NFL strength ranking before the start of the 2022 season (previous rank in brackets):
1. Rams (1): The defending champions have some key exits and newcomers, WR Odell Beckham Jr. is currently somewhere in between. But given a guy like LB Bobby Wagner into the equation certainly won’t hurt a team trying to be the first in 18 years to successfully defend the Super Bowl crown.
2. Bills (3): The addition of OLB Von Miller and others could put the two-time AFC East champions on the last hump. But watch out for WR Gabriel Davis, who had five TD tackles in the 2021 postseason — four in divisional round heartthrob in Kansas City – as a potential breakthrough player.
3. Bengals (2): Appendectomy QB Joe Burrow and old editions of La’elle Collins’ new RT may thwart the early cohesion of the breach breaking into an almost entirely new line. However, the biggest problems for the 2021 AFC champions are likely to come from a brutal conference that will likely feature a resurgent Baltimore-based team in contention for the Cincinnati AFC North title.
4. Packers (5): QB Aaron Rodgers seems to think that a whole village of wide receivers – look at newcomer Romeo Doubs – could band together to get closer to producing the departed Davante Adams. Hm. We think reducing the game time with more total touches for RB Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon could be Lombardi’s ticket.
5. Chiefs (8): Despite the absence of Tyreke Hill’s WR, it is assumed that Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes’ offense will eventually be fine. The real question may be a defense stripped of veteran Tyranne Mathieu and now heavily counting on first-round rookies Trent McDuffie on the corner and George Karlaftis on the edge.
RECORD NFL 2022 PREDICTIONS: What 14 teams look like they made the playoffs?
6. Crows (6): Baltimore still lists QB Lamar Jackson at 212 pounds, but he claims to weigh around 230 after he bulked up in the off-season. It remains to be seen what this means for arguably the league’s most electric athlete, who didn’t live to see the end of the late 2021 explosion.
7. Buccaneers (4): While the concept WR Julio Jones lighting up against a person when going through falls teases, a pretty good bet QB Tom Brady would prefer injured Pro Bowl C Ryan Jensen on the roster due to said passing downs… and all the other snaps.
8. Chargers (7): There is no reason to be anything other than being optimistic about QB Justin Herbert. But he can and should get even better – and may want to start by dropping his steals (25) and sacks (63) over two seasons.
9. Eagles (12): Good luck finding a team with more talent and depth in the trenches, that’s the main reason Philadelphia should excel no matter where QB Jalen Hurts is on his personal learning curve. Former Temple star Haason Reddick, who has had 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons, could be one of the stealing free agents (again).
10. Colts (10): From weeks 6 to 16 last year, they were an elite team, going 8-2 and beating four possible playoff teams. But former QB Carson Wentz The COVID-19 diagnosis and subsequent loss of training time coincided with Indy’s end-of-season spiral. A permanent replacement for veteran Matt Ryan should be a better fit as he delivers a smoother ride.
11.49ers (14): Resolving the situation with Jimmy Garoppolo would be nice, but it was more important to resolve the situation with “broad back” Deebo Samuelwhich will undoubtedly become a key component Trey Lance transition to QB1.
12. Patriots (13): Despite all the guesswork about the offensive playful and good mood around Developed by QB Mac Jonesmaybe should focus on defense devoid of top tier talents. New England have 150 points in their last five games in 2021.
13. Saints (9): In spite of Departure of longtime coach Sean Payton, don’t be surprised if this team reclaims the NFC Southern Throne given the armament it has on both sides of the ball. Alvin Kamara’s unresolved RB battery case could become a major issue if the expected punishment is imposed at the end of the year.
14. Raiders (11): They have an exceptional group in leading positions such as quarterback, wide receiver, left tackle and pass rusher. But the line-up balance is at least as questionable. New coach Josh McDaniels is valuable in game development, and Vegas better hope he learned something from Bill Belichick about masking weaknesses.
15. Cowboys (19): The how Micah Parsons is being used by Dallasit would be interesting to see if newly signed LB Anthony Barr gets to hunt quarterbacks the way he did at UCLA but never did in Minnesota, despite four nods at the Pro Bowl.
