Nobody ever knows how a football game’s going to go until it actually begins. Of course, people can still guess. Based on trends, players, and sheer intuition, sportscasters are able to rank the 32 different NFL teams before the games get started. Here are the power rankings for the 2022 season.
32. Chicago Bears
We’re all hoping to see Justin Fields take a leap forward in his second year. However, it’s worth noting that the Bears’ wide receivers are in a bit of a troubling state. Darnell Mooney is locked in as the WR1, but injuries to Byron Pringle and N’Keal Harry leave their group all the more uncertain. The state of Chicago’s roster is simply concerning.
31. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are ranked pretty low on this list, but their defensive coordinator, Dean Peas, is having none of it. He ranted about how they’ve only been in the top 10 in terms of defense in the NFL once in the last 20 years and that he’s planning on changing the culture of defense. Let’s see how good a job he actually does.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars picked Travon Walker as the No. 1 overall pick in April, knowing of his prolific college production. And he’s made an immediate impact on the stats sheets. The Jaguars are still ranked pretty lowly, but they might be able to improve their ranking throughout the season.
29. Houston Texans
Nico Collins is pretty under the radar as far as wide receivers go. He’s proven to be good at his job, with Davis Mills singing his praises. He’s done a good job at camp, but we haven’t seen how well he handles the games that actually matter.
28. Washington Commanders
Carson Wentz is a veteran quarterback acquired from the Colts. But as everyone knows, he’s really struggling with accuracy. He hasn’t quite found his groove in the new environment yet. And the offensive line he’s been playing with has a lot of injuries. Fortunately, Curtis Samuel is back on the field. And the Commanders also have a pretty strong threat in Terry McLaurin.
27. Detroit Lions
It’s hard to say whether or not the Lions will play great this season, but the energy around them is positive at least. They bolstered their defense with Aidan Hutchinson and Jared Goff and D.J. Chark have had excellent chemistry. Maybe they’ll shoot up the rankings.
26. New York Giants
The Giants are trying to go for a resurgence in their offense, and it just might happen. Daniel Jones has shown some good moments at camp, and he’s got a good cast of playmakers as well. The offensive line has been vastly improved and Saquon Barkley is finally healthy! At the bare minimum, their offense will at least be watchable this fall.
25. New York Jets
Right after the Giants is the Jets. They had hoped that Mekhi Becton would be healthy and realize his potential. However, he ended up fracturing his kneecap before the season even began. It seems as though he’ll never get the chance to live up to his potential. The rest of the team needs to pivot in order to fill the hole left in their line.
24. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have some good QB options in Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and Jimmy Garoppolo. The real question is which one of them are going to start. Smith’s an old favorite, but Lock actually outplayed Smith in their mock game. Let’s hope potential infighting doesn’t mess with their mostly stellar offense.
23. Carolina Panthers
Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have split the first-team reps at camp, but it seems as though Mayfield’s been pulling ahead recently. He seems like a good fit, and might be one preseason performance away from locking in the position. Reports say he’ll be starting week 1 of the season.
22. Cleveland Browns
As much as Kareem Hunt wants to get out of Cleveland, it seems as though the Browns won’t let him. He was denied a trade request and was fined for sitting out of team drills. While his lack of motivation may hurt the Browns’, Hunt’s still known for a great 1-2 punch with Nick Chubb. And with Deshaun Watson suspended for the first six games of the season (and maybe more), we’ll just have to wait and see how well they hold up.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers
It seems as though Mitch Trubisky has a majority of the first-team reps in camp. Apparently, Mason Rudolph has yet to throw an interception throughout his weeks of practice. There’s also Kenny Pickett. While the idea of him being a day 1 starter has lost some steam, it’d be shortsighted to say he won’t make any impact on the team.
20. Minnesota Vikings
The stories about Kellen Mond unseating Kirk Cousins as starting quarterback have practically vanished since Mike Zimmer left. As a matter fact, Mond might even find himself completely sidelined. Meanwhile, Cousins is preparing for another 4,000-yard season.
19. Miami Dolphins
New head coach Mike McDaniel has a lot of different responsibilities with his team. Of course, one of those responsibilities is quieting the noise relating to the decision to suspend own Stephen Ross and strip Miami of multiple draft picks for tampering violations. That discipline made it more difficult to build up the team more for this season, but they still will do their best to compete this season. They do still have great players like Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill after all.
18. New England Patriots
The Patriots don’t have a lot of great reports coming from their training report. The offense has been called hopeless behind the defense in practice as a matter of fact. Although, this isn’t really anything too new. It’s always been assumed that New England’s offense would be a work in progress. Trying to find their footing without Tom Brady has proven to be quite difficult.
17. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray recently got a massive extension to stick with the Cardinals. However, the bigger focus as of late has been the bizarre “independent study” clause found in his contract. Then the Cardinals tried to remove the clause from his contract which made the thing even stranger. Unfortunately, Murray ended missing some practice time after testing positive for COVID-19. Just gives you the feeling that the Cardinals always make the news for the wrong reasons.
