Now that the 2022 NFL Draft is behind us, it’s a good time to run through everyone’s favorite meaningful exercise: NFL Power Rankings! Let’s take a look at how all 32 teams stack up. Check out the latest episode of The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show for even more power rankings analysis.
BLG’S NFL OFFSEASON POWER RANKINGS
1 – Los Angeles Rams – The Rams winning a Super Bowl in spite of Sean McVay’s cowardice speaks to their talented roster. The reigning champs deserve the benefit of the doubt until cracks really start to show when the games begin. A repeat is hardly likely but a relatively weak NFC gives them a decent shot of at least making it back to the big game.
2 – Cincinnati Bengals – The run that Joe Burrow went on last year was no fluke. He’s going to be a problem for other teams to deal with for a long time. Especially now that Cincy actually gave him some offensive line help.
3 – Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen had such a great year in 2020 that there was question entering 2021 about him taking a step back. And while he did regress in some areas, he was still pretty freaking great. We all know Allen nearly had the Bills in the AFC Championship Game. He’s on a mission to avenge that lost and he has an awfully talented roster at his disposal to help him get there.
4 – Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill was basically a cheat code. Teams will be glad to see Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the field instead. Still, the offense should be plenty productive with one of the very best quarterbacks in the game operating behind a strong offensive line. Not to mention the Chiefs arguably having the best coach in the NFL.
5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Remember when Tom Brady retired? That was nice. Too brief, though. Now he’s back for his age 45 season. And I’m sure he’ll be as good as ever, automatically putting the Bucs in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
6 – Green Bay Packers – Last time I checked, they still have Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. That’ll serve them well. Of course, Rodgers is at least a little less scary with Davante Adams gone. Green Bay’s top four receivers right now are Allen Lazard, Christian Watson, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb. Rodgers can still produce with those guys but it’s not like they have cornerbacks shaking in their boots. Not so sure about him winning a third straight MVP with this cast.
7 – Denver Broncos – Rumors of Russell Wilson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. In a “down season” for him last year, he finished with a 103.1 passer rating despite having an injury that affected his throwing hand. Russ has hit double-digit wins for all but two of his 10 seasons in the league. One was last year and the other was a nine win campaign in 2017. Russ has some decent talent to work with in Denver.
8 – Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers still having a big hole at right tackle isn’t ideal. Still, Justin Herbert could take another big step forward in Year 3 with the rest of the offensive line in good shape. LA’s run defense should be less abysmal after they fortified the interior with some additions. And speaking of new players, Brandon Staley now has Khalil Mack and JC Jackson to work with. Some big-time defensive playmakers.
9 – Baltimore Ravens – Shocker: the Ravens crushed the draft. That alone hardly guarantees Baltimore will bounce back in 2022. But a strong draft should significantly help a team that figures to have better injury luck than they did last year when they were absolutely decimated. This is a very big year for Lamar Jackson as a long-term contract looms in his future. He needs to put his very bad playoff struggles behind him.
10 – Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr turned in a good season last year. There’s reason to believe he could be even better in 2022 given the additions of Davante Adams and Josh McDaniels. The Las Vegas defense will sure be able to get after the passer with Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones wreaking havoc.
11 – San Francisco 49ers – Hard team to rank because … who’s their quarterback? Jimmy Garoppolo is still around. There’s still time for that to change. Even if he does end up being gone, the 49ers’ reluctance to let Trey Lance run the show could be a red flag. All the while, Deebo Samuel’s future is also up in the air. The 49ers have enough talent to prevent them from being bad but their drama doesn’t make one feel great about predicting a third NFC Championship Game appearance in four years.
12 – Philadelphia Eagles – With the NFC East producing a different division winner every season for nearly the past 20 years, why not predict the Birds to come out on top? There’s still a big question mark at quarterback. The secondary has obvious holes. But the roster otherwise looks pretty good, especially in the aftermath of the AJ Brown trade. Expectations have raised for Year 2 of the Nick Sirianni era.
13 – Dallas Cowboys – It’s been a bad vibes offseason for the Cowboys. From how they lost in hilarious fashion during the playoffs … to Mike McCarthy being rumored to be replaced by Sean Payton … to Randy Gregory leaving the team after the Cowboys announced they re-signed him … to the Cowboys reaching on their first-round pick…it’s hardly like everything is coming up Milhouse for Dallas.
14 – Cleveland Browns – Obviously not the easiest team to gauge given the uncertainty about Deshaun Watson’s availability. Even if Watson doesn’t miss significant time, how will he look after a long layoff? The vibes don’t feel good here so it’s hard to be super high on Cleveland.
15 – New England Patriots – MacJones. Who? McJones! As if I’m the first person to make that joke. Bill Belichick has yet to prove he can win big in the aftermath of the Tom Brady era but his presence gives the Patriots a decent floor. They’re a middle of the pack team.
16 – Tennessee Titans – Derrick Henry is the offense and he’s not one to really bet against. But we all know Father Time comes for running backs earlier than others and he’s coming off injury. AJ Brown’s departure certainly isn’t working in the Titans’ favor. Treylon Burks might be good but he’s not going to be better than Brown and he’s most likely going to be worse.
