Who is the best NFL team in 2022? Sportsnaut’s Week 14 NFL power rankings examine the National Football League after Week 13 reviewing all 32 teams following an exciting weekend of football.
It proved to be a statement Sunday for many teams across the league. The Philadelphia Eagles proved why they are the best team in the NFL and fantastic matchups between the Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals provided season-defining results.
We also saw the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens gain some momentum that could prove crucial down the stretch of the playoff race. Of course, it wasn’t a good Sunday for everyone around the league.
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Let’s dive into the Week 14 NFL power rankings.
32. Houston Texans
- Previously: Last in NFL power rankings
Not only are the Houston Texans the worst team in the NFL, their future also isn’t especially bright. Quite frankly, the roster looks like it should be at the earliest stages of a rebuild with years of work ahead of it. It’s times like this that it almost seems unfair to force Bryce Young to play for this poorly-built franchise next year.
31. Los Angeles Rams
- Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings
The Los Angeles Rams at least showed a little fight in Week 13, but that’s only in comparison to recent performances. The Rams have the second-longest losing streak in the NFL, putting Los Angeles on a bullet train toward the worst collapse ever by the defending Super Bowl champion.
30. Chicago Bears
- Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings
A brilliant end result for the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Justin Fields provides the Green Bay Packers with plenty of reasons to fear him for years to come. Meanwhile, Chicago improved its draft position and sent Green Bay tumbling down the 2023 NFL Draft order.
29. Denver Broncos
- Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings
A team paying Russell Wilson $57 million this season is now averaging 13.8 points and 334.8 total yards per game. There’s no way around it, the trade to acquire Wilson and the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett will go down as two of the worst NFL offseason moves in recent history.
Related: Denver Broncos coaching candidates
28. New Orleans Saints
- Previously: 28th in NFL power rankings
Playoff contention was out of consideration weeks ago for New Orleans. Once that is off the table, our focus is on the future. New Orleans won’t have its top-10 pick in Round 1 and it is $54 million over the cap. It’s time for a rebuild, which starts with a Sean Payton trade. (Pre-MNF)
Related: NFL salary cap 2023
27. Arizona Cardinals
- Previously: No. 26 in NFL power rankings
Other than former teammates calling out Kyler Murray and the general manager, everything is fine in Arizona. That is, if you’re also trying to keep out of mind the fact that the Cardinals’ play-calling and the roster is woefully insufficient for how much money is being spent. The New England Patriots will only make life more difficult for the Cardinals’ organization in Week 14.
Related: Arizona Cardinals schedule
26. Atlanta Falcons
- Previously: No. 21 in NFL power rankings
A bird with a mangled wing can only fly for so long before it succumbs to its weaknesses. The Atlanta Falcons strung together a few early wins, but the absence of an NFL-caliber passing offense and a declining defense have Atlanta tumbling down the NFL standings.
25. Indianapolis Colts
- Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings
After a rough showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis rebounded nicely for three quarters on Sunday Night Football and then they apparently thought the game was over. The future at quarterback remains cloudy, especially considering the team’s current draft position, but there are a few intriguing options in 2023. Yes, they’ll also need a new head coach.
24. Carolina Panthers
- Previously: No. 25 in NFL power rankings
Two things matter for the Carolina Panthers down the final stretch. First, young building blocks like D.J. Moore, Brian Burns and Ikem Ekwonu continue to improve. Second, the Panthers start evaluating their options so they can end this seemingly unending quarterback purgatory by 2023.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Previously: No. 24 in NFL power rankings
A win is a win, but we set our expectations a bit higher for Kenny Pickett and Co. against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. While there aren’t a ton of positives to take from Pickett’s performance Sunday, it’s great to see Najee Harris starting to return to form. With Lamar Jackson likely out in Week 14, Pittsburgh could stretch this to a three-game win streak.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Previously: No. 17 in NFL power rankings
It’s often said that the first significant step toward improvement is immediately followed by two steps back. After being the talk of the town a week ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now in an all too familiar position. Progress will come, but not until this defense gets shored up in a significant way and that won’t come until the offseason.