16. Tennessee Titans
The Titans got Treylon Burks using one of their first-round picks. However, it’s too early to assume he’ll be a starter in the offense just yet. He’s had conditioning issues and reports out of camp haven’t been particularly kind. He’s not the only rookie the Titans have to worry about either, but Burks was the one they expected to make an immediate impact. Fortunately for Robert Woods, that gives him a little bit more of a chance having been signed onto the Titans as a free agent. And following his reconstructive knee surgery, he’s supposedly back at 100%.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles fans have nothing to worry about. A.J. Brown has been reported as being a major focal point in Philadelphia’s passing plays. And wide receiver DeVonta Smith is also hoping to elevate his game to the next level in his second year. The Eagles offense looks like it’s about ready for a strong breakout in 2022. And having an actual star as their WR1 should really help out.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones has said that the Cowboys aren’t in a rush to explore the veteran wide receiver market. But last week their already thin group of pass catchers took another hit when James Washington received a foot injury. And that injury will keep him sidelined well into the season. Michael Gallup’s also still working back from a knee injury. At this point, the receiver group for Dallas is CeeDee Lamb and a bunch of question marks. So how will Dak Prescott be able to pick a target when he is blanketed by double coverage?
13. New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas’ career was halted for nearly two years because of an ankle injury. But he’s seems to be back at 100% at training camp. New Orleans has wisely paced him to avoid a similar setback that kept him out of the 2021 season. Him being ready and in-shape for this season would mean great things for the Saints. And pairing him with the rookie Chris Olave is a recipe for success.
12. Indianapolis Colts
Matt Ryan has been meshing pretty well with the Colts. He seems primed and ready for another season like the one that got him an NFL MVP award back in 2016. And Ryan has some good teammates to help elevate his game. Michael Pittman Jr., who gained more than 1,000 yards last season, is just one such example. Parris Campbell is another great part of the Indianapolis offense as well. The only worry is him staying in the game, as durability has been a problem in the past.
11. Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs was previously a surprising choice as a starter at the Hall of Fame Game. However, he showed his work, while other key Raiders didn’t get to play much at all. Coach, Josh McDaniels, has been rather cagey about his reasons for putting in Jacobs though. It shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, his mentor was Bill Belichick.
10. Baltimore Ravens
You can just imagine the amount utter shock and terror when Tyler Linderbaum went down with a foot injury. A seeming injury epidemic last season is what really cost the Ravens their season. Linderbaum’s injury is being treated a sprain though, rather than a rupture. So he’ll hopefully be up again soon. Hopefully the promising, young rookie will be able to start when week 1 comes around.
9. Los Angeles Chargers
A real sleeper in the Chargers is Donald Parham. He’s a six-foot-eight giant with great chemistry with Justin Herbert. He missed the end of the previous season because of a pretty scary concussion. Fortunately, he’s recovered now and still has loads of potential to unveil on the field. The Chargers also got to sign tight end Gerald Everett this season, so the team has a few more good options.
8. Denver Broncos
The Broncos had a bad break with the news that Tim Patrick had torn his ACL during practice. His skillset was a perfect match for the new quarterback, Russell Wilson, as well. Now the pressure’s on the 2020 draftees Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler to step up and take the team to victory. Especially since Patrick very well may be off the field until 2023.
7. Kansas City Chiefs
Frank Clark dropped some serious weight in the offseason. He looks like the player that dominated the Chief’s opposition at Super Bowl LIV again. He admitted to playing with his “gut” last season, with extra pounds that affected his speed and agility. And coupled with some off-the-field issues, Clark was looked more like cut player instead of a starter. Fortunately, the Chiefs stuck with him. He’ll be a great asset to Kansas City’s defense.
6. Green Bay Packers
The Packers already have a quarterback as great as Aaron Rodgers. However, they’ve taken some other hits to their team. Davante Adams is out and David Bakhtiari is sidelined for a procedure on his left knee. Elgton Jenkins is in the process of working back from a knee injury of his own. The pressure on Rodgers is really high this season.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals made sure to give Joe Burrow plenty of recovery time after his appendectomy. However, the absence of La’el Collins isn’t the same. The right tackle still doesn’t have a definitive time table on when he’ll be returning from his back injury. A lengthy absence could also destroy the team’s efforts to shore up their offensive line for Burrows.
4. San Francisco 49ers
The Trey Lance era has begun in San Francisco. He’s been set up for success after a rookie season where he mostly acted from the sidelines. The drama with Deebo Samuel has also been put down with a big contract extension. Additionally, Brandon Aiyuk appears to be primed to leap forwards as WR2. And let’s not forget the other versatile players like George Kittle, Elijah Mitchell, and Kyle Shanahan.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite turning 45, nobody’s really been discussing Tom Brady’s age anymore. Even Clyde Christensen has said that he appears better than ever. Brady’s coming in at his 23rd season and there’s no one that thinks he’ll play poorly. It’s always just a matter of whether or not his targets can catch what he dishes out.
2. Los Angeles Rams
Coach Sean McVay said that he would sleep better after watching Matthew Stafford throw without limitation on Saturday. That shows that Stafford’s unusual elbow issue may be in the past now. The Rams have less certainly around Allen Robinson though. Although, people seem to be singing the praises of the wide receiver even now.
1. Buffalo Bills
The theory after the 2022 draft was that rookie Kaiir Elam would line up opposite Tr’Davious White on opening night against the Rams. However, while Elam’s been getting picked on at camp, White’s still in rehab from a torn ACL. Another rookie, Christian Benford, might get the chance to earn some rep points against the team’s starters instead.