Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson, Jori Epstein and Charles McDonald discuss the teams that have surprised us in a negative way over the first half of the 2022 NFL season. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --bad surprise. Charles, what have you looked at? I mean, I-- we all got to be thinking the same one on this one, but go ahead.
CHARLES MCDONALD: Is there only one? I mean--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Oh, I'm sure there's more, but, come on, isn't there one really overwhelming one?
CHARLES MCDONALD: I mean, the Packers have to be one.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Oh, OK. OK.
JORI EPSTEIN: Don't, C-Rob, we each have our turn for a reason.
CHARLES MCDONALD: All right, here's why for the Packers for me at least. Because I wasn't-- I had some concern about the offense this year, just coming into the year. I mean, any time I think you're starting offense with like our plan is Sammy Watkins and two rookie wide receivers. I don't really know how well it's going to work out for you along with the injuries. So I'm not really surprised that the offense has struggled-- maybe like struggling to score on the lines is pretty surprising, but to me, the defense has been pretty substandard, especially coming into the year.
You look at just the name brand talent that they had on the roster coming into year-- Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary has been great before he tore his ACL this weekend. Preston Smith, De'Vondre Campbell had a Pro Bowl year. They added Quay Walker in the draft. Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes, like it seemed like a pretty complete defense that was going to come into their second year with Joe Barry as defensive coordinator.
And they've just been not what I was expecting them to be, to the point where they've let guys like Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton just kind of run down the field and them over just a half a football, like we saw in London a few weeks ago. So for me, the Packers defense kind of being Swiss cheese at times has been the most surprising part of the season for me. And that's why they're most-- my most surprising team in a negative fashion.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Jori, do you agree with that? Would you have picked the Packers?
JORI EPSTEIN: I did not pick the Packers. I imagine your isn't it obvious just about Russell Wilson and the Broncos, and I'm going to go a step a step further. Absolutely, Russell Wilson and the Broncos, I don't think anything is more disappointing and badly surprising than them. But I don't want to just give the blame to them. Like, the AFC West as a whole is supposed to be so exciting. The Chargers went out and made moves in the offseason. The Raiders went out and got Davante Adams.
Obviously, the Broncos-- new head coach, new general manager, Russell Wilson, some weapons. I mean, they were really going all out. The Chiefs being the one team who actually let Tyreek Hill walk, and seem to be the one team that got-- that did not elevate their talent, and then the Chiefs are the only one we can reliably be like, yeah, they're a threat. So I just think that, that division as a whole to take some responsibility because right now, I mean, we've got the Chargers have a 55% chance to make the playoffs.
So then you get down to the Broncos at what? 8% And the Raiders have 4% according to 538. So I just think that division, that all of a sudden was going to give us these great prime time matchups, that was going to really start to show us like how good Patrick Mahomes is when he's challenged inside the division too, totally has not done that.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, that's good to go with the whole division. I didn't think of-- I remember at one point, I think I told Frank at one point before the season started, you look at the division and every other team seemed to do something to significantly improve except for Kansas City. And I was like, it's almost like they're losing ground just by sitting there, and, no, it was the opposite. They were going to be just fine. And now they didn't just sit there, they did make some additions.
But, yeah, that's-- the division's definitely a better way to go than just the Broncos. Broncos, to me, were the obvious one. You kind of covered that, but I guess I would also say, like, how about the NFC West? But, specifically, how about like the Cardinals and the Rams, right? Like, Arizona, you signed Kyler Murray to that massive deal. You're thinking, OK, DeAndre Hopkins won't be there at the start, but they should still have a good offense.
They add Hollywood Brown. And then it just looks terrible, looks frustrating to even watch. It looks-- you sit there and you're like, Kliff Kingsbury, they did an extension with this guy, and now what do you do with the way this team looks offensively? Now it's looked better since Hopkins has gotten back, but still, that's just a team where I don't know where they go with this or how they fix this.
I don't-- it's almost unfathomable to think that they've committed to Kingsbury now, and when you look at that team, you're just not sure whether or not they can even innovate on offense anymore. And then the Rams, when I went through Rams Camp, I walked out of there thinking, the NFC's going to be a cakewalk for this team. They've got veterans. They're strong in the right spots. They just look-- I don't even know how to describe it. At times, they look old. Like, it feels kind of like all of a sudden, this team just up and got old really fast.