The 2022 NFL season is fast approaching, with the preseason well underway and final roster cuts looming. But where do all 32 teams stand as we enter the brand new 12 months? We’re glad you asked, because it isn’t too late to get caught up. In celebration of the autumn season, and the following official race for a Lombardi Trophy, here’s a refresher on the state of each team for 2022, complete with their win total over/under (courtesy of), beneficial fantasy targets, offseason reviews and season outlooks:
The BRONCOS are betting big on a horse who’s won all of it before, making ex-Seahawks star Russell Wilson the prized recent stallion of their stable. The irony for Russ: his escape from run-heavy Seattle after 10 years brought him to a Denver offense best suited to ground-and-pound ball starring the rushing tandem of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. The larger X-factor could also be recent coach Nathaniel Hackett, whose Packers-marked resume is hard to divorce from Aaron Rodgers. His defense, while featuring young stalwarts (DT D.J. Jones, CB Patrick Surtain II), can also be reliant on injury-prone stars (OLBs Bradley Chubb, Randy Gregory).
The CHIEFS are the modern-day equivalent of the Brady-Belichick Patriots: so long as Andy Reid is on the sidelines and Patrick Mahomes is under center, they will sleepwalk in the autumn and still sniff the Super Bowl. With speedster Tyreek Hill going to the Dolphins via trade, nonetheless, the pressure is on No. 15 to raise discount targets like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster, or perhaps feed tight end Travis Kelce to a record degree. That is doubly the case considering they’re banking on easy results from rookies like George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie to buoy a defense that is had porous stretches.
The RAIDERS are doubling down on their belief in QB Derek Carr, whose grit is more admirable than his big-game resume. Davante Adams’ arrival via trade from the Packers spells promise alongside RB Josh Jacobs, WR Hunter Renfrow and (quasi-WR) TE Darren Waller. The sting-rushing pairing of Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby also has elite potential. However the query marks are big for a team with a history of embodying the indulgent corners of its Sin City location — flashy and enticing, if ultimately regrettable. Latest coach Josh McDaniels is unproven as a program-builder, and Carr’s offensive line is iffy, to say the least.
The CHARGERS are the closest thing to an unofficial all-star team. Justin Herbert is already a laser-armed star within the pocket, and now the lineup around him has enviable weapons at every role: a dynamic dual threat (Austin Ekeler), a ball magnet (Keenan Allen), a home-run hitter (Mike Williams), stud blockers (Rashawn Slater, Corey Linsley), imposing pass rushers (Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack), and young ballhawks (Derwin James, J.C. Jackson, Asante Samuel Jr.). It speaks volumes that their biggest concern may lie with the premature aggression of coach Brandon Staley, who at 38 got here inside 4 points of a playoff run as a first-timer.
The BILLS are getting numerous Super Bowl love for good reason — or, higher yet, one reason mainly. His name is Josh Allen, and he isn’t far off Patrick Mahomes by way of total-package play-making. Coordinator Brian Daboll’s departure looms, but you’ll be able to’t teach Allen’s size, rocket arm and bulldozing legs. The QB’s top receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, already certainly one of the NFL’s best, helps the cause. As does coach Sean McDermott’s loaded defense, which has difference-makers at every level: Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer on the back end, Tre’Davious White outside, and now Von Miller off the sting.
The DOLPHINS are experimenting with full-fledged support for much-maligned young QB Tua Tagovailoa, whose early-career marriage to protected throws has made fans impatient but may very well be just the recipe for brand new coach Mike McDaniel, the previous right-hand man to Kyle Shanahan’s run-heavy 49ers. With the electrical Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle out wide, and a stable of rushers including ex-NFC West backs Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel, short-area motion needs to be their specialty. A stingy defense led by Brian Flores holdover Josh Boyer can also be intact. Nevertheless it all comes back to the QB, whose ceiling stays a mystery.
The PATRIOTS are constructing around their very own young QB, Mac Jones, in an unorthodox way, forgoing spicy upgrades (sans ex-Dolphins WR DeVante Parker) for an apparent doubling down on the sheer smarts of coach Bill Belichick and his trusted staff. With offensive guru Josh McDaniels gone and no clear successor designated, Jones will likely lean further into Belichick’s old-school approach of winning through the run game, tight ends and defense. The roster is healthier outfitted at the previous two spots, but even when Matt Judon and the “D” finds a solution to remain sound, Belichick’s high-floor, low-ceiling personnel doesn’t scream title run of old.
