Week 1 of the 2022 NFL Season is about to begin and @TheBrysh has been running the Power Rankings formula since the draft. @TheBrysh Power Rankings (PR’s) are calculated using a complex algorithm, developed in the 1990’s, that involves roster changes, draft picks, previous performances, success against point spreads, home field advantages, etc. The PR’s are recalculated each week to reflect changes and updated standings.
2022 NFL Opening Week Formula
The opening week PR’s are calculated by percentage, to result in an A to F lettered grade. Because the PR’s are percentage based, it is not likely to see a team with an F or even a D rating. In the weeks to follow, the PR recalculations will be represented in a 1-16 rating for each Conference. @TheBrysh Power Rankings are also used to calculate weekly predictions, which will be published as well.
The AFC East is a tough looking Division in 2022…and then they have the NY Jets. The Buffalo Bills have the most talented roster in the NFL, the top rated defense and QB Josh Allen has developed a high football IQ to go with his big arm. The Bills should coast to 1st in the entire AFC this season.
The New England Patriots have an easy schedule for the first half and should exploit it. The big question for the Pats is how QB Mac Jones performs in his 2nd season. HC Bill Belichick should be able to pilot this team to 2nd in the Division.
The Miami Dolphins are a serious threat for 2nd place in the division with the acquisition of speed freak WR Tyreek Hill. This team has the potential to challenge the Pats, but a tough schedule tells me that they wind up a close 3rd.
The NY Jets have their work cut out for them in 2022 with a tough schedule in the first half. Compound the Jets schedule with a question mark for QB Zach Wilson coming off of a knee surgery, they will start the season with replacement Joe Flacco. The Jets were 4-13 last year, look for a repeat in 2022.
The AFC North appears to have two runaway competitors for 1st place in the division. I am going with the Cincinnati Bengals to repeat their regular season performance from last year. The Bengals have a potent offense, led by QB Joe Burrow and deadly WR duo Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins. Even if their defense falters, I will pick the Bengals to take 1st in the AFC North.
Close behind in the chase for the AFC North crown, the Baltimore Ravens are actually favoured by most oddsmakers. The Ravens do have the best defense in the Conference and a soft start to the season. Will QB Lamar Jackson pull the team together and compete for first? They should make the playoffs, but won’t knock off the Bengals.
The Pittsburgh Steelers finished 8-9 last year and hope to break .500 in 2022. The Steelers do have an outstanding set of WR’s in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and George Pickens. Unfortunately, it goes down-hill from there with plenty of question marks on the roster.
With the suspension of QB Deshaun Watson lasting until week 13 the Cleveland Browns do not have much to offer on offense. If Watson does return in week 13, will he be up to snuff after nearly 2 years off the field? It looks like 6th year, replacement quarterback, Jacoby Brissett will take the helm in the mean time. If Brissett cannot deliver at least 4 wins, the Browns won’t make .500 this year.
Look for a tight competition for the lead in the AFC South this season. The Tennessee Titans were the top AFC seed last year, but lost in the first playoff round to the Bengals. The big shake-up for the Titans this year comes at WR with the replacement of AJ Brown with rookie Treylon Burks. If RB Derrick Henry can return to form, the Titans have a good shot of taking the Division.
The Indianapolis Colts have traded QB Carson Wentz to Washington and look to start former Falcons QB Matt Ryan. Ryan is 37 years old, but I’m sure he has a 4,00 yard season left in him. The Colts are a well rounded team, the big question mark lays on the performance of Ryan in his 15th season and a new offensive system. Look for the Colts to be a close 2nd to Tennessee.
Last year the Houston Texans finished the season at 4-13 and replaced HC David Culley with Lovie Smith. The Texans picked up draft picks at 3 and 15, and collected some veteran talent in free agency, but no standout names. Look for them to repeat last year’s performance.
The oddsmakers are calling for a much improved Jacksonville Jaguars club after a horrible 3-14 season last year, I disagree. It’s possible that 22 year old QB Trevor Lawrence could have a breakthrough season after showing some promise in his rookie season. Aside from the potential of Lawrence, the Jag’s were the most outscored team in the entire NFL last season. I believe the Jag’s will be in the realm of 2 or 3 wins in 2022.
Winning the AFC West is something the Kansas City Chiefs do with their eyes closed, they’ve won six straight titles and nearly made it seven last year. QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce are a deadly combo, hooking up almost 400 times for over 6,000 yards and 43 TD’s in the last 2 seasons. The WR unit is largely new, but Mahomes will still make it a near 5,000 yard season with RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire giving the ground support. Even with a tough schedule the Chiefs will be Champs in one of the AFC’s sturdiest Divisions.
