August 8, 2022

Golden Age Golds

Take Advantages of Your GOLDEN AGE

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos, Ravens, Chargers among big risers post-draft, Rams stay No. 1, new team in cellar

Aside from a few veteran moves here and there, most NFL teams have a good idea of who they will be bringing to training camp. That means with free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft behind us, it’s time for another batch of my Power Rankings.

I bet you can’t wait.

I always keep the defending Super Bowl champions in the top spot until the regular season kicks off, so the Los Angeles Rams stay there. There is no reason to believe they can’t be in the mix to win it all again. 

They will once again be a talented team loaded with stars, but general manager Les Snead also knows how to supplement his roster with young players who can contribute. That won’t change, which is why the Rams remain in the top spot.

Some teams have moved up in these Power Rankings after impressive offseasons, while others have fallen off because they haven’t kept up. The NFL formula seems to be about going for it now, which is the formula the Rams used to win a Super Bowl last year.

In a league of copycats, that seems to be catching on. That’s why the offseason has been wild with a ton of big-name trades that have kept the interest at an all-time high.

The top team from the AFC in these rankings is the Buffalo Bills. I think they were the best team at the end of last season and would have won it all, were it not for those horribly-played 13 seconds at the end of the playoff loss to the Chiefs.

The Bills have done a nice job of filling in some key spots this offseason, but made a big splash adding pass rusher Von Miller. Sacking the quarterback late in games won’t be an issue anymore. With Josh Allen now in the conversation as the best player in the league, the offense will once again be dynamic. 

Bills-Rams Super Bowl? It’s too early for that, but in the first week of May they are the two top teams in the league.

The AFC is loaded with good teams, while the NFC still has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers as the leading contenders to hurt the Rams’ chances of repeating. We know a surprise team or two will emerge — like the Cincinnati Bengals last year — so it again looks to be wide open.

That’s the way the NFL likes it.

Training camps don’t open for nearly three months, so until then, wait for the schedule release, enjoy the minicamp gossip and count the days until the ball kicks off for real again in September.

The next Power Rankings will be coming here right before the season — when even a little more of what we can expect crystallizes.

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

 

Chg

Rcrd


1


Rams

The champs will be poised to make another Super Bowl run. They are basically the same team. The question is can they handle being the hunted. 12-5-0

2


Bills

Landing Von Miller changes this team in a big way and I liked the addition of first-round corner Kaiir Elam. Josh Allen is a star, and this roster is loaded. 1 11-6-0

3


Chiefs

Trading Tyreek Hill changes things on offense, but they will again be in the mix because of Patrick Mahomes. They added some nice defensive pieces in the draft as well. 1 12-5-0

4


Packers

They really beefed up the defense in the draft, but also added three receivers who can help. With Aaron Rodgers back, it’s go time again. 1 13-4-0

5


Buccaneers

Getting Tom Brady back immediately made them a contender again. They’ve done a nice job of keeping things together, other than coach Bruce Arians stepping down and Todd Bowles taking over. 4 13-4-0

6


Bengals

The offseason was about fixing the offensive line, and they did it. They also added a few nice pieces in the draft on defense. All of that will again make this team a contender. 4 10-7-0

7


Chargers

The Chargers have to feel good about their roster after free agency and the draft. Getting Khalil Mack was big. The only problem is they play in a brutal division. Even so, this is the year they should compete for a championship. 6 9-8-0

8


Broncos

Adding Russell Wilson via trade immediately changed the entire outlook for this team. With a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and now a franchise quarterback, they can push for a division tittle and a lot more. 11 7-10-0

9


49ers

The quarterback situation is still unsettled, and if it’s Trey Lance as the starter they might have to be patient early on. There is still an abundance of talent on this roster to make it a lot easier for him. 2 10-7-0

10


Ravens

They expect Lamar Jackson to revert back to his MVP form this season, which will make them a contender for the AFC North again. They had a great draft, which will only help those chances. 6 8-9-0

