As the 103rd season of the National Football League (NFL) kicks off, sports buffs from St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick are placing their bets about Super Bowl LVII and who will take home prestigious roles like Rookie of the Year and MVP.
The Aquinian’s sports editor, Keaghan Keddy, compiled this list of students making their predictions for this year’s NFL season.
STU students Greg Robinson and Nigel Cornelius, and graduate Oliver Larson, and UNB Fredericton students Cole Healey and Liam Carruthers were asked to share their thoughts on the upcoming season.
Rookie of the Year (ROTY):
Nigel Cornelius predicts that New York Jets wide receiver (WR) Garret Wilson could take home ROTY.
“Wilson was dominant at Ohio State and looks to be dominating the NFL through his first few games,” he said. “Seeing at least eight targets in each game and doing the most with them, Wilson will likely lead other rookie WR’s in all statistical categories.”
Liam Carruthers predicts Chris Olave, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, will be this year’s ROTY.
“Olave out of Ohio State is a part of many other bright prospects from the school this year,” he said. “Olave looks the strongest so far as he went for 13 receptions for 147 yards against the Panthers.”
Greg Robinson is a student in the education program at STU. He predicts that Aidan Hutchinson, a defensive end with the Detroit Lions, will bring home the title.
“Hutchinson was arguably the most ‘league ready’ prospect going into the 2022 draft, and so far in the first three games he has lived up to that hype,” he said. “Three sacks in three games and active in the run defence on a stingy Lions D-Line.”
Oliver Larson is placing his bets on Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London.
“London was the first receiver selected in the 2022 Draft going eight overall and entered a team with very little competition for targets,” he said. “So far this year he has lived up to the hype and has the perfect combination of talent, draft capital, and opportunity to succeed.”
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Cornelius predicts Baltimore Ravens quarterback (QB) Lamar Jackson has a big chance at snagging MVP this season.
“It’s no secret the MVP is a QB award and no QB is able to ball out more than Lamar Jackson in a contract year,” he said. “If Lamar wants to be the highest paid QB, a second MVP will surely help.”
Meanwhile, Carruthers believes Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a shoe-in for the title.
“An over-picked player for MVP for a reason,” he said. “He’s had a great start to the season, and he will continue to make magic happen game in game out. I have full faith in Mahomes.”
Larson would like to see Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts come away as MVP this year.
“Hurts is surrounded by weapons on offence and the only thing that held him back in the past has been his throwing ability, a criticism that he has seemed to quash in the early weeks of the year,” he said. “If he can continue putting up the rushing and passing numbers he has showcased so far on the way to winning the National Football Conference (NFC) East, Hurts would make a strong argument for the award.”
Cole Healy has picked QB Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. He’s been impressed with what he’s seen.
“Allen is by far one of the most explosive QBs in the NFL. He has a very good offensive IQ, he’s very accurate on all his throws, deep, middle and short,” he said. “He also is a threat in the run game himself, which makes him a dual threat with his passing and running ability. With the Bills being in strong competition with the Dolphins for the division, Allen will need to be at his best, if not better.”
Super Bowl Predictions and Score:
Cornelius is confident the Bills will come away with a 28-24 win against the Eagles.
“[The] Bills finally get over the hump and represent the AFC [American Football Conference] while the Eagles and their stacked roster make it out of the NFC,” he said. “In the end, Josh Allen is too good for anyone to handle.”
Carruthers thinks the Bills will reach too, but lose against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers 23-20.
“No doubt in my mind Brady won’t clutch this game out and win for what might be his last year in the NFL,” he said.
Robinson picks the same team, but has the Bills victorious versus the Bucs 31-23.
“As great as Tom Brady is, his O-Line isn’t. Also, the Bills are such a well-rounded team, I feel like they will be too much for the Bucs line,” he said. “Stefon Diggs will eat, and the lack of run game for the Bills won’t really matter considering the Bucs strong run defence. It’s too bad considering Brady will probably need the extra ring to keep [his wife] Gisele around.”
Larson predicts Bills vs. Buccaneers with the Bucs winning 38-35.
“Once Brady reaches the playoffs and hopefully has his full supporting cast around him on offence, I think he will push for a Super Bowl win in his last season in the league, defeating a strong Bills team in a shootout,” he said.
Healy sees Brady clutching up in his last year with the Buccaneers, winning 31-24 versus the Chiefs.
“With it being Brady’s last year as a football player, he will be looking to perform and win his final Super Bowl, showcasing why he is the [Greatest of All Time],” he said.
On Sept. 25, pop singer Rihanna announced that she will headline Super Bowl LVII after Taylor Swift backed out.
Cornelius thinks it is going to be tough for Rihanna to follow up last year’s halftime show.
“I think Rihanna is a great artist who will be able to put on a good show with some potential big-name guests like Eminem or Jay-Z,” he said.
Carruthers is skeptical of the decision.
“Rihanna will be entertaining, don’t get me wrong, but is she [of] the same calibre as some of the previous performers? We’ll have to find out, but I think she’ll need a surprise guest to bring it home,” he said.
Robinson believes it’s a fine choice.
“Rihanna is great. Countless hits and an unreal voice with the potential of some insane guests with her Roc-Nation group. I think it’s a great choice. Certainly, better than Taylor Swift,” he said.
Larson is excited about the show.
“I think Rihanna is a strong performer with lots of potential for big-name guests. It should be an entertaining show,” he said.
Healy is in the same boat as Carruthers.
“Even though Rhianna is a very strong performer, I believe that there will need to be guest appearances from other performers for the halftime performance to be as exciting as the halftime show lives up to be,” he said.
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It will be televised on Fox.