What will QB Russell Wilson bring to the Denver Broncos? With star WR Tim Patrick out for the season with an ACL reconstruction, we wonder if Wilson can improvise. Second year RB Javonte Williams has demonstrated his potential with tackle breaking power, and I believe he will break through and become a franchise rusher. Defensively, the Broncos will be extremely solid in 2022, giving up an average of less than 19 points per game last year.
If anyone has an opportunity to challenge for 2nd place in the AFC West, it is the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have some real depth to their roster and have reinforced it with additions like OLB Khalil Mack, DT Sebastian Joseph and CB J.C. Jackson. 3rd year QB Justin Herbert is a dynamic 5,000 yard a season player, will he have enough push to challenge the Broncos for 2nd?
The Las Vegas Raiders have made some aggressive moves recently, confounding @TheBrysh to wonder if they are pushing for a top playoff seed this season. The Raiders were able to clamber their way into the playoffs last year, but lost possession too many times and were eliminated. Las Vegas has question marks on their offensive line and defensive backfield, with these deficiencies I see the Raiders coming in 4th in a tough division.
The reigning NFC Champion Dallas Cowboys had the 2nd best point differential last year and posted a 12-5 record. The Cowboys’ offense is blessed with all-star talent like QB Dak Prescott, TE Dalton Schultz and WR CeeDee Lamb. The health of RB Ezekiel Elliot has been called into question lately, and yet he still started 17 games last year, he still has a few 1,000 yarders left. Last year, the Cowboys were rated first in the league for Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average, that and a dangerous offense puts them on top of the division.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in a good position to challenge the Cowboys for the crown this season. The Eagles also had an impressive point differential last year, outscoring the opposition by 59 points. Furthermore, the Eagles have added pass rushing LB Haason Reddick and CB James Bradbury. QB Jalen Hurts has great potential, but has shown problems with accuracy and decision making under pressure. All in all, the Eagles have the roster depth to get to the playoffs but not a division title.
After a 4-13 record last year, the NY Giants needed a change of pace and removed Joe Judge as head coach and replaced him with Brian Daboll. This team will not challenge for the division title and is in a rebuilding phase. @TheBrysh is not a big believer in the impact of a draft, but the Giants really cleaned up in 2022. Promising draft picks include DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, and lanky LSU cornerback Cordale Flott. If QB Daniel Jones continues to mature, the Giants should take 3rd.
Training camp reports of QB Carson Wentz having difficulty with accuracy should be concerning to the Washington Commanders. Wentz is on his third team in 3 years, and despite a $28 million contract, has only recorded mediocre stats and QB Ratings. I get the feeling that if Wentz can’t break out of his deep blue funk, he will eventually be relegated to backup or journeyman. Concerns about depth on the defensive squad compound the issues and the Commanders do not appear to have a shot at 3rd.
The NFC North title has belonged to the Green Bay Packers for 8 of the last 11 seasons. It should be no surprise that the Packers are favoured to take 1st place again, despite concerns about their run defense the last few years. At age 38, QB Aaron Rodgers continues to pump out 4,00 yards, in addition to winning NFL MVP the last 2 years. There is little doubt that Rodgers can lead the Packers to a division title, the question is who his target(s) will be with all-star WR Davante Adams shipping out to Las Vegas. The receiving unit is revamped with WR’s Sammy Watkins, and rookies Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure.
Despite an 8-9 finish last year, the Minnesota Vikings kept their losses close and ended the season with a scoring differential of only -1 total. With a submissive schedule this season, Minnesota’s success seems to hinge on their performance against division rivals Green Bay and Chicago. The Vikings are offensively distinguished with QB Kirk Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook, WR’s Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and TE Irv Smith Jr. The Vikings won’t win this division, but have a great chance of making the playoffs.
Another team that has shaken up their front office looking for life is the Chicago Bears, replacing their GM and head coach. The Bears are challenged by a lack of cap space and were largely inactive in free agency, as well they did not have a 1st round draft pick. Second year QB Justin Fields is developing promptly, to the satisfaction of the club and fans, but it will not bring them any higher than 3rd in the NFC North
The Detroit Lions are also in a stage of rebuilding this year and appear to be satisfied with 27 year old Jared Goff as their starting QB. The Lions schedule looks pretty soft with games against the Jets, Panthers, