Patrick: Welcome to Bleacher Bums. I’m Patrick.

Derrik: And I’m Derrik.

Patrick: Last week on Bleacher Bums, we gave our AFC picks and predictions for the 2022 NFL Season. This week, we’re talking NFC – so it might be a little more straightforward. But who knows with Derrik. We don’t have any time to waste, so please start us off with your NFC East pick. 

Derrik: I’m going to start this off by rolling with the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles should be better this year, but I think the Cowboys have too much talent to not win this division. I expect CeeDee Lamb to have a massive breakout year as the number one receiver for the Cowboys, and Dak Prescott should be feeding him the ball a lot. I also expect a big year from Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard out of the backfield, with Pollard potentially set to get some snaps in the slot as well.

Patrick: I know you like Ezekiel Elliot – you tried to get me to trade him to you in our fantasy league. Trade denied! It was so lopsided in my favor that I got suspicious that you knew something that I didn’t. Anyway, I’m going Cowboys as well. That’s an organization that expects more than it’s been getting. Our NFC North pick is very likely the same…

Derrik: It’s called throwing anything against the wall and seeing if it sticks. I think the NFC North is pretty simple. There’s one team that has the reigning MVP, and that’s the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers. I do think the Vikings could be sneaky good, but I don’t see them winning this division. I like the Packers defense a lot this year.

Patrick: It’s easily the Packers. Though I fell in love with the Lions watching them on Hard Knocks this year. Unfortunately, they’re only a 8-9 team in a world where everything goes right. Maybe in two years…

Derrik: I think that was pretty easy to agree on. Next is the NFC South, and I want to hear who you think will win the division before I reveal my pick.

Patrick: Derrik, if you say an answer that isn’t the Bucs…

Derrik: You’re going to love this. I’m taking the New Orleans Saints. If they stay healthy they have the potential to win the division. They have the best wide receiver core they’ve had in a long time, a great running back in Alvin Kamara who won’t be suspended this year, and a quarterback in Jameis Winston that can get points on the board. And they have unlimited creativity with their offense as Taysom Hill will be on the field a lot more this year. And they have a good defense, headlined by offseason acquisition Tyrann Matheiu, as well as Demario Davis and Cam Jordan. And the Bucs are already hurt heading into the season. This is similar to my Chargers pick for the AFC West. I think the Chiefs can go further in the playoffs than the Chargers, but I have the Chargers winning the division. Similar thought here. The Bucs can go further in the playoffs at full strength, but I think the Saints will win the division.

Patrick: Tom Brady has won 18 division titles in 22 seasons…and you’re going with the team that has Jameis Winston behind center? The QB I haven’t been able to bring myself to care about since he was in college?

Derrik: Not only am I picking the Saints, I’m confident about it. My big worry with the Saints is health. But if they stay healthy don’t be surprised to see them win the division. I could go on and on about my confidence in the Saints this year, but we need to move on. Who are you picking in the NFC West?

Patrick: I can’t wait to look back on this in February and make fun of you (#BeatDerrik). Anyway, I’m going with the Rams. I would say that’s obvious, but who knows with Derrik. They’ve lost some folks, like Von Miller and OC Kevin O’Connell, but we’re not talking playoff run – we’re talking division champ. I’m going L.A.

Derrik: Part of me wants to take either the 49ers or Cardinals, but the 49ers DBs worry me a bit, and DeAndre Hopkins’ six game suspension takes the Cardinals out of winning the division to me, even though I love some of the athleticism the Cardinals have on defense. The Rams are coming off a Super Bowl, and I’d expect them to win the division. My only worry for them is Matthew Stafford’s health and whether or not his shoulder will hold up. But if Stafford stays healthy, as well as their other key players, they should win the division.

Patrick: Forget all the Wild Card nonsense – who is your NFC Champion? Are they winning the Super Bowl? 

Derrik: My NFC champion prediction is the Green Bay Packers. I think this year is the year they finally break through. As I said earlier I like the Packers defense this year, and I think the Packers will be more of a run heavy team this year, with a very good defense that will put them in spots to score. And I do have the Packers winning it all, beating the Chiefs in my Super Bowl prediction.

Patrick: The Packers’ Red Zone efficiency last year was alarming. They’re gonna have to improve on that, but I agree that running the ball more will help. Since you went with Green Bay, I’ll go with Tampa. I know you said you can see a deep playoff push from them, so hopefully you’ll agree to some extent. However, I have the Bills beating them in the Super Bowl. Any final thoughts?

Derrik: Just that if the Jaguars and Saints win their divisions that I’m a genius, And if not, at least I went for it. And that hopefully we don’t have any injuries (although that’ll never happen).

Patrick: All I have to say is #BeatDerrik.

Derrik: When Trevor Lawrence, Travis Ettiene, Jameis Winston, and Michael Thomas win the fantasy league for me, don’t be surprised.

Patrick: That will never happen, but we will see. Until then, I’m Patrick…

Derrik: And I’m Derrik…

Patrick: And we’re a couple of Bleacher Bums.

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