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NFL Power Rankings: Pre-Training Camp Edition

Training Camp is right around the corner and football season is almost upon us. NFL rosters aren’t completely set but a majority of the league knows what they are working with heading into the 2022 NFL season. And even the guys that may be moved (Baker Mayfield and Jimmy G) won’t move the needle too much on where these teams stand heading into the season.

1. Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills fans spent the offseason wondering what would have happened if the Bills won the toss in overtime. This is the best overall team in football. They have the QB that’s playing at the highest level in the league, great offensive weapons, and a very good defense. Losing OC Brian Daboll wasn’t ideal, but it shouldn’t slow this team down. It’s Super Bowl or bust for Buffalo.

2. Los Angeles Rams

No money. No picks. No problem. Les Snead always finds a way. After winning the Super Bowl last year, the Rams are bringing back their entire core for another run. Barring an injury to Matt Stafford, there’s no reason to think LAR won’t be competing for a Super Bowl in January.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As long as Tom Brady is playing football for the Bucs, and not the Dolphins 👀, the Bucs will be a contender. The loss of Ali Marpet hurt but it’s nothing the Brady led offense shouldn’t be able to handle. And with Bruce Arians stepping aside, it will be interesting to see if this offseason can somehow find another gear with Brady and Leftwich getting full control of the wheel.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

A lot of people are going to sleep on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs leading up to the 2022 season. It seems like we just wanna ignore four consecutive conference finals because KC traded away Tyreek Hill. Since Mahomes took over the starting job in 2018, he’s played 4 games without Hill. He has 8 TDs and 1 INT in those 4 games. He also threw for 363 yards per game. Mahomes and the Chiefs are still a juggernaut heading into 2022.

5. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert feels like the new kid on the block. His 69 (nice) TDs is the most over the first two season of any player, and there’s still some room for improvement for the 24-year-old gun slinger. The Chargers need their defense to hold up their end of the bargain in 2022. They dded Khalil Mack and JC Jackson, which should hopefully bolster this unit quite a bit after finishing 29th in points last season.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow is the heart and soul of this Cincinnati Bengals team and my god, he’s a winner. Cincinnati overachieved a bit last year making a run to the Super Bowl. That’s just a fact. The defense is still a work in progress, but they should be able to hold their own a bit better this year. This offense is loaded with weapons and big play ability. Add that to a third-year jump from Burrow and Cincinnati should be competing near the top of the AFC standings next year.

7. Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos won 7 games last season with Vic Fangio as the head coach and a combination of Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock at QB. That should speak volumes for the talent that this team has. This Broncos team already had a top 5 defense. Now, in steps Mr. Unlimited (Russell Wilson) and we have a legit Super Bowl contender (our third in AFC West).

8. Green Bay Packers

QBs carry football teams. Aaron Rodgers will carry this Green Bay Packers team. He alone makes this team a top 10 team in football because any given week he can take over the game and just win it. A weak NFC North and Rodgers practically guarantees Green Bay a trip to the playoffs next winter. Without Davante Adams though, things are going to be tougher on Rodgers. Luckily, they added to their receiver talent with……Sammy Watkins. Ooof.

9. Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens were 8-4 before Lamar Jackson left the Week 13 game against the Browns. They were one game up on Cincinati in the AFC North and penciled in as the third seed. They didn’t win another game. It’s hard to see how Baltimore won’t return as a dominant team in 2022 with a healthy Lamar Jackson.

10. Las Vegas Raiders

All four AFC West teams are top 10 football teams. Crazy. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they have the worst QB. Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson can take over football games. Derek Carr just doesn’t do that. The addition of Davante Adams is huge on the offense. Hopefully that will elevate Carr to another level of QB play. Adding Chandler Jones to line up across Maxx Crosby gives them a fearsome duo at EDGE that they’ll need against this division’s QB group.

11. Dallas Cowboys

It’s tough to see where the Dallas Cowboys got better in 2022. The Zeke contract crippled their cap space, which forced them to move on from one of La’el Collins or Amari Cooper. Mike McCarthy is still the head coach. In a weak NFC East, Dallas is still the front runner to win the division but is this team really making a run for the Super Bowl?

12. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis really can’t figure out the QB position post Andrew Luck. After the failed Carson Wentz trade, Indy managed to grab the dying, but not dead yet, arm of Matt Ryan. This is an upgrade for a team that was one bad Carson Wentz game away from the playoffs in 2021. A small resurgence from Ryan behind the Colts line and a consistent defense should have Indy gunning for the top of the AFC South in 2022.

13. San Francisco 49ers

Is Trey Lance a franchise QB? That’s a multi-million-dollar question in San Fran after reaching the conference finals for the second time in three years. San Francisco has proved in the past that they can make deep playoff runs without consistently elite QB play. If they can get a solid season out of Lance in 2022, they’ll be in the dance in Janaury.

14. Tennessee Titans

I’ll go ahead and say it – the AJ Brown trade was a smart move by Titans GM Jon Robinson. Brown isn’t going to live up to $25M a year. Tennessee gets to save that money AND they landed a very capable WR in Treylon Burks. Why is Tennessee so slow after finising as the top seed in the AFC last year? It’s clear that the magic around Ryan Tannehill is starting to fade. He had a pedestrian 21 TDs and 14 INTs in 2021. Combine that with the fact that it’s tough to count of Derrick Henry for 18 games next year and you have to start to wonder if Tennessee missed their window.

