2022 NFL Season in Review: Early Winners and Losers, Surprise Players, and Disappointing Teams

Our NFL Season in Review after Week 6 offers a look at players and teams to watch as we enter the heart of the 2022 schedule.

NFL season overview: Early Winners and Losers - Recommended Bets 

2022 NFL Season in Review Winners

Cooper Rush Leading the Charge in Big D

The Dallas Cowboys’ prospects of returning to the NFL playoffs looked bleak in the wake of a hand injury from Dak Prescott in Week 1 that continues to sideline the team’s star quarterback. However, America’s team has not missed a beat since Cooper Rush took over the offense.

While the 28-year-old has not matched Prescott in terms of spectacular play, he has emerged as a steady and confident presence under center while leading Dallas to four straight victories. More important to sports betting fans is the Cowboys’ impressive performance at the sportsbooks, which they have covered in their four recent victories.

Eventually, Rush will give way to Prescott when he has fully recovered from his injury. And while there are no awards for best injury replacement, Rush’s steady performance has left Dallas well positioned to challenge for the top of the NFC East standings. In addition, the Cowboys defense has emerged as one of the best in the league going into our early NFL season overview, allowing just 16.3 points per game during their 4-2-0 run.

Pegged as distant +240 longshots to make the playoffs in the wake of Prescott’s injury, the Cowboys have now rebounded to a -700 bet at Caesars to qualify for the postseason. And considering their favorable schedule the rest of the way, which features home dates with slumping opponents like Detroit, Chicago and Houston, the time is now to get on this team as a +500 bet with Caesars Sportsbook to repeat as NFC East champions.

Second Coming of Geno Smith Sparks Seahawks Resurgence

Fresh off their first losing season in a decade, the Seattle Seahawks embarked on somewhat of a rebuild during this past offseason. The most notable move of the offseason came when the Seahawks dealt star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a rich package of draft picks and quarterback Drew Lock, who was expected to take over the offense this season.

But while Lock struggled through injury and shaky play during the preseason, Geno Smith stepped up and unexpectedly seized the starter’s role. Little was expected from Smith in his new role in Seattle. Indeed, the 32-year-old journeyman managed to top 200 passing yards once in four starts last season, finding the end zone just five times while leading the Seahawks to one win.

However, it has been a far different Geno Smith leading the Seahawks this time around. As we put together our early NFL season in review after five weeks of action, Smith ranks third amongst all NFL passers with a 108.1 passer rating and also sits among the league leaders with 8.3 yards per pass attempt, a 73.4% completion percentage, and nine scoring passes against just two picks.

Geno Smith Quarterback Stats Pack (22/23 Season)


Passer Rating

Yards Gained Per Pass Attempt

Pass Completion

Scoring Passes


Tua Tagovailoa






Josh Allen






Geno Smith






Patrick Mahomes






Data taken from: pro-football-reference.com (Accurate as of 10/17/22)

With Smith’s exploits getting overshadowed at times by a porous Seahawks defense that ranks 31st in the NFL with 27.17 points per game allowed, a return to the NFL playoffs remains out of reach for Seattle. However, Smith remains pegged as high-value +600 at BetMGM to earn NFL Comeback Player of the year honors, trailing only oft-injured New York Giants rusher Saquon Barkley.

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2022 NFL Season in Review Losers

Same Old, Same Old in Denver

The arrival of Russell Wilson was expected to put the Denver Broncos over the top in their bid to return to playoff contention. In the wake of their Super Bowl 50 victory, and Peyton Manning’s subsequent retirement, the Broncos struggled to find a legitimate pivot to take over the offense, with 11 different quarterbacks making appearances with the team over the past six seasons.

But things have not worked out as expected. While Wilson has been tarred as the goat in what is quickly emerging as another lost season in the Mile High City, there is plenty of blame to go around. Wilson’s bid to develop chemistry with his receivers has been hampered by both injuries and plenty of questionable play-calling by rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Complicating matters are the struggles of a Broncos offensive line that has allowed Wilson to get sacked 16 times through his first five outings of the season and contributed to Denver’s speedy fall to last in the league in scoring. Wilson is too much of a talent for this slump to go on indefinitely, and he will eventually produce as expected. However, with few easy dates remaining on their schedule, the Broncos have fallen well off the pace since opening with a projected win total of 10, with the real value now to be found in their -125 odds at BetMGM to win Under 7.5 games.