11


Eagles

They’ve had a heck of an offseason and really had a nice draft weekend. That means this season is all about Jalen Hurts and his growth, especially after adding receiver A.J. Brown in a trade. 1 9-8-0

12


Cowboys

They have to stay healthy on the offensive line, which they didn’t do last year. Drafting Tyler Smith in the first round will help that. The concern on defense is the pass rush, but this is a talent-laden team. 4 12-5-0

13


Commanders

The addition of Carson Wentz will improve the offense, but how much? The defense has to get back playing like many expected they would last season before a disappointing showing. That means Chase Young and gang. 12 7-10-0

14


Colts

Matt Ryan makes this is a better team, but they will rely on two rookie draft picks to protect his blind side (Bernhard Raimann) and help down the downfield passing game (Alec Pierce). That’s asking a lot. 9-8-0

15


Browns

With Deshaun Watson now in as the starting quarterback, they feel like a team that can again make a deep playoff run. The talent is there to do it, even if Watson missed an entire season on the field. 5 8-9-0

16


Titans

It’s all about Ryan Tannehill handling himself in the key moments and big games. That’s why the pressure is on him, and certainly why they drafted Malik Willis. 10 12-5-0

17


Raiders

The new regime has done some really good things so far, but playing in the AFC West will make it a real challenge to get back to the playoffs. The passing game will be fun with Davante Adams on board. 2 10-7-0

18


Patriots

They’ve had a very ho-hum offseason, but that’s been Bill Belichick for most of his career. Only now we have to see if it can work with Mac Jones like it did with Tom Brady in the past. 8 10-7-0

19


Cardinals

There seems to be some turmoil with Kyler Murray squawking about a new contract and now a six-game suspension for top receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The defense suffered a hit losing Chandler Jones, so they will need some rookie edge players to make a difference quickly. 8 11-6-0

20


Vikings

New coach Kevin O’Connell inherits a team that should be able roll up big numbers on offense. The question is the defense, but they will be better on that side than they were a year ago after spending a lot of draft capital on it. 1 8-9-0

21


Steelers

They took quarterback Kenny Pickett in the first round, which means it’s only a matter of time before he takes over as the starter. That’s a good thing. 4 9-7-1

22


Saints

The draft filled two major holes at left tackle and speed receiver. They feel they have enough to compete, and that means they believe in Jameis Winston in a big way. 4 9-8-0

23


Dolphins

They traded to land Tyreek Hill to juice up the offense, which means the table is set for Tua Tagovailoa. This season is all about him and his play. 1 9-8-0

24


Seahawks

Without Russell Wilson, they are way down here. They must really believe in Drew Lock since they passed on taking a quarterback in the draft. 7-10-0

25


Giants

They are riding high after an impressive draft haul. But none of it will matter if Daniel Jones doesn’t improve under new coach Brian Daboll. 4 4-13-0

26


Jaguars

The offseason has been good to this team in terms of adding talent. Now comes the tough part: Can Doug Pederson bring it all together and get them to .500? 5 3-14-0

27


Bears

They spent some draft capital on the defense, which you would expect with Matt Eberflus in as the head coach. They didn’t do a lot early to help Justin Fields, which could be a concern and is somewhat strange. 6-11-0

28


Lions

They had an impressive draft, which has this team continuing to head in the right direction. Without a quarterback draft pick, it’s Jared Goff again as the signal-caller. 3-13-1

29


Jets

They are coming off the high of an outstanding draft that landed three top players in the first round. Now it’s all about Zach Wilson growing as a player. 1 4-13-0

30


Panthers

There is talk they could still make a move to land Baker Mayfield, but for now it’s Sam Darnold again as their starter. They did draft Matt Corral, but this team isn’t talented enough. 4 5-12-0

31


Texans

They traded away Deshaun Watson, and now it’s Davis Mills time. I like him as a player, but this roster isn’t great around him. They did have a good, solid draft. 1 4-13-0

32


Falcons

The Falcons are basically tanking this year as they get out of cap hell. They don’t have a lot of talent, but they will have a ton of cap space next year to fix it. 9 7-10-0