The 2022 NFL season is quick approaching, with the preseason properly underway and ultimate roster cuts looming. However the place do all 32 groups stand as we enter the brand new yr? We’re glad you requested, as a result of 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 is a refresher on the state of each group for 2022, full with their win whole over/below (courtesy of), really useful fantasy targets, offseason evaluations and season outlooks:
The BRONCOS are betting huge on a horse who’s received all of it earlier than, making ex-Seahawks star Russell Wilson the prized new stallion of their steady. The irony for Russ: his escape from run-heavy Seattle after 10 years introduced him to a Denver offense greatest suited to ground-and-pound ball starring the dashing tandem of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. The larger X-factor could also be new coach Nathaniel Hackett, whose Packers-marked resume is hard to divorce from Aaron Rodgers. His protection, whereas that includes younger stalwarts (DT D.J. Jones, CB Patrick Surtain II), can be reliant on injury-prone stars (OLBs Bradley Chubb, Randy Gregory).
The CHIEFS are the modern-day equal of the Brady-Belichick Patriots: so long as Andy Reid is on the sidelines and Patrick Mahomes is below heart, they will sleepwalk within the fall and nonetheless sniff the Tremendous Bowl. With speedster Tyreek Hill going to the Dolphins through commerce, nevertheless, the stress is on No. 15 to raise low cost targets like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster, or maybe feed tight finish Travis Kelce to a document diploma. That is doubly the case contemplating they’re banking on immediate outcomes from rookies like George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie to buoy a protection that is had porous stretches.
The RAIDERS are doubling down on their perception in QB Derek Carr, whose grit is extra admirable than his big-game resume. Davante Adams’ arrival through commerce 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 additionally has elite potential. However the query marks are huge for a group with a historical past of embodying the indulgent corners of its Sin Metropolis location — flashy and attractive, if finally regrettable. New 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 factor to an unofficial all-star group. Justin Herbert is already a laser-armed star within the pocket, and now the lineup round him has enviable weapons at each function: a dynamic twin menace (Austin Ekeler), a ball magnet (Keenan Allen), a home-run hitter (Mike Williams), stud blockers (Rashawn Slater, Corey Linsley), imposing move rushers (Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack), and younger ballhawks (Derwin James, J.C. Jackson, Asante Samuel Jr.). It speaks volumes that their greatest concern might lie with the premature aggression of coach Brandon Staley, who at 38 got here inside 4 factors of a playoff run as a first-timer.
The BILLS are getting a number of Tremendous Bowl love for good cause — or, higher but, one cause primarily. His identify is Josh Allen, and he is not far off Patrick Mahomes when it comes to total-package play-making. Coordinator Brian Daboll’s departure looms, however you may’t educate Allen’s dimension, rocket arm and bulldozing legs. The QB’s prime receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, already one of many NFL’s greatest, helps the trigger. As does coach Sean McDermott’s loaded protection, which has difference-makers at each degree: Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer on the again finish, Tre’Davious White exterior, and now Von Miller off the sting.
The DOLPHINS are experimenting with full-fledged assist for much-maligned younger QB Tua Tagovailoa, whose early-career marriage to protected throws has made followers impatient however may very well be simply the recipe for brand spanking 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 broad, and a steady of rushers together with ex-NFC West backs Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel, short-area movement must be their specialty. A stingy protection led by Brian Flores holdover Josh Boyer can be intact. However it all comes again to the QB, whose ceiling stays a thriller.
The PATRIOTS are constructing round their very own younger QB, Mac Jones, in an unorthodox means, forgoing spicy upgrades (sans ex-Dolphins WR DeVante Parker) for an obvious doubling down on the sheer smarts of coach Invoice Belichick and his trusted employees. With offensive guru Josh McDaniels gone and no clear successor designated, Jones will probably lean additional into Belichick’s old-school method of profitable by means of the run sport, tight ends and protection. The roster is healthier outfitted on the former two spots, however even when Matt Judon and the “D” finds a technique to stay sound, Belichick’s high-floor, low-ceiling personnel would not scream title run of previous.
The JETS are betting that second-year QB Zach Wilson, all athleticism however little polish in 2021, will make a leap as a part of a team-wide restocking, erasing concern over coach Robert Saleh’s incapability to subject a single respectable unit in yr one. On paper, Wilson has an entire lineup, from a sturdier line to a long-term talent group to an underrated “D,” which added main assist at move rusher (Jermaine Johnson II), nook (Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed) and security (Jordan Whitehead). Wilson’s free-wheeling tendencies have already gotten him harm, nevertheless, and Saleh nonetheless must show he can put improved personnel in the fitting place.
