NFL power rankings entering 2022 preseason (previousrank in parentheses):
1. Rams (1): Reigning champs have several key departures and newcomers, WR Odell Beckham Jr. currently somewhere among. But factoringa guy like LB Bobby Wagner in to the equation certainly won’t hinder the quest of a team attempting to end up being the first in 18 years to successfully defend a brilliant Bowl crown.
2. Bills (3): The addition of OLB Von Miller among others could put the two-time defending AFC East champs on the final hurdle. But monitor WR Gabriel Davis, who had five TD grabs in the 2021 postseason four in the divisional-round heartbreaker at Kansas City as a potential breakout player.
3. Bengals (2): QB Joe Burrow’s appendectomy and new RT La’el Collins’ back issues might hinder early cohesion of an offense breaking within an almost entirely new line. Still, the largest challenges to the 2021 AFC champs will most likely result from a savage conference more likely to add a resurgent Baltimore squad challenging for Cincinnati’s AFC North title.
4. Packers (5): QB Aaron Rodgers appears to think a village of receivers watch rookie Romeo Doubs can combine to approximate departed Davante Adams’ production. Hmm. We’re thinking shortening the overall game with an increase of aggregate touches for RBs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon may be the Lombardi ticket.
5. Chiefs (8): Despite lack of WR Tyreek Hill, the guess this is actually the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes offense will ultimately be just fine. The true question may be a defense stripped of veteran leader Tyrann Mathieu and today counting heavily on first-round rookies Trent McDuffie at corner and George Karlaftis off the edge.
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6. Ravens (6): Baltimore still lists QB Lamar Jackson at 212 pounds, but he claims to be approximately 230 after bulking up through the offseason. Remains to be observed what this signifies for arguably the league’s most electric athlete, who didn’t ensure it is to the finish of 2021’s late-stage implosion.
7. Buccaneers (4): As the notion of WR Julio Jones against man coverage on passing downs is tantalizing, very good bet QB Tom Brady would prefer to have injured Pro Bowl C Ryan Jensen in the lineup on said passing downs … and all the snaps.
8. Chargers (7): No cause to be anything apart from bullish about QB Justin Herbert. But he is able to and really should get better still and might desire to begin by lowering his interception (25) and sack (63) totals through two seasons.
9. Eagles (12): All the best getting a team with an increase of talent and depth in the trenches, a significant reason Philly should excel no matter where QB Jalen Hurts is on his personal learning curve. Former Temple star Haason Reddick, who has 23 sacks in the last two seasons, could possibly be among free agency’s steals (again).
10. Colts (10): From Weeks 6-16 this past year, they were at the very top outfit, going 8-2 and beating four eventual playoff teams. But former QB Carson Wentz’s COVID-19 diagnosis and subsequent lost practice time coincided with Indy’s season-ending spiral. Steady veteran replacement Matt Ryan ought to be an improved fit who offers a smoother ride.
11. 49ers (14): Resolution of Jimmy Garoppolo’s situation will be nice, nonetheless it was more vital that you patch things up with “wide back” Deebo Samuel, who’ll undoubtedly be considered a key element of Trey Lance’s transition in to the QB1 role.
12. Patriots (13): Despite all of the speculation about offensive playcalling and good feelings around QB Mac Jones’ development, possibly the focus ought to be on a defense without top-tier talent. New England was steamrolled for 150 points in itsfinal five games of 2021.
13. Saints (9): Despite longtime coach Sean Payton’s exit, you shouldn’t be at all surprised if this team reclaims the NFC South throne given the weaponry it features on both sides of the ball. RB Alvin Kamara’s unresolved battery case looms as a substantial issue if an expected punishment is levied late in the entire year.
14. Raiders (11): They have got a fantastic group at premier positions like quarterback, receiver, left tackle and pass rusher. However the balance of the lineup reaches least equally suspect. Valuable as new coach Josh McDaniels reaches designing plays, Vegas better hope he learned something from Bill Belichick about masking disadvantages.
15. Cowboys (19): Given how Micah Parsons is deployed by Dallas, could possibly be interesting to see if newly signed LB Anthony Barr reaches hunt quarterbacks just how he used to at UCLA but never did in Minnesota despite his four Pro Bowl nods.
