Whether on specialized networks or on sports betting sites, the Bills are favorites to reach and win the Super Bowl.
Last year, their run ended at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in a stunning game in the Divisional Playoffs.
Observers believe the Bills and their quarterback Josh Allen have now come of age and will manage to emerge from the shadow of the Chiefs, who have dominated the AFC since the arrival of Patrick Mahomes as starting quarterback in 2018 .
The Bills shouldn’t face too much opposition in their division, where the Patriots and Dolphins will battle for a playoff berth at best, while the Jets will remain the Jets.
The Bills’ road to the Super Bowl won’t be easy, however.
The Western Division of the American Conference is certainly one of the best, if not the best in the league, with the Chiefs, the Chargers, the Broncos and the Raiders.
The arrival of Russell Wilson in Denver allows all teams to count on a solid quarterback. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Justin Herbert (Los Angeles) and Derek Carr (Las Vegas) finished in the top five for passing yards last year.
So don’t be surprised if one of these teams quits the Bills in January or February.
Bengals seeking respect
The last Super Bowl finalists, the Cincinnati Bengals, are not even favorites to win their division in 2022.
Perhaps because the Bengals will have a tougher schedule this year, bookmakers prefer the Baltimore Ravens, who finished last with just eight wins last season.
The return to health of quarterback Lamar Jackson and a few key players is restoring a tad excessive optimism to Ravens fans.
As for the Steelers, they must organize the succession of Ben Roethlisberger with the former quarterback of the Bears Mitch Trubisky and with the rookie Kenny Pickett. But even if they’re not serious Super Bowl contenders this year, one should always be wary of the Steelers who haven’t had a losing season since 2003.
The AFC South Division shouldn’t send more than one team to the playoffs, but it will still give us the opportunity to see two running backs who could approach 2,000 rushing yards.
Whether it’s Derrick Henry in Tennessee or Jonathan Taylor in Indianapolis, you can expect opposing defenses to have their hands full against these ground attacks.
Champions until proven otherwise
Like the finalists, the defending champions Los Angeles Rams are not favorites to return to the ultimate game.
They inherited the difficult schedule that comes with their conquest. In addition to having to play against their robust division rivals like the Arizona Cardinals or the Francisco 49ers, the Rams must also compete against the best teams in the American Conference, like the Bills, the Chiefs or the Chargers.
So it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are the favorites, led by last winter’s retiree and vacationer from training camp, Tom Brady.
The quarterback may have lost his favorite target with the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, but the Bucs’ general staff got him another interesting tool with the acquisition of veteran Julio Jones.
Backed by a strong defense, the Buccaneers led the NFL in airborne offense and finished 2nd behind the Dallas Cowboys in runs scored.
Tom Brady, who has reached the ripe old age of 45, set a personal best with 5,316 passing yards.
Only the New Orleans Saints seem capable of neutralizing Brady.
Since joining the Buccaneers, he’s lost all four games to the Saints. Last December, they even allowed themselves to launder it.
Will that be enough to put the Louisiana team ahead of Tampa Bay? Not sure.
Opposition to the Buccaneers and Rams could well come from the North Division, where the Minnesota Vikings hope to dethrone the champions of the past three seasons, the Green Bay Packers.