NFL Power Rankings ahead of the 2022 regular season
Even if each team’s play on the field will decide the best team, it’s still best to do a full NFL preseason power rankings for 2022 before the start of the season.
Even though we know there will be surprises along the way, this is the best way to rank the best NFL teams going into 2022. Plus, the NFL power rankings today will also rank the teams at the bottom of the totem pole as well.
NFL preseason power rankings 2022
Obviously, there isn’t much data for the NFL power rankings in 2022 before the season. Preseason games aren’t that useful when putting together a list of the best NFL teams ranked. However, we considered offseason moves, position rankings for the 2022 season, and even NFL MVP odds when putting together our first NFL power rankings for 2022.
While we expect you to disagree in some places, here are our NFL preseason power rankings for 2022.
The Texans probably won’t go winless in 2022, but it wouldn’t be a huge shock if they did. They’re going to give second-year quarterback Davis Mills a chance and see what happens. However, Houston doesn’t have much around him outside of Brandin Cooks.
The Texans will begin the season with at least two rookies starting on both sides of the ball, so there could be growing pains. The silver lining is they had four draft picks in the first two rounds of the draft, although it could take time for everything to come together.
On the surface, this looks like it could be a long year for the Bears. They are starting anew with first-year head coach Matt Eberflus and have a second-year quarterback in Justin Fields. On top of that, they weakened their defense by trading away Khalil Mack during the offseason.
Also, with Allen Robinson no longer in Chicago, the Bears don’t have the best supporting cast for Fields, who doesn’t look ready to do it on his own.
Progress has been slow at best for the Giants in recent years. Even if there is optimism surrounding new coach Brian Daboll, the outlook for 2022 isn’t so good. The G-Men are still trying to create a viable offensive line and will be starting two rookies in the trenches.
They’ll also begin the season with Daniel Jones at quarterback, as he’ll get one more year to prove that he’s not a complete bust. For what it’s worth, the Giants have talented skill players and could put together a decent defense. But with Jones at quarterback and questions along the offensive line, it’s hard to see them avoiding another last-place finish in the NFC East.
It’s undoubtedly a rebuilding season for the Seahawks, who are looking forward to the NFL power rankings for 2023 when they might be a little higher. That’s what happens after trading away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson and letting linebacker Bobby Wagner sign elsewhere in free agency.
To be fair, the tandem of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is still one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL. The Seahawks also have some promising pieces on defense. But with an offensive line that’s still rebuilding and Geno Smith opening the season at quarterback, Seattle doesn’t have much upside, especially in the NFC’s toughest division.
It’s hard to expect much from the Falcons after they traded Matt Ryan. The former MVP didn’t have enough of a supporting cast around him last year and things only look marginally better for Marcus Mariota.
In fairness, there are some bright spots on both sides of the ball, including cornerback A.J. Terrell and tight end Kyle Pitts. But there isn’t enough to make anyone think that the Falcons can make some noise in 2022.
The Jags are a team that’s hard to place in our NFL preseason power rankings for 2022. It’s hard to know if they were as bad as they looked during last year’s 3-14 campaign or if that was Urban Meyer’s fault.
Either way, Doug Pederson being hired as the new head coach should lead to considerable improvement. But how much improvement remains unclear, especially as it relates to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Keep in mind that the Jags also allowed the fifth-most points in the league last season, so there is a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball.
This could be the year that we see some traction from the Lions. They’re not overflowing with talent, but they have a young roster that offers plenty of promise.
Also, they played hard under Dan Campbell last year and won three games when some believed they could go winless. They may not be in the playoff picture, but Detroit should be a little closer to respectability in 2022.
It could be now or never for head coach Matt Rhule, who is hoping that the arrival of Baker Mayfield can help the Panthers turn things around. At times, Mayfield has been an average or slightly better quarterback, so all hope is not lost.
Meanwhile, Christian McCaffrey could make a huge impact if he’s able to stay healthy after two injury-plagued seasons in a row. The Panthers averaged just 17.9 points per game last year, so they need McCaffrey to stay on the field.
There could also be some good building blocks on Carolina’s defensive line. But they have too many questions ahead of the season, keeping them close to the bottom of the NFL preseason power rankings for 2022.
If nothing else, the Jets put together an impressive draft class by virtue of having four of the first 36 picks. They hope that they were able to add impact players on both sides of the ball. They should have some capable skill players around second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who remains unproven.
Defensively, New York looks halfway decent on paper, at least for a team that gave up the most points in the NFL last year. But the Jets need to stay healthy and a lot has to go right for Robert Saleh if they are going to be relevant in the standings in November and December.
