NFL Power Rankings 2022

My current NFL Power Rankings for the 2022 NFL Season.

I’m going to use these rankings as the order for my 2023 NFL Mock Draft during the early stages of the 2022 season. Follow @walterfootball.

I’ve gone from WORST to FIRST, so if you don’t see reverse numbering (via Javascript), don’t worry; the Jets and Texans aren’t my top teams.

Updated: Feb. 18

  1. Houston Texans Houston Texans (4-13) – Previously: 27.
    I can’t believe the Texans hired Lovie Smith as their head coach. I know he has a fancy beard now, but I have my doubts that he’ll succeed. And by “succeed,” I mean win like two games. The only chance they have is if Deshaun Watson returns, but I think that ship has sailed in the wake of Houston’s decision not to hire Brian Flores.

  2. New York Giants New York Giants (4-13) – Previously: 32.
    Not only are the Giants terrible; they’re $11.3 million over the cap! I don’t understand how that’s possible, especially with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley on rookie deals. Teams with young quarterbacks are supposed to have favorable cap situations!

  3. Detroit Lions NFL Power Rankings Detroit Lions (3-13-1) – Previously: 29.
    It’ll be interesting to see if the Lions fall in love with either Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. If they become smitten with either, Detroit will go quarterback at No. 2 overall.

  4. Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons (7-10) – Previously: 26.
    The Falcons won seven games last year, but they may have had the weakest strength-of-victory schedule of all time, beating the Lions, Jaguars, Jets, Dolphins (when they were bad), Panthers, Giants and Saints. Their victory over Tim Boyle-led Detroit saw them get outgained by 80 yards!

  5. New York Jets New York Jets (4-13) – Previously: 28.
    The Jets have the fifth-most cap space in the NFL, so they can surround Zach Wilson with tons of talent. Whether or not Wilson is the answer remains to be seen, but if New York makes all the right moves, Wilson won’t have any excuses for failing in 2022.

  6. New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints (9-8) – Previously: 19.
    The Saints are $75 million over the cap! How is that even possible? They’re going to have to cut lots of players this offseason. Given that Sean Payton is gone, the Saints will endure a huge collapse. I can’t wait to bet the under on their season win total.

  7. Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14) – Previously: 31.
    Doug Pederson was an underwhelming hire. However, the Jaguars have promise. They have the second-most cap space in the NFL, and Trevor Lawrence should make a big leap forward in his second year, especially if Jacksonville fixes its horrible offensive line.

  8. Chicago Bears Chicago Bears (6-11) – Previously: 25.
    The Bears have the 10th-most cap space in the NFL. Justin Fields figures to make a big leap in 2022, and if that happens, Chicago could become a legitimate playoff contender.

  9. Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers (5-12) – Previously: 30.
    Christian McCaffrey will return from injury next year, but he hasn’t shown any proof that he can stay healthy. Carolina also has no quarterback, so that’s an issue as well. I love the defense, but Matt Rhule’s five-year Jay-Z plan is not looking very promising.

  10. Washington Redskins Washington Redskins (7-10) – Previously: 24.
    The Redskins are tough to rank right now because we know they’ll have a new quarterback commanding their team. We can be sure he’ll be better than Taylor Heinicke, but how much better? If it’s Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, the Redskins will suddenly be one of the NFC favorites to win the Super Bowl. If it’s Jimmy Garoppolo, the Redskins will have trouble making the playoffs.

  11. Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins (9-8) – Previously: 13.
    I still can’t believe the Dolphins fired Brian Flores. Stephen Ross is incredibly clueless, and it seems as though he’s more interested in being a Michigan booster than an NFL owner.

  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) – Previously: 8.
    The Buccaneers will be irrelevant if they can’t find a viable quarterback to replace Tom Brady. And no, Jimmy Garoppolo won’t cut it. Remember, Tampa Bay will lose some key pieces this offseason, which potentially includes Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski.

  13. Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts (9-8) – Previously: 16.
    So much for Carson Wentz being the answer in Indianapolis. There’s talk that Wentz will be cut or traded soon, which makes sense, given how bad he was in 2021. I still have PTSD from him throwing into triple coverage in overtime versus Tennessee when he had a wide-open player in front of him for a 15-yard gain.

  14. Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) – Previously: 21.
    Unless the Steelers go into the 2022 season with Mason Rudolph as their starter, they may avoid Mike Tomlin’s first-ever losing record in a single season. However, if it’s Mason Rudolph or some rookie, the Steelers could have that rare losing record.

  15. Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) – Previously: 15.
    The Eagles were overrated last year, as evidenced by their blowout loss in the playoffs. However, they have $20 million in cap space entering this offseason. They’ll be able to add some decent talent, though I can’t trust Jalen Hurts.

  16. Minnesota Vikings Minnesota Vikings (8-9) – Previously: 17.
    The Vikings are in a poor cap situation because of Kirk Cousins’ contract. I like the Kevin O’Connell hire, but it could take him a while to get Minnesota back on the winning track.

  17. Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) – Previously: 11.
    Despite the Jon Gruden firing, the Raiders had a great coaching staff to get the most out of Derek Carr last year. I don’t hate Josh McDaniels, but it seems as though the Raiders will be worse on the sidelines in 2022.

  18. Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans (12-5) – Previously: 7.
    The Titans have the seventh-worst cap situation in the NFL, so they may have to cut key players like Taylor Lewan or Rodger Saffold. This is why they’re much lower in these power rankings than you might expect from a reigning No. 1 overall seed.

  19. Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys (12-5) – Previously: 10.
    This perfectly describes Mike McCarthy’s career:

    I still can’t believe Jerry Jones made this hire. Fourteen penalties in a playoff game! And what was that quarterback draw with no timeouts remaining!?

    The Cowboys now have the third-worst cap situation in the NFL; they’re $21 million in the red. Thus, they may lose some key players this offseason.

  20. Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals (11-6) – Previously: 9.
    The Cardinals were so disappointing in the playoffs. I couldn’t believe they lost like they did, so it would make sense that some locker room drama would surface. Kyler Murray sounds terrible in the reports, yet that’s nothing compared to Kliff Kingsbury’s incompetence.

  21. Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens (8-9) – Previously: 20.
    The Ravens have some serious needs, namely addressing the offensive line, linebacking corps and secondary. They still need edge-rushing help as well. They’ll be better next year, but they won’t be nearly as good as they were back in 2019.

  22. Denver Broncos Denver Broncos (7-10) – Previously: 23.
    The Broncos have a great roster, but lack a quality starting quarterback. We’ll see if they can land Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson. If they can, they’ll vault into the top five of these power rankings immediately.

  23. Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks (7-10) – Previously: 18.
    Will Russell Wilson remain with the Seahawks this offseason? If so, Seattle will have a legitimate chance to make a deep run into the playoffs in 2022. They were eighth in DVOA last year, and they have the eighth-most cap space in the league entering the offseason. They must improve their poor pass rush, but the rest of their roster is looking pretty good.

  24. Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns (7-10) – Previously: 22.
    Baker Mayfield endured a nagging shoulder injury last year, which is why Cleveland disappointed so much. The Browns will rebound if Mayfield can remain healthy, though a No. 1 receiver will be needed to replace Odell Beckham.

  25. New England Patriots New England Patriots (10-7) – Previously: 14.
    Brian Flores and Sean McDermott embarrassed Mac Jones at the end of the year. The good news is that Jones won’t be a rookie next year, so perhaps he’ll have a better chance against some of the elite defensive-minded coaches. The Patriots have a chance to make a deep run into the playoffs, but getting by the Bills will be a huge challenge.

  26. Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers (14-3) – Previously: 3.
    The Packers are $50 million over the cap, so that’s why they’re relatively low in these power rankings. Even if they retain Aaron Rodgers, they won’t have nearly as good of a roster in 2022 because they’ll need to make some painful cuts.

  27. Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Rams (12-5) – Previously: 5.
    The Rams just won the Super Bowl, but they’re not in the top five because they’re going to lose numerous players to injury or retirement. Andrew Whitworth is done playing, while Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the big game. There’s even some chatter that Aaron Donald may hang up his cleats as well.

  28. Los Angeles Chargers San Angeles Chargers (9-8) – Previously: 12.
    The Chargers are one of my favorite Super Bowl LVII odds picks, as you can see by clicking the link. I can’t believe they’re 25/1. This reminds me of the Cardinals last year; Arizona would’ve been much lower than 50/1 had they made the playoffs the year before. The 2021 Chargers were even closer to qualifying for the playoffs than the 2020 Cardinals.

  29. San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers (10-7) – Previously: 4.
    The 49ers’ 2022 outlook depends on how Trey Lance performs. Then again, Lance doesn’t have a high bar to meet Jimmy Garoppolo’s production. Lance has high upside, so if he can make a big leap like Josh Allen did from 2018 to 2019, the 49ers will be in a great position to qualify for Super Bowl LVII.

  30. Kansas City Chiefs NFL Power Rankings Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) – Previously: 1.
    An argument could certainly be made for the Chiefs to be No. 1 in these power rankings, but there was something off with this team last year. Perhaps they’ll fix whatever issues they have this offseason.

  31. Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) – Previously: 6.
    Many don’t believe the Bengals will be back in the Super Bowl anytime soon, but they have incredible young talent, and they also possess the third-most cap space in the NFL. They’ll be able to fix their offensive line and add a defensive stud or two. There’s a good chance Cincinnati will be much better in 2022 than it was in 2021.

  32. Buffalo Bills Buffalo Bills (11-6) – Previously: 2.
    To quote Kenny, if someone puts a gun to my head and forces me to bet $1 on any team to win the Super Bowl, it would be the Bills. They have the best combination of offense and defense, especially considering that Tre’Davious White will be back from injury. He was sorely missed in the playoff loss at Kansas City, so the Bills will be thrilled to have him back on the field in 2022.

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2022 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Post-Free Agency Power Rankings | Post-NFL Draft Power Rankings | Post-Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

2021 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings | Preseason Power Rankings | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | Playoffs |

2020 NFL Power Rankings. Week: Post-Super Bowl Power Rankings 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | Playoffs |