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: May X, 2022

  1. Houston Texans Houston Texans (4-13) – Previously: 32.
    I can’t believe the Texans hired Lovie Smith as their head coach. I also can’t believe they drafted a cornerback third into Lovie Smith’s system. And I also can’t believe that they drafted a guard 15th overall. Nothing Houston does makes any sense.

  2. Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons (7-10) – Previously: 31.
    The Matt Ryan era is officially over. Ryan, despite being in his mid-30s and possessing little talent around him, dragged the Falcons to seven wins last year. Those tight victories will almost certainly be losses in 2022. This is all for the best, however, as the Falcons will have a chance to land a top quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. This is what I have happening in my 2023 NFL Mock Draft, which I updated this week.

  3. Chicago Bears Chicago Bears (6-11) – Previously: 30.
    The Bears had the 10th-most cap space in the NFL. Instead of building around Justin Fields, they blew up their roster. There was a report released recently that said the Bears may move on from Fields after this year if he doesn’t show signs of development. So, how is he supposed to develop if the front office dismantled the roster? Fields won’t have a chance because all they gave him at receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft was Velus Jones.

  4. Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14) – Previously: 29.
    I bet the Jaguars to win the Super Bowl at 125/1 odds because I thought that Jacksonville, in a weaker division, could see Trevor Lawrence take a huge leap forward and sign some great free agents with all of their cap space. Instead, they overpaid for mediocre and bad players, and they gave Lawrence no help in the 2022 NFL Draft. This was such a huge disappointment. I wish I could get my $50 back.

  5. Detroit Lions NFL Power Rankings Detroit Lions (3-13-1) – Previously: 28.
    I loved what the Lions did in the 2022 NFL Draft. They didn’t find a quarterback, but they drafted two potential superstars in the first round. They robbed the Vikings, moving up 20 spots for just a third-round pick. Jameson Williams won’t be 100 percent this season, but he’ll be ready to go in 2023, which is when the Lions may finally obtain a franchise quarterback.

  6. New York Giants New York Giants (4-13) – Previously: 27.
    Daniel Jones has been awful for most of his career, but to be fair, he never had much of a chance because the Giants’ offensive line has been terrible. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, as Evan Neal, Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano have joined an improving Andrew Thomas. If Saquon Barkley stays healthy for a change, and Kenny Golladay plays like he did prior to 2021, the Giants might actually be competitive.

  7. Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks (7-10) – Previously: 20.
    The Seahawks almost have to trade for Baker Mayfield, right? They have plenty of talent, especially on offense, so it would be shameful to waste it with Geno Smith and Drew Lock. I suppose it’s only a matter of how much Cleveland is willing to pay to trade Mayfield, given that they have zero leverage.

  8. Washington Redskins Washington Redskins (7-10) – Previously: 26.
    The Redskins traded for Carson Wentz. The problem is that he may not be better than Taylor Heinicke. He certainly has a higher ceiling, but he hasn’t been the same player since taking a concussion from Jadeveon Clowney. He’ll likely continue to YOLO throws into triple coverage. I don’t understand why the Redskins gave up a third-round pick for him while agreeing to pay his entire salary.

  9. Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers (5-12) – Previously: 24.
    You’d think that a good quarterback would want to join a team that has the Jay-Z of NFL head coaches patrolling the sidelines. Curiously, none of the great signal-callers available this spring wanted to go to Carolina. The Panthers did a good job of improving their offensive line, especially with the Ikem Ekwonu pick, but they’re not going to win with Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback.

  10. New York Jets New York Jets (4-13) – Previously: 25.
    A friend of mine is a Jets fan, and he asked me if his team would once again be one of the worst teams in the NFL. I told him that I didn’t think so. The Jets made some nice signings this offseason, namely Laken Tomlinson, D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead. I also gave the Jets an A+ for their draft. They added four talented starters on top of their free agency haul. If Zach Wilson can make a big jump in his second season, the Jets could have a winning record.

  11. Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) – Previously: 22.
    I wrote this on the 2022 NFL Draft Grades page, but the Steelers made a big mistake drafting Kenny Pickett. It’s obvious that his small hands, responsible for 37 fumbles at Pitt, will be problematic in the cold weather come December. Remember, the college football regular season doesn’t extend past Thanksgiving, so Pickett’s 37 fumbles occurred in warm or cool weather. Yet, ownership drafted Pickett because he went to Pitt, as the Rooneys vowed never to pass on another Pittsburgh quarterback ever again after missing out on Dan Marino. I don’t know what Pickett’s location has to do with his quarterbacking skills. He would be the same quarterback if he went to Caly Poly, East Wyoming State, or the University of Bangkok.

  12. Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans (12-5) – Previously: 15.
    The Titans lost some key players like Rodger Saffold, Julio Jones, Jayon Brown and Janoris Jenkins prior to the 2022 NFL Draft. All of this now seems insignificant in the wake of A.J. Brown’s departure. I like Treylon Burks as much as the next guy, but there will definitely be a dropoff from Brown. On the bright side, Tennessee may have its quarterback of the future on the roster because of the Malik Willis pick.

  13. New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints (9-8) – Previously: 23.
    Sean Payton and Drew Brees are gone. Terron Armstead and Marcus Williams, too. The Saints had a chance to win what we thought was an absolutely terrible NFC South, but Tom Brady ruined that by canceling his retirement plans. New Orleans will now be in mediocre (or slightly better) purgatory until the front office finally decides to blow up the entire operation and begin from square zero, as one Hall of Fame running back once said.

