July, while being the last full month without any sort of NFL football, it can be incredibly long and boring for fans waiting for football to make its return. The part of the offseason filled with looking back on the season that was, big signings, blockbuster trades, and the draft have come and gone and the part of the offseason filled with videos of players practicing have become the NFL’s biggest headlines. While it is still a bit early for power rankings, not much will change between right now and when the Buffalo Bills travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams on September eight, except for maybe a Jimmy Garoppolo trade and an Odell Beckham Jr. signing. It’s also never to early to speculate what the future holds in store for the NFL, however, these are power rankings, not standings. I will be ranking the teams based on how talented I believe each team’s roster is now and how well I think they will be performing in the 2022 standings, so 2021 will be old news, and I will be continuing my power rankings throughout the NFL season and even the preseason, as a lot of teams I believe will end up in much different spots, possibly even within the first month of the season, but these are my power rankings as the league stands now.
32. Houston Texans
The Texans may have been able to lift the weight that was Deshaun Watson off of their shoulders, and rake in three first round picks from Cleveland in the process, but they are a team that lacks any real star power. Brandin Cooks and Laremy Tunsil are very talented players, and Davis Mills showed flashes of being able to handle an NFL offense as a rookie, but the seventh quarterback taken in the 2021 draft does not seem to be the long term solution for the Texans, and if they find themselves picking in the top five again for 2023, their pick will most likely be used on finding their quarterback of the future. Their ground game doesn’t look to be much better, as the third string back from the division rival Colts, Marlon Mack, looks to be in line to receive the majority of the carries for 2022. As for Houston’s defense, there is a solid case to be made for rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr being the best player on their defense. The line, linebackers, and secondary all seem to be in dire need of help. Without a true star to elevate anyone on either side of the ball, a subpar roster, and an overall sense of a lack of direction from upper management, it is very hard to view the Texans as anything higher than this spot.
31. Chicago Bears
The Bears had three things they needed to accomplish this offseason. Find a GM, find a coach, and surround second-year quarterback Justin Fields with talent. It seems as if the Bears failed to do all three. While Poles was the director of scouting when the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017, it’s very hard to say that was a decision that he can own when there’s so many people above him who would have had to sign off on the decision. It is very hard to judge Poles as he has no experience, so at the moment he is an unknown, but he did struggle mightily to acquire any big names this offseason, despite still having over $20 million in salary cap space, although Poles inherited a mess in Chicago. Hiring Matt Eberflus as head coach was also a head scratcher as he is another unproven unknown. The only known in Chicago is that Justin Fields will be working with a below average receiver corps and offensive line, while having an aging defense that is lacking a blue chip pass rusher.
30. Atlanta Falcons
For the second straight year the Falcons held a top ten pick. For the second straight year Atlanta opted to use its pick on a pass catcher. While in desperate need of pass catchers, especially following the devastating one year suspension star receiver Calvin Ridley is facing for gambling, having receivers without a true franchise quarterback is like keeping the air conditioning on in the winter. Saying goodbye to Matt Ryan may have been a sad moment for fans, his best football was behind him and he simply wasn’t worth his cap hit of over $40 million. Marcus Mariota will be facing his last chance to be an NFL starter, and while I am a fan of Mariota, it is hard to imagine him catching on in Atlanta, especially with his injury history, a poor offensive line, and a 31 year-old Cordarrelle Patterson being the feature running back. While Casey Hayward and A.J. Terrell are one of the best corner duos in football, there isn’t much more on their defense worth noting outside of Grady Jarrett, and it feels as if 2022 will see Atlanta being a bottom ten team in the standings for the third straight year.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle fans officially had to stomach the end of an era as the Seahawks moved on from Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner this spring, both who were the cornerstones of the franchise for the past decade. While I said the 2021 season was a thing of the past now, this team still went 7-10 with those two on the roster in 2021, and didn’t do much to replace them, which would have been hard to do given Seattle’s lack of cap space and draft picks going into the offseason. Geno Smith and Drew Lock will leave a lot to be desired in Seattle, however a receiving core featuring D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Noah Fant, along with Pete Carroll remaining in Seattle for the time being, keeps Seattle comfortably above the three teams below them.
28. Carolina Panthers
The main reason the Panthers are ahead of the Seahawks is because they realized what Seattle couldn’t. Baker Mayfield is better than any other option they have a quarterback, and they could acquire him for pennies on the dollar. Brian Burns and Jeremy Chinn are also studs on defense and none of the teams below Carolina have an edge rusher as talented as Burns. Ikem Ekwonu was incredible value for the Panthers overall, and while an offense with Baker Mayfield, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey behind an offensive line that is far from the NFL’s worst, along with a talented secondary sounds good on paper, they need to all prove they can stay on the field before the Panthers see any movement up this list.
