32. Houston Texans:
The Texans said goodbye and good riddance to Deshaun Watson with a fleece of a trade with the Cleveland Browns. Davis Mills is going to be a great placeholder for this rebuild but I don’t believe he’s anything special. They’re going to be the worst team in the league, which is good, because they need draft capital, ASAP.
31. Seattle Seahawks:
They botched last offseason by not sending Russell Wilson to the Bears, but they did the best move available and finally moved on from franchise legends Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. They just edge out Houston due to having a star-studded trio in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jamaal Adams, though I do believe Lockett and Adams’ days are numbered.
30. Chicago Bears:
The Bears are actually in a very good spot right now, but many deny it. If Justin Fields fails this season, you go back to the drawing board with a top 5 pick and continue the rebuild. If Fields succeeds, you start 2023 with the mindset to spend big in free agency and turn this team into a contender. Not only that, aging veterans like Robert Quinn, Eddie Jackson, Cody Whitehair, David Montgomery, and more could potentially be on the trade block this season which means the Bears could get some quality picks for the 2023 draft. The trade deadline is going to be very fun…
29. Detroit Lions:
The hype is there and rightfully so, but they’re still an awful football team. I like how they stayed subtle in free agency and didn’t get too committed with any contracts that could harm them in the future. They’re still relatively early into their rebuild, and I think they should use this year to help develop their future core. Their defense has already improved with the exciting addition of Aidan Hutchinson, but it will be another year or two for them to become truly elite all-around.
28. Atlanta Falcons:
The Matt Ryan saga ends just glimpsing a Super-Bowl. They replace him with Marcus Mariota, who has been getting this weird amount of hype recently even though he has been frankly a massive bust and terrible his whole career. Not too much to be excited about here; they lost their entire receiving core, and Cordarelle Patterson was electric last year but he’s 31. Kyle Pitts and AJ Terrel are the next faces of the franchise for this diminished Falcons team. They’ll probably get much worse before they get any better.
27. New York Giants:
Saquon was a mind-boggling bad pick in terms of value, and the Kenny Golladay contract looks like one of the worst in football. The only reason they edge out Atlanta is that they’re young core is shaping up, with Xavier McKinney, Evan Neal, Andrew Thomas, and Kayvion Thibodeaux. Quarterback Daniel Jones has shown glimpses of greatness, but mostly mediocre play. It’s near impossible to see Daniel Jones progress to the gunslinger he was sought out to be, being the fact that he’s already 25. They made the right decision in firing Joe Judge, but to gain my trust they’re a competent organization, they have to trade EVERYONE (besides the young pieces), and admit the Daniel Jones era was a failure.
26. Carolina Panthers:
They’re just throwing darts at the board for QB now, something that rarely works. Baker is definitely an upgrade at QB, but he won’t push the needle forward into contention. The only bright spots are really only Brian Burns, DJ Moore, and Jeremy Chinn.
25. New York Jets:
I really want the Jets to succeed. The talent is there, the hype is there, and the coaching is there. The issue is, they just have a brutal and unfavorable schedule. Every game is going to be a slugfest. I just can’t see a talented yet inexperienced, young team take a majority of these games. Next year, however, expect them to be chasing the Bills at every corner.
24: New England Patriots:
The Patriots aren’t getting doubted because they’ve historically been such a good franchise, but I will take a stand and criticize them. New England’s free agency was disastrous. With countless notable offensive weapons on the market, the Patriots passed on every single one of them, even trading franchise icon Shaq Mason away to the Buccaneers, leaving an offense that’s mediocre at best. On defense, they lost their best player JC Jackson, who kept the secondary together. Moreover, Mac Jones is not the real deal and the hype is ridiculously out of proportion. People forget that Jones was hailed as “the most pro-ready QB.” He barely managed to have a top 20 season with one of the best o-lines in the league and greatest coach ever. His ceiling still remains very low, and his rookie year has probably already come close to his best NFL season. Not only that, but reports out of training camp from Patriots experts say this is the worst Patriots offense they’ve ever seen. All in all, this Patriot team remains average almost everywhere, and with a now-stacked AFC, I don’t think even Belichick can drag this team even close to the playoffs.
23. Washington Commanders:
They never heavily pursued a franchise QB, now they’re paying the price for it. The defense severely underwhelmed last year (even when Chase Young was playing), and their offense is shaky at best. The only savior I see helping this team is a full-blown tank job.