16. Dolphins (21): Owner Stephen Ross’ illegal back channeling to Brady and Payton cost Miami its 2023 first-round pick, among other activities. Ironically, he could have eased pressure on QB Tua Tagovailoa and firmed up his job security trained with will most likely now be much harder to draft a QB in 2023 … in the event that’s a direction the Fins desire to go.
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17. Vikings (17): Justin Jefferson may be the only player in the league with at the very least 3,000 receiving yards since 2020. Might he push 5,000 over three campaigns as a centerpiece in new coach Kevin O’Connell’s pass-oriented attack?
18. Broncos (18): There is no sugarcoating the increased loss of WR Tim Patrick (ACL), but this may create a chance for KJ Hamler to showcase his speed and few quarterbacks tend to be more with the capacity of leveraging it than deep ball sniper Russell Wilson.
19. Steelers (20): They’ll face five 2021 playoff teams plus Miami before their Week 9 bye. No ideal opening stretch for QB Ben Roethlisberger’s replacement … but one which suggests first-rounder Kenny Pickett could possibly be in the saddle by Week 10.
20. Titans (16): RB Derrick Henry averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2021, the second-lowest figure of his career. What goes on compared to that number without WRs A.J. Brown and Julio Jones to help keep defenses honest?
21. Lions (24): C Frank Ragnow’s return from the 2021 foot injury means Detroit might just emerge with the league’s top offensive line in 2022.
22. Cardinals (22): It remains to be observed if $230.5 million can purchase you happiness, leadership, maturity or perhaps a playoff win. Regardless, QB Kyler Murray, who owns a 22-24-1 record in the NFL, will be 43-0 in senior high school … a data point he believes remains germane.
23. Commanders (26): Captain Terry McLaurin has been paid while fellow WR Jahan Dotson continues displaying signs he might emerge because the club’s next star. Doubly very good news as Wentz tries to stabilize this organization and his career, though he’s already off to a bumpy begin in camp.
24. Panthers (28): Now a halfway house for 2018 first-round QBs, Carolina could yet be playoff bound given its defensive potential and quality offensive playmakers … assuming RB Christian McCaffrey remains on the field.
25. Browns (15): No team is more challenging to slot given the uncertainty surrounding QB Deshaun Watson, who was simply suspended six games Aug. 1, a verdict the NFL appealed two days later. That decision helps it be more likely Watson won’t have a regular-season snap before 2023.
26. Jets (23): Their years of disarray have mirrored the airline industry most importantly. But this offseason’s talent infusion suggests the NYJ could possibly be approaching takeoff speed… though it’ll be incumbent on second-year QB Zach Wilson to help keep things on schedule while taking better care of the baggage.
27. Jaguars (27): With the best coach like Doug Pederson now guiding 2021 No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence and the offense going to get another kickstart with fellow 2021 first-rounder Travis Etienne champing at the bit to create his NFL debut Jacksonville could possibly be primed for a substantial leap.
28. Seahawks (25): So is WR DK Metcalf, whom Seattle only extended 3 years, now the facial skin of the franchise? Or even, then who’s? Perhaps a college quarterback who’s nine months from joining the 12s?
29. Giants (29): While much attention will understandably be paid to how effectively first-year coach Brian Daboll recalibrates QB Daniel Jones, new coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s influence on defense may define what lengths these Giants go.
30. Bears (31): The teardown could possibly not be over amid speculation that 32-year-old DE Robert Quinn (team-record 18 sacks in 2021) may be the next veteran on the road plus whispers Chicago has already been close to quitting on 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins.
31. Texans (30): If we spotted you QB Davis Mills and WR Brandin Cooks, would you name three more starters for Houston? Good teams often spring from anonymity, nonetheless it usually takes some time.
32. Falcons (32): If we spotted you QB Marcus Mariota and TE Kyle Pitts, would you name three more starters for Atlanta … though it must be a less strenuous bar to clear than Houston’s?Good teams often spring from anonymity, nonetheless it usually takes some time … and could take the Falcons longer than it can the Texans.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
This short article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL power rankings: 2022 preseason finds Rams, Bills at the very top