The RAVENS will not be working from Lamar Jackson’s tendency to win along with his legs; in truth, they’re poised to lean deeper into the run-heavy system constructed across the electrical QB, buying and selling prime WR Marquise Brown, investing within the trenches and strengthening their protection for a ball-control assault. As long as Jackson and at the least one in every of their ball-carriers stays upright, they need to stay a pressure on the bottom. And the “D,” with vets more healthy and new faces like Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton including vary to the secondary, must be improved. Jackson’s trajectory as a passer, nevertheless, might (nonetheless) finally determine their destiny.
The BENGALS are working it again after their impressed Tremendous Bowl bid, besides with an improved entrance for QB Joe Burrow, whose solely actual concern is staying wholesome … and pretty distributing the ball between a few of the NFL’s most explosive weapons in RB Joe Mixon and receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. The opportunistic protection nonetheless has holes at nook, but when Burrow is on his sport, Cincinnati will not have to be shutting out opponents. Possibly the larger curiosity right here, apart from Burrow and star security Jessie Bates III lacking a number of observe this summer time, 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. Touchdown ex-Texans star Deshaun Watson through commerce provides them a possible perennial Professional Bowler below heart, albeit one who might nonetheless miss most, if not all, of 2022 below suspension for alleged serial sexual misconduct. Backup Jacoby Brissett might preserve them afloat contemplating the star energy they’ve elsewhere — at RB (Nick Chubb), WR (Amari Cooper), up entrance and throughout the protection (Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and many others.). However coach Kevin Stefanski is not simply attempting to gel new starters; he is additionally busy attempting to defend his new QB’s character.
The STEELERS are embarking on their first season with out Ben Roethlisberger at QB in nearly 20 years. Meaning it is on coach Mike Tomlin, who’s but to put up a dropping document in 15 years, to get yet one more dominant run from an yearly feisty protection. The disruptive front-seven studs Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt ought to assist do the trick. However all eyes are additionally on Massive Ben’s substitute: Ex-Bears starter Mitchell Trubisky and/or hometown first-rounder Kenny Pickett. Regardless of who begins — or sticks — at QB, Pittsburgh is constructed to compete smashmouth fashion, with RB Najee Harris and TE Pat Freiermuth doing short-area injury.
The TEXANS are seemingly wallowing in their very own mess, changing one getting old head coach with one other regardless of their roster missing greater than a small handful of identifiable constructing blocks. Now in cost: Lovie Smith, 64, a revered man who additionally hasn’t led a profitable group since 2012. Younger QB Davis Mills could also be a shiny spot for the best way he stands tall amid porous setups, however the group seems inexplicably dedicated to a floor sport headlined by a rotation of free-agent leftovers. That is not even mentioning the protection, which was unhealthy below Smith in 2021 and is now banking on injury-prone rookie Derek Stingley Jr. to alter video games.
The COLTS are nonetheless working the NFL’s hottest QB carousel, this time subbing in longtime Falcons star Matt Ryan for Carson Wentz. The swap might not noticeably elevate the ceiling for the place, nevertheless it ought to assist stabilize the offense for coach Frank Reich, whose prime achievement in Indy might be simply weathering abrupt turmoil. Jonathan Taylor, one of many sport’s few true workhorse backs, ought to stay their centerpiece as a result of a missing WR corps. If the protection, now below Gus Bradley’s path, is pretty much as good because it appears on paper, full with big-name additions like Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore, they need to be scrappy.
The JAGUARS are hoping coach Doug Pederson’s heat can revitalize their program, very similar to it did for the Eagles circa 2016-2017. Reality be advised, the one path for former No. 1 choose Trevor Lawrence is up after a forgettable rookie yr at QB below City Meyer. Loaded with money, Jacksonville added a slew of latest starters to assist, and whereas not all of them determine to warrant their worth tags, Lawrence actually has extra established shops, together with ex-Cardinals WR Christian Kirk. The restocked protection, in the meantime, could also be particularly depending on a entrance that includes younger move rushers Travon Walker and Josh Allen.
The TITANS are one of many NFL’s hardest groups, so constantly bodily below Mike Vrabel that even their old-school, Patriots-esque method that favors working the ball and profitable within the defensive trenches is assured to maintain them within the playoff image. Nobody ought to doubt the freakish Derrick Henry, nonetheless important as their chief ball-carrier coming off an injury-riddled yr. And Jeffery Simmons on their D-line might wreak havoc. Their ceiling, nevertheless, may be questioned with QB Ryan Tannehill coming off yet one more poor playoff outing and now pressured to pivot to new targets with No. 1 wideout A.J. Brown traded to Philadelphia.
The CARDINALS are betting huge on QB Kyler Murray, whose athletic upside is extra 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 general choose. They’re additionally betting huge on acquainted names like James Conner, Zach Ertz and A.J. Inexperienced to assist carry Kliff Kingsbury’s offense whereas prime receiver DeAndre Hopkins serves a suspension. The porous protection is extra regarding, the place it is up to some previous (J.J. Watt) or current (Budda Baker) stars to run the entire present. With a troublesome schedule on faucet, they might have an opposed yr in retailer.
The RAMS need to repeat as Tremendous Bowl champions, maybe by leaning principally — and surprisingly — on a protection starring game-changers Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and newcomer Bobby Wagner, of rival Seahawks fame. That is as a result of QB Matthew Stafford, who went from good to essentially good transitioning from the Lions to hotshot coach Sean McVay in 2021, is battling elbow ache that would linger all through the season. His weapons, whereas elite, are additionally barely completely different, with the backfield banged up and Allen Robinson changing Odell Beckham Jr. because the complement to focus on machine Cooper Kupp out broad.
The 49ERS are set to go so far as Trey Lance takes them. With coach Kyle Shanahan set to comply with by means of on plans to show the QB keys over from the serviceable however fragile Jimmy Garoppolo, it is the 2021 first-round choose’s time to shine, with all his evident athleticism and unpolished passing. Deebo Samuel’s presence because the multi-purpose go-to man ought to assist Shanahan preserve his regular floor sport intact, as ought to stars like Trent Williams and George Kittle. The protection also needs to be feisty so long as Nick Bosa is coming off the sting and Fred Warner is patrolling the sector. It is all about what unfolds below heart.
The SEAHAWKS are venturing into life after Russell Wilson, with coach Pete Carroll seeking to show he can, in truth, win with out the QB who helped him hoist a Lombardi. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are an explosive one-two punch out broad, Noah Fant is an rising participant at tight finish, and Rashaad Penny is perhaps simply wonderful as Carroll’s subsequent bell-cow ball-carrier, however behind an iffy line, neither Geno Smith nor the extra gunslinging Drew Lock warrant a lot belief as everlasting starters. The “D,” in the meantime, has a couple of new starters in Shelby Harris and Uchenna Nwosu, however stays dangerously mercurial off the sting and on the again finish.
The COWBOYS, as all the time, are gifted however determined to recover from the hump as contenders, failing to put up back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins since 1995-1996. It is evocative of their QB, Dak Prescott, a top-10 passer who’s but to log a critical big-game run. Prescott’s nonetheless received explosiveness on his aspect on the talent spots, particularly through WR CeeDee Lamb, however different turnover on the place might lead to an even bigger run-game focus, particularly if the “D” stays drawn to the massive play because of younger stars Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs. Coach Mike McCarthy, in the meantime, has the pedigree however perhaps not the in-game technique to encourage.
The GIANTS are targeted on the lengthy haul whereas praying new coach Brian Daboll, greatest recognized for serving to develop Josh Allen because the Payments’ offensive coordinator, can squeeze life out of potential play-makers like Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and, sure, even turnover-prone QB Daniel Jones. Kayvon Thibodeaux ought to enliven their entrance seven on the opposite aspect, which boasts foundational items in Azeez Ojulari and Dexter Lawrence, however the remainder of the protection — and, hey, perhaps even the offense, relying on what occurs below heart — is poised for a 2023 makeover.
The EAGLES need to make a fast leap from shock wild-card contenders to professional division challengers after coach Nick Sirianni leaned into QB Jalen Hurts’ strengths as a runner halfway by means of 2021. The bottom sport might nonetheless preserve them rolling because of a stud line that includes Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, and the “D” is vastly improved at each degree because of an offseason haul together with Haason Reddick and James Bradberry. However their final vacation spot will lie within the palms of Hurts’ improvement, or lack thereof, as a passer now that he is received ex-Titans star A.J. Brown out broad alongside DeVonta Smith.