22. Tennessee Titans:
This is my sleeper pick to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year. There are too many questions on both sides of the ball to rate this team even higher than 22. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be 34, and has already shown signs of regression. Their receiving core is in shambles with the departure of A.J. Brown; running back Derrick Henry, while incredible, is 28 and injury prone. I think their defense is fiesty, but with an aging offense, a 1st place schedule, and a much improved AFC (especially on offense), they won’t hold their own.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars:
Many will be outraged that I put the Jaguars ahead of the Titans, a yearly playoff contender, but I’ll justify it; they had the worst head coach in the NFL last year, and replaced him with an experienced, Super Bowl winning coach. To address their horrific O-Line, they added All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff. Finally, they spent galore on quality and solid pieces, and added stud defenseman Trayvon Walker with the #1 overall pick. Did they overpay? Maybe. But they’ll be much better in 2022. What’s not to like?
20. Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Steelers have been a .500 team for a monstrous 18 years, but I’m predicting this remarkable streak will come to an end this season. I’m still high on their defense being one of the best in the league, but with potentially the greatest offensive season coming from the AFC, an offense led by Mitchell Trubisky just can’t compete. (P.S. Not a fan of the Kenny Pickett pick)
19. New Orleans Saints:
Another team with way too much unwarranted hype. This team is in desperate need of a total rebuild, and when your HOF coach jumps ship, I have more questions than answers. The Jameis Winston experiment has been exciting, and will probably continue to be fun, but its ceiling is a 9-8 wild card exit. If New Orleans wants to get serious about winning a Super Bowl in the next decade, than they should trade their aging stars. Already, New Orleans has paid the price of not trading stars for assets with Marcus Williams and Terron Armstead jumping ship in free agency. I still believe the window to the Super Bowl is wide open for many teams, which means they’ll be looking to acquire their X-Factor for their championship push this trade deadline. Just imagine the bidding war and pick haul for Thomas, Davis, Lattimore, Jordan, and so many others…
18. Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals want to win. They showed this by giving Kyler Murray an absolute monster deal, handing out a questionable contract to tackle DJ Humphries, and trading for young corner Trayvon Mullen. But they also make moves which a rebuilding team would make: Letting go of franchise edge rusher Chandler Jones, and (in my opinion) an elite young talent in Christian Kirk. Purgatory.
16. Miami Dolphins:
No more excuses for Tua… The Dolphins have a solid roster around him, with one of the league’s best receiving duos in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. I quite like rookie head coach Mike McDaniel, who found great success in 2021 working in San Francisco with Mike Shanahan.
17. Minnesota Vikings:
Not really understanding the hype with this team… The main issue in 2021 with Minnesota was they ranked 24th as a defensive unit, costing them many games in the process. So much so in fact, that the Vikings would be an absurd 15-2 if you took both the final two minutes of each half away. To address this, the Vikings brought in a 30 year-old Za’darius Smith, who, while quality, won’t make this defense elite. Danielle Hunter has played in 7 games in two years, Harrison Smith is 33, and almost everyone defensively remains questionable besides Eric Kendricks, who remains fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, it will be an improved defense, but not by much. They’ll most likely have a top 5 offense in 2022, but to be a contender you have to be good on both sides of the ball.
15. Indianapolis Colts:
I don’t even know if Matt Ryan is an upgrade of Carson Wentz. Ryan, who is 37 years old, posted his worst QBR, total yards, touchdowns, and most interceptions in his last 5 years. Everything else is good if not elite, but it will be a typical Colts year; around 11-6 to 9-8 and a first round elimination.
14. Dallas Cowboys:
They’re still good, but the wheels are falling off on America’s team. After losing Amari Cooper, the Cowboys are now relying on Tight End Dalton Schultz to be the team’ second receiving option. I like Schultz, but I question if he is fit to assume the role as a No. 2 receiver. I also worry about head coach Mike McCarthy, who hasn’t found success since 2014.
13. Philadelphia Eagles:
The race for the NFC East is going to be an underratedly fun one, and the Eagles will take the crown. This team added too many pieces to not outrank the Cowboys. The Eagles added a great interior run defender in Jordan Davis, as well as a terrific man-cornerback in James Bradburry. Jalen Hurts will now be given the keys to an offense with AJ Brown and Devonte Smith, who will serve as a great tandem in 2022. The sky’s the limit for the Eagles.