21. Green Bay Packers
- Previously: No. 23 in NFL power rankings
It’s only a matter of time until the Green Bay Packers are eliminated from playoff contention. However, the second-half emergence from Christian Watson is going to be the shot in the arm that inspires hope for the future. There’s plenty of work to be done, but it appears Green Bay has its next playmaker.
20. Las Vegas Raiders
- Previously: No. 22 in NFL power rankings
Josh McDaniels was never in any real danger of being fired after one season. If there was anyone left hoping for it, three consecutive wins will erase it. The playoffs are completely out of the question, but beating the Rams (Thursday) and Steelers (Dec. 24) could at least secure a respectable finish to the season.
19. Cleveland Browns
- Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings
Rust can be blamed for Deshaun Watson‘s struggles, but he just faced the worst NFL team of the past few years in a game that was off the national radar in a road stadium with plenty of Cleveland Browns fans. The results don’t bode well heading into a Week 14 draw against the Bengals.
18. New England Patriots
- Previously: 15th in NFL power rankings
The irony of the New England Patriots season is that Bill Belichick’s defense is being wasted by the same mind that thought Matt Patricia could call offensive plays. Relying on Patricia and Joe Judge was always a reckless decision, moves destined to backfire. It’s a shame because this defense is a treat to watch.
17. New York Giants
- Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings
The 7-2 start to the season feels like it happened months ago. New York always knew the run would end and the 2022 season was never its primary focus. The Giants simply don’t have enough talent right now, the bye week won’t change that. Fortunately, there are few coach-general manager pairings we have more faith in than Brian Daboll and Joe Shoen.
Related: New York Giants schedule
16. Detroit Lions
- Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings
The Detroit Lions are on pace to win at least eight games for the first time since 2017. Best of all, the Matthew Stafford trade is also going to provide them with a first-round pick. Really, the only shame from the Lions’ breakout season is that offensive coordinator Ben Johnson might leave for a head-coaching job in 2023 because of the team’s success.
15. Los Angeles Chargers
- Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings
The Los Angeles Chargers are one step closer to pouring fuel on the fire that is everyone dreaming of a Justin Herbert-Sean Payton partnership. Brandon Staley hasn’t done nearly enough as a defensive-minded coach to warrant keeping around and if this defense is going to lose games, the Chargers might as well have a future Hall of Famer designing an offense that maximizes their superstar’s abilities.
Related: Sean Payton eyeing two NFL teams
14. Seattle Seahawks
- Previously: 18th in NFL power rankings
The Seattle Seahawks emerged with a win on Sunday, but allowing 23 points to a Cam Akers and John Wolford-led offense is just the latest evidence of Seattle’s defensive collapse. Heading into Week 14 with a 7-5 record, Geno Smith should take out Carolina. After that, the Seahawks might only need a Week 18 victory (vs LAR) to make the playoffs).
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Previously: 11th in NFL power rankings
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to win the NFC South and host a playoff game, but that says far more about the division itself. This is the most disappointing NFL team in 2022 and its wild inconsistency has a lot to do with it. When Tom Brady leaves this offseason, we’ll likely see the Buccaneers retool the roster. (Pre-MNF)
Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule
12. Tennessee Titans
- Previously: 9th in NFL power rankings
It would be a little easier to feel good about the Tennessee Titans if they had a No.1 receiver, someone who struck fear in a defense and didn’t allow them to stack the box vs Derrick Henry. With the 2023 salary cap expected to hit $220 million, a young player of that caliber could easily be worth a multi-year deal worth a $23 million AAV. If only Tennessee had someone like that.
11. Washington Commanders
- Previously: 12th in NFL power rankings
The Washington Commanders keep finding ways not to lose games, call it the Taylor Heinicke effect. In truth, a majority of the credit belongs to the Commanders’ excellent defense and the emerging receiving trio of Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson.