17 – Indianapolis Colts – To what extent is Matt Ryan an upgrade over Carson Wentz? Is he definitely better? It’s another year where we can say there’s good talent on the roster but the quarterback positions leaves you wanting.
18 – Minnesota Vikings – As long as Kirk Cousins is there, there’s a cap on their ceiling. They can make the playoffs, maybe even win one game. But they’re not going further than that. We’ve seen enough from Cousins to know that much.
19 – Arizona Cardinals – After a strong start in 2021, the Cardinals withered down the stretch with a 1-5 record in their last six games. Yet another late season collapse by Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray undermines the confidence one can have in them when the games matter most. The rocky relationship between Kyler and the organization is one to watch moving forward as he pines for a new contract.
20 – Pittsburgh Steelers – There’s reason to believe Pittsburgh has a decent floor when they haven’t had a losing season since 2003. Of course, there’s also reason to believe the Steelers might slip when their starting quarterback is going to be either Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky. Then again, those guys are probably better than Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges, and the Steelers still had a non-losing season with those dudes under center.
21 – Miami Dolphins – Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Cedrick Wilson is a pretty good trio on paper. Adding Terron Armstead should help. But none of that stuff really matters if the quarterback isn’t any good. And, so far, there are still very big questions about Tua Tagovailoa. He has not earned the benefit of the doubt by any means. The Dolphins were 1-7 before they beat up on some bad teams to turn their season around last year. They’re probably a middling team.
22 – New Orleans Saints – The Saints are probably wondering why they’re not top five in these power rankings. They’re delusional about being much closer to the top of the league than the bottom. For some reason they think they’re seriously competing despite Sean Payton leaving and Jameis Winston being their quarterback. Winston did do some good things before getting hurt last year … but it was the best football he’s ever played. So, there are some sustainability issues. There’s also the question of his health coming off injury. The Saints’ win-now approach is pretty crazy when one considers they traded the equivalent of the No. 2 overall pick (in terms of draft pick value chart points) to move up for Chris Olave.
23 – Washington Commanders – Miss me with this idea that ‘Carson Wentz wasn’t as bad as people made him out to be’ last year. Any ‘success’ was greatly aided by Jonathan Taylor, who allowed the Colts to limit their throwing attempts (28th in passing percentage). How does anyone envision Wentz thriving in Washington when two teams that used to really believe in him gave up on him?
24 – Detroit Lions – Did you know the Lions were 11-6 against the spread last year? They had the fourth-best cover percentage in the NFL. They outperformed very low expectations in this regard. The roster still needs work and Jared Goff isn’t inspiring the utmost confidence. But a receiving trio of Jameson Williams, DJ Chark, and Amon-Ra St. Brown gives him something to work with. Dan Campbell gives his team an edge by being aggressive. The Lions will be feisty.
25 – New York Giants – This Giants offseason has been about tearing down more than it has been about building up. It’s hard to fault Joe Schoen for taking a long-term approach to fixing the roster. But it means New York will continue to struggle in the short term. That said, it’s not insane to think Brian Daboll might be able to get more out of Daniel Jones than previous Giants head coaches have managed to extract.
26 – New York Jets – Just End The Season is what Jets fans will be saying if Zach Wilson fails to take a meaningful step forward. There’s definitely more pressure on him, Robert Saleh, and Joe Douglas entering this year. It’s not like they need to be one of the very best teams in the AFC but they have to show they’re moving in the right direction instead of being stuck in the mud.
27 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Doug Pederson instantly raises the Jags’ floor since he’s an actual credible NFL head coach, unlike Urban Meyer. Jacksonville spent big but their investments weren’t incredibly wise. That’s probably going to cap their ceiling. Pederson needs to help Trevor Lawrence take a step forward in Year 2.
28 – Chicago Bears – The Justin Fields apologists are already laying the groundwork to make excuses if he doesn’t progress this season. ‘The Bears aren’t giving him any help!’ While hardly untrue, Fields can be expected to not be AS bad as he was last year if he’s truly the special prospect he’s propped up to be.
29 – Atlanta Falcons – Marcus Mariota as a high-end backup? Sign me up. Marcus Mariota as a place-holder before pivoting to a top quarterback prospect? That’s cool. Marcus Mariota as a starter with only Desmond Ridder, who has often been compared to Mariota, behind him? The plot just isn’t there. Atlanta has one of the worst QB-WR room combinations in the NFL. Maybe Drake London ends up being a difference-maker but I can’t say I’m the biggest believer.
30 – Houston Texans – If you have a hard time wrapping your head around Marcus Mariota being a starter in the year 2022, try understanding how Lovie Smith is a head coach in the year 2022. Davis Mills low key had one of the better rookie quarterback performance last year, if not THE best. But he’s not moving the needle for this bad team.
31 – Seattle Seahawks – Drew Lock is currently their starting quarterback. Need I say more?
32 – Carolina Panthers – Sam Darnold is currently their starting quarterback. Need I say more?