The 2021 season just ended but the predictions for next season are already being made.
ESPN's NFL experts picked their Super Bowl LVII favorites and discussed their choice for the 2022 NFL MVP. Out of the 12 experts, seven of them had the Bills making it to the Super Bowl and five thinking that Buffalo will win it all.
Here's their reasoning behind it.
What's your early Super Bowl LVII pick?
Stephania Bell, fantasy football analyst: 49ers over Bills. Twice the bridesmaids in the postseason during the Kyle Shanahan era, the 49ers have the talent to win it all if their heir to the quarterback throne, Trey Lance, continues to develop. Josh Allen and the Bills were a possession away from the Super Bowl, and they will be back -- but in the end, the Niners' defense (with some incoming improvements in the secondary) helps tip the scale in their favor.
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Bills over 49ers. The Bills will go through some changes with Ken Dorsey as the new offensive coordinator, but I still anticipate a quarterback-centric system designed around Josh Allen's high-end physical abilities. And with a defense that can limit explosive plays, this team has the makeup of a championship squad.
Mike Clay, fantasy football writer: Packers over Bills. Aaron Rodgers will return for one more run and, after winning 13 regular-season games but failing to reach the Super Bowl in three straight seasons, the Packers finally get over the top. Naturally, Rodgers will retire after winning Super Bowl MVP.
Tristan H. Cockcroft, fantasy football writer: Bills over Cowboys. What?! The Cowboys in the Super Bowl?! Consider it more the product of a wide-open NFC in my estimation -- though an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team would remain tough to bet against -- but it's the Bills who stand out as one of the game's most balanced overall teams, with a quarterback in Josh Allen who is an absolute superstar.
Eric Moody, fantasy football writer: Bills over 49ers. Josh Allen is one of the league's top dual-threat quarterbacks, Stefon Diggs is an elite wide receiver, Gabriel Davis is an up-and-comer on the precipice of a breakout season and cornerback Tre'Davious White will be back following an ACL tear. After losing consecutive playoff games to the Chiefs, the Bills will be highly motivated to atone for their mistakes.
Kevin Seifert, national NFL writer: Bills over Packers. The Bills have been so close the past two years, and ESPN's Football Power Index ranked them as the best team of 2021 (regardless of the outcome of the playoffs). And at this moment, there are lots of reasons to think Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the rest of the Packers' elite players are headed back to Green Bay for one more run at a championship.
Field Yates, NFL analyst: Bills over Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is not with the Packers next season, the game changes, but with Rodgers under contract in Green Bay, I think the Packers find a way to do enough to keep the roster intact to a point that another successful season is on tap -- this time with a trip to the Super Bowl, where they come up just short against the high-powered, Josh Allen-led Bills.
The 12 experts also made their pick for the 2022 MVP, and four of them picked Josh Allen to win it next season and explained why.
Who's your pick to be next season's MVP?
Clay: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen has been top six in Total QBR each of the past two seasons while often carrying the entire Buffalo offense with both his arm and legs. The Bills are built for another title run, and that will position him for strong MVP consideration.
Cockcroft: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. I hate that the MVP award is boiling down to near certainty of going to a quarterback these days, not to mention typically those on high-seeded contenders, but this will be one of the most deserving awards among those who fit those criteria. The Bills should be tremendous as a team, and Allen is already right there in the conversation for best player in the league. A 13-4 season (or a season in that range) will give him outstanding odds of an MVP win.
Seifert: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. There's reason to worry about Allen's long-term trajectory, given the punishment that comes along with his physical playing style. But he finished the 2021 playoffs playing at the highest level of his career. That should carry into the near future, especially the 2022 season.
Yates: Josh Allen, QB, Bills. Allen finished 2021 on a tear and is firmly entrenched in the conversation for best player in all of football. Buffalo had a stretch of inconsistent play during this past regular season that kept him out of the MVP conversation, but I suspect he will be an annual contender going forward.