As the NFL season approaches, 32 teams prepare for 18 weeks of drama, excitement and chaos. 18 weeks of football. The preseason is drawing to a close and we have all of the information that we need to start making our predictions. With that being said, Tyler has dived into everything that’s happened this offseason and put together his definitive 2022 NFL Power Rankings.
1 – Buffalo Bills
An amazing offense, run by one of the best quarterbacks in the league, with a very reliable, experienced defense behind it. They came incredibly close last year and there is no reason for me to think they won’t be right there, once again. Josh Allen is a perennial MVP candidate at just 26 years old. It’s going to take something pretty special to beat these guys on any given Sunday. Oh, did I mention that they also added Von Miller this year? If you have probably the best offense and arguably the best defense, too, you’re worthy of the top spot. They lost a heart-wrenching game to end their 2021 campaign, I don’t think they let the same failure happen again.
2 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady is still the quarterback of this football team, and they’re either the best or second-best team in the NFC. With that being the case, my rankings consider who I think will excel in the playoffs – and that’s what TB12 does. If your team has the GOAT on it, and it’s all-but guaranteed a playoff spot, I’m backing you. The Bucs will be a force to be reckoned when January arrives. Their defense is one of the best, their offense is led by the best to ever do it, what more do you want?
3 – Los Angeles Rams
The Super Bowl Champions land at a very respectable third place, not because they have gotten notably worse than they were last year, but because I would have put the other two teams that are above them in the same order at the start of the last postseason, too. There are some truly elite players on the roster, including Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp, and they can beat any team in the league, but I have them just shy of my predicted Super Bowl matchup. I have to be honest and say that if Sean McVay wasn’t the head coach of this team, they probably drop two or three spots but – as long as Matthew Stafford is healthy – the Rams are perennial contenders.
4 – Cincinnati Bengals
After a surprising run to the Super Bowl, with their young core on offense and a great defense, the Bengals got better in a major way. Last year, Joe Burrow was the most-sacked QB in the league, so the Cincinnati front office went out and upgraded their offense immediately. They added veteran linemen La’el Collins, Ted Karras and Alex Cappa, who will all start day one in a new-look line to protect Joe Burrow. Having one of the best QB’s is good, having arguably the best trio of WR’s is good too… But what makes the Bengals so exciting is the youth. Burrow is 25, Ja’Marr Chase is 22 and Tee Higgins is 23. To put them higher than the four teams above them in 2022 might be a stretch, but I think this is the most exciting team in the NFL over the next five years, bar none.
5 – Kansas City Chiefs
Over the last two seasons, you’d be hard-pressed to find a power rankings list without the Chiefs in the top three, at least. However, they are still right up there in contention. The impact of Tyreek Hill’s departure from this offense can’t be understated, but Patrick Mahomes is too good of a quarterback and he still has Travis Kelce on the field and Andy Reid on the sideline. Kansas City’s defense isn’t anything amazing, but that usually doesn’t cause them too many issues. The Chiefs are also in the most difficult division in the NFL, which makes their road to the playoffs less smooth than the likes of Buffalo, even though I expect to see them there every year for some time.
6 – Los Angeles Chargers
Another team with a great young QB, the Chargers are also in the increasingly stacked AFC West. Last season, they were pipped at the post in the most public way possible, losing on a walk-off Field Goal against their division rivals in Las Vegas in the game of the year on Sunday Night Football. They are still likely the second-best team in the division until the Raiders or Broncos can prove otherwise, though. Their balance of a great offense and a scary defense is something the Raiders can only aspire to, and something the Broncos hope to achieve with their addition of a new QB. Adding Khalil Mack is also an immediate upgrade to an already dangerous pass-rush.
7 – Green Bay Packers
Yes, the Packers lost their best wide receiver and no longer have a definitive top dog in that position group. However, when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback, your offense is going to be productive. The running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon will apparently be more of a partnership, sometimes on the field together, than a one-two punch. With David Bakhtiari healthy and returning, the O-Line will at least be improved. Then there’s the defense – not generally the thing people think of first when talking Packers – which is one of the best in the league.