The JETS are betting that second-year QB Zach Wilson, all athleticism but little polish in 2021, will make a leap as a part of a team-wide restocking, erasing concern over coach Robert Saleh’s inability to field a single decent unit in 12 months one. On paper, Wilson has a whole lineup, from a sturdier line to a long-term skill group to an underrated “D,” which added major help at pass rusher (Jermaine Johnson II), corner (Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed) and safety (Jordan Whitehead). Wilson’s free-wheeling tendencies have already gotten him hurt, nonetheless, and Saleh still must prove he can put improved personnel in the best position.
The RAVENS will not be running from Lamar Jackson’s tendency to win together with his legs; in truth, they’re poised to lean deeper into the run-heavy system built around the electrical QB, trading top WR Marquise Brown, investing within the trenches and strengthening their defense for a ball-control attack. As long as Jackson and no less than certainly one of their ball-carriers stays upright, they need to remain a force on the bottom. And the “D,” with vets healthier and recent faces like Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton adding range to the secondary, needs to be improved. Jackson’s trajectory as a passer, nonetheless, could (still) ultimately determine their fate.
The BENGALS are running it back after their inspired Super Bowl bid, except with an improved front for QB Joe Burrow, whose only real concern is staying healthy … and fairly distributing the ball between among the NFL’s most explosive weapons in RB Joe Mixon and receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The opportunistic defense still has holes at corner, but when Burrow is on his game, Cincinnati won’t must be shutting out opponents. Perhaps the larger curiosity here, besides Burrow and star safety Jessie Bates III missing numerous practice this summer, is coach Zac Taylor, coming off iffy big-game play-calling.
The BROWNS are on the mercy of the NFL with reference to their prized QB acquisition. Landing ex-Texans star Deshaun Watson via trade gives them a possible perennial Pro Bowler under center, albeit one who could still miss most, if not all, of 2022 under suspension for alleged serial sexual misconduct. Backup Jacoby Brissett could keep them afloat considering the star power they’ve elsewhere — at RB (Nick Chubb), WR (Amari Cooper), up front and across the defense (Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, etc.). But coach Kevin Stefanski is not just attempting to gel recent starters; he’s also busy attempting to defend his recent QB’s character.
The STEELERS are embarking on their first season without Ben Roethlisberger at QB in almost twenty years. Meaning it’s on coach Mike Tomlin, who’s yet to post a losing record in 15 years, to get one more dominant run from an annually feisty defense. The disruptive front-seven studs Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt should help do the trick. But all eyes are also on Big Ben’s alternative: Ex-Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky and/or hometown first-rounder Kenny Pickett. Irrespective of who starts — or sticks — at QB, Pittsburgh is built to compete smashmouth style, with RB Najee Harris and TE Pat Freiermuth doing short-area damage.
The TEXANS are seemingly wallowing in their very own mess, replacing one aging head coach with one other despite their roster lacking greater than a small handful of identifiable constructing blocks. Now in charge: Lovie Smith, 64, a respected man who also hasn’t led a winning team since 2012. Young QB Davis Mills could also be a brilliant spot for the best way he stands tall amid porous setups, however the team appears inexplicably committed to a ground game headlined by a rotation of free-agent leftovers. That is not even mentioning the defense, which was bad under Smith in 2021 and is now banking on injury-prone rookie Derek Stingley Jr. to alter games.
The COLTS are still operating the NFL’s hottest QB carousel, this time subbing in longtime Falcons star Matt Ryan for Carson Wentz. The swap may not noticeably raise the ceiling for the position, however it should help stabilize the offense for coach Frank Reich, whose top achievement in Indy might be just weathering abrupt turmoil. Jonathan Taylor, certainly one of the sport’s few true workhorse backs, should remain their centerpiece because of a lacking WR corps. If the defense, now under Gus Bradley’s direction, is nearly as good because it looks on paper, complete with big-name additions like Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore, they needs to be scrappy.
The JAGUARS are hoping coach Doug Pederson’s warmth can revitalize their program, very similar to it did for the Eagles circa 2016-2017. Truth be told, the one direction for former No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence is up after a forgettable rookie 12 months at QB under Urban Meyer. Loaded with money, Jacksonville added a slew of latest starters to assist, and while not all of them figure to warrant their price tags, Lawrence definitely has more established outlets, including ex-Cardinals WR Christian Kirk. The restocked defense, meanwhile, could also be especially depending on a front featuring young pass rushers Travon Walker and Josh Allen.
