Remember last season's NFL surprises? The biggest one was the Cincinnati Bengals, a heavy dark horse in 2021 that went on to the Super Bowl LVI. They started the year miserably but managed to win 3 out of their 4 last games, clinch the AFC North, and then win three games in the playoffs to get to the Super Bowl. It was, unfortunately, the end of the road for Bengals' fans, but hey, no one ever expected the team to be there.
This year there might be similar surprises, and we have the top teams lined up that could repeat the Bengals’ dream journey.
The Raiders are not the favourites to make it to the NFL Playoffs this year, even if they did it last year. However, the team put in a lot of work in the offseason, adding Davante Adams to reunite him with Derek Carr. Rock Ya-Sin and Chandler Jones were also added to the roster in a very quiet way. With Josh McDaniels in the hot seat and Carr in the lineup, look for the Las Vegas Raiders to make a splash.
They may not win the Super Bowl, but they will be a tough team to beat.
Miami hasn't had luck when it comes to sports lately, but it could all change this season thanks to the Miami Dolphins. Why? They added Tyreek Hill to the roster. Hill is one of the top wide receivers in the league, and he will undoubtedly serve as a mentor to Tua Tagovaiola, who's tipped to become a superstar. Plus, the Dolphins also hired Mike McDaniel as the head coach, and we all know the work he did with the 49ers.
With a few other additions, such as Ced Wilson, they're now the second-best team in AFC East, and that could spell more wins than last year and a playoff appearance.
Why are the Steelers on this list? Bookies don't think they'll have a losing record this year, which will be a first for Mike Tomlin in 15 years. The Pittsburgh-based team added Levi Wallace and Myles Jack this offseason which should boost the defence. While the Steelers may not win the Super Bowl this season, they could be close.
Ben Roethlisberger was a shell of himself last season, so he has a chip on his shoulder this year. If he’s in form, we see the Steelers reaching far.
The Vikings weren't a bad team last year, but they obviously lacked leadership. After being picked by the Vikings as a head coach for this season, it remains to be seen if he could make the offence work. The good news is that the Vikings have stars in Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, and Kirk Cousins should benefit from O'Connell's strategy.
The Green Bay Packers might be a bit weaker than last year, which is music to the ears of Vikings fans. Expect this team to be much better than last year.