8 – San Francisco 49ers
This is definitely the most aggressive ranking I have on this list, but I’m committing to it. Trey Lance is young and raw, which might not be the two best descriptive words to advertise a quarterback, but his situation is as about good as you could imagine for a redshirt second-year. The offensive skill position depth chart in San Francisco is unreal, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk at WR, George Kittle at TE and an RB group headed up by Elijah Mitchell. And that’s not to mention the playcalling coming from one of the best offensive minds in the league, Kyle Shanahan. The defense is also very strong, which should take some of the pressure off Lance. If he plays well individually, I am certain that the rest of this roster will shine.
9 – Baltimore Ravens
While we’re on the subject of upside, let’s talk about Baltimore. Now that Lamar Jackson is healthy again, this team is back in the nightmares of their opposition. It’s easy for people to forget that literally two seasons ago this team dominated the NFL. They went 14-2 and their second-year QB was an MVP at age 23. To put it plainly, when they’re at full health, the Ravens are one of the most dangerous opponents in the league. Jackson is possibly the most explosive rusher in NFL history and he’s a QB, who has proven himself to have some throwing ability, too. The defense that made Baltimore infamous for so many years is still very strong, too. When it clicks for this squad, they could go all the way. But, will it?
10 – Denver Broncos
Another unpredictable team, but for a different reason, the Broncos are very intriguing this season. From 2011 to 2015, the Broncos were on top of the AFC West five seasons in a row, led by Peyton Manning. They appeared in the Super Bowl twice during that time and won SB 50 before their Hall of Fame QB retired. Since Manning’s departure, they have had just one winning season and none since 2017. However, they’ve got themselves another gold jacket-worthy replacement, now. Russell Wilson joins the fold, and immediately this team becomes incredibly dangerous, with some good weapons around him and a solid defense. The Broncos have all four outcomes in this division available to them, they could win it all or splutter to another losing season.
11 – Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the biggest teams in the league in following and infamy, however, their success over the last 25 years has been almost exclusively in the regular season. They haven’t made it to the Championship game since they won their last Super Bowl in 1995. However, their woes are harder to justify as of late. After drafting Dak Prescott, who immediately burst onto the scene as Offensive Rookie of the Year, they have also picked CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons, two of the best young stars in the league in their two last first-round picks. The roster is good, they just need to avoid tripping up when the postseason starts.
12 – Las Vegas Raiders
Time for my potential bias disclaimer, I am a big Raiders fan, so if you think I am being too optimistic, that’s fair. But let’s think this through. The Raiders made the playoffs last week in a dramatic final-moment kick to seal their place. Yes, they lost in the Wild Card game, but against a Bengals team who made it to the Super Bowl, and by a very narrow margin.
After that, they added two very notable names, Chandler Jones and Davante Adams. Jones is an established pass-rusher – in the five healthy seasons he had with Arizona, he recorded a whopping 70.5 sacks. Opposite Maxx Crosby, he will do real damage. And, similarly, Adams is a truly elite player, potentially the best WR in the league right now, joining an already talented offensive group. The only things holding them back are their offensive line and defensive secondary, if they improved those two positional groups, the sky would be the limit.
13 – Indianapolis Colts
One of the more notable personnel changes in the NFL this offseason was the upgrade at the Colts QB position. Matt Ryan will be replacing the volatile Carson Wentz, after last year’s Week 18 meltdown in Jacksonville. The Falcons veteran will bring lots of experience and should elevate a talented offense, with two young stars – Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor. The defense was already very solid and they have a reliable offensive line, as well as a good head coach. If Matt Ryan is able to channel his younger self and take advantage of having a good defense behind him for the first time in years, the Colts could make a real push this season.
