Columnists, Sports

4th and Inches: Midseason Report

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | DFP Staff

Bills and Chiefs run the AFC

Heading into the 2022-23 National Football League season, the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs were projected to dominate the AFC. So far, they have lived up to the hype. The Bills have the best record in the conference at 6-1 with the Chiefs right behind them at 5-2. 

Bills quarterback Josh Allen –– the betting favorite to win MVP –– has been electric both through the air and on the ground. He’s racked up 21 total touchdowns and over 2,500 yards from scrimmage. Allen is the catalyst of Buffalo’s No. 1 ranked offense in the NFL. 

Mahomes has been equally spectacular in the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. Kansas City has the No. 2 ranked offense in the league, and Patrick Mahomes leads the league with 20 passing touchdowns, despite the lack of elite talent at receiver.   

Both teams are in the market for star players on the trade block to help bolster their rosters. The Bills were reported to have strong interest in running back Christian McCaffrey until the Carolina Panthers traded him to the San Francisco 49ers. They also looked at a potential trade for New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara. 

Although Buffalo missed out on top tier running backs, they added dual-threat back Nyheim Hines from the Indianapolis Colts before the trade deadline. Hines is a shifty runner and one of the league’s best pass catchers out of the backfield. 

Hines doesn’t add the star power the Bills were looking for, but he brings versatility to an already dominant offense. 

The Chiefs have been looking to upgrade their depth at the receiver position. They acquired 2021 first round pick Kadarius Toney from the New York Giants last week and have been linked to free agent Odell Beckham Jr. 

Although Buffalo and Kansas City didn’t add star talent at the deadline, they still have talented rosters capable of winning a Super Bowl. 

As teams look toward the second half of the 2022-23 season, the Bills and Chiefs are two of the most feared opponents on any team’s schedule. There’s a good chance the two franchises may end up in the AFC Conference Championship competing for a spot in Super Bowl LVII.

The NFC Beast is legit

A few years ago, the NFC East was nicknamed the “NFC Least.” In 2022, they changed that nickname to the “NFC Beast.” 

The Philadelphia Eagles have been the best team in football with a league-best 7-0 record. They are the only undefeated team in the league and seem to get better each week. 

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has taken a major leap in his third season and trails only Allen and Mahomes in the MVP race. The acquisition of receiver A.J. Brown in the offseason and his pairing with DeVonta Smith has created one of the most electric offenses in the league. 

Philadelphia also boasts a top-five defense in yards allowed per game along with the best turnover ratio in the league at +14. General Manager Howie Roseman managed to add impact players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Robert Quinn at relatively low costs. 

It’s rare for a team to be a lock to compete in the Super Bowl just halfway through the season. However, if the Eagles manage to stay healthy, there doesn’t seem to be an NFC team capable of slowing down this blazing-hot Eagles squad. 

The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys both stand at 6-2 at the midseason mark. Despite the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott early in the season, the Cowboys were able to win games under backup Cooper Rush.

The Giants have been one of the most surprising teams of the 2022-23 season. Running back Saquon Barkley has regained the dominance he had early in his career and ranks second in rushing yards. Head coach Brian Daboll has turned the Giants into a playoff contender in his debut season as a head coach. 

The Washington Commanders sit at the bottom of the division with a 4-4 record, but the return of quarterback Taylor Heinicke has created an unlikely spark to Washington’s offense. The Commanders are currently on a three-game win streak after starting the season 1-4.

Heinicke is undefeated in his two games as Washington’s starter and has shown the chemistry with the receiving core Carson Wentz lacked. His ability to correct mistakes during games might earn him the starting role in Washington for the remainder of the season. 

Although the Commanders have a tough road ahead if they want to compete in the playoffs, there’s a chance all four NFC East teams appear in the playoffs. As the teams continue to improve, the east might dominate the NFC for years to come. 

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