10. Baltimore Ravens
- Previously: 11th in NFL power rankings
A comeback victory over Denver came at a significant cost, with Lamar Jackson seemingly without a specific timetable to return from his injury. If you thought Greg Roman’s offense was bad when had an MVP-caliber quarterback under center, just wait for the games ahead.
9. New York Jets
- Previously: 10th in NFL power rankings
The New York Jets put up an outstanding fight in Minnesota on Sunday, they just didn’t have the quarterback to put the finishing touches on a comeback. In a crazy week for the NFL, though, a loss doesn’t drop New York in the NFL hierarchy. Now headed to Buffalo, we’re about to see why the Jets will be conducting an exhaustive quarterback search next spring.
NFL power rankings: Playoff powers
8. Miami Dolphins
- Previously: No. 6 in NFL power rankings
The moment Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson were ruled out was when the Miami Dolphins lost to the San Francisco 49ers. Mike McDaniel found a few ways to scheme up points again, which is a credit to his play-calling and mind. Fortunately, based on how the rest of the NFL scores played out, Miami still looks like a dangerous playoff team.
Related: NFL playoff scenarios
7. San Francisco 49ers
- Previously: No. 5 in NFL power rankings
The season-ending injury for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo effectively means the San Francisco 49ers defense will need to go on a historic run for this team to win the Super Bowl. Based on everything we’ve seen in the past month, especially when factoring in returning starters, that’s not out of the realm of possibility. However, San Francisco’s margin for error is microscopically-thin with Brock Purdy now starting.
6. Minnesota Vikings
- Previously: No. 7 in NFL power rankings
The Minnesota Vikings took on one of the best defenses in the league and finished on top, surviving a late rally from New York. We have plenty of reservations regarding this defense, its secondary represents its Achilles heel, and Kirk Cousins. Quite frankly, Justin Jefferson is primarily the reason we view the Vikings as one of the best NFL teams right now.
NFL power rankings: Super Bowl favorites
5. Kansas City Chiefs
- Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings
The only thing that can prevent Patrick Mahomes from winning another Super Bowl is the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense. It certainly didn’t help to have Chiefs’ defensive backs trash-talk the opposition that beat them in the AFC Championship Game. We’re not too worried about Kansas City as a whole, but this defense prevents them from being unstoppable.
Related: Super Bowl odds
4. Cincinnati Bengals
- Previously: No. 8 in NFL power rankings
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is now 3-0 with 982 passing yards, 81 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns against the Chiefs’ defense in 2022. While Cincinnati’s roster is far from perfect, Burrow might legitimately be to Kansas City what Brady was to the Indianapolis Colts during those glory years.
3. Buffalo Bills
- Previously: No. 4 in NFL power rankings
It’s hard to imagine the week unfolding more perfectly than this for the Buffalo Bills. Losses by New England, Miami and Kansas City shift the Bills back on top of the AFC. Von Miller’s long-term absence still weighs heavily on our playoff forecast for the defense and Josh Allen isn’t quite right since the UCL injury, but the parity in the NFL gives Buffalo a shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
2. Dallas Cowboys
- Previously: No. 3 in NFL power rankings
It wasn’t always pretty for the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, but they pulled away when they needed to. Dallas thoroughly dominated on the ground and its defense provided big plays that led to a fourth-quarter evisceration of Indianapolis. The biggest surprise, though, one of the most penalized teams in the NFL showed a surprising amount of discipline. The Eagles vs Cowboys matchup on Dec. 24 can’t get here soon enough.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
- Previously: No. 2 in NFL power rankings
The Philadelphia Eagles sit atop the NFL power rankings after demolishing Tennessee and then witnessing the Chiefs lose to Cincinnati. Our biggest takeaway from Sunday was Philadelphia’s improved run defense, a step in the right direction for this unit. An elite defense and offense, that’s the Super Bowl favorite.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.