14 – Miami Dolphins
Arguably the hardest team to rank on this entire list, the Miami Dolphins are ready to make a statement. They splashed and grabbed Tyreek Hill who is one of the most dynamic and game-breaking players the league has ever seen. He joins an offense that already had nice weapons in Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. The defense is also amazing, with good players at all three levels. However, the huge question mark – possibly the biggest across every team this season – is, how much can Tua Tagovailoa step up?
15 – Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury’s Cardinals have established a pattern over the last two years. Start really strong and then tail off and disappoint. In 2020, they started 5-2 and finished 8-8. In 2021, it was even worse – starting 10-2, and then finishing 11-6. This season, they are trying to kick that trend. Kyler Murray got his big extension and is looking to prove himself. The speedy dual-threat QB doesn’t have DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks, but Hollywood Brown joined this offseason and Rondale Moore has a lot of potential. The defense isn’t elite but it’s not bad. The question isn’t ‘will Arizona be good?’, it is ‘can they be good for a whole season?’.
16 – Tennessee Titans
I think that as we reach the midpoint of our rankings, we have a very apt spot for Tennessee. Let’s put it this way. The Titans are the worst team that you’d hate to play. They have an incredible running back in Derrick Henry and a competent QB in Ryan Tannehill, however, they lost their best wide receiver in AJ Brown. The defense is good and includes one of the best free safeties in the entire league, Kevin Byard. Unfortunately, though, I don’t think that the offense is going to be as good without Brown and I worry the Titans’ front office underestimated the value of having a good wideout to take the pressure off an aging RB.
17 – Philadelphia Eagles
Speaking of AJ Brown… He is now an Eagle, teaming up with Jalen Hurts, who has flashed some potential but is still developing. The young core of this team is like a worse version of what the Bengals are doing, with Brown and DeVonta Smith set to be good for a long time, especially if their quarterback continues to improve. The problem is that the young guys are mixed in with older guys who are reaching the end of their tenure. You have the youngsters I referenced before, but then there are the likes of Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox who have all been on the team for the last 8 years.
18 – Minnesota Vikings
One of the more unusual teams in the NFL last season, the Minnesota Vikings had a star-studded offense, with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, helmed by Kirk Cousins. However, they have a very porous defense. Their offensive yards per game was 12th in the league, but their defensive yards given up was 30th. That caused them to be very underwhelming, even though they have some stars on show. Their defense needs to fix up, or they won’t be able to achieve what their offense is capable of.
19 – New Orleans Saints
For two decades, Drew Brees’ quarterback play led the New Orleans Saints, with great success. They had made the playoffs four times in a row in his final years, before retiring after 2020. Then, last season, the ridiculous consistency of the veteran Brees was replaced by the absolute chaos of Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian and Jameis Winston. Heading into 2022, Winston will be the starting QB, which is always exciting. To his credit, Winston’s career TD/INT ratio of 1.5 was suddenly a thing of the past in his 7 starts in 2021, where he had 14 TD’s and just 3 INT’s. This roster has some legit talent, but they need good quarterback play to make the playoffs in a pretty tough division.
20 – New England Patriots
Not far removed from the greatest dynasty in the history of the league, the Patriots are now just building up their post-Brady football team. Mac Jones had the misfortune of following in the GOAT’s footsteps, and he showed some potential here and there, but their team won’t aspire to much this year. They are just trying to put down the foundations of this era of the organisation. If Bill Belichick wasn’t coaching this team, they could easily be five places lower.
21 – Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns have been a highly-discussed team this offseason for obvious reasons. Said reasons mean that they won’t have a starting QB until Week 13. They have good running backs, a couple of solid receivers, a brilliant offensive line, and a good defense. But without a starting QB, they fall on these rankings. They have decided to likely waste 2022, in the pursuit of success in ’23 and beyond.
