The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Weirdest NFL Season in Recent Memory

The Weirdest NFL Season in Recent Memory

This NFL season has truly been one of the weirdest seasons in recent memory. From Aaron Rodger’s early season exit to camera crews focusing more on Taylor Swift than the actual game, this season was one to remember. Earlier this year, I attempted to predict which eight teams would end up winning their division. I only predicted three teams correctly, yet this still feels like an accomplishment. 

Starting with the NFC. There were a few new faces on this side of the bracket. 

I predicted that the Eagles, Lions, Saints, and 49ers would all win their divisions. Had the season ended after week 12, I would have been 100 percent correct in my predictions. However, this was not meant to be. 

The Eagles had one of the worst collapses in NFL history, starting their season at 10-1 only to lose six out of their last seven games, concluding the season with an embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers, who many predicted would not even reach the postseason.  

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Will the Eagles make the postseason next year? As of now, I would say yes, but the team has many important players hitting free agency after this season, so I could very easily continue my tradition of being wrong. 

As for the Saints, the team was stuck in mediocrity the entire season. The team had flashes of potential throughout the year, but Derek Carr and his offense’s inconsistency this season prevented the team from making any real noise. Jamaal Williams failed to score a touchdown until week 18 after breaking Barry Sander’s Lions record, scoring 17 touchdowns last year. His production was not close to the same this year. 

As for the major surprises this year in the NFC, I was very excited to see the performances put on by the Packers and the Rams this season. After the Packers were bounced from the playoffs in the final game of the season last year, there were many questions surrounding Jordan Love and his ability to carry a roster to the postseason. With the help of some solid rookie receivers and the monster that Aaron Jones is (when healthy), the Packers were able to make the postseason and even upset the Cowboys- a Packer tradition that Jordan Love helped carry out. 

As for the Rams, I had major questions about the team largely because of the lack of draft picks that they had in last year’s draft. They answered the question. Puka Nacua was a star, and Kyren Williams helped provide a solid rushing attack for a team that unfortunately had Matthew Stafford’s Detroit homecoming ruined in the postseason- did Detroit seriously boo Stafford in his return? 

Let’s move to the AFC.

This conference is packed with amazing talent at quarterback, when healthy. However, the stars at the top of the list were not immune to injuries, and this has been the case in the last two years. Last year, Lamar Jackson’s injury derailed their postseason hopes, as they lost a heartbreaker to the Bengals due to a goal line fumble by Tyler Huntley, which Lamar Jackson likely would have had no problem punching in for a go-ahead score. The Raven’s luck has been much better this year, as Jackson has the Ravens in the AFC championship game against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

This injury bug bit many a quarterback on the AFC side. Aaron Rodgers went down on the first drive of the season. I had the Jets slated to win the division, but it was clear that the team had much greater problems than a lack of a quarterback. As for the rest of the conference, it saw Anthony Richardson, Joe Burrow, and Deshaun Watson all go down before half of the season was finished. 

My preseason predictions on the AFC side were even worse than the NFC. I picked the Jets, Jaguars, Bengals, and Chiefs to win their respective divisions. I was only right on one: the Chiefs. This is no accomplishment, as the Chiefs have now won the AFC West for an eight year in a row. 

The Jets’ season ended when Aaron Rodgers went down. The Bengals’ season ended when Joe Burrow went down, although Jake Browning played relatively well. The Jaguars were simply terrible to end the year, starting at 8-3 and finishing 9-8 to lose the division to rookie phenom CJ Stroud and the Texans, ultimately missing the playoffs entirely. 

As for the pleasant surprises on this side of the bracket, I was very glad to see the progress that the Texans and Browns made. Joe Flacco had a Linsanity run that I very much enjoyed watching, and CJ Stroud is now one of my favorite players in the NFL to watch, and I am fully on the bandwagon that he is a perennial MVP candidate next year. 

This NFL season was one for the ages, as it was likely the most unpredictable season in recent memory. However, there were a few traditions that were kept.  

America’s self-proclaimed Team, the Cowboys, had their annual collapse in the first round of the playoffs, and the Packers who beat the Cowboys, had their usual loss to the 49ers. Jordan Love is clearly the next great Packers quarterback, as he beat the Cowboys in the playoffs, owned the Bears, and threw a game-losing interception in the divisional round across his body in exact Favre form.  

Look away, Bills Mafia. Your season ended abruptly in another heartbreaker in the playoffs to the Chiefs, this time in the form of a kick that was wide right. Josh Allen is a great quarterback, but are the Bills simply cursed? I don’t believe this, but with every passing year this belief gets harder to defend. 

This season was one of the most chaotic, yet it was one of the most entertaining in recent memory. With three games left to go, who knows how much chaos is still in store. Who knows what the NFL scriptwriters have left for the diehard fans of one of the greatest sports leagues in the world. Only time will tell. 

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About the Contributor
Kemper Koslofski, Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-Chief: January 2023-Present Sports Editor: March 2023-December 2023

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