As we approach the new year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on what has been as weird and wild an NFL season as any in memory.

From the spectacular (anything Justin Jefferson or Nick Bosa did) to the ludicrous (pick a nickname: Sin City Stiff-Arm? Las Vegas Lateral), it’s been as unpredictable as the weather. And considering what the weather looked like last weekend nearly everywhere – wind-chill numbers near zero in Nashville and Charlotte? Are you kidding us? – January could be just as mesmerizingly momentous.

Some observations:

–We can’t count the number of pleasantly surprising teams in 2022 on one hand. Certainly the performances of the Eagles, Vikings and Giants belong near the top, but in truth, such clubs as the Seahawks, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Commanders and Steelers have achieved more than anyone should have expected given their flawed rosters. The future looks particularly bright for Jacksonville and Detroit, and when was the last time anyone said that?

–Ditto on the flops. The way the Rams, Cardinals, Broncos, Titans, Raiders, Buccaneers, Colts and Packers plummeted has been stark – even with Green Bay’s late surge. Remember that in 2021, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Green Bay and the Rams won their divisions, while Arizona and Las Vegas were playoff qualifiers. Denver (Russell Wilson) and Indianapolis (Matt Ryan) brought in successful quarterbacks to get them over the hump. Instead, those two teams got dumped on.

–The NFL has several problems with its officiating that need to be addressed soon. While the league emphasizes experience for its crews, the speed, power and precision of play have, at times, overwhelmed the officials. It doesn’t help their cause that what fans are seeing in replays pinpoints errors, from the minor to the egregious.

–The trend of hiring offense-based assistants for the head coaching position drew mixed reviews this season. Nick Sirianni in Philly and Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota have taken their attacks to new levels. Brian Daboll with the Giants and Mike McDaniel with the Dolphins have improved their squad’s scoring.

 But Nathaniel Hackett in Denver, Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas, Arthur Smith in Atlanta and Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland? Not so much, with Hackett already out of work.

Colts at Giants (-6)

New York clinches a playoff berth against one of those most disappointing teams.


Jets at Seahawks (+2)

The other New York team is eliminated, keeping the Seahawks – and former Jets coach Pete Carroll – in the playoff chase.


Bills at Bengals (pick-em)

Both are in, both are Super Bowl contenders, both could be the AFC’s top seed.

BILLS, 27-24

Saints at Eagles (-5 ½)

Can’t believe the Eagles will be forced to go to Week 18 to clinch the NFC’s top seed.

EAGLES, 29-20

Vikings at Packers (-3 ½)

Green Bay’s playoff push continues with a win over its archrival.

PACKERS, 30-28

Panthers at Buccaneers (-3)

We know we should trust Tom Brady here. We simply can’t trust the rest of the Bucs.


Broncos at Chiefs (-12 ½)

We always trust Patrick Mahomes, even with this big a spread.

CHIEFS, 37-13

49ers at Raiders (+10)

And we always trust Brock Purdy. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Still …

49ERS, 27-16

Bears at Lions (-6)

Unless Justin Fields runs for 250 yards, we’ll go with Detroit to stay in contention.

LIONS, 26-22

Steelers at Ravens (-2 1/2)

How much would the Ravens like to end Pittsburgh’s postseason hopes? THIS MUCH.


Dolphins at Patriots (-3)

One of these underachievers will be alive next weekend for a wild-card spot.


Jaguars at Texans (+4 ½)

Jacksonville’s strong finishing kick continues.

JAGUARS, 21-13

Browns at Commanders (-1)

Washington brought in Carson Wentz to get them to the playoffs. He returns as the starter with the postseason in reach.


Rams at Chargers (-6 ½)

Want to be there are more Rams fans at this Chargers home game?


Cardinals at Falcons (-3 ½)

Want to bet there aren’t many fans at all at this game?

FALCONS, 16-13

Wilner’s 2022 RECORD

Last Week – Straight up: 11-4. Against the spread: 8-6-1.

Season – Straight up: 145-78-2. Against the spread: 115-102-8.

Best Bet – Straight up: 11-5. Against the spread: 7-9.

Upset Special – Straight up: 7-9. Against the spread: 8-8.


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