The 2022 NFL season will live long in the memory, both for fans of the Philadelphia Eagles and for fans of football as a whole. There were a number of talking points as well as exhilarating games that will ensure that next season has a tough act to follow. None more so than the fall of the reigning champions.
The Los Angeles Rams became the second consecutive team – and second team in the history of the NFL, strangely – to win the Super Bowl on home turf in 2021. They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals courtesy of Cooper Kupp’s last-gasp touchdown at SoFi Stadium. But their defense of the crown could not have gone any worse, finishing with a dismal record of five wins and twelve losses.
Speaking of the Bengals, the rise and rise of the Ohio outfit was on display for all to see last season. Spurred on by the generational talent of Joe Burrow at quarterback, as well as wide receiving prodigies Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, Cincy managed to top the AFC North. They then stunned the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs to reach a second consecutive AFC Championship game, where they would once again meet the Kansas City Chiefs.
The season before last, the Bengals managed to defeat the Chiefs in overtime courtesy of Evan McPherson’s overtime field goal. Last season, however, they came up just short in the rematch of all rematches. Online bookmaker Bovada, which provides NFL odds and futures, had made the Chiefs the favorites to progress to a third Super Bowl in four seasons, and they duly delivered.
There, they would meet the Philadelphia Eagles, who themselves had had a stellar campaign. They racked up the best record in the NFC by winning 14 games against just three losses. They then decimated both the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers to reach Super Bowl LVII, but they would eventually come up short against Patrick Mahomes and co
Much of the Eagles’ success was built on the brilliance of quarterback Jalen Hurts. The 24-year-old isn’t just a problem when throwing, he’s also a menace with his feet, and his rushing game ensured that he was one of the top four quarterbacks in the entire league in terms of rushing yards, but who else features alongside him on the list?
There were just three teams that had a worse record than the one of the aforementioned reigning champion Rams, and the Chicago Bears were one of them. In fact, they had the worst record in the entire NFL last picking up just three wins against 14 losses. And that fact is a strange one considering they won two of their first three games, one of which came against the eventual NFC Championship runners-up, the San Francisco 49ers.
Their quarterback last season was Justin Fields, and it was evident that he didn’t trust his offensive line one bit, hence the amount of rushing yards he picked up. He racked up a mighty 1,143 yards on the ground last season, and only six players in the entire league managed to pick up more. He will be hoping that the Bears significantly improve their roster in the close season.
It says something about just how often Fields resorted to the ground game that the second-placed quarterback is some 379 yards behind him. Lamar Jackson is the man in second place on the list, and his Baltimore Ravens performed admirably last season, eventually finishing as runners-up to the Bengals in the NFC North and securing a spot in the playoffs. The Maryland outfit led the division for much of the season but was eventually overthrown by their Cincyinnatti-based rivals.
They would meet Cincy in the wildcard round of the playoffs with the winners going on to face the heavily favored Bills. In the end, however, they succumbed to a 24-17 defeat.
Whereas the aforementioned Justin Fields simply had to trust himself on the ground, Josh Allen and his Buffalo Bills have a plethora of talent. The 26-year-old former University of Wyoming standout threw for 4,283 yards last season, and then added a further 263 yards on the ground, giving him one of the highest yard totals in the entire league.
In the end, though, The Bills somehow conspired to throw away their best chance at a Super Bowl appearance since those four consecutive losses in the 1990s. In the playoffs, the pressure was too much to handle, and they were thumped by the Bengals 27-10 on home turf in the divisional round.
Finally, in fourth place, we have Philadelphia’s own Jalen Hurts. The Eagles’ influential quarterback was the undisputed star of the show at Lincoln Financial Field and he was also at his dazzling best in the Super Bowl defeat to the Chiefs as well. He outthrew MVP Patrick Mahomes by 122 yards, and very nearly racked up more yards than rushing back Isiah Pacheco, eventually finishing just six yards behind the 24-year-old.
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