22 – Pittsburgh Steelers
It is quite unique to have the amount of talent that is on this roster and not be inside the top half of these rankings. The defense in Pittsburgh is very strong, especially the dynamic pairing of TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, they haven’t had positive Quarterback play for a few years and the offensive line is absolutely awful.
23 – Washington Commanders
A very exciting team over the next few years, the young core of the Commanders has long-term upside, especially on defense. However, that core is missing arguably its biggest talent, Chase Young, for the first month of the season. It seems unlikely that Washington won’t be good within the next five years, but I don’t think they’re there yet.
24 – New York Giants
The two New York teams are lined up back to back here. Health is the biggest factor here. I had to move the Jets down because they have a key injury, and I have the Giants up, hoping that they don’t have an injury again. If Saquon Barkley is fully healthy, he is a brilliant player. With him, the Giants are solid. Defensively they are a decent team, too. Quarterback play could be better, but this offense is built around Saquon and he will make it tick.
25 – New York Jets
The injury to Mekhi Becton dropped the Jets a couple of spots, which is really unfortunate. He is a huge loss for this rebuilding team. The addition of Breece Hall as a young, exciting running back should breathe some new life into the offense, and he was the second-round pick! They also have three first-rounders; CB Sauce Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson and EDGE Jermaine Johnson. They’re all going to upgrade this team, and in 2024 they will get Becton back, plus another haul of rookies.
26 – Detroit Lions
There are a couple of amazing building blocks already present at the Lions, especially on offense, with D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams. Unfortunately, they don’t have youth in many of the key positions – most notably, at QB. They need to draft one soon, because they will continue winning a handful of games and depriving themselves of a higher pick, as their skill positions improve.
27 – Carolina Panthers
I’d say of everyone in the bottom 6, the Panthers have the highest ceiling in 2022. However, it’s been a while. Christian McCaffrey has had injuries that set back the offense massively, and their search for a long-term, or at least mid-term, QB remains unsuccessful so far. The defense has some good young talent but needs more help. Baker Mayfield could give them a burst of life this season, though, and that could make a real difference, combined with CMC’s health.
28 – Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibly the biggest disappointment in the NFL last season was the Jaguars’ failure to support their rookie QB, and number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. This year they have a bit more health on their side but it still remains to be seen whether or not he will reach his potential. When he locks in and starts performing, the Jags will be a much tougher opponent.
29 – Chicago Bears
Another team with a high-upside rookie Quarterback, the Chicago Bears have found themselves in a very difficult position. Justin Fields has already shown some flashes of his talent. He’s athletic and a good improviser. However, his offensive line is terrible and the skill positions are not going to do the work for him. The defense has some great players, but not enough to win many games with a mediocre offense.
30 – Houston Texans
A team who has been at the bottom of the pile for a few years in a row, the Texans are going through it. Davis Mills has shown himself to be a pretty competent QB, but outside of Brandin Cooks and rookie standout Dameon Pierce, he’s kind of on his own right now. The defense is bad and the offense is bad. It’s going to be another tough year, but the rebuild is ongoing.
31 – Atlanta Falcons
A team where the rebuild has now officially begun. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are both gone and the next generation has started. This is a sad tale of a team in decline ever since their Super Bowl heartbreak. It’s okay if you’re an Atlanta Sports fan, because the Braves won the World Series, but if you’re in the UK just supporting the Falcons, it’s pretty tough. Hopefully whoever they draft in the top 5 next draft is a kick-start to a new era.
32 – Seattle Seahawks
Seattle’s situation is not dissimilar to Atlanta – a recently very good team, now traded their QB to officially begin the rebuild. Russell Wilson is a Hall of Fame QB who served the Seahawks well during his tenure, but now he’s off in Colorado, and the Seahawks have to hit the reset button. They have a couple of absolutely amazing players on their team, but without a good QB it will be difficult. Wilson had to constantly overcome awful offensive line play, and although it should be a bit better this season, a worse QB will be stood behind them.