The Browns have certainly dug a hole for themselves at the start of the 2022 campaign. They traded away three first-round picks for Deshaun Watson, only to be without him for the first 11 games.
Fortunately, Cleveland’s rushing attack was one of the best in the league last year. But the defense still needs some work, as does Cleveland’s receiving corps. In short, the Browns may not have enough to stay afloat with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.
Plus, even once Watson comes back, he’ll be a quarterback who hasn’t taken a snap in a season and a half, so this may not be the year that Browns fans want to get their hopes up.
The first year using the Commanders moniker should be an interesting one. If Carson Wentz can stay healthy, Washington is hoping to improve upon last year’s 7-10 record. However, the Commanders need more than a quarterback upgrade.
Washington’s defense was also a disappointment last year despite all of that first-round talent on the defensive line. In other words, Ron Rivera has some work to do to get the Commanders anywhere near the playoffs.
This could be a make-or-break season for Tua Tagovailoa, although the Dolphins appear to have a lot of faith in him.
Miami has brought in Tyreek Hill, added Terron Armstead to the offensive line, and completely revamped the backfield. That leaves no excuse for Tagovailoa not to take a step forward. Yet, there are some lingering questions about Miami’s ceiling this season.
It’s hard to figure out where the Cardinals belong in the NFL power rankings today because they had two completely different seasons in 2021. Arizona looked like a Super Bowl contender during the first half of the season but faded during the second half.
Kyler Murray should be happy now that he has a new contract and because the team traded for Marquise Brown. But the Cardinals shouldn’t expect much help from their rookie class and they could have a few holes to fill on defense, so breaking away from the pack and into the upper echelon of NFC teams could be tough.
For the first time in over 15 years, the Steelers enter a season with uncertainty at quarterback. That’s a concern for a team that was one of the worst at running the ball last season.
Of course, whether it’s Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh is likely to be average at best at quarterback. Defensively, the Steelers have the pieces at all three levels to be good. But even a top-5 defense isn’t always enough to get a team to the playoffs when there are this many questions about the offense.
The Titans have surely benefited in recent years from playing in a subpar division. But in the last two years, when the playoffs have rolled around, they’ve been exposed. That gives us pause before putting them too high in our NFL power rankings for 2022.
That being said, as long as Derrick Henry is healthy, Tennessee will be in decent shape. But there should be plenty of skepticism surrounding Ryan Tannehill and the passing game, which means the Tennessee defense will need to be among the best in the league to keep the Titans relevant at the top of the loaded AFC.
It wasn’t always pretty last season, but the Patriots made the playoffs by running the ball, playing good defense, and getting just enough out of rookie quarterback Mac Jones. However, the Patriots lost a couple of key players from their defense and had a disappointing draft class.
We also don’t know if Jones has much of a ceiling or if he’s just a game manager who needs talent around him. With Bill Belichick running the show, it’s hard to rule out the Patriots from being a factor in the playoff race. But it’s also hard to consider them one of the best NFL teams going into 2022.
The Vikings suffered some injuries last year, especially on defense. But if they can stay healthy, the Minnesota defense could turn into one of the best in the league.
The rest could be up to Kirk Cousins, who has the pieces around him to lead a dynamic offense. Of course, he has to prove that he can be consistent, which is always a question for him.
However, if Michael Thomas can come back healthy and Chris Olave makes an impact as a rookie, the New Orleans offense could have some dynamic playmakers. The Saints should also be solid defensively as usual, so there is some hope for this team if Winston can avoid too many mistakes.
However, there are lingering questions about the running game and the secondary. Plus, the Raiders play in the toughest division in the NFL, so the path back to the playoffs won’t be an easy one.
There is a lot to like about San Francisco’s roster heading into the season. The caveat is we don’t know what to expect from Trey Lance.
He should have enough pieces around him on offense while the 49ers look solid on defense. If Lance can avoid mistakes and be a game manager, the 49ers should stay in the playoff race. But if he can have a breakout season, Lance could potentially elevate the 49ers to one of the best teams in the NFC.
The Cowboys have had no problem scoring points with Dak Prescott at quarterback in recent years. But with Amari Cooper no longer around and a shakeup to their offensive line, Dallas is facing questions that the Cowboys may have taken for granted in recent years.
They definitely aren’t the obvious favorite to win the NFC this season. However, they did have a top-10 defense last season and might have a chance to build on that in 2022 behind Micah Parsons, who could be among the best defensive players in the league this season. That should help keep the Cowboys relevant in the NFC.
The Eagles are surely one of the more intriguing teams heading into the season and a bonafide sleeper in the NFC. However, they still have a lot to prove if they expect to be considered among the elite teams in the league.
