The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

NFL opens tomorrow with question marks on new QB's

 

Last updated 8/30/2022 at 2:41pm

Scottie Scheffler, pro golfer

It's been a long time since the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl, but tomorrow marks the start of "real games" in the National Football League.

Nine teams will be starting new quarterbacks this weekend when the 2022 NFL launches its new season.

Longtime starters Russell Wilson (Seattle), Matt Ryan (Atlanta) and Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) won't be with the same team they quarterbacked with Wilson traded to the Denver Broncos, Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts and Roethlisberger retired after 18 seasons with the Steelers.

Deshaun Watson was traded by the Houston Texans to Cleveland after he refused to play another down in the Bayou City. The NFL suspended him for 11 games and fined him $5 million for violating the league's conduct policy.

I've studied long and hard to come up with my predictions for the 2022 NFL season:

AFC

SOUTH DIVISION-This is where our Houston Texans call home and for the third straight season are battling Jacksonville to stay out of the cellar. They are still in the rebuilding phase and will depend heavily on the ground game they haven't ever had and the progress of young Davis Mills at quarterback. Caesars Sports Book has set the Texan's over-and-under wins at 4.5, which is only one-half game better than they finished last season. Indianapolis and Tennessee should battle it out for the division championship. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Tennessee 2. Indianapolis 3. Jacksonville 4. Houston.

WEST DIVISION-This division has belonged to the Kansas City Chiefs and things shouldn't be different as long as Patrick Mahomes remains at quarterback Andy Reid stays on as the head coach. However, the Los Angeles Chargers have made gigantic strides the past couple of seasons and should give the Chiefs all they can handle. Denver also should be on its way up after getting a "real" quarterback (Russell Wilson) for the first time since Peyton Manning retired from the Broncos. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Kansas City 2. LA Chargers 3. Denver 4. Las Vegas.

EAST DIVISION-The Buffalo Bills have been coming on strong the last couple of years and should outclass the other three teams in this division. Josh Allen's quarterback rating is not very far from Mahomes plus his team has a gritty defense and the frigid weather in December and January as an advantage. New England and Miami are both on their way up while the Jets would be lucky to win six games. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Buffalo 2. New England 3. Miami 4. NY Jets.

NORTH DIVISION-Caesars rates the Cleveland Browns equal to Baltimore and Cincinnati, but I don't think they can hang in there with backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett until Watson returns from his 11-game suspension. The Ravens have a multi-faceted quarterback in Lamar Jackson and if he stays healthy, his team should win this division. Pittsburgh's rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett should see some action before the season is over. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Baltimore 2. Cincinnati 3. Cleveland 4. Pittsburgh.

NFC

EAST DIVISION-If you listen to Idiot Owner Jerry Jones, you'll hear that this is the Super Bowl year for his Dallas Cowboys. But if you pay attention to the football writers, they will probably reveal that Dallas is the strongest team in the weakest division. Philadelphia could give the Cowboys a run for their money if young quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to improve and doesn't get hurt running the ball. The Commanders are still the Redskins to me while the Giants struggle to improve. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Dallas 2. Philadelphia 3. Washington 4. NY Giants.

NORTH DIVISION-Green Bay, with 39-year-old Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, should get all it can handle from the Minnesota Vikings. I'm not sold on quarterback Kirk Cousins, but he might be better than I think. The Bears are putting all their hope on young Justin Fields at quarterback and the Detroit Lions are stuck with Jared Goff at quarterback. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Green Bay 2. Minnesota 3. Chicago 4. Detroit.

WEST DIVISION-The World Champion Los Angeles Rams have a huge target on their backs and the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals are taking aim. The Rams will show more defense this season which should help them protect their title. The 49ers are going with young Trey Lance at quarterback while the Cardinals are anxious to see which Kyler Murray shows up at quarterback. The Seahawks may get longtime head coach Pete Carroll fired after this season. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. LA Rams 2. Arizona 3. San Francisco 4. Seattle.

SOUTH DIVISION-Tampa Bay will go as 45-year-old quarterback Tom Brady and new head coach Todd Bowles go. And with Sean Payton retired as head coach, the New Orleans Saints are in a peculiar place between being a contender and rebuilding. Carolina and Atlanta are looking for a competent starting quarterback. MY PROJECTED FINISH-1. Tampa Bay 2. New Orleans 3. Carolina 4. Atlanta.

KWICKIES...Don't let the Houston Texans' 3-0 record in preseason games give you false hope that they will compete for the Super Bowl in February. When each team plays their best 53 players, the Texans will still be the bumpkins of the league.

The Houston Astros seem to be a safe bet to win the American League West division title with an 11½- game lead and 33 games remaining going into last night's action against the Texas Rangers. But the big question mark facing the team is the calf injury of 38-year-old ace Justin Verlander. I look for the team to practically shut him down until the playoffs roll around next month.

It's amazing that Mickey Mantle's 1952 baseball card in mint condition sold for a whopping $12.6 million, which is the most ever paid in the sports memorabilia marketplace.

Washington Commanders' rookie running back Brian Robinson was shot twice during an attempted robbery or car jacking Sunday night. The 23-year-old former Alabama player was brought to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Robinson was a third-round draft pick and was scheduled to start for the Commanders this season.

JUST BETWEEN US...It was amazing the way Rory McIlroy surged past Masters champion Scottie Scheffler Sunday to win the PGA Tour's FedEx championship and the $18 million bonanza that goes with it. Rory is such a gentleman that he apologized to Scheffler's family (for their loss of potential income) and hugged his wife and mother. Scheffler ended up with a not-so-shabby $5.75 million after tying Sangae Im for second place. Scheffler now has the negative distinction of tying a PGA Tour record of losing the largest 54-hole lead with Dustin Johnson in the 2017 HSBC champions. McIlroy shot a four-under par 66 to overtake Scheffler.

 

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