The COMMANDERS are playing that former rival QB Carson Wentz and his huge however risky arm is usually a game-changer for an offense too usually caught within the mud regardless of that includes weapons like Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin. Defensively, coach Ron Rivera’s entrance stays loaded, with Chase Younger rejoining Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, however their secondary stays a query mark, as does Wentz’s basic reliability at an important spot on the group, particularly behind simply so-so safety. Washington has all the time been aggressive below Rivera, nevertheless it’s but to be a constant, full menace.
The BEARS are claiming to be “all in” on 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields at QB, however they’re saddling him with a still-shaky line and skinny WR corps exterior of Darnell Mooney. The bottom sport may very well be OK with David Montgomery main the best way, however new coach Matt Eberflus has neither the personnel nor the background, as a defensive thoughts hailing from the Colts, to encourage a lot confidence there. The “D,” in the meantime, has some likable rookies (Kyler Gordon, Jaquan Brisker) and will properly keep Windy Metropolis’s feisty popularity however could also be dropping its prime veteran in Roquan Smith, who needs to be traded.
The LIONS are hoping that every one the goodwill fiery coach Dan Campbell has earned regardless of a lowly first-year document will translate to precise success in 2022. The offense is loads speedier with the addition of Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark out broad, and matched with different pass-catchers T.J. Hockenson and Amon-Ra St. Brown, the unit really has some firepower. However QB Jared Goff hasn’t performed an amazing full season for some time, and there are nonetheless huge holes all through Campbell’s protection, even with Aidan Hutchinson added to the move rush. They might be fighters, nevertheless it stays to be seen if the Lions have sufficient to string collectively wins.
The PACKERS are trusting that Aaron Rodgers, at 38 and in maybe his ultimate season, will elevate an offense now with out star wideout Davante Adams for yet one more NFC title bid. Coach Matt LaFleur’s monitor document is great within the common season, and he might lean extra on the tandem of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to win video games on the bottom. However the revamped protection might have simply as huge of a job in offsetting Adams’ loss. Each Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker ought to have huge roles as rookies, and when wholesome and at their peak, Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage and even Rasul Douglas keep across the ball within the secondary.
The VIKINGS are a perpetual wild-card contender, by no means unhealthy sufficient to warrant a reset however by no means nice sufficient to chase a title, and that development is poised to proceed, at the least 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 strong, if unspectacular, starter. However his weapons are a few of the greatest within the sport, between RB Dalvin Prepare dinner and WR Justin Jefferson, and the “D,” post-Zimmer, really appears extra balanced now that Za’Darius Smith and Jordan Hicks have joined Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter at linebacker of their new 3-4.
The FALCONS are ranging from scratch for the second straight yr below coach Arthur Smith, who’s declared ex-Titans flop Marcus Mariota his “man” below heart, 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 change into much more old-school and run-heavy. Which could represent hope for enjoying spoiler all year long, if not for a protection virtually barren of confirmed constructing blocks aside from cowl man A.J. Terrell.
The PANTHERS are so determined for regular QB play they’re coming into 2022 with not one however two former first-round castoffs on the place in Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The previous at the least threatens to convey wild-card-level moxie to an underrated setup that includes No. 1 goal D.J. Moore, the delicate however dynamic Christian McCaffrey and a protection suffering from rising prospects. Whether or not or not coach Matt Rhule can parlay that into good technique and execution is one other query completely. If Mayfield is predictably motivated, by no means say by no means to this group stunning. However neither he nor Carolina have earned full belief.
The SAINTS are in an odd place between contending and rebuilding after the retirement of coach Sean Payton, since changed by defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Acquainted stars like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas at the moment are paired with recent assist up entrance (OT Trevor Penning) and out broad (WRs Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry), whereas Allen’s “D” deserves the good thing about the doubt as a bodily, battle-tested unit. However QB Jameis Winston, the largest X-factor, hasn’t stayed wholesome or constant as a starter in years, even when his abbreviated 2021 trial run had serviceable outcomes.
The BUCCANEERS are contenders so long as Tom Brady, nonetheless defying time at age 45, stays the QB, as a result of the truth is he would not simply throw the ball however impacts the material of the group along with his aura, his historical past, his preparation and, by some means, nonetheless, his arm. Bruce Arians’ retirement as coach, leaving the reins to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, might current some hurdles. So might lingering or new accidents to key starters up entrance (Ryan Jensen) or out broad (Chris Godwin). However this membership has come collectively on the proper occasions below Brady, who’s nonetheless received top-10ish weapons and assist at nearly each place on the roster.
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