The TITANS are certainly one of the NFL’s hardest teams, so consistently physical under Mike Vrabel that even their old-school, Patriots-esque approach that favors running the ball and winning within the defensive trenches is guaranteed to maintain them within the playoff picture. Nobody should doubt the freakish Derrick Henry, still vital as their chief ball-carrier coming off an injury-riddled 12 months. And Jeffery Simmons on their D-line could wreak havoc. Their ceiling, nonetheless, may be questioned with QB Ryan Tannehill coming off one more poor playoff outing and now forced to pivot to recent targets with No. 1 wideout A.J. Brown traded to Philadelphia.
The CARDINALS are betting big on QB Kyler Murray, whose athletic upside is more encouraging than his late-season finishes in three seasons, after a drama-filled offseason that included a long-term contract for the previous No. 1 overall pick. They’re also betting big on familiar names like James Conner, Zach Ertz and A.J. Green to assist carry Kliff Kingsbury’s offense while top receiver DeAndre Hopkins serves a suspension. The porous defense is more concerning, where it’s as much as a number of past (J.J. Watt) or present (Budda Baker) stars to run the entire show. With a tricky schedule on tap, they might have an antagonistic 12 months in store.
The RAMS need to repeat as Super Bowl champions, perhaps by leaning mostly — and surprisingly — on a defense starring game-changers Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and newcomer Bobby Wagner, of rival Seahawks fame. That is because QB Matthew Stafford, who went from good to essentially good transitioning from the Lions to hotshot coach Sean McVay in 2021, is battling elbow pain that would linger throughout the season. His weapons, while elite, are also barely different, with the backfield banged up and Allen Robinson replacing Odell Beckham Jr. because the complement to focus on machine Cooper Kupp out wide.
The 49ERS are set to go so far as Trey Lance takes them. With coach Kyle Shanahan set to follow through on plans to show the QB keys over from the serviceable but fragile Jimmy Garoppolo, it is the 2021 first-round pick’s time to shine, with all his evident athleticism and unpolished passing. Deebo Samuel’s presence because the multi-purpose go-to man should help Shanahan keep his regular ground game intact, as should stars like Trent Williams and George Kittle. The defense also needs to be feisty so long as Nick Bosa is coming off the sting and Fred Warner is patrolling the sphere. It’s all about what unfolds under center.
The SEAHAWKS are venturing into life after Russell Wilson, with coach Pete Carroll trying to prove he can, in truth, win without the QB who helped him hoist a Lombardi. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are an explosive one-two punch out wide, Noah Fant is an emerging player at tight end, and Rashaad Penny could be just positive as Carroll’s next bell-cow ball-carrier, but behind an iffy line, neither Geno Smith nor the more gunslinging Drew Lock warrant much trust as everlasting starters. The “D,” meanwhile, has a number of recent starters in Shelby Harris and Uchenna Nwosu, but stays dangerously mercurial off the sting and on the back end.
The COWBOYS, as all the time, are talented but eager to recover from the hump as contenders, failing to post back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins since 1995-1996. It’s evocative of their QB, Dak Prescott, a top-10 passer who’s yet to log a serious big-game run. Prescott’s still got explosiveness on his side on the skill spots, namely via WR CeeDee Lamb, but other turnover on the position could end in an even bigger run-game focus, especially if the “D” stays interested in the massive play due to young stars Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. Coach Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, has the pedigree but perhaps not the in-game technique to encourage.
The GIANTS are focused on the long haul while praying recent coach Brian Daboll, best known for helping develop Josh Allen because the Bills’ offensive coordinator, can squeeze life out of prospective play-makers like Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and, yes, even turnover-prone QB Daniel Jones. Kayvon Thibodeaux should enliven their front seven on the opposite side, which boasts foundational pieces in Azeez Ojulari and Dexter Lawrence, but the remainder of the defense — and, hey, perhaps even the offense, depending on what happens under center — is poised for a 2023 makeover.
The EAGLES need to make a fast jump from surprise wild-card contenders to legitimate division challengers after coach Nick Sirianni leaned into QB Jalen Hurts’ strengths as a runner midway through 2021. The bottom game could still keep them rolling due to a stud line featuring Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, and the “D” is vastly improved at every level due to an offseason haul including Haason Reddick and James Bradberry. But their ultimate destination will lie within the hands of Hurts’ development, or lack thereof, as a passer now that he’s got ex-Titans star A.J. Brown out wide alongside DeVonta Smith.
