Who is the best team in the NFL? The return of our 2022 NFL power rankings takes a look at what teams will be competing for a Super Bowl this season and which clubs will be in the race for Bryce Young. From the start of the preseason to the final whistle, the 2022 NFL season should be fascinating.
Everyone will remember the offseason for the big moves, with marquee quarterbacks changing teams and the AFC loading up with talent. While there does seem to be a power imbalance between the two conferences, we could see a team from either side hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Bookmark this page throughout the season for updates to our weekly NFL power rankings.
32. Chicago Bears (Previously: 32)
Call it “Year Zero” if you want, any label comes with the same criticism. The Chicago Bears are setting quarterback Justin Fields up to fail. He’ll operate behind a bad offensive line with one of the worst receiving corps in recent memory and has an experienced play-caller drawing everything up. Months into the job, Ryan Poles is signaling Fields’ success and long-term outlook aren’t priorities. The good news? Fields is coming off a tremendous preseason finale. The bad news? His reward is a dominant San Francisco 49ers defense in Week 1.
31. Atlanta Falcons (Previously: 31)
There are elements of the Atlanta Falcons roster we like. Young talent like Kyle Pitts, Drake London, A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver provide building blocks for the future. The 2022 season will also be a great year of development for Desmond Ridder and Arnold Ebiketie. However, this is still one of the worst teams in football and it belongs at the bottom of NFL power rankings from now through Week 18.
30. Houston Texans (Previously: 30)
We like the start of the Houston Texans’ rebuild. It doesn’t necessarily mean anyone should buy into quarterback Davis Mills as the starter beyond 2022, but he showed flashes as a rookie. Paired with the talent added in the draft class and Houston’s collection of future picks, things should slowly improve. With that said, this is still one of the most talent-void rosters in the NFL and Houston could reach the bottom of our NFL power rankings very quickly unless the Mills to Nico Collins connections extends into the regular season.
29. Seattle Seahawks (Previously: 29)
With Geno Smith earning the starting job over Drew Lock, nothing really changes in Seattle. The Seattle Seahawks are ready to be one of the worst NFL teams this season. It’s all a part of the plan to land a top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stuck in the cellar of a loaded NFC West, all Seattle cares about in 2022 is the development of its rookies and young players.
Related: Seattle Seahawks schedule 2022
28. New York Jets (Previously: 27)
The New York Jets are breathing a sigh of relief after avoiding the worst-case scenario with the Zach Wilson injury. While it might not cost him much time, if any, for the regular season, it could limit his effectiveness out of the gate. Just give the second-year quarterback time, New York is still rebuilding and there’s no incentive to rush things. If they have to rely on Joe Flacco for an extended period of time, things will turn ugly.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (Previously: 28)
If the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to surprise anyone this year, quarterback Trevor Lawrence needs to become a star quickly. He certainly boasts the talent to do it and we feel much better about the Jaguars’ situation right now than a year ago. With that said, it feels safe to lock the Jags toward the bottom of consensus NFL power rankings in 2022.
26. New York Giants (Previously: 26)
Daniel Jones is the only player holding the New York Giants back from being a top-20 team in the 2022 NFL power rankings. Unfortunately for Brian Daboll, the reports out of training camp were bleak. This shouldn’t be one of the worst NFL teams in 2022, but it’s also going to live near the bottom of the NFC East once again.
Related: New York Giants schedule
25. Washington Commanders (Previously: 26)
The Washington Commanders fired their defensive line coach, edge rusher Chase Young could open the season on injured reserve and quarterback Carson Wentz was having a lot of problems in training camp. Other than that, sure, everything is fine. Don’t buy any hype regarding the Commanders in 2022. This is a mediocre team on its best days.
Related: Washington Commanders schedule
24. Detroit Lions (Previously: 24)
We are excited about the Detroit Lions’ future. The new regime is building this team the right way and while there are still some reservations regarding Dan Campbell’s mastery of in-game adjustments, he could be the perfect ‘football CEO’ serving as coach for this young team. No one should expect Detroit to compete for the playoffs, but six or seven wins seems possible.
23. Carolina Panthers (Previously: 23)
It’s not a surprise that quarterback Baker Mayfield has earned the Panthers’ starting job. He is the superior talent and with the improvements made to the offensive line, the Carolina Panthers could be one of the pleasant surprises in the NFL this season. It will depend on Christian McCaffrey’s health and Mayfield’s ability to connect with his talented receivers.