15. New England Patriots

Two seasons removed from Tom Brady, and I think we can all say that Belichick’s special IT factor was having Tom Brady. Without Brady, the Patriots feel very human rather than the invincible juggernaut they were for years. Belichick will have a top 5 defense in 2022, like he always does. It’ll be up to Mac Jones to take that next step in year 2 for New England to see playoff football again this season.

16. Arizona Cardinals

Three things are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and Kliff Kingsbury led football teams completely falling off in the second half of the season. This is another team where it’s tough to see how they got better this offseason. DeAndre Hopkins is suspended 6 games, Christian Kirk left for Jacksonville, and Chandler Jones headed to Vegas. The trade for Hollywood Brown was a mistake. Again, this is a solid football team with a good QB – they should be competing for a playoff spot. There’s just a lot of holes, and quite possibly the biggest holes are at head coach and GM.

17. Miami Dolphins

Adding Treek Hill to a Tua led offense feels like attaching nitrous to a Honda Civic in Need for Speed. It’ll make the car go faster but was it really ever a nice car to begin with? All jokes aside, Miami has added the pieces around Tua to give him a fair chance to prove he’s a luxury sports car like Justin Herbert. The team is good enough to compete for a playoff spot in 2022 but getting there is going to take a big step forward at the QB position.

18. New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston was 5-2 last season with 14 TDs and 3 INTs before he tore his ACL. That doesn’t tell the complete story – but it’s reasonable to assume that New Orleans will win 9 games against next year with a fully healthy Winston – which would put them right around the 18th in the league standings. Add in the fact that Carolina and Atlanta are abysmal, and the Saints have the Bucs number, and it definitely makes you think that this team could sneak into the playoffs next year.

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts isn’t an NFL franchise QB. Howie Roseman knows it. The Eagles fan base knows it (deep down). Other NFL teams know it. The team around Hurts will be good enough to have Philadelphia competing for a playoff spot this year. This just still feels like a “building” year as Roseman gets ready to trade up to draft his next QB in 2023.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Alright Steelers fans, I’ll say it, so you don’t have to – thank God Big Ben retired. Last year was rough. It may not get better this year and I’m here to tell you that’s okay. This is a building year for the Steelers. Trubisky should keep Pittsburgh competitive as long as he can lean on the defense while Pickett can get caught up to the speed of the NFL.

21. Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota is just another team that feels like they’re in NFL purgatory. Too good to get a top draft pick, not good enough to make the playoffs. Kirk Cousins just isn’t good enough to drag this team into the playoffs himself but he’s going to be too good for a GM to blow up the team. Could Minnesota sneak into the playoffs next season? Sure. Are they actually going to be making a Super Bowl run though?

22. Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders are still a QB away. It’s funny, because it you put Kirk Cousins on this team, I think you could argue that they win 10 games and the NFC East next year. But Carson Wentz makes you temper your expectations. Is Wentz really going to succeed here when he couldn’t succeed in Indy?

23. Cleveland Browns

Jacoby Brissett would be the worst starting QB in the NFL for all 32 teams if Watson were to miss 2022. The rest of the Browns roster is ready to win. But if Watson isn’t on the football field, it’s hard to imagine them winning more than 7 games in a very tough AFC North.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars

I think we all forgot that Trevor Lawrence is a good football player and I think we’re all going to be very surprised this year. The Urban Meyer factor was real in Jacksonville. Doug Pederson is a really good head coach and the Jaguars tried to load up Lawrence with weapons, even if they overpaid to get them.

25. New York Jets

The Jets are still going through growing pains. A lot of that growth will depend on Zach Wilson in 2022. If Wilson takes the next steps toward becoming a franchise QB, Jets fans should be really excited for the future, even if the record is bleak.

26. Chicago Bears

The Bears are doing that thing where they draft a QB and then don’t put talent around him. The Bears lost their two best offensive lineman last season (Jason Peters and James Daniels) and didn’t put any big talented weapons around Fields. Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus aren’t exactly married to Fields, and it shows with how they supported him this offseason.

27. New York Giants

You could make an argument that the Giants are worse this season than they were last year. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Giants made the right decisions all offseason to set themselves up for future success. Not 2022 success. The defense got worse with the loss of Jason Bradberry, arguably the best player on the team. This is a rebuilding year for the Giants, who will likely move on from Daniel Jones in 2023. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll know the importance of elite QB play from their time in Buffalo. After some very bleak seasons, the Giants look to be moving in the right direction, it just might take a year or two to get there.

28. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions might have had the worst roster in football last season and this offseason they’ve made some strides to fix that. They’re heading in the right direction. The next step for the Lions is breaking out of the awful category and just getting to the mediocre football spot.

29. Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold. Matt Rhule. Do I need to say anything else?

30. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks had quite possibly the biggest loss of the offseason by trading a top QB in Russell Wilson. The combination of Drew Lock and Geno Smith have a 21-34 record with 59 career passing TDs and 57 career INTs.

31. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons made a huge mistake in 2021 – the same mistake the New York Giants made in 2018. They were set up with the 4th pick in the draft and decided to make one last run at it with their old, declining franchise QB. After a mediocre season, they tore everything down. Mariota is a bottom tier starting QB at best that will struggle to keep the Falcons competitive during the season.

32. Houston Texans

Is this really a shock to anyone? The Texans finally finished tearing everything down by trading Deshaun Watson. This is still a bottom tier roster with a bad head coach in Lovie Smith. Davis Mills will hold the fort down for a year and the Texans will be looking at the top QBs in 2023.

Image per All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA

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