The COMMANDERS are gambling that former rival QB Carson Wentz and his big but volatile arm is usually a game-changer for an offense too often stuck within the mud despite featuring weapons like Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin. Defensively, coach Ron Rivera’s front stays loaded, with Chase Young rejoining Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, but their secondary stays a matter mark, as does Wentz’s general reliability at an important spot on the team, especially behind just so-so protection. Washington has all the time been competitive under Rivera, however it’s yet to be a consistent, complete threat.
The BEARS are claiming to be “all in” on 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields at QB, but they’re saddling him with a still-shaky line and thin WR corps outside of Darnell Mooney. The bottom game may very well be OK with David Montgomery leading the best way, but recent coach Matt Eberflus has neither the personnel nor the background, as a defensive mind hailing from the Colts, to encourage much confidence there. The “D,” meanwhile, has some likable rookies (Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker) and will well maintain Windy City’s feisty fame but could also be losing its top veteran in Roquan Smith, who desires to be traded.
The LIONS are hoping that every one the goodwill fiery coach Dan Campbell has earned despite a lowly first-year record will translate to actual success in 2022. The offense is quite a bit speedier with the addition of Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark out wide, and paired with other pass-catchers T.J. Hockenson and Amon-Ra St. Brown, the unit actually has some firepower. But QB Jared Goff hasn’t played an amazing full season for some time, and there are still big holes throughout Campbell’s defense, even with Aidan Hutchinson added to the pass rush. They might be fighters, however it stays to be seen if the Lions have enough to string together wins.
The PACKERS are trusting that Aaron Rodgers, at 38 and in perhaps his final season, will elevate an offense now without star wideout Davante Adams for one more NFC title bid. Coach Matt LaFleur’s track record is great within the regular season, and he could lean more on the tandem of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to win games on the bottom. However the revamped defense could have just as big of a job in offsetting Adams’ loss. Each Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker must have big roles as rookies, and when healthy and at their peak, Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage and even Rasul Douglas stay across the ball within the secondary.
The VIKINGS are a perpetual wild-card contender, never bad enough to warrant a reset but never great enough to chase a title, and that trend is poised to proceed, no less than for 2022, with ex-Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell taking on for Mike Zimmer. His QB, Kirk Cousins, is in the identical boat as a solid, if unspectacular, starter. But his weapons are a few of the most effective in the sport, between RB Dalvin Cook and WR Justin Jefferson, and the “D,” post-Zimmer, actually looks more balanced now that Za’Darius Smith and Jordan Hicks have joined Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter at linebacker of their recent 3-4.
The FALCONS are ranging from scratch for the second straight 12 months under coach Arthur Smith, who’s declared ex-Titans flop Marcus Mariota his “guy” under center, after the franchise botched a pursuit of Deshaun Watson and subsequently dealt longtime QB Matt Ryan to the Colts as an unofficially apologetic sendoff. With hybrid ball-carrier Cordarrelle Patterson and TE Kyle Pitts the highest weapons, the offense figures to turn into much more old-school and run-heavy. Which could constitute hope for enjoying spoiler all year long, if not for a defense practically barren of proven constructing blocks apart from cover man A.J. Terrell.
The PANTHERS are so desperate for regular QB play they’re entering 2022 with not one but two former first-round castoffs on the position in Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The previous no less than threatens to bring wild-card-level moxie to an underrated setup featuring No. 1 goal D.J. Moore, the delicate but dynamic Christian McCaffrey and a defense plagued by growing prospects. Whether or not coach Matt Rhule can parlay that into smart strategy and execution is one other query entirely. If Mayfield is predictably motivated, never say never to this team surprising. But neither he nor Carolina have earned full trust.
The SAINTS are in an odd place between contending and rebuilding after the retirement of coach Sean Payton, since replaced by defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Familiar stars like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas at the moment are paired with fresh help up front (OT Trevor Penning) and out wide (WRs Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry), while Allen’s “D” deserves the good thing about the doubt as a physical, battle-tested unit. But QB Jameis Winston, the most important X-factor, hasn’t stayed healthy or consistent as a starter in years, even when his abbreviated 2021 trial run had serviceable results.
The BUCCANEERS are contenders so long as Tom Brady, still defying time at age 45, stays the QB, because the truth is he doesn’t just throw the ball but impacts the material of the organization together with his aura, his history, his preparation and, someway, still, his arm. Bruce Arians’ retirement as coach, leaving the reins to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, could present some hurdles. So could lingering or recent injuries to key starters up front (Ryan Jensen) or out wide (Chris Godwin). But this club has come together at the best times under Brady, who’s still got top-10ish weapons and support at almost every position on the roster.