears for as long as Rodgers remains at Quarterback.
In fact. . . . while I will never root for the Packers to win, I am (kind of) rooting for Rodgers to win. Yes, I know those things contradict themselves. No, I cannot explain that contradiction.
It's not fair that, after abusing me for over a decade, Rodgers screamed that he "fucking owned [me]" last year and proved that claim to be true. No, I'm not buying a Rodgers jersey, but he's broken me and I now, more or less, enjoy him. Fuck me, right?
The Packers' roster heading into the season looks demonstrably worse than it did last year. They've lost their top two WRs, Davante Adams (best in the NFL) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and one of their best pass rushers, Za'Darius Smith. David Bakhtiari's left knee seems perpetually fucked these days.
There are a lot of reasons to think that the Packers are primed to be replaced atop the perch of the NFC North. I do think this team loses more regular season games than they did last year, but I have a weird feeling that this is the year they win the Super Bowl.
Similar to the last time Rodgers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2011, I think having a bit less talent around him helps focus Rodgers on spreading the ball around instead of zeroing in on Adams. I think Rodgers turns Allen Lazard (or one of the other rookies they drafted) into the next Jordy Nelson/DaVante Adams. Like in 2011, I think the Packers struggle, seem hopeless entering November and then go on a run that ends with a ring.
Prediction: 10-7 (Division Winner) (SB Winner Pick) Kill me now.
This fucking team. My fucking team. What a shit show.
The Bears may not be the worst franchise in the NFL, but they're certainly not a very good one either.
This organization seems intent on, year after year, fucking up my Sundays. This past season was no different.
Let's dissect the 2021 offseason for second. In 2020, the Bears start 5-1, then proceed to lose SIX straight games before backing their way into an embarrassing playoff loss to the Saints. The owner decides to keep Dipshit GM and Dipshit Coach for one more season, despite the fact that alleged "offensive genius" Dipshit Coach produced that 26th best offense in the league.
So, entering 2021, Dipshit GM and Dipshit Coach are on the hot seat. If they don't put together a good season, the Owner, more or less, says they will be fired.
Dipshit GM lets Mitch Trubisky (whom he traded up to draft over an alleged massage rapist and Patrick Mahomes) leave for Buffalo. To replace him, he signs Andy Dalton (after being rebuffed by Matthew Stafford and, lol, Ryan Fitzpatrick). The team's once great defense is in full decline due to injuries, free agency, loss of Vic Fangio and poor drafting to cycle through competent replacements. This roster is clearly not a Super Bowl contender.
Next comes comes the draft. Justin Fields, who was predicted to be picked in the top 3, falls out of the top ten - mostly due to concerns about his throwing mechanics and the offense he ran at OSU.
Dipshit GM, who is on the hot seat and may be fired after the season, (presumably) calls Dipshit Owner and asks if he can trade FUTURE first round draft picks to trade up and draft Justin Fields. Again, Dipshit GM and Dipshit Coach are asking if they can trade FUTURE assets to draft a QB that they may not be around to develop.
Dipshit Owners says yes, they trade their 2022 First Round Pick to move up and draft Fields, they sit him behind Andy Dalton until injury forces him into the starting line-up.
Then this happens:
Fields goes on to show some glimpses of his considerable talent, but generally plays like shit, running an offense that is not suited to his abilities (which was exactly the same problem Mitch Trubisky endured).
To the shock of NOBODY, the Bears finish 6-11 and Dipshit GM and Dipshit Coach are fired! Dipshit Owner hires Ryan Poles to be the new GM. Poles is now stuck with a roster of aging veterans, $52 million in dead cap space, a quarterback that he didn't draft and no First Round Draft Pick this year (it would've been the SEVENTH PICK!).
There is no way any of you are still reading this, but I need to get this out.
New GM Poles hires a new coach Matt Eberflus (meh), trades away the Bears' best player, Khalil Mack, lets Allen Robinson leave for LA via free agency and does his best to offload shitty contracts to give the Bears cap space next year. The Bears are in full rebuild and all of this makes sense.
What doesn't make sense? Adding very little to the roster to help Justin Fields not suck balls like he did most of last year. Like seriously, they already had one of the WORST WR groups last year and added Byron Pringle to replace Allen Robinson. So, somehow, the 27th worst ranked offense from last year got worse on paper.
Again, Poles did not draft Fields, so . . . maybe he doesn't think Fields is that good? Maybe he doesn't want to tie his fate to Fields by signing contracts for guys that will lock up cap space long term? Perhaps he's convinced that Fields' issues can be resolved by replacing Nagy, a genuine idiot, with new OC Luke Getsy?
Who knows. Time will tell. I do feel bad for Justin Fields, though.
While the success or failure of a player relies mostly on the player themselves, where a player is drafted does play a role. Fields was drafted into a dysfunctional situation. His GM and Coach were both fucking stupid and about to be fired. They thought drafting him might buy them another year.
They were wrong. Now Fields is tasked with developing under a new regime that holds no allegiance to him.
Fields got screwed and, judging by his reaction on draft night, it seemed like he had some reservations about ending up in Chicago:
There is no reason to have hope for this team right now. I think 2022 will be brutal for the Bears.
I think Eberflus gets more out of his young defense than we expect and rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker look like emerging stars.
I predict that Fields shows more "glimpses", but struggles A LOT this season and enters 2023 with questions surrounding his future as the team's starter.
I hope I'm wrong, but I've watched too much Bears football to know better.
Prediction: 4-13 (0-2 vs the Packers).
Happy Friday, Cloth Off and God Bless America.