Can Raiders Overcome Early Season Heartbreak?

It has also been a tough start to the season for the Broncos’ AFC West rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders. Like Denver, the Raiders made a splash in the offseason by acquiring star receiver Davante Adams in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. After serving as Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target during eight seasons in Green Bay, Adams’ arrival in Vegas reunited him with his former Fresno State teammate, quarterback Derek Carr.

While the duo have shown flashes of what they could potentially achieve together, they have been far from spectacular, with Adams topping 100 yards just twice and making just three scoring passes over his fist four outings. The 29-year-old did not help his cause in the wake of a narrow 30-29 loss to Kansas City in Week 5 on Monday Night Football, when he shoved a photographer on his way off the field. In addition to possible league discipline, Adams now faces misdemeanor assault charges for his actions, saddling the Raiders with an unnecessary and unhelpful off-field distraction.

There is an upside to the Raiders story. While they have lost four of their first five games, those defeats have come by a combined margin of just 14 points. And even without Adams performing as expected, the Raiders still rank eighth in the NFL in scoring with 25 points per game.

With their perfectly timed bye in Week 6, the Raiders have had an ample opportunity to regroup, and address their most serious concern, a sloppy pass defense that ranks near the bottom of the league in points allowed, touchdowns surrendered and sacks recorded. The Raiders also have a favorable schedule awaiting them following their bye, with seven of their 10 upcoming games coming against teams sporting losing records. That makes this team a solid +110 bet with BetMGM to rebound and win Over 7.5 games this season.

Las Vegas Raiders Defense Stats Pack (22/23 Season)


Points Per Game Allowed

Sacks Recorded

Passing Touchdowns By The Opposition

Detroit Lions




Seattle Seahawks




Cleveland Browns




New Orleans Saints




Las Vegas Raiders




Data taken from: pro-football-reference.com (Accurate as of 10/12/22)


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When does the NFL season end?

The NFL regular season ends on Sunday, January 8, 2023. Including the playoffs, the NFL season ends on the day of Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, February 12, 2023.

Who has the best defense in the NFL?

After six weeks, the Buffalo Bills is the best defensive team in the NFL, conceding just 13.5 points per game. The Bills rank second in fewest yards allowed at 281.5 yards per game, behind the 49ers who allow just 255.8 yards per game. The Bills are also fourth in the sacks table, with 19, behind leaders the Dallas Cowboys, with 24.

Who has the best offense in the NFL?

After five weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs are averaging the most points in the NFL at 29.8 points per game. However, the Buffalo Bills have the most yards in the league, averaging 440.8 yards per game despite being second in points at 29.3 points per game.


NFL Season Overview Conclusion

Cooper Rush has exceeded expectations while filling in for injured Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. His efforts, along with the steady play of the Cowboys' defense, have lifted Dallas into the conversation to win the NFC East. Few expected much from Geno Smith after he raised eyebrows by winning the starting quarterback job in Seattle. However, the 32-year-old’s renaissance has made the Seahawks far more competitive than previously expected and made Smith an intriguing candidate to claim NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

Things have not worked out so well for Russell Wilson in his debut with the Denver Broncos. Hampered by questionable play-calling, nagging injuries, and a porous offensive line, the Broncos have fallen well short of expectations and should be faded on the NFL future. It has also been a tough start to the season for the Las Vegas Raiders, whose four losses to date have come by the narrowest margins. But with a favorable schedule ahead, the Raiders have ample opportunity to rediscover winning ways.

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Written by Daniel Coyle

Daniel has written professionally about sports for two decades and covered the sports betting beat for the past nine years. He is an expert EPL, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and UFC writer.  

His work has been featured in various newspapers, magazines, and online media, including the Montreal Gazette, Globe & Mail, Faceoff.com, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, NESN, Sportsnet, Featurd.io, SB Nation, Oilers Nation, and The Nation.