NFL power ratings entering pre-season 2022 (previous standings in parentheses):
1. Rams (1): The reigning champions have several major departures and newcomers, WR Odell Beckham Jr. Currently somewhere in between. But including a man like LB Bobby Wagner in the equation certainly won’t get in the way of a team trying to become the first team in 18 years to successfully defend a Super Bowl title.
2. Bills (3): The addition of OLB Von Miller and others could put the defending two-time East Asian champion on the last hurdle. But watch WR Gabriel Davis, who had five TD wins in 2021 after the 2021 season – four in the split round in Kansas City – as a potential player.
3 – Bengals (2): QB’s Joe Burrow’s appendectomy and RT La’el Collins’ new back issues could hamper early cohesion to break the attack into an almost entirely new streak. However, the biggest challenges facing the 2021 Asian champions will likely come from a wild conference that will likely include Baltimore’s fledgling team challenging for the Cincinnati North Asian title.
4. Beams (5): QB Aaron Rodgers seems to think a village of receivers – watch rookie Romeo Dobbs – could combine to round out Davante Adams’ departing production. Hmmm. We’re considering shortening the match with more total touches for RBs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon that might actually be a Lombardi ticket.
5 – heads (8): Despite the absence of WR Tyreek Hill, the guesswork here is that Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes’ offense will ultimately be good. The real question might be a stripped defense from veteran leader Terran Mathieu and now relying heavily on first-round Novices Trent McDuffy at the corner and George Karlavtis off the edge.
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6. Crows (6): Baltimore still lists QB Lamar Jackson at 212 pounds, but claims he was around 230 after increasing his size during the holiday period. It remains to be seen what this means for the league’s most powerful athlete, who has not made it to the end of the late stage of the internal breakdown in 2021.
7. Pirates (4): While the idea of WR Julio Jones against covering the man on the pass is baffling, a very good bet QB Tom Brady would have preferred Pro Bowl C Ryan Jensen hit in the line-up to said pass…and all other shots.
8. Chargers (7): There is no reason to be optimistic about QB Justin Herbert. But he can and must improve – and he may want to start by lowering his interception (25) and taking out (63) totals in two seasons.
9 – Eagles (12): Good luck finding a team with more talent and depth in the trenches, which is a major reason Philly should excel no matter where QB Jalen Hurts falls on his personal learning curve. Former Temple star Hasson Riddick, who has had 23 sacks over the past two seasons, could be one of the free agency heists (again).
10- Amhar (10): From Weeks 6-16 last year, they were a top team, going 8-2 and winning against four teams at the end. But QB Carson Wentz’s previous diagnosis of COVID-19 and subsequent lost training time coincided with Indy’s end-of-season downward spiral. Steady veteran Matt Ryan replacement should be the best at providing a smoother ride.
11. 49ers (14): Resolving Jimmy Garoppolo’s situation might be nice, but it was important to get things right with “wide-back” Deebo Samuel, who will undoubtedly be a key element in Trey Lance’s transition to the QB1 role.
12. Patriots (13): Despite all the speculation about offensive play and the good feelings about the development of QB Mac Jones, perhaps the focus should be on a defense without top-notch talent. New England scored 150 points in their last five games of 2021.
13. Saints (9): Although coach Sean Payton has been out for a long time, don’t be a bit surprised if this team reclaims the NFC South throne given the weapons they feature on either side of the ball. The unresolved RB Alvin Kamara battery issue looms as a significant issue if a penalty is expected late in the year.
14. Raiders (11): They have an exceptional range in the first positions such as the midfielder, the receiver, the left tackle and the rushing passing. But the balance of the squad is at least equally questionable. Given his value as new coach Josh McDaniels in designing plays, Vegas is hoping he learned something from Bill Belichick about hiding weaknesses.
15. Cowboys (19): Given how Micah Parsons was posted by Dallas, it might be interesting to see if newly signed LB Anthony Barr would catch quarterbacks the way he used to in UCLA but didn’t do so in Minnesota despite his four Pro Bowl nods.
