We’re through a third of the NFL season as we head into Week 7, and there have been plenty of ups and downs thus far in 2022. While we’ve seen plenty of bad football (looking at you, Carolina, and Las Vegas), the season hasn’t been devoid of top-tier play from perennial stars, breakouts, and many other surprises.
MVP – Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
A third of the way through the season, this MVP marathon is a two-man race, with Josh Allen slightly edging out Patrick Mahomes for the award. Both players have thrown 17 touchdowns to just four interceptions and are among league leaders in passer rating, QBR, total passing yards, and yards per game.
Their overall statistics are close, but Allen and the Bills beating Mahomes and the Chiefs at Arrowhead in Week 6 pushed Josh ahead. And Allen outperformed Mahomes in this game by most measurable metrics. Allen threw three TDs with zero INTs, while Mahomes had two of each. Plus, the Bills are the best team in the AFC, with the Dolphins taking a step back due to QB injuries and having beaten the Chiefs head-to-head.
Offensive Player of the Trimester – Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Tyreek Hill is on a record-breaking path so far in 2022, and he’s doing it with whomever Miami lines up under center. After grabbing 12 catches for 177 yards on Sunday against the Vikings, Hill now leads the NFL in receiving yards and is on pace to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season record of 1,964.
What’s even more impressive is he’s done it with three different QBs playing significant time already this year. Johnson had the luxury of one big-time passer in Matthew Stafford that entire season. Still, Hill has found a way to separate himself from the pack in receiving early on. Most people thought he could struggle after leaving Kansas City and the strong arm of Patrick Mahomes, but through the first three weeks of the season, Tua to Hill was probably the most lethal combination in the league.
Defensive Player of the Trimester – Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
With Dak Prescott missing all but one game this year, the Cowboys have still found a way to win four of their first six games, and Cooper Rush isn’t the reason. It’s been that Dallas Cowboys defense, but more importantly, it’s been the continued emergence of Micah Parsons as the leader of that defense.
Parsons is tied for second in the NFL with six sacks and has multiple games with two. He’s put these Cowboys on his back and come up with big play after big play to get this team to 4-2. Everyone’s made a big deal over Rush, and he played fine in his role, but without Parson on defense, the Cowboys are likely 2-4 and pretty much out of the race for the division.
Offensive Rookie of the Trimester – Breece Hall, New York Jets
Breece Hall looks like a star in the making, and his contributions have helped produce a winning product for the Jets. Anytime a team has a lackluster passing attack but a winning record, you can look at its defense and ability to run the ball. The Jets do both well, and Hall (391 rushing yards, 218 receiving yards, and four total TDs) has become the catalyst for the running part of that equation.
Dameon Pierce of the Texans is also having a wonderful start to his career, but Houston isn’t winning games at nearly the same rate as the Jets.
Defensive Rookie of the Trimester - Devin Lloyd, Jacksonville Jaguars
This could end up being a tight race overall — Hall’s teammate Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner has a case for this award — but at this point of the season, Devin Lloyd has shown that he’s already one of the rising defensive stars in this league. You probably hadn’t noticed since Lloyd plays in Jacksonville, but he’s leading all rookies in tackles (combined) with 56 through six games. He’s flying under the radar right now, but this Jaguars defense has a few thumpers that could help lead this team back to the postseason within a year or two. Lloyd will be one of the main forces leading that charge when that happens.
Coach of the Trimester - Brian Daboll, New York Giants
The New York Giants are 5-1. They’ve accomplished this without Daniel Jones being a top 20 QB, yet every week the Giants come out and find a way to stay in games and are winning most of them. The Giants rank 31st in passing yards per game and 25th in total yards.
On offense, the saving grace has been the return of Saquon Barkley, as he’s second in the league in rushing, helping the Giants to the fourth-best rushing attack in the league. The defense has even joined the party, and although they tend to give up yardage, they’re holding teams under 19 ppg, which ties them for seventh in the league.
Despite having a below-average signal caller, the Giants are in second place in the NFC East and are tied for the second-best record in the conference. If they keep this up, Daboll will run away with this award at the end of the season.
Coaching Flop of the Trimester – Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
This one is close and could go to either Josh McDaniels or Nathaniel Hackett, but we’re going with the latter. Denver is 2-4 and can’t seem to get out of its own way offensively. The Broncos scored more than 20 points once, which was in a loss to the Raiders.
Russell Wilson hasn’t been great, and whether that’s him declining, learning a new offense, or due to injury, Hackett hasn’t done much to help make things better along the way. Hackett was praised for being the offensive coordinator in Green Bay for the past three years, and he’s been terrible thus far in Denver. If not for the defense, this team could be 0-6 right now.
Most Disappointing Team – Las Vegas Raiders
A couple of teams could’ve won this award, but Las Vegas has earned the nod with its 1-4 start to the season. Coming into the year, some picked the Raiders to challenge for the AFC West crown, and so far, they haven’t come close.
The team was able to make the postseason last year even after the Jon Gruden email scandal and was expected to carry that momentum over to this season. Acquiring Davante Adams in the offseason only made more Raiders believers — then the team actually started to play games. They lost their first three games by 13 points combined. They’ve been in just about every game, but disciplined teams pull out more of those close ones than they lose. McDaniels hasn’t prepared his guys to the level they need to be to win these games.
Biggest Surprise of the Trimester – New York Jets
We’re only six weeks in, but if someone told you before the season that the Jets would be two games above .500 at any point in the year, you would’ve laughed them out of the building. But that’s where head coach Robert Saleh has his team while he stacks up receipts along the way. Defense and a good running game are why the Jets are in second place in the AFC East at 4-2.
They’re currently on a three-game winning streak since second-year QB Zach Wilson returned to the lineup. The Jets don’t win pretty, but they win, and that’s what matters. There have been some surprising moments this season, but the Jets have to be the biggest thus far. Their dominant victory over the Packers in Green Bay should go a long way in creating new Jets believers.
Best Game of the Trimester – Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 2)
This game will be remembered as Tua Tagovailoa’s breakout game, where he threw six TDs in a comeback win over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. By halftime, Baltimore built a 28-7 lead and looked like they were on their way to a 2-0 start to the season. After three quarters, the Ravens led 35-14.
Then Tua and the offense woke up and outscored the Ravens 28-3 in the fourth quarter to get the 42-38 victory. Jackson looked like the early season frontrunner for MVP through most of this game, with three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. He even passed for almost 320 yards, which was still not enough in the end due to lapses on defense. Anytime you allow nearly 30 points in a quarter, you’ve got a problem on the back end of your defense. It made for an entertaining fourth quarter and put Tagovailoa on the map.
Worst Game of the Trimester – Week 5 Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
Don’t get it twisted. There’s been some lousy football in 2022, but nothing takes the cake from the Week 5 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Colts and Broncos. A low-scoring, all-field goal game in prime time equals a recipe for disaster, and that’s the best way to describe this game.
Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan were atrocious, as were these offenses in general. They were sacked 10 times combined and never got any rhythm going offensively. Most people were embarrassed for both teams in this encounter. Had this game been on Sunday in the afternoon window, where only a portion of the country viewed it while multiple games were happening, the effect may not have been as bad. But when this is you lead into the upcoming week’s slate of games and televised to a national audience, that’s a problem. The Colts won 12-9, but it wasn’t pleasant.