27. Detroit Lions
While it feels very weird to rank the Lions ahead of the Seahawks, it is also justified. Jared Goff, while overpaid, is better than anything Seattle currently has at quarterback. D’Andre Swift is also better than anything in Seattle’s backfield, as he was able to put up over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2021. Dan Campbell is also a hungry coach who was able to get the most out of his players in 2021. The Lions are trending in the right direction and are actively looking to add talented players. They got a hometown hero pass rusher in Aidan Hutchinson and speedster receiver Jameson Williams in the draft, and receiver D.J. Chark and safety DeShon Elliott were both underrated signings who can both help Detroit as they hopefully take another step forward in the fall.
26. New York Giants
The Giants have had a tough decade since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2011 season, however, adding who i believe to be the best two players in the draft in edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal. If Saquon Barkley can remain healthy and Andrew Thomas can take the next step the Giants could have a nice offense centered around their ground game. The limit of the Giants offense is Daniel Jones and the lack of production from receivers. The defense also has glaring issues in both the linebacking core and the secondary. While new head coach Brian Daboll seems promising for big blue, until they prove they deserve to be higher it’s hard to not view them as a team at the bottom of the barrel.
25. New York Jets
Joe Douglas and Robert Salah really made this offseason feel as if the Jets of old may be gone. Holding off on trading a first round pick or more for a receiver who they will have to dish out a $100 million contract to was very smart and shows the Jets commitment to build for the future. Garrett Wilson is a stud and will hopefully do more for Zach Wilson than his mom’s book club. Being able to land Wilson in the draft along with Sauce Gardner, Jermaine Johnson, and Breece Hall has potential to be one of the greatest drafts in Jets history, if not NFL history. The Jets are likely a year or two away from seriously contending for a playoff spot but putting themselves in a position to bring in young and talented players and allowing their incredibly talented and young quarterback to come into his own at any pace puts the Jets in a better spot for 2022 than any team below them.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
It may turn some heads to see the team that had the number one overall pick in back to back years be ranked higher than seven teams, it’s also the reason power rankings exist. The Jaguars have true talent and truly elite players at critical positions. Josh Allen is among one of the best young pass rushers in the league and pairing him with this years first overall pick Trayvon Walker is a match that will terrify opposing offensive lines for years to come, and fellow rookie Devin Lloyd appears to fill the need of finding a talented coverage linebacker. As for the offense, Trevor Lawrence should have a year two to remember as he will have Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones Jr, and Evan Engram to throw the ball to, with James Robinson and Travis Etienne coming out of the backfield. Brandon Scherff also greatly improves their offensive line and Doug Pederson is a Super Bowl winning coach with a history of being able to get the most out of his quarterbacks.
23. Washington Commanders
When the actions of your owner and the missed opportunities of a rebrand make bigger headlines than acquiring a new starting quarterback, your team belongs in the bottom ten teams in the league. Dan Snyder should hands down be out of the league as he seems to make the wrong decision at every turn both in and out of the football world, however, an incredible young defensive line and Terry McLaurin keeps Washington at 23 and not in the 30s. Carson Wentz isn’t as bad as starting Marcus Mariota or Geno Smith in 2022, but Wentz has not been viewed favorably by the court of public opinion. If Washington has a similar record with Wentz as they had with Taylor Heinicke, it will be time for a complete teardown of the roster, but there’s always the chance Ron Rivera is able to make a breakthrough with Wentz. While Washington seems just a bit too outmanned by Philadelphia and Dallas to really compete for the East, Rivera, Wentz, and company may be able to lead Washington to be competitive in an NFC that seems like no team can be ruled out of potentially grabbing the final wild card spot.
22. Miami Dolphins
I believe the Dolphins are overall better than 22nd, but until Tua proves he can consistently elevate his teammates, and the Dolphins could still use an upgrade at edge and guard. Tyreek Hill was a huge addition for Miami and should be able to encourage Tua to expand his range, while Tua can help Hill become more than just the home run hitter that Kansas City used him for. Mike McDaniel is also one of the most crafty and creative coaches in the league. Expect the Dolphins to put on quite the show this season – regardless if they boom or bust.