  14. Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys (12-5) – Previously: 19.
    There’s a huge dichotomy in regard to Dak Prescott’s performances when he has his full supporting cast and when he doesn’t. He no longer does. Dallas lost La’el Collins, Connor Williams and Amari Cooper this offseason, and they only replaced one of them with first-round pick Tyler Smith. It seems as though the Eagles have passed Dallas in the division, but it’s close.

  15. Minnesota Vikings Minnesota Vikings (8-9) – Previously: 18.
    The Vikings’ chances of winning the NFC North rose when the Packers traded Davante Adams. They also added Za’Darius Smith to help with their pass rush. I don’t see a huge difference between the two teams.

  16. Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals (11-6) – Previously: 17.
    The Cardinals’ disappointing second half of the 2021 campaign carried into the offseason. The front office allowed Chandler Jones, Christian Kirk, A.J. Green and Chase Edmonds to walk, yet couldn’t do anything to bring in replacements, save for Marquise Brown. Just when Brown was acquired, DeAndre Hopkins was slapped with a six-game suspension for PEDs.

  17. New England Patriots New England Patriots (10-7) – Previously: 16.
    The Patriots don’t look as promising this year. They lost a couple of offensive linemen as well as their top cornerback and several linebackers. The team struggled toward the end of the season, and that could easily spill over into 2022, especially in the wake of their horrifically bad draft class.

  18. Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens (8-9) – Previously: 12.
    The Ravens made some impact moves this offseason, signing Marcus Williams, Michael Pierce and Morgan Moses. The bad news is that they lost several key players, particularly in the trenches. Marquise Brown was also traded. The Ravens will still be competitive with Lamar Jackson, but several conference foes have passed them.

  19. Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) – Previously: 21.
    Of all the teams in the NFL, the Eagles made the most immediate improvements via the 2022 NFL Draft. A big part of this was trading for A.J. Brown, who will open up the passing game. Remember, the Eagles didn’t go run-heavy until they needed to last year. They discovered this was essential because Jalen Hurts had no one to throw to besides Devonta Smith, but that’s now no longer the case.

  20. Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) – Previously: 14.
    I thought the Raiders would have to tank and rebuild because the rest of the AFC West is stacked, but they traded for Davante Adams after acquiring Chandler Jones and Rock Ya-Sin. The Raiders will be competitive in their division, though I don’t think they’ll be as good as the other three teams.

  21. Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins (9-8) – Previously: 13.
    It’s all on Tua Tagovailoa’s shoulders. If he can make a big leap in his third season with a great supporting cast, Miami will be a Super Bowl contender. The team added so much great talent, obtaining Tyreek Hill to pair with Jaylen Waddle, as well as Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds and Cedrick Wilson. The Dolphins have the best supporting cast in the NFL, so their 2022 outlook will completely depend on their quarterback.

  22. Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts (9-8) – Previously: 9.
    It’s amazing that the Colts were able to obtain significant draft capital for Carson Wentz without paying his contract, given that they easily could have cut him. They then turned one of their third-round picks into Matt Ryan, who will be a big upgrade because he won’t YOLO passes into triple coverage. The Colts added some help around Ryan in Bernhard Raimann and Alec Pierce, which was nice to see.

  23. Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers (14-3) – Previously: 11.
    It’s disappointing that the Packers didn’t trade up for Treylon Burks, who happened to be Aaron Rodgers’ preferred receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. I like Christian Watson, but he’s no Burks. On the bright side for Green Bay, its defense, now armed with Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, should be stellar.

  24. Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Rams (12-5) – Previously: 10.
    The Rams just won the Super Bowl, but they’re not in the top five because they lost some key players like Andrew Whitworth, Von Miller, Austin Corbett and Darious Williams. They’re still a playoff-caliber team, but it’s doubtful that they’ll repeat.

  25. San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers (10-7) – Previously: 8.
    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.

  26. Kansas City Chiefs NFL Power Rankings Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) – Previously: 7.
    The Chiefs have taken a bit of a slide in these power rankings because they lost Tyreek Hill. I like Skyy Moore, but he won’t be as dynamic as Hill was with Patrick Mahomes. On the bright side for the Chiefs, they made some nice defensive additions in the 2022 NFL Draft with Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis.

  27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) – Previously: 6.
    The Buccaneers obviously dropped to 21 in the first power ranking update of the offseason because of Tom Brady’s anticipated retirement. As it turns out, when Gisele asked Brady to go to Whole Foods, he said, “That’s it, I’m coming back to the NFL!” The Buccaneers should be considered the favorites in the NFC.

  28. Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns (7-10) – Previously: 5.
    I had the Browns ranked ninth in a previous update, as I speculated that Baker Mayfield would be much better in 2022 with a healthier shoulder. As it turns out, Deshaun Watson is the new quarterback. He definitely makes Cleveland one of the Super Bowl favorites, barring an extensive suspension. I don’t think he should be suspended; he wasn’t found guilty of anything, and he wasn’t able to play at all in 2021. He has served his time.

  29. Denver Broncos Denver Broncos (7-10) – Previously: 4.
    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.

    I wrote that in a previous update. Lo and behold, the Broncos are in the top five with Wilson as their new quarterback.

  30. Los Angeles Chargers San Angeles Chargers (9-8) – Previously: 3.
    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 were 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. Now, they have Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson to bolster the defense, and Zion Johnson to help with the offensive line!

  31. Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) – Previously: 2.
    Many don’t believe the Bengals will be back in the Super Bowl anytime soon, but they have incredible young talent, and they made some colossal improvements to their offensive line, signing La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras. Joe Burrow won’t have any sort of pass protection issues in 2022.

  32. Buffalo Bills Buffalo Bills (11-6) – Previously: 1.
    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 Von Miller joined a defense that already had the No. 1 pressure rate. Also, don’t forget 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. The Bills should have a viable second corner as well, thanks to the Kaiir Elam pick.

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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 |