12. Cleveland Browns:
The Browns will have to tread water for 11 games and wait for Deshaun Watson to come back. Even without him, they have studs on both sides of the ball who could potentially keep them competitive. However, after being absent from football for almost 3 years, I’m not convinced that Watson can make a deep playoff run with this team.
11. San Francisco 49ers:
Not Mahomes, nor Allen, nor Lamar, nor Tua, but Trey Lance easily has the most to prove this year. The 49ers essentially have put the next 6 years of their franchise on the line for a guy who hasn’t even played 17 games and played in a poor conference. Bold strategy, Cotton. (I honestly have no idea if Trey Lance will be good)
10: Kansas City Chiefs:
Max, the founder of NFC North Report, and I both agreed that Mahomes’ 10 year contract was one of the worst in the NFL, and that prediction is now paying dividends with the loss of Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Matheiu. For now, they’re still great, if not unreal. I’m a huge fan of their O-Line, Mahomes, Kelce, Chris Jones, and even Justin Reid and Juju were sneaky good pickups in free agency. They’re experience will edge out the Raiders, but the Broncos and Chargers will be toss-ups.
9: Las Vegas Raiders:
The Raiders would be a threat to win any other division besides the AFC West. With Davante Adams reuniting with his college quarterback, look for Derrick Carr and Adams to take the AFC by storm. If their secondary steps up, they could definitely be in contention to win this division.
8: Baltimore Ravens:
The Ravens got the best value piece in free agency in Marcus Williams, and are sneakily up there for the best secondary. There’s tons of drama surrounding the Lamar contract situation, but he’ll provide enough offense to earn this team a playoff berth.
7: Cincinnati Bengals:
Many are assuming that the Bengals will again dwell in Pittsburgh and Baltimore’s shadow this season, but I strongly disagree. When you look at “fluke” teams that made deep playoff runs like the 2017 Jaguars, 2019 49ers, and even the 2018 Chicago Bears, they all have one thing in common. They all had average, to above average offenses alongside incredible defenses which propelled them to victory. The Bengals are the opposite of that. They have 4 bona-fide superstars on offense, and tons of quality pieces to compliment them. They could easily be heading to Arizona this February.
5. Green Bay Packers:
The Packers will (once again) take this division easily. I don’t like how many Packers fans are downplaying how massive of a loss Davante Adams is, but when you give Aaron Rodgers a defense that can single-handedly win him games, you have to put the Packers in the top five.
4. Los Angeles Chargers:
Studs upon studs. Over the offseason, the Chargers added Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson, two of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. When you combine this with the fact that the Chargers have Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Austin Ekeler, Corey Linsley, and Rashawn Slater, this team arguably has one of the most talented rosters in the last decade. Mack and James’s injury histories scare me, paired with the fact that Jackson has already been ruled out for Week One, I worry about this team’s health. With that being said, if the Chargers can stay healthy, they can be the best team in the NFL.
3. Los Angeles Rams:
Sorry, got to put the defending champs in the top three. Not only did they add a premier wide receiver in Allen Robinson, but Bobby Wagner should definitely have some steam left in him. My concern with the Rams stems from the fact that the roster is incredibly hit or miss. The depth chart is either filled with All-Pro caliber players, or scrubs. While this team has potential to repeat their success in 2021, I wouldn’t expect them to be as dominant in 2022.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
One last hurrah? The Buccaneers are stacked everywhere. With Chris Godwin coming back from tearing his ACL, Tom Brady will be able to enjoy another year of Mike Evans and Godwin torching opposing defensive backs. With Leonard Fournette in the backfield paired with Zamir White, a third round pick with receiving upside, the Buccaneers running game will surely be strong in 2022. The defense remains largely unchanged, with all of the major pieces from 2021 still in place. Expect Brady and the Bucs to be contenders… as always.
1. Buffalo Bills:
What’s not to like about this roster? Leading the charge is the athletic freak, Josh Allen. Veteran wide receiver Stefon Diggs and newly emerging star Gabriel Davis occupy the outside receiver roles, while the offensive line is one of the strongest in the NFL. Over the offseason, Buffalo added Von Miller to their pass rush, who proved to be a valuable asset for the Rams last season. With Leslie Frazier calling the plays for the defense, expect the Bills defensive unit to lead the way, which will be complimented by the high powered Buffalo offense.