21. Minnesota Vikings
21 feels harsh for Minnesota but this is a team that’s should have been able to secure the seventh seed last season, but lost it to an Eagles team with a worse roster. Now the Vikings are the team with the worse roster than Philly and a new head coach. While Dalvin Cook is an elite rusher it’s more or less unheard of for running backs to have four straight seasons of 1,000 or more rushing yards. Justin Jefferson is making a case to be a top five wideout, but besides cook and Jefferson the Vikings offense is average and aging, just like Kirk Cousins. Minnesota’s defense is also aging but the additions of Andrew Booth Jr. and Lewis Cine gives a youth movement in the secondary. A division with the Bears and Lions gives Minnesota an opportunity to move up the standings but until they prove themselves following a disappointing 2021 they won’t be moving up the power rankings.
20. New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are another team that realistically should have found themselves in the playoffs, but they dealt with more significant injuries than Minnesota. Namely to starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who was 5-2 in 2021 with a 102.8 passer rating before tearing his ACL. Hopefully Michael Thomas will make his return in 2022 and if not rookie wideout Chris Olave will be looking to make an immediate impact. Swapping Marcus Williams for Tyrann Matthieu in free agency and signing Jarvis Landry will hopefully be enough to secure a playoff spot for New Orleans as long as they get Jameis Winston playing at his pre-ACL tear level, even if they may have a slow start without Sean Payton.
19. Denver Broncos
Russell Wilson being traded from the Seahawks to the Broncos will be remembered as one of the biggest trades in NFL history. With that being said I need to see how Russell Wilson will fair with a new team after having the worst season of his career in 2021 with Seattle in terms of wins and injuries. The Broncos roster is undeniably talented, but are they truly just a talent like Wilson away? That remains to be seen. While getting Russell Wilson was an incredible move for the Broncos it may take a year or so before competing. While the Rams and Buccaneers were able to win in their first season acquiring quarterbacks with hall of fame talent, I don’t think the Broncos have the veteran presence outside of the quarterback position to find the same success those teams did. At least not in 2022.
18. Indianapolis Colts
Carson Wentz was not the fit in Indy. After the collapse at the end of the season it was clear that the two sides were not the best fit for one another and Reich and Wentz couldn’t rekindle their magic. While moving off of Wentz was something the Colts needed to do at some point in the offseason, I think they went about it too recklessly. They had no plan for who to bring in to replace Wentz after the sent him to Washington, albeit for more than he was probably worth. But it is important to stress the Colts got incredibly lucky that Matt Ryan became available and the team, coaches, and front office will not be able to hid behind their quarterback for any shortcomings they may have in 2022. While the world is rightful high on Jonathan Taylor as one of the league’s top talents, it is important to remember the Colts should be on a very short lease following late season collapses against both the Raiders and Jaguars, just after it seemed the playoffs were a certainty for Indy after a win on Christmas.
17. Cleveland Browns
Browns fans should be overall pleased that they were able to upgrade from Baker Mayfield. The problem is they upgraded to a player with undeniable talent, but off the field issues that really makes this feel like a move that the Browns of old would’ve made. Once Watson takes the field for the Browns I would expect them to shoot up the standings and everyone’s power rankings, but as long as Jacoby Brissett is under center the Browns ceiling will be mediocre, as their talented defense and ground game will keep them from being bottom tier while they wait for Watson.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
While I love the potential that comes with Kenny Pickett, and love that the Steelers took the hometown quarterback, weather or not Pickett can out-duel Mitch Trubisky for the Steelers starting job will be very telling for what to expect from the Steelers in 2022. Expect their offense to make use of Najee Harris and the ground game, as well as the short passing game. Their defense is still among the league’s best and T.J. Watt is a generational pass rusher, but the rest of the AFC seems too talented to see this as anything other than a transition year for the Steelers, and even if they do perform at their ceiling and manage to get 8 or 9 wins like they’re capable of it still may not result in a playoff berth.
15. Tennessee Titans
It’s hard to imagine the Titans being able to ever give Derrick Henry the workload he was seeing before getting injured in 2021. Henry is undeniably great but at 28 years-old his prime may already be behind him. Ryan Tannehill’s best football also seems to be behind him after a terrible showing in the postseason, and it’s hard to imagine the Titans sticking with Tannehill for much longer after 2022, given his cap hit and the overall vibe that Tannehill is not a quarterback that can get your team over the hump. While putting a one seed at 15 seems mean, the Titans are primed for a step back and feels like they don’t have the talent to be better than a wildcard round exit this year.
14. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders had a touching moment by finally making the playoffs and Derek Carr getting his first career playoff start, however their cinderella story was one upped by the Bengals as one playoff start is all Carr has for now. Josh McDaniels is certainly an interesting hire and has the go big or go home feel to it that will fit right in in Las Vegas. McDaniels seems committed to building the Raiders his way, instead of trying to replicate the Patriot way and fail as he and other New England coordinators have done in the past when they land head coaching jobs. Acquiring Davante Adams was one of the biggest splashes of the offseason and it feels like a good fit, as it fills a big hole for the Raiders, but will Adams still be a top three receiver without Aaron Rodgers? This remains to be seen. The Raiders still have a talented defense, shuffling out Yannick Ngakoue and Casey Hayward and bringing in Chandler Jones and Rock Ya-Sin, which were all solid moves. The Raiders have one of the most underrated rosters in the league and I would expect to see them in the thick of the wild card race for the entire year.
13. New England Patriots
The Patriots are a tough nut to crack. Mac Jones was great in New England last season, but does he have a limited skill set or will he continue to develop into Tom Brady junior? Will Bill Belichick be able to find a new lockdown corner after losing J.C. Jackson? He was able to replace Stephon GIlmore, Darrelle Revis, and Ty Law. Why did they take Cole Strange in the first round? What will the Patriots do without an offensive coordinator? It feels like the Patriots haven’t done much to address the fact that they made an impressive return to the playoffs in 2021, only to get completely routed by their division rival, the Buffalo Bills. They acquired Devante Parker but is he really the true number one New England wants to give their quarterback of the future? The Patriots have talent on their roster and they have Bill Belichick, but will they be able to overcome the limits they appear to have? Quite possibly. For now the Patriots sit at 13 on the power rankings, which feels correct, and will most likely be one of the most volatile and interesting to watch teams all season.
12. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals really should have won a playoff game together by now. Number one overall picks who were quarterbacks taken in 2016, 2018, and 2020 were all able to win playoff games with the team that selected them but Kyler Murray still hasn’t taken that next step. Is it his height limiting his short throws and pocket passing? Is it Kliff Kingsberry’s coaching? Do the Cardinals still have too many holes to fill before being contenders? These are all serious questions that the Cardinals need to address by winning a playoff game in 2022 or else they need to blow it up. DeAndre Hopkins six-game suspension is also not ideal for a Cardinals team that has relied on hot starts under Kingsberry, and they have a roster that is good enough to be playing into January, but will they put it together now?
11. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles may be the only NFC team that made the postseason last year that definitely got better. Adding Georgia defenders Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis gives their defense youthful boosts of talent in places that needed it. Signing Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, and Jaquiski Tartt will also greatly help a defense that already had talent. As for the offense, getting Jason Kelce to return was huge for the offensive and trading for A.J. Brown was significantly more impactful than drafting a receiver and waiting for them to come along. The time for the Eagles to compete is now, and the sky is truly the limit for the birds in 2022, especially if Howie Roseman still has a Jessie Bates trade up his sleeve. The factor that will really define how the eagles perform in 2022 is Jalen Hurts. Hurts did not play great in 2022, but he didn’t even need to be a world beater with his arm, as long as he could make plays with his legs. For Philly to make the leap from surprising playoff team to contender in 2022 Hurts must show great improvements in his throwing from 2021. And I believe Hurts has the right mindset to improve and continue to be the quarterback in Philadelphia.
10. Dallas Cowboys
The only reason the Cowboys are above the Eagles is Dak Prescott. The Eagles may have a better roster, but we haven’t seen them play together yet. While Dallas did lose Amari Cooper, Prescott, while I believe is slightly overrated is still a better quarterback than Jalen Hurts, at least going into 2022. The Cowboys will have a harder road to win the NFC East this year as their division rivals improved while Dallas’s roster lost some reliable faces. A first place schedule could also see Dallas slide down this list eventually but for now the Cowboys deserve a top ten spot.
9. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were perhaps the most injury riddled team in 2021, and it would be nearly impossible for them to repeat that misfortune in 2022. Couple that with the fact they drafted two players who I believe are two are the top five talents in this draft in Tyler Linderbaum and Kyle Hamilton, but the center and safety fell in the draft due to positional value. Adding Marcus Williams was also huge for Baltimore’s secondary and getting a first round pick for Hollywood Brown was a great move for the Ravens, except now Lamar Jackson is in desperate need of more weapons. Perhaps a push for Odell Beckham Jr would not only push Jackson to resign with the Ravens, but also be a great thing to hold over the rival Browns if the Ravens could make it work.
8. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers made some noise upsetting the number one seeded Packers in the divisional round, after they needed a comeback win in their regular season finale and an upset win in Dallas in the wild card round due to questionable coaching decisions by the Cowboys. The 49ers have advanced to the conference championship or further in two of the last three season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them make another deep playoff run with Trey Lance. The injury concerns with the whole roster and the Deebo Samuel contract saga keeps the 49ers out of the top 5 but if they can stay healthy and play at the level they have when healthy under Kyle Shanahan the niners will no doubt be considered the class of the NFL.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
It feels wrong to put the team that shocked the one seeded Titans and Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs en route to a Super Bowl appearance, but despite Joe Burrow’s talent and the Bengals new swagger it still feels like the Bengals just don’t quite have it put together as well as the six teams ranked better than them, but the margin is incredibly slim. Cincinnati’s Super Bowl run brought offensive lineman flocking to protect one of the games most popular fresh young players, but the Bengals still have holes in the secondary and star safety Jesse Bates’s public contract disputes don’t help that position group at all. I still expect the Bengals to be a fun team to watch but now they will be getting every team’s best shot while trying to fight off the Super Bowl hangover stigma.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tom Brady retirement saga loomed over the Buccaneers for over a month, but in the end, Tom Brady will be back in a Buccaneers jersey for at least another season. If Brady is sensing the end is near I would expect to see him more motivated than ever to try and win just one more Super Bowl to add to the most legendary resumé the NFL has ever seen. The road for Brady may be more difficult in 2022 however, as he lost his longtime trusty tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement, and head coach Bruce Arians. If Brady himself felt like he had to hang up his cleats following 2021 he may be finally feeling the wear and tear on his body. However, this is still an incredibly talented roster and Tom Brady’s mind is as sharp as ever, and they did give the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams all they could handle in the playoffs.
5. Green Bay Packers
Losing Davante Adams may not be the travesty for the Packers that cheeseheads may think it will be. While many view Adams as the best receiver in the league, I argue that we need to see him play without a four time MVP quarterback who may be the most accurate quarterback we’ve ever seen with the best ball placement we’ve ever seen in Aaron Rodgers before we give Adams that title. While the Packers weren’t able to acquire any big names in free agency after being five years late on acquiring Sammy Watkins, they were able to keep key players such as Rasul Douglas and Robert Tonyan from leaving. They also had a very nice draft, getting two amazing defenders from Georgia in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, and one of the highest ceiling players in the entire draft with North Dakota State receiver Christian Watson. Not much will change in the NFC North this year as the Packers will most likely be hosting a playoff game at Lambeau Field with a comfortable lead over their division.
4. Los Angeles Chargers
Putting a team that failed to make the playoffs in a 14 team system may seem odd at first, but the Chargers are a legit contender. Justin Herbert is capable of playing like a top five quarterback in this league and there’s many people who believe he already is every week. The 24 year-old superstar passer isn’t the only reason the Chargers belong here. They were able to acquire Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson help solidify their defense and adding Gerald Everett and Zion Johnson while keeping Mike Williams may be enough to take their offense over the hump. The Chargers also have plenty to be angry about from the 2021 season and like some other teams in this area, the Chargers will be looking to go on a revenge tour and be a cinderella story in 2022.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
As long as Patrick Mahomes remains in Kansas City there is no reason to not have the Chiefs in the top five. Four straight seasons making the conference championship game, those four seasons just so happen to. be the only four years Mahomes has started in his career. Losing Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu may cause the Chiefs to start slow but make no mistake, Travis Kelce, Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is far from the worst receiving corp in the league. Expect the Chiefs the be the class of the league and be playing into late January this season.
2. Buffalo Bills
The Bills seem to be everyone’s favorite to come out of the AFC, with Josh Allen being the favorite to win MVP. With the Chiefs besting the Bills in three of the four Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes matchups we’ve seen, it’s incredibly hard for me to bite that bait, but for the sake of this power rankings I will. The Bills were able to bring in Von Miller, who, despite his age seems to have more quality football left, while the Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill. It may take some time for the Chiefs to find their footing with all of their new faces while I expect Buffalo to come out of the gate ready for revenge for one of the closest playoff losses we’ve ever seen.
- Los Angeles Rams
It seems impossible to view the defending champs as anything other than number one. While I am once again factoring 2021 into the rankings after saying I wouldn’t, there is a reason the Rams were hoisting the Lombardi instead of one of the other teams in the top five or even top ten that still have very talented rosters. Matt Stafford and Sean McVay is a match made in heaven, and the Rams were able to bring everyone back, with the exception of Odell Beckham Jr (who is still a free agent) and Von Miller. They were also able to bring in Allen Robinson to reload their receiving group and they signed Bobby Wagner away from their division rival Seahawks, who may not be an edge rusher but is still one of the best players of the past decade. While we don’t know what this season has in store, it’s clear to see the Rams are all in when it comes to defending their title.