2022 Super Bowl prediction, roster dissection


Every team has significant advantages and disadvantages, and if NFL fans learned anything from this season, it’s that anyone can beat anyone. But there’s one team that stands out above the rest.

Jordan Eisen, Editor-in-Chief

A fourth of the NFL teams remain, but significant questions still linger around each of the final eight teams—however, some more than others. A theme throughout the entire season was that seemingly every week, a terrible team would beat a top-five team, throwing NFL analysts and fans into a frenzy. Now, however, all that matters is which team plays best from here on out, and based on their steady performance throughout the regular season, MVP-caliber quarterback and ancillary pieces that will be the Green Bay Packers.

Whereas the Jaguars beat the Bills, the Jets beat the Bengals, the Texans beat the Titans, Washington beat the Buccaneers and the Seahawks beat the 49ers (twice), the Packers’ paramount upset was in Week 1 against the Saints, who, although still an embarrassing loss, finished the season with a winning record. They also lost to the Vikings on a last-second field, but other than that, their track record is nearly flawless.

Green Bay managed to take down every NFC West team without any losses as well as some other noteworthy opponents. And although they did have some tightly contested matches; they went 4-1 in one-score games when Aaron Rodgers started, which is more of a testament to the roster than luck in this case.

In a season in which several quarterbacks essentially eliminated themselves from MVP contention, Aaron Rodgers managed to avoid any bad games other than his dreadful Week 1. The 38-year-old led the league in quarterback rating, QBR, touchdown rate and interception rate with a ratio of 37 touchdowns to a slim four interceptions.

Furthermore, almost every high-octane offense, notably the Chiefs, Bills, etc., had prolonged stretches where they struggled immensely against defenses playing with two high safeties. At this point, it appears that these offenses have diagnosed their problems and recovered, but Rodgers remained unphased throughout the whole year, assuring the NFL that he is nearly unbeatable with this roster.

The Packers, more so than any other remaining team, rely on their entire roster’s contributions (the primary reason they’re my Super Bowl favorite). Yet, regardless of the phenomenal roster surrounding them, just having Rodgers and Davante Adams together would immediately make even the worst team a Super Bowl contender. It goes without saying that both are phenomenal athletes, but the synchronization that they play with is what places them among the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems of all time.

In the backfield, Aaron Jones has been an elite runner since his 2019 breakout, but this year he was joined by AJ Dillon. Dillon hasn’t been used to his full potential since Rodgers and Adams were so dominant and could basically do as they wished, but if needed, he could add a dimension to the Packers’ offense. Jones and Dillon rank as Pro Football Focus’ (PFF’s) fifth and top-ranked running backs in 2021, respectively. Typically, when a team has an air attack as electric as Rodgers and Adams, they usually rely heavily on that, but the Packers’ rushing attack—paired with their offensive line—generates such a multifaceted offense that defenses are rendered clueless in terms of what aspect to defend most intently.

What separates the Packers most from the other playoff teams is, ironically, their defense. The 49ers, Bills and Chiefs are the only other remaining teams with comparable defenses, but they have massive holes that the Packers simply don’t. Starting upfront with the defensive line, Kenny Clark is among the best defensive tackles in the game, Rashan Gary broke out generated the fourth most pressures and was third in hurries in the league, Preston Smith is always reliable to generate pressure and Za’Darius Smith is a superstar and “hopeful” to return this week from injury. All of this has made up one of the best front fours in the league this season, all while experiencing notable injuries throughout.

At linebacker, De’Vondre Campbell started the year poorly, but quickly campaigned one of the most underrated breakouts of the year. The 28-year-old came out of basically nowhere. n his sixth season, he began the season as a backup and finished as the second-best linebacker according to PFF and the premier coverage linebacker in the league.

To round it out, Green Bay has arguably the best secondary in the league when fully healthy. Like Campbell, veteran Rasul Douglas had his best season by a significant margin for the Packers this year. The Packers signed him to a 1-year contract worth under $1 million in the offseason, and he went on to be the best corner in the league in terms of passer rating allowed. Before the season, several of these breakouts were unforeseen, but the one player that brought the Packers defense some hope was Jaire Alexander, who is widely viewed as a top-two corner. Unfortunately, Alexander has missed every game since Week 4 due to an injury, but he too is “hopeful” to rejoin the team for the playoffs.

Last year, when Rodgers won MVP, he was terrific, but the rest of his team was simply adequate. Now, by means of impressive player development, careful transactions and lucky acquisitions, Rodgers has all the tools he needs to do the one thing he didn’t do in 2020: win the Super Bowl.