22. New England Patriots (Previously: 22)
Let’s take a quick glance at the New England Patriots. First, the buzz out of training camp was that very few have confidence in the play-calling and that’s backed up by practices and the recent on-field play of Mac Jones. On top of that, New England’s defense could be significantly worse than many are anticipating. All things considered, this could be a crushing year for the Patriots and might even damage Bill Belichick’s reputation.
Related: New England Patriots schedule
21. Cleveland Browns (Previously: 20)
An 11-game suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson means he won’t see the field until Week 13 against the Houston Texans. While the Cleveland Browns certainly have some talent and they like Jacoby Brissett, this is now a much worse football team. Expecting losses against the Chargers, Patriots, Ravens, Bengals, Bills and Buccaneers before Watson even plays, that would already be six losses with road trips to Cincinnati and Baltimore left. Dropping Cleveland in the NFL power rankings was an easy call.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (Previously: 19)
There are a lot of things to like about the Pittsburgh Steelers. An excellent coaching staff paired with outstanding talent at key positions on both sides of the ball is responsible for Pittsburgh earning a lot of respect in NFL power rankings. However, this is a 17-game season and the questions at quarterback paired with a shaky offensive line will likely prove costly. The first three games of the season will dramatically shape if Pittsburgh can even be viewed as a top-20 team entering October.
Related: Pittsburgh Steelers schedule
19. New Orleans Saints (Previously: 21)
Things are looking up for the New Orleans Saints with Alvin Kamara no longer expected to face a suspension early this season. It sets this offense up nicely to be a lot better than what we saw in 2021. However, we’re going to need to see what a healthy Jameis Winston looks like behind a shaky left side of this offensive line without Sean Payton before elevating the Saints in our NFL power rankings.
18. Tennessee Titans (Previously: 18)
It feels increasingly like the Tennessee Titans no longer believe in quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He’ll be the starting quarterback in 2022, but Tennessee attempted to replace him via trade and just drafted Malik Willis. Between that and the A.J. Brown trade, we’re not betting on the Titans repeating their success from 2021. With that said, there is room for Tennessee to improve if its young secondary proves it can handle the pressure being put on it this year.
17. Minnesota Vikings (Previously: 17)
It’s a nice climb in the NFL power rankings for the Minnesota Vikings. While quarterback Kirk Cousins is never going to be a top-12 player at his position, first-year coach Kevin O’Connell is building an offense that is much better for this team. While losing Mike Zimmer’s defensive mind is a hit, the atmosphere in the locker room is better and there is simply more talent on the roster. Minnesota certainly looks like a playoff-caliber team.
Related: Minnesota Vikings schedule
16. Dallas Cowboys (Previously: 16)
A top-10 team in our NFL power rankings after the 2021 season, it’s been a steady fall downwards for the Dallas Cowboys. A thin receiving corps and concerns with defensive regression already existed. With Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith now sidelined until December, in a best-case scenario, things look very dark in Texas.
15. Miami Dolphins (Previously: 15)
It all comes down to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Miami Dolphins offense is loaded with explosive weapons (Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Mike Gesicki) and adding Terron Armstead fortifies the offensive line. On defense, we have no doubt this could be a top-12 unit. What separates Miami from the top teams in our NFL power rankings, is quarterback. It’s why Stephen Ross secretly tried to pull a fast one with his Tom Brady pursuit.
14. Indianapolis Colts (Previously: 13)
The Indianapolis Colts wanted to find stability and quarterback Matt Ryan delivers precisely that. While the days of him carrying a team are long gone, he’s a good fit for this run-first offense. We should also see improvements offensively with Alex Pierce and Bernhard Raimann joining the mix. As of now, the Colts look like a good but not great team. Issues at left tackle add to some of the question marks.
13. Arizona Cardinals (Previously: 14)
Lost in the offseason debate regarding quarterback Kyler Murray was that poor roster construction and even worse coaching were the Arizona Cardinals’ biggest problems. Somehow, Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury received extensions. With DeAndre Hopkins suspended, Arizona desperately needs Murray to play like an NFL MVP. There is a bright side if the Cardinals deliver another ugly second-half collapse, it will all be captured on Hard Knocks this season.
