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
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. Meanwhile, All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith wants out and is frustrated by the organization. It’s bleak for Chicago.
31. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons certainly won’t be called ‘winners’ for their 2022 draft class, but they made a step in the right direction. The Drake London and Kyle Pitts pairing create a combo for how Arthur Smith wants his offense to be structured. As for Desmond Ridder, he should make a few starts this season.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is viewed as a lame duck. Through two NFL seasons, the former college coach hasn’t proven his methods work at the NFL level. He’s not going to get seven years to implement change, either. The Panthers could have turned things around by upgrading at quarterback this offseason, but they whiffed. We give Carolina some credit for not reaching with Matt Corral, but he’s not a starter and his odds of reaching his upside are very bleak.
30. Houston Texans
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.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Whether it’s Drew Lock or Geno Smith, it doesn’t really matter. 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.
Related: Seattle Seahawks schedule 2022
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
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.
27. New York Jets (Previously: 25)
Losing Mekhi Becton is a significant blow to the offensive line. To make matters worse, we’re still not completely sold on the defense turning things around quickly. New York deserves credit for it first ‘good’ offseason in ages, but we’ll need to see it on the field to move the Jets back up.
26. New York Giants
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 are 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
26. Washington Commanders
The Washington Commanders fired their defensive line coach, edge rusher Chase Young could open the season on injured reserve and quarterback Carson Wentz is 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.
24. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions will be competing for the NFC North crown by 2024. Credit to general manager Brad Holmes for building a true foundation with the 2022 draft class adding more structure to a future perennial threat. Next season will be another stage in the rebuild, but Detroit’s future is bright.
23. Carolina Panthers
Going from Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield is a significant upgrade. While Mayfield is certainly not an above-average quarterback, he is better than we saw in 2021 as he played through injuries. Mayfield finds himself in a good situation and this is a huge boost for the Panthers’ outlook in 2022. It still might not mean a playoff appearance, but the QB upgrade is worth vaulting up the NFL power rankings.
22. New England Patriots
Let’s take a quick glance at the New England Patriots. First, the buzz out of training camp is that very few have confidence in the play-calling and that’s backed up by recent practices. 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. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are taking a win-now approach with a roster that doesn’t fit the mentality. There is plenty of talent on defense, especially after signing Tyrann Mathieu. But anyone betting on the playoffs for a team with Jameis Winston coming off a torn ACL, Alvin Kamara facing a suspension and a potential turnstile at left tackle isn’t making a wise decision.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a depth chart with Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky isn’t lighting the world on fire during Pittsburgh Steelers training camp. Meanwhile, the days of Pittsburgh fielding a top-12 defense seem long gone. We’re betting against Mike Tomlin keeping this decimated team above .500.
Related: Pittsburgh Steelers schedule
19. Tennessee Titans (Previously; 17)
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.
18. Minnesota Vikings (Previously: 22)
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
17. Arizona Cardinals
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.
16. Miami Dolphins
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.
15. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys started the offseason as a top-10 team in our NFL power rankings. They’ve steadily fallen ever since. From giving away Amari Cooper to the departures of Randy Gregory and La’el Collins, this team simply got worse. Throw in worries that Mike McCarthy gets outcoached in big games, there’s a shot Dallas won’t win the NFC East in 2022.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
It’s all on quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Philadelphia Eagles added A.J. Brown, providing their young passer with a No. 1 receiver who makes plays after the catch. Meanwhile, general manager Howie Roseman used his 2022 draft class to greatly improve the defense. The secondary is now even better with James Bradberry opposite of Darius Slay. As of now, the Eagles look like the best team in the NFC East.
13. Cleveland Browns
Where the Cleveland Browns land in Week 1 NFL power rankings will all depend on the Deshaun Watson suspension. If he’s required to miss at least 10 games, putting Jacoby Brissett under center means Cleveland is only in consideration for a top-20 spot. On the other hand, Watson seeing the field far sooner would make the Browns one of the best NFL teams this season.
12. Indianapolis Colts
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.
11. Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t have a top-80 pick in the NFL Draft, but they’ll happily accept that cost to have one of the best NFL offenses in 2022. Dylan Parham helps an interior offensive line that needed some help and fourth-round pick Zamir White will make a nice impact paired with Josh Jacobs. Ultimately, where this team finishes in 2022 will be determined by its defense and Derek Carr.
10. Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson looks good in his new jersey and he’s generating rave reviews from teammates. We’re counting on a huge step forward from the offense in 2022, seeing a ceiling for this to be one of the highest-scoring offenses. Winning a brutally challenging AFC West will be determined by the Broncos ability to protect Wilson and whether or not its pass rush consistently creates pressure. Denver can jump in the NFL power rankings, but it needs to prove itself first.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals will be a lot lower in Sportsnaut’s NFL power rankings than consensus evaluations. It’s possible quarterback Joe Burrow is that Brady-like player that uplifts an entire organization for years, turning its hopes around. Right now, the history of Super Bowl losers and questions about the coaching staff and defense push Cincinnati to the 9th spot.
Related: Cincinnati Bengals schedule
8. San Francisco 49ers
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. 8 spot feels fair.
7. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens were the biggest winners of the 2022 NFL Draft. Quite frankly, there’s a possibility that general manager Eric DeCosta snagged four starters. We’re expecting a top-10 defense this fall and if Lamar Jackson stays healthy, Baltimore is a darkhorse bet to win the AFC. This ranking might seem high, just remember the Ravens were 8-3 before being devastated by injuries last season.
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6. Los Angeles Chargers
After a busy free-agency period, the Los Angeles Chargers slowed things down with a more cautious 2022 draft class. Zion Johnson fortifies the offensive line and Isaiah Spiller is a nice complement to Austin Ekeler. While the Chargers dipped slightly in our post-draft NFL power rankings, quarterback Justin Herbert and an enhanced defense still make them a Super Bowl threat.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
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. Green Bay Packers
We’re going to see a different version of the Green Bay Packers in 2022. Gone is the team that routinely went for 30-plus points to maintain where it stood in NFL power rankings. Instead, this is going to be a Super Bowl contender carried by an elite defense, a strong rushing attack and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers providing assistance in crucial moments.
Related: Green Bay Packers schedule
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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
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 (1)
The Buffalo Bills aren’t considered winners of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they made some impressive moves. Kaiir Elam is the missing piece for a unit posted to be the best NFL defense in 2022. Meanwhile, James Cook slides into the envisioned role for J.D. McKissic. Oh, punter Matt Araiza should also round out the special teams. Put it all together, this is the best team in the NFL right now.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.