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.

NFL Power Rankings updated Sept. 1, 2022

  1. Chicago Bears Chicago Bears (6-11) – Previously: 32.
    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 earlier this summer 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. Fields looked great in the preseason, but things will be different when his dreadful offensive line is asked to block a real NFL pass rush.

  2. Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks (7-10) – Previously: 29.
    The Seahawks have looked dreadful this preseason. I know that’s not the best indicator, but Geno Smith will be playing behind an offensive line featuring two rookie tackles and an injured guard. That doesn’t sound bullish to me.

  3. Houston Texans Houston Texans (4-13) – Previously: 31.
    The Texans struggled to score against backup defenses this preseason. How in the world will they compete with the Colts in Week 1!?

  4. Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons (7-10) – Previously: 30.
    Both Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder performed well in the preseason, but that is likely misleading. There are so many holes on this roster, so I can’t see how they can’t compete with most teams. I wouldn’t count them out against the Saints in Week 1, however.

  5. New York Jets New York Jets (4-13) – Previously: 26.
    The Jets were so dreadful in the preseason that their starters, with Joe Flacco replacing Zach Wilson, lost to the Giants’ backups by the score of 10-3. That’s pathetic. Wilson won’t be out for very long, but it’s not like he’s some great upgrade over Flacco at this stage of his career.

  6. Washington Redskins Washington Redskins (7-10) – Previously: 25.
    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 and demoralize the team in the locker room. I don’t understand why the Redskins gave up a third-round pick for him while agreeing to pay his entire salary.

  7. New York Giants New York Giants (4-13) – Previously: 28.
    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 Kadarius Toney can stay out of trouble, the Giants might actually be competitive.

  8. Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers (5-12) – Previously: 14.
    Baker Mayfield makes the Panthers a playoff contender, but I’ve been disappointed with Carolina’s offensive line this preseason. The team struggled to block Buffalo backups in the final contest, so that could make things difficult for Mayfield when the real action begins.

  9. Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys (12-5) – Previously: 21.
    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. Now, things have gotten worse in the wake of Tyron Smith’s injury.

  10. Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals (11-6) – Previously: 19.
    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. Kyler Murray’s work ethic has been called into question as well. I loved Arizona heading into 2021, but I’m way more bearish now.

  11. Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14) – Previously: 27.
    I suddenly have a feeling that the Jaguars are going to win the AFC South. That’s not a great feat, as Tennessee is on the decline, while the Colts are overrated with their 37-year-old regressing quarterback. Trevor Lawrence, meanwhile, will be playing with a competent head coach for the first time in his career, and he showed a nice rapport with both Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk in the preseason.

  12. Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) – Previously: 24.
    Kenny Pickett was incredible in the preseason, but let’s not forget that Daniel Jones also looked like the second coming of Joe Montana in meaningless August games. Still, Pittsburgh fans still have to feel optimistic about their future, even if their head coach is willing to risk the health of his players for a victory in the third preseason contest.

  13. Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans (12-5) – Previously: 23.
    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. Burks has endured a rough training camp and preseason, but that reminds me a bit of Ja’Marr Chase’s 2021 summer.

  14. Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts (9-8) – Previously: 17.
    Matt Ryan will be an upgrade over Carson Wentz because he won’t throw YOLO passes into triple coverage. Then again, Ryan is 37, and Indianapolis’ offensive line is not what it used to be. Also, Darius “Shaq” Leonard is out to start the year, so that’ll severely impact the defense.

  15. New England Patriots New England Patriots (10-7) – Previously: 18.
    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 disastrous preseason and training camp. Mac Jones looked lost at times this August. Then again, would anyone be surprised if the Patriots completely turn things around and thrive because of Bill Belichick?

  16. Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns (7-10) – Previously: 16.
    I ranked the Browns fifth in a previous update, but didn’t account for a Deshaun Watson suspension. With Baker Mayfield gone, the Browns will have to rely on Jacoby Brissett for 11 games, which is not very appealing. Still, the Browns have an excellent roster otherwise, so perhaps they’ll survive.

  17. New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints (9-8) – Previously: 22.
    Jameis Winston’s pocket presence looked like it had improved by leaps and bounds in his one preseason game. Granted, that was a small sample size, but he didn’t even have Michael Thomas at his disposal yet. Alvin Kamara also looked extremely energized, though he could be suspended at some point.

  18. Minnesota Vikings Minnesota Vikings (8-9) – Previously: 20.
    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, but the Lions can’t be ignored.

  19. Detroit Lions NFL Power Rankings Detroit Lions (3-13-1) – Previously: 15.
    I don’t think I’ve said this since Matthew Stafford’s early days in Detroit, but I believe the Lions can be a surprise playoff team this year. They’re so stacked on offense. They have a terrific receiving corps, strong running game and a possible top-five offensive line. Jared Goff is kind of meh, but he has taken teams far into the playoffs in the past. Defensively, the Lions will get a boost to their pass rush with Aidan Hutchinson, as well as Jeff Okudah’s return from injury. With their soft schedule, the Lions could get to 10 or 11 wins this year.

  20. 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.

  21. Las Vegas Raiders Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) – Previously: 12.
    It’s crazy to think that the team considered worst in the AFC West made the playoffs the prior year AND acquired Davante Adams! My only worry is the offensive line, but if the Raiders can block better than I expect, they could make a Super Bowl run.

  22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) – Previously: 4.
    The Buccaneers have dropped a bit since the previous update because of their offensive line injuries. I still think they’ll win the division, but I don’t think they should be considered the NFC favorites anymore.

  23. Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens (8-9) – Previously: 9.
    The Ravens made some impact moves this offseason, signing Marcus Williams, Michael Pierce and Morgan Moses. They also retained Calais Campbell. Losing Marquise Brown will hurt, but there are plenty of talented free agent receivers available. Demarcus Robinson looked functional in the final preseason game, but I was thinking of Will Fuller, or perhaps even Odell Beckham late in the year.

  24. San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers (10-7) – Previously: 10.
    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. That said, the retirement of Alex Mack will hurt.

  25. Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) – Previously: 8.
    The Eagles may have the best tandem of cornerbacks in the NFL, while Brandon Graham will be back from injury. With A.J. Brown around to help Jalen Hurts, the Eagles are a legitimate dark-horse Super Bowl contender.

  26. Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Rams (12-5) – Previously: 7.
    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.

  27. Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers (14-3) – Previously: 11.
    After doing some thinking, I’ve decided that I’ve underrated the Packers. They lost Davante Adams, but they’ve improved thier defense and will be getting David Bakhtiari back from injury. Bakhtiari’s return is enormous, as his absence is the reason why Green Bay didn’t win the Super Bowl in 2020.

  28. Kansas City Chiefs NFL Power Rankings Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) – Previously: 6.
    The Chiefs are being doubted because they lost Tyreek Hill this offseason. However, they’re much deeper at receiver, so that could make them more consistent offensively. Plus, they made some nice defensive additions in the 2022 NFL Draft with Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis.

  29. Denver Broncos Denver Broncos (7-10) – Previously: 5.
    The previous two Super Bowl winners were teams that were medicore or above average that acquired a great quarterback. The Buccaneers were 7-9 with Jameis Winston, then went on to win the Super Bowl with Tom Brady. The Rams were a No. 6 seed in the playoffs with Jared Goff, then went on to triumph with Matthew Stafford. The Broncos fit that formula with Russell Wilson.

  30. 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. My only concern is Burrow’s appendectomy. There reportedly were some complications regarding an infection.

  31. 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!

  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 |