Related: NFL stadium rankings
12. Las Vegas Raiders (Previously: 12)
Significant investments this offseason are creating a ton of buzz for the Las Vegas Raiders. With an elite cast of weapons around him, Derek Carr could become a top-10 quarterback in 2022. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is a better teacher and play-caller than Gus Bradley. Of course, concerns in the secondary and the offensive line prevent Las Vegas from cracking the top-10 in our NFL power rankings.
Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule
11. Philadelphia Eagles (Previously: 11)
It’s all on quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Philadelphia Eagles are in a very winnable division, paving the way for them to snag double-digit wins with relative ease. We love the Eagles’ defense and there’s a great argument to be made that this is one of the best 53-man rosters in the NFL. If Hurts can even become an above-average quarterback with consistency under pressure and a passer, this is a darkhorse Super Bowl pick.
10. Denver Broncos (Previously: 10)
Losing Tim Patrick for the season is a significant blow for the Denver Broncos, especially since there are still some questions about Jerry Jeudy. Fortunately, those worries are eased because of quarterback Russell Wilson. Denver could have a top-10 defense and offense this fall, which secures makes it a top-10 pick in consensus NFL power rankings.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (Previously: 9)
This is likely one of the lowest spots you’ll find the Cincinnati Bengals in NFL power rankings. Heading into the 2022 NFL season, the roster is actually improved with the offensive line much closer to being ‘average’ than we even saw in the Super Bowl. However, a lot of dominoes had to fall for the Bengals to make it as far as they did. The young core on offense is outstanding and quarterback Joe Burrow is an even better leader than quarterback, this just feels like a team destined for some regression.
Related: Cincinnati Bengals schedule
8. Baltimore Ravens (Previously: 7)
Injuries devastated the Baltimore Ravens in 2021, both before Week 1 and throughout the regular season. Lamar Jackson is back, the offensive line is improved and the defense is poised for a massive turnaround as long as no one significant goes down in the secondary. If you’re looking for a darkhorse in our NFL power rankings to win the AFC, it’s the Ravens.
7. San Francisco 49ers (Previously: 8)
It’s fair to say the San Francisco 49ers could be the most volatile team in our NFL power rankings. The best version of quarterback Trey Lance could make this the best team in the NFC. Of course, San Francisco admits they are preparing for inconsistency from their first-year starter. When accounting for both outcomes, the No. 7 spot feels fair.
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6. Green Bay Packers (Previously: 6)
Moving the Green Bay Packers down in the NFL power rankings before Week 1 has more to do with the offensive line than receiver. David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are off the PUP list, but there is no definitive timetable for either playing and it’s hard to predict how they will perform when they take the field. When you combine that with frustrations from QB1 towards the receivers, it opens the door to a Week 1 loss to the Vikings.
Related: Green Bay Packers schedule
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Previously: 5)
The Kansas City Chiefs offense will be fascinating this season. JuJu Smith-Schuster is lining up everywhere, fellow wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling is catching attention and it looks like this receiving corps will be a lot deeper than in previous years. However, concerns on the defensive side are an even bigger hesitation right now than the departure of Tyreek Hill.
4. Los Angeles Chargers (Previously: 4)
It feels so dangerous to bet on the Los Angeles Chargers. They have placed near the top of preseason NFL power rankings for two consecutive years and as their team history would indicate, disappointment was the end result. However, adding Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson and so many other influential pieces to the defense and projected growth from Justin Herbert creates a level of confidence that this team could win the AFC West.
Related: Los Angeles Chargers schedule
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previously: 3)
Losing Ryan Jensen was certainly a blow for the offensive line. Already a bit of a concern, interior pass protection is now the Achilles’ heel of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense. Quite frankly, it’s the only thing that could prevent Tom Brady from winning another Super Bowl.
2. Los Angeles Rams (Previously: 2)
There’s reason to believe the Los Angeles Rams can repeat as Super Bowl champions. Allen Robinson is an upgrade over Robert Woods and while Von Miller departs, linebacker Bobby Wagner fills a huge void at linebacker. However, questions about the Rams’ edge rushers and left tackle spot push them to the No. 2 spot in our summer NFL power rankings.
1. Buffalo Bills (Previously: 1)
The Buffalo Bills are the best NFL team in 2022. Heading into the regular season, they arguably boast the No. 1 quarterback, the best defense in football and they have one of the deepest rosters in football. Combine that with excellent coaching, even with Brian Daboll gone, there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation putting them atop our NFL power rankings.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.