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2022 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

The opening week of the 2022 NFL season started with domination by the Bills and ended with the Seahawks upsetting their former quarterback Russell Wilson. Teams that didn’t play their starters in the preseason went 3-8, and I don’t believe that was a coincidence. The Week 2 NFL power rankings include three new teams in the top five behind the Bills and the Bucs in the top two spots.


1. Buffalo Bills (1-0) | Last week: 1



That sums it up nicely for the way Josh Allen and the Bills are rolling right now. With Gabe Davis looking like an elite second wide receiver behind top option Stefon Diggs, the duo of Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder in the slot, and Allen continuing to play out of his mind, Buffalo looks virtually impossible to stop offensively. And the defensive front and pass rush—boosted by free-agent acquisition Von Miller—looks like a major difference-maker in 2022. Keep an eye on Greg Rousseau (one sack in the season opener at LA) emerging as a serious factor off the edge.


2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) | Last week: 2

The Tampa Bay defense, which has been underrated since before their Super Bowl run a couple of seasons ago, looked as good as ever in their convincing effort at Dallas on Sunday night. The Bucs were actually run on a little bit, but the pass rush was impactful and the linebackers and secondary were flying around. On offense, Julio Jones looks like the Julio Jones we’ve seen light up the league throughout his career—he looks fast and comfortable, and that’s a scary sight for the rest of the league. Hopefully Chris Godwin, who made a remarkable recovery from December’s torn ACL to play in the season opener, doesn’t miss much time with his hamstring injury.


3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) | Last week: 7 (+4)

Patrick Mahomes is now 5-0 in Week 1, with 18 touchdowns and zero interceptions after torching the Cardinals for five touchdowns on Sunday. With a quarterback like Mahomes paired with Andy Reid having many weeks to prepare, drawing Kansas City in Week 1 is almost unfair for the opposition. As said on The Wolf Sports Show last week, the Chiefs might be even more dangerous without Tyreek Hill and with the revamping of their receiving corps—good luck to defenses trying to stop everyone in that offense. Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie looked excellent in his NFL debut, and hopefully he doesn’t miss too much time (minimum four games while on Injured Reserve).


4. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) | Last week: 6 (+2)

The Chargers defense gets two thumbs up for their Week 1 performance, headlined by Khalil Mack notching three sacks in his first game in powder blue. Davante Adams got his on 17 targets, but Asante Samuel Jr. held up quite well in spots while facing arguably the best receiver in the league. Without Keenan Allen (hamstring), look for Mike Williams, who had a very quiet opener, to step up in the highly anticipated Thursday Night Football matchup at Kansas City—the first on Amazon Prime Video.


5. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) | Last week: 8 (+3)

The James Bradberry pick-six was big, but the defense for the Eagles can be considered a negative overall in Week 1, allowing the Lions to climb back and make it a game. The Philadelphia run defense was much better when first-round rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis was in the game, and he should get more snaps as the season progresses. In his team debut, A.J. Brown quickly showed why I’ve believed that he can take the mantle as the NFL’s top receiver. Philadelphia was my “secondary” pick to win the NFC, and they are quickly ranked as the second-best team in the conference in the power rankings.


6. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) | Last week: 18 (+12)

This might be too much of a jump based off Week 1 (remember, Pittsburgh looked dominant defensively versus Buffalo to open last season too), and the rise wouldn’t have been as big without the excellent news on T.J. Watt’s pectoral injury. Watt does not need surgery and is only expected to miss around six weeks—when he’s back, it is going to be a massive boost. Mitchell Trubisky looks comfortable operating the Steelers’ offense, and look for them to get the run game going with Najee Harris moving forward.


7. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) | Last week: 4 (-3)

The revamped offensive line just might need time to mesh, but the results were not as I was hoping to kick things off. Cincinnati was one of those eight teams that didn’t play the starters in the preseason, and that might have had an impact on the offense—including Joe Burrow, who promptly threw a pick-six to Minkah Fitzpatrick and threw four interceptions total. However, the craziness of the game could have easily ended in a Bengals win multiple times, including on the touchdown by Ja’Marr Chase as time expired in regulation. Burrow has shown the extreme confidence to bring his team back into games, and he’ll look to limit the turnovers versus the Cowboys this Sunday.


8. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) | Last week: 19 (+11)

The Vikings were a rare team that didn’t have starters like Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Justin Jefferson get preseason action yet had immediate success as an offense. Kevin O’Connell’s attack is getting a ton of praise after Week 1, and we’ll see if they can parlay that into success in what should be a tough environment at Lincoln Financial Field and Monday Night Football (Cousins has struggled on MNF throughout his career; he started his career 0-9 on Monday nights but has won his last two). Perhaps this is too high of a rise in the power rankings, but the defense led by an underrated front seven is intriguing.


9. Green Bay Packers (0-1) | Last week: 5 (-4)

The Packers basically had a repeat of last season, with a very poor Week 1 showing—particularly on offense, but the defense had too many lapses in coverage. There’s no reason to panic if you’re a Packers fan. Green Bay was down both its starting offensive tackles, and the lack of preseason action probably hurt them more than most considering that, as great as Aaron Rodgers is, he didn’t mesh in games with his new-look receiving group. I believe the Packers can successfully play through Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon all season, and I’m excited to see how it plays out (not just because I have them both on my fantasy team).


10. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) | Last week: 3 (-7)

As this seven-spot drop (the biggest of the week) indicates, I think there is reason to be concerned about the Rams this season. It starts with the offensive line, which was overwhelmed by the Bills. Cooper Kupp (13 catches, 128 yards, one touchdown) is pretty much carrying the offense, but Matthew Stafford can get others like Allen Robinson involved. However, if the offensive line does not improve, the team might not have another deep playoff run in store. Something Los Angeles might have going for them is that the NFC West might not be quite as competitive as many expected entering 2022.


11. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) | Last week: 14 (+3)

I thought Joe Flacco had a shot to light up his former team to open the season, but the Ravens defense did an excellent job in limiting Elijah Moore and New York’s weapons. Lamar Jackson didn’t run much in Week 1, and I don’t think he wants to run much, preferring to show that he can win games as a passer (and get paid a ton for it). I’m curious to see how the Ravens offense looks all season and whether Jackson will run less often than he has in past years. A concern for Baltimore was their health, as sometimes teams have bad injury luck over multiple seasons; it was not a good start for Baltimore in that area, with cornerback Kyle Fuller (ACL) and offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (Achilles) both out for the year.


12. Miami Dolphins (1-0) | Last week: 17 (+5)

The Miami offense showcased some explosiveness led by Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but the defense was the story in the Week 1 victory versus the Patriots. New England was limited to seven points, and the Dolphins had a defensive score on a strip sack. The plus-three turnover margin was critical in somewhat of a sloppy game. Shockingly, considering New England’s success facing young quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa is now 4-0 against Bill Belichick to begin his career.


13. Indianapolis Colts (0-0-1) | Last week: 12 (-1)

It took time for Matt Ryan and the Colts offense to get going, but the 17 fourth-quarter points was enough to force overtime and an eventual tie at Houston—ties are not fun, especially to begin the season, but Indy can carry some thing over to Week 2 at Jacksonville. There had been talk that Jonathan Taylor’s workload would be limited compared to last season, so it was surprising that he received 35 touches right away. Kwity Paye was a standout with two sacks in Week 1, but the Colts defense needs All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard to be at their best.


14. Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) | Last week: 9 (-5)

Another team that didn’t play its skill position starters (aside from Josh Jacobs), the Raiders might have struggled because of that to begin the season. While Derek Carr immediately had a good connection with former college teammate Davante Adams, who looks primed for another amazing campaign, the veteran quarterback was uncharacteristically off a bit and threw three interceptions. On the positive side, the defense appeared to play very hard to help keep the team in the game at the Chargers.


15. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) | Last week: 10 (-5)

Quarterback Dak Prescott is unfortunately set to miss at least a few weeks (and potentially several weeks) after surgery on a broken thumb on his right throwing hand, and it’s undoubtedly a massive blow to the squad. In an offense that needs its receivers to step up, Dak was someone to be counted on that can carry the offense while complementing what should be a dynamic defense. At least Ezekiel Elliott looked great on Sunday night, but the NFL’s top scoring attack from 2021 was held out of the endzone in the opener—and it’s going to be tough without Dak in the lineup for at least the rest of the month.


16. Tennessee Titans (0-1) | Last week: 11 (-5)

The Titans felt in control for most of their loss to the Giants, so it’s concerning that the game could not be put away, as it typically is with Derrick Henry (21 carries, 82 yards) at running back. Maybe you can chalk it up to a weird game to begin the season, but the Titans now must go to Buffalo to face the Bills on Monday night looking to avoid 0-2. As for the positives, the offense is deeper at the skill positions than people might think, with Dontrell Hilliard and rookie Kyle Philips looking like matchup headaches for opposing defenses.


17. New Orleans Saints (1-0) | Last week: 20 (+3)

Jameis Winston led his team to 17 fourth-quarter points, with former All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas catching both of his touchdowns in his first action since 2020. The New Orleans defense, which is usually a lock to be stout against the run, was gashed by Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Mariota, so look for them to correct things there when they battle the Bucs this week.


18. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) | Last week: 13 (-5)

I’m not going to put too much stock into the Week 1 loss in rainy Chicago, as the conditions got to a point where it was almost the opposite of ideal for Trey Lance trying to get comfortable in his first start of the season—and his first year as a full-time starter for an entire season since 2019 at North Dakota State. The San Francisco defense allowing touchdowns of 18 and 51 yards (and 19 second-half points including 12 in the fourth quarter) was disappointing. The entire team will look to elevate its play in Week 2 when they host Seattle.


19. New England Patriots (0-1) | Last week: 16 (-3)

Losing the turnover margin (by three) and allowing a non-offensive touchdown is not what Bill Belichick teams are used to, so it had to be frustrating for the Patriots to begin the year that way at Miami—Belichick, understandably considering it was clearly intentional grounding, was about as mad as I’ve seen him late in the game when the officials missed grounding by Tua. Mac Jones is now dealing with a back issue, but he’s expected to be fine; the Pats might try to establish the run game more to take some pressure off Jones while he’s banged up.


20. Denver Broncos (0-1) | Last week: 15 (-5)

Like just about everyone else, I thought the clock management by first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett was crazy—but I don’t think it is quite as bad as most are making it out to be. Brandon McManus has the ability to make that kick, and it just didn’t go Denver’s way. Still, the start to the Russell Wilson era was extra disappointing with the loss coming to his former team with the Broncos as 6.5-point favorites. Again, Denver is a team that did not play during the preseason, and they had a sluggish start on Monday night. On defense, Bradley Chubb eventually got going late in the game, and he might be getting overlooked among the best edge players in football.


21. Washington Commanders (1-0) | Last week: 26 (+5)

The two interceptions from Carson Wentz in a tight game are something the Commanders might just have to live with, but Wentz did also throw four touchdowns (two to rookie Jahan Dotson) in his Washington debut. The Commanders receiving group led by Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Dotson is extremely underrated and explosive; you don’t want to overreact to one game, but it’s been clear to me that people are going to look foolish for laughing at the Dotson pick at No. 16 overall.


22. Detroit Lions (0-1) | Last week: 22

The Lions are steady at No. 22 in the power rankings. Week 1 played out about as I expected the Lions to look this season. The defense might be undermanned compared to high-powered teams like the Eagles, but Detroit as a team will find a way to battle and make it a game every week—and they can win games with Jared Goff playing behind a strong offensive line and an upgraded supporting cast. Sixth-round rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, a star on Hard Knocks, flashed in his debut.


23. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) | Last week: 21 (-2)

I’ve outlined by concerns for the Cardinals—tough early-season schedule on paper, in-season Hard Knocks late in the season when they have struggled in the past—and Week 1 was a relatively dreadful start, as it never really felt that they were in the game versus the Chiefs. It’ll help if they can get J.J. Watt (calf) and Rondale Moore (hamstring) back this week.


24. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) | Last week: 29 (+5)

The word has been that the Seahawks believed they would be better than outsiders think, and I have agreed with that assessment (despite their No. 29 rank last week; it is simply a very deep league right now). So far, so good, with Seattle following the formula they can win with—taking care of the ball on offense and controlling the game there, and making big defensive stops. Geno Smith didn’t have much of a shot with the Jets, and he appears to be taking full advantage in his second opportunity as a starting quarterback. I frankly don’t understand why everyone was so surprised with his performance on Monday night; he’s shown that he throws a nice, accurate ball, and now you can easily see his experience and time in the league helping him lead the offense.


25. New York Giants (1-0) | Last week: 27 (+2)

It’s safe to say that Saquon Barkley is back. The former No. 2 overall pick ran with major attitude in Week 1’s upset at Tennessee, and he basically put the team on his back in the second half, including on the two-point conversion where he made a couple of guys miss to get in for the go-ahead, game-winning points. With Barkley running behind a much-improved offensive line, New York can do some damage in 2022 if the defense holds up.


26. Cleveland Browns (1-0) | Last week: 28 (+2)

Nick Chubb (22 carries, 141 yards) paced the Browns in Week 1, with Kareem Hunt mixing in and scoring a couple of touchdowns against a Panthers defense that probably didn’t have much fun trying to tackle Chubb and then handle Hunt coming into the game. It appears Cleveland definitely found its kicker in LSU’s Cade York, who came through with the game-winning field goal to help Cleveland start 1-0 with an eye toward 2-0 when they face the Jets this Sunday.


27. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) | Last week: 25 (-2)

The Marcus Mariota-led Falcons looked set to start the season with a victory before a late comeback by the Saints—the defense not having enough juice was my primary concern entering 2022, and the unit couldn’t quite hold on to begin the year. However, defensive coordinator Dean Pees might be able to elevate that unit to help make Atlanta—when pairing an improved defense with a playmaking quarterback—competitive.


28. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) | Last week: 23 (-5)

Week 1 was filled with missed opportunities for the Jaguars, including some struggles from the promising duo of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. However, there are things to be excited about offensively, including Christian Kirk looking like a No. 1 receiver and James Robinson (two touchdowns) making a triumphant return from a torn Achilles. Also, No. 2 overall pick Travon Walker starred in the loss, with both a sack and an interception for Jacksonville.


29. Chicago Bears (1-0) | Last week: 32 (+3)

The Bears came into the regular season with something to prove, with many people picking them to be the worst team in the league (including me). The weather conditions were advantageous for them in a game where the Niners probably had the clear advantage from a roster standpoint, but the Bears deserve a ton of credit for coming through in the uncommon conditions. Chicago now faces a Green Bay team that’s likely to be angry and motivated this Sunday night.


30. Carolina Panthers (0-1) | Last week: 24 (-6)

If you follow along on Wolf Sports, you know I’m high on Matt Rhule’s ability to build a program. But losing Week 1 at home to the Browns, when Baker Mayfield and company had the motivation factor on their side with Mayfield facing his former team, is obviously not ideal—it’s something Carolina needs to move past quickly as they look to Week 2 versus the Giants. After 17 fourth-quarter points, the Panthers will try to keep things rolling offensively right away this weekend—I think a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey, who didn’t get a ton of opportunities on the ground early last week, is in order.


31. Houston Texans (0-0-1) | Last week: 30 (-1)

I was happy to see former first-round tight end O.J. Howard score two touchdowns in his debut for the Texans, and his ability down the field was a factor in Houston building a lead in their eventual tie with the Colts. The lack of usage of rookie running back Dameon Pierce was one of the biggest shocks of Week 1, and we’ll see if the Texans get him more work this Sunday on the road against Denver.


32. New York Jets (0-1) | Last week: 31 (-1)

Jets head coach Robert Saleh says he’s “taking receipts” for those that mock his team. That’s fine, but I’m not sure I would have said that publicly when the team has had little success—and I don’t think the Jets are in a spot to worry about what other people are saying right now. New York must play well at Cleveland in Week 2 as Saleh and company look to turn things around and have a breakout season.