16. Dolphins (21): Owner Stephen Ross’ illegal directing to Brady and Payton cost Miami the 2023 first-round pick, among other things. Ironically, he may have relieved the pressure on QB Tua Tagovailoa and assured his job security given that it will now be difficult to craft a QB in 2023…if that’s the direction the flippers want to go.
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17. Viking (17): Justin Jefferson is the only player in the league to have collected at least 3,000 yards since 2020. Could he push 5,000 yards over three games to be a focal point in new coach Kevin O’Connell’s pass-oriented attack?
18- Bronco (18): There’s no sugar coating to lose WR Tim Patrick (ACL), but this could create an opportunity for KJ Hamler to showcase his pace – and few quarterbacks are more able to take advantage of it than deep ball sniper Russell Wilson.
19. Steelers (20): They will face five playoffs in 2021 plus Miami before bidding farewell in Week 9. Not a perfect opening stretch to replace QB Ben Roethlisberger…but one that suggests head coach Kenny Pickett could be in the saddle by Week 10.
20- Titans (16): RB Derrick Henry averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2021, the second lowest in his career. What happens to this number without WRs AJ Brown and Julio Jones to keep the defenses honest?
21 – black (24): C Frank Ragnow’s return from a 2021 foot injury means Detroit could emerge with the league’s top offensive line in 2022.
22. Cardinals (22): It remains to be seen if $230.5 million can buy you happiness, leadership, maturity, or even a playoff win. Regardless, QB Kyler Murray, who holds the 22-24-1 NFL record, will always be 43-0 in high school…a data point he thinks is still very relevant.
23. Leaders (26): Captain Terry McLaurin has been paid as fellow WR Jahan Dotson continues to show signs he could emerge as the club’s next star. Doubly good news as Wentz tries to stabilize this organization and his career, even though he’s already off to a rough start in the camp.
24. Tiger (28): Now that the Carolinas are halfway to the first QBs role of 2018, they could still be restricted in the playoff due to their defensive potential and outstanding offensive playmakers… assuming RB Christian McCaffrey is still on the field.
25. Browns (15): No team is more difficult to lose given the uncertainty surrounding QB Deshaun Watson, who was suspended for six games on August 1, a ruling that the NFL appealed two days later. This decision makes it more likely that Watson will not take a shot for the regular season before 2023.
26- Aircraft (23): Their years have reflected the chaos of the airline industry in general. But the infusion of talent into the Offseason suggests that NYJ may be nearing take-off speed…although it will be necessary in year two QB Zach Wilson to keep things on schedule while taking better care of baggage.
27 – Jaguar (27): With a legit coach like Doug Pederson now driving #1 in 2021 pick Trevor Lawrence – and offense about to start again with fellow 2021 first-team teammate Travis Etienne who was a champion in his NFL debut – Jacksonville could be ready. To match the mission boom – leap.
28 – Seahawks (25): So is WR DK Metcalf, which Seattle extended by just three years, now the face of that franchise? If not, then who is it? Perhaps a college quarterback nine months after joining Team 12?
29- Giants (29): While it’s understandable that much attention has been paid to how effective first-year coach Brian Dabol has been in recalibrating QB Daniel Jones, the impact of new coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on defense may determine how far these giants go.
30. Bears (31): The ripping may not actually end amid speculation that 32-year-old de Robert Quinn (the team scored 18 sacks in 2021) could be the next veteran on the move as well as Chicago whispers about to surrender in 2021 Teven II. Jenkins.
31- Texas (30): If we spot you QB Davis Mills and WR Brandin Cooks, can you name three more starters for Houston? Good teams often stem from anonymity, but it usually takes a while.
32. Falcons (32): If we spot you QB Marcus Mariota and TE Kyle Pitts, can you name three other rookie players for Atlanta…although it should be an easier bar to filter than the Houston bar? Good teams often stem from anonymity, but it usually takes a while… and the Falcons may take longer than the Texans do.
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