Jalen Hurts surely offers plenty of upside with his running ability, although the Eagles need more out of their passing game, especially with A.J. Brown coming aboard and DeVonta Smith flashing promise last season. But there are a couple of questions on defense and the offensive line on top of uncertainty about whether or not Hurts can get the Eagles to the next level.
Just how much of an impact can Matt Ryan make with his new team? The Colts were in the playoff hunt last season behind Jonathan Taylor and they have a solid defense, so in theory, Ryan should make a meaningful difference.
Indy has long had one of the best offensive lines in the league. That’s something that should benefit a veteran quarterback like Ryan who isn’t all that mobile. Obviously, going for a quick fix doesn’t always work out, but it’s possible that Ryan is the missing piece that the Colts need.
The expectations for the Chargers are massive heading into 2022. That’s what happens when you have found a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert and add defensive stars like J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack during the offseason.
That being said, the Chargers still have a lot they need to prove.
Herbert has put up big numbers but he hasn’t yet proven that he can win games consistently. He struggled with turnovers at times last season and don’t forget the Chargers had that ugly loss to the Texans late in the season, likely costing them a playoff spot. While the upside is there, the Chargers still have work to do to prove that they belong in the upper echelon of the AFC.
With Tom Brady returning for another year, the Bucs have to like where they sit. Brady put up MVP-caliber numbers last season, so as long as Tampa’s offensive line keeps him protected, the Bucs should have no problem scoring points this season.
However, the offensive line is becoming a concern, which could put Brady under pressure and could force the Tampa defense to carry the team at times.
Baltimore was a victim of one close loss after another last season, ultimately losing six in a row to finish the season. Keep in mind Lamar Jackson didn’t play down the stretch because of injury.
But if he comes back healthy in 2022, the team’s outlook changes completely. Even with a largely unproven receiving corps, Jackson’s presence alone can turn some of those close losses into wins, putting them much higher in the NFL preseason power rankings in 2022 than they finished in 2021.
If the Bengals we saw last January and February show up in 2022, they could be one of the best teams in the league. Cincinnati did a great job of addressing the team’s weaknesses along the offensive line this offseason, which should make life easier for Joe Burrow, who we know has the skill players around him to do great things.
Defensively, the Bengals look solid if unspectacular at all three levels. But if they can just be average or better on that side of the ball, that might be enough for Burrow and the offense.
Last season, the Broncos had a strong supporting cast but didn’t have the quarterback. With the arrival of Russell Wilson, the Broncos have a quarterback who can make them an elite team. The question this year is whether Wilson can settle in quickly with his new team, although the Broncos do have an intriguing set of skill players around him.
On the other side of the ball, Denver’s defense allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL last season and has arguably the most talented secondary in the league. Of course, the Broncos need to get Wilson acclimated and also have a first-year head coach in Nathaniel Hackett, so there are reasons to be a little skeptical.
As long as Patrick Mahomes is there, the Chiefs are going to be on the shortlist of Super Bowl contenders. He’ll have to get used to relying on some other receivers this year instead of leaning on Tyreek Hill’s speed. But Kansas City has some decent options outside of Travis Kelce, who also remains an important part of the offense.
As usual, Kansas City’s success will likely come down to the defense. The Chiefs had a top-10 defense a year ago, but there are still lingering questions about that unit heading into the season. Granted, Mahomes is carrying the team a long way, but they still need to give him a little more support.
One potential X-factor will be Cam Akers, who didn’t do much during the playoffs last season after his return from injury. But if Akers is healthy in 2022, he could give the Los Angeles offense another dimension.
Defensively, a few things are different, although Aaron Donald still gives the Rams the best defensive player in the league, which should keep Stafford from thinking that everything is on his shoulders.
Green Bay has the two-time reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers, who has helped the Packers win 13 games during the regular season in three straight years. That alone should put the Packers head and shoulders above almost every other team in the NFC.
Of course, there are some questions about how Rodgers will manage without a bonafide no. 1 receiver on the roster with Davante Adams no longer around. But the Green Bay defense made positive strides last year and then added two first-round picks. That could give the Packers a chance to put together an above-average defense, providing Rodgers with some much-needed support.
There should be no doubt that the Bills belong at the top of the NFL preseason power rankings in 2022.
They have a star quarterback in Josh Allen and continued to build a strong supporting cast around him during the offseason. Obviously, Buffalo still needs to get over the hump in the playoffs after losing to the Chiefs in each of the past two seasons.
But they had the best defense in the league last year despite a lack of sacks and have a dynamic, balanced offense. On paper, nobody looks better than the Bills heading into the new season.
Aug 25, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Even if each team’s play on the field will decide the best team, it’s still best to do a…
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