16. Dolphins (21): Owner Illegal reverse channeling by Stephen Ross Brady and Payton, among other things, cost Miami a 2023 first-round pick. Ironically, he could ease the pressure on QB Back Tagovailoa and bolstered their job security, given that it will probably be a lot harder to make a QB in 2023 now…if the Finns want to move in that direction.
17. Vikings (17): Justin Jefferson is the only player in the league to have at least 3,000 receiving yards since 2020. Can he get 5,000 yards in three campaigns? the centerpiece of new coach Kevin O’Connell’s pass-oriented attack?
18. Broncos (18): There’s no embellishment of loss WR Tim Patrick (ACL)but it can give K.J. Hamler an opportunity to show off his speed, and few quarterbacks can use it better than deep-ball shooter Russell Wilson.
19. Steelers (20): They will face five teams in the 2021 playoffs as well as Miami before the bye in Week 9. Not an ideal opening stretch for QB replacement Ben Roethlisberger… but one that suggests the top-notch 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 of his career. What happens to that number without the WR of AJ Brown and Julio Jones to keep the defense fair?
21. Lions (24): The return of C Frank Ragnow from a foot injury in 2021 means Detroit could be the league’s top offensive line in 2022.
22. Cardinals (22): It remains to be seen if $230.5 million can buy happiness, leadership, maturity, or even a playoff win. In spite of, QB Kyler Murraywho owns a 22-24-1 record in the NFL will always be 43-0 in high school… the data point he believes remains relevant.
23. Commanders (26): Captain Terry McLaurin has been paid while fellow WR member Jahan Dotson continues to show signs that he could be the club’s next star. Doubly good news as Wentz is trying to stabilize this organization and his career even though he is on his way. bumpy start at camp.
24. Panthers (28): Currently halfway house for 2018 first round QBCarolina can still make it to the playoffs given their defensive potential and quality offensive playmakers…as long as RB Christian McCaffrey stays on the field.
25. Browns (15): No team is more challenging given the uncertainty surrounding QB Deshawn Watson, who was suspended for six games on Aug. 1, verdict The NFL filed an appeal two days later.. The decision makes it much more likely that Watson won’t make a shot in the regular season until 2023.
26. Jets (23): Their years of turmoil have taken their toll on the aviation industry as a whole. But the infusion of talent this offseason suggests the NYJ may be approaching takeoff speed…although sophomore QB Zach Wilson will be required to stick to the schedule by taking better care of luggage.
27. Jaguars (27): With a legitimate coach like Doug Pederson now managing 2021 No. 1 Trevor Lawrence and an offense about to get a new push with fellow 2021 first-rounder Travis Etienne battling to make his debut in NFL, Jacksonville can be prepared for a significant jump.
28. Seahawks (25): And there is WR DK Metcalfe, which Seattle renewed for just three years, is now the face of this franchise? If not, then who? Perhaps a college quarterback with nine months left before he joins the 12th?
29. Giants (29): While it’s understandable that a lot of attention will be paid to how effectively freshman coach Brian Daball recalibrates quarterback Daniel Jones, new defense coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s impact on defense could determine how far these giants go.
30. Bears (31): The showdown may not actually end amid rumors that 32-year-old DE Robert Quinn (team record 18½ sacks in 2021) could be the next veteran in the movement, plus whispers that Chicago is already close to giving up Theven ranked second in 2021. Jenkins.
31. Texans (30): If we spotted you QB Davis Mills and WR Brandin Cooks, could you name three more Houston starters? Good teams often come from anonymity, but it usually takes time.
32. Falcons (32): If we noticed you QB Markus Mariota and TE Kyle Pitts, can you name three more starters for Atlanta…although that should be easier to clear than the Houston bar? Good teams often come from anonymity, but it usually takes a while…and it can take the Falcons longer than the Texans.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter. @ByNateDavis.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL Power Ranking: Rams and Bills Lead in 2022 Preseason