We are re-hashing a successful piece from the past two years. The original piece listed a bunch of “Can’t Miss Predictions” for the 2017 season across the NFL, and we’ve done it every year since.
Well it’s a new year, and it’s time for new predictions. So here are my “Can’t Miss Predictions” that will surely miss for the 2022 season.
It’s easy to say 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas, snatches this award in his healthy return to the field, but let’s go with a dark horse NFL MVP candidate, Jameis Winston, who we’ve already noted this about:
Likely due in no small part to the supporting cast Mickey Loomis and the Saints front office is building around him, Jameis Winston is even getting early MVP considerations for Vegas bettors. DK Nation released the 2022-2023 regular season MVP betting totals and Jameis Winston is getting a fair amount of attention. In fact, 2% of all of the money placed on MVP bets at DK Nation has been placed on the former number one overall pick out of Florida State.
A whopping 2% might not sound like a lot, but context is important. Jameis Winston has the same amount of money placed on him to win the 2022 MVP as players like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Derrick Henry. That 2% number is higher than players like Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Jonathan Taylor. In fact, the amount of money placed on Jameis Winston to win 2022 NFL MVP is higher than that placed on Dak Prescott, Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff, Christian McCaffrey, Cooper Kupp, and Saquon Barkley combined. So while 2% might not sound like a lot, it’s not an insignificant amount overall.
Most Improved Player
Winston would make sense here too considering he’s coming off injury, but in the interest of not repeating myself let’s go with someone new.
Like Winston, Payton Turner should be returning in 2022 after injuries cut his season short last year. The 2021 first round pick is hoping to wreak havoc on the defensive line, and if he’s able to show over a full season what he was able to flash in limited action last year, the Saints defensive line could be in a monster year.
Hoss of the Year
It may or may not be a bold prediction by any means at this point in his career, but I expect Cam Jordan to still lead the team in sacks and tackles for loss again in 2022. With consistent help on the other side from players like Turner and Marcus Davenport, I’m not quite sure I expect Cam to replicate his success from the days when he partnered with Junior Galette, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see a career year from Cam.
Most Disrespectful Blocker of the Year
Rookie Who Will Make the Biggest Impact
Speaking of the offensive line, rookie first round pick Trevor Penning could very well earn starter’s minutes by midseason. Still, I’ll say rookie wide receiver Chris Olave makes multiple highlight reel plays with an arm like Jameis Winston’s at quarterback. With Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry around him, opposing defenses won’t be able to focus in on any one of the trio. Olave probably faces the third-best defensive back on the opposing team, so he should have the easiest time finding space.
First NFC South Coach to be Fired
After trading for Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule is going all-in in 2021. His leash will be short after failing to find success the past two seasons, and if the Panthers struggles continue into late in the 2022 season, Rhule might not make it to the playoffs.
Dak Prescott Rookie Who Came Out of Nowhere Award
Let’s go with defensive back Alontae Taylor out of Tennessee. Saints fans weren’t too excited about the pick, but shortly after the draft we broke down exactly what Taylor could bring to the Saints defense:
It’s clear to see why the Saints were interested in this type of player. At 6’1 just about 200 lbs, who is physical and can run is something the team is attracted to. Between Lattimore, Adebo and Taylor, each of them are over 6’0, over 190 lbs+ & have each run sub 4.45 40’s with the exception of Bradley Roby being 5’11 but despite an inch, his every metric. A fun note is that, Taylor and Lattimore share the exact same 40 time as well which is interesting.
NFC South Team That Won’t Meet Expectations
This one is too easy. It’s got to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s not because I think the Buccaneers are the worst team in the division - to the contrary, I think they’re one of the most talented teams on paper in the NFC. The issue is just that, with the un-retiring of Tom Brady, the Buccaneers are again expected to make a long and deep postseason run in 2022. Anything short of making the playoffs this year would be a disappointment for Brady and the Bucs, and Saints fans are hoping the Buccaneers have a season ending in heartbreak.
Most Overrated Player
This one is tough.
I’ve toyed with the idea of naming several different players here, but couldn’t really come up with one I felt comfortable with.
Let’s go with WR Tre’Quan Smith.
There are a lot of Saints fans already penciling in Tre’Quan as the Saints #2 wide receiver behind Michael Thomas when Tre’Quan was re-signed earlier in the offseason. But now that the Saints have added Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry to a group that still has Deonte Harty and Marquez Callaway, it’s possible Tre’Quan primarily sees the field as a blocking receiver.
Which Saints Player Will be Fined First for Celebrating?
Gone are the days of the Jimmy Graham dunk and the Lance Moore dance. Even Brandin Cooks and his bow and arrows are no more. While the Saints don’t have a “classic” celebration that could result in a flag from any player in particular, how could you not put money on Chauncey Gardner-Johnson getting flagged for his efforts to get into another player’s head?
Most Valued Punter
Blake Gillikin had a great season in his first year without Thomas Morstead, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be even better in 2022:
To say the 24-year-old had a pretty impressive season is really an understatement. Gillikin averaged 47.7 yards per punt, which was the team’s highest since their 2016 season and he was ranked 7th among all punters in NFL. With a total of 83 punts for the 2021 season, 29 of them landed inside the 20-yard line. Gillikin also earned the honor of being named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Month in October, which he averaged 49.6 yards per punt for the month.
Do you have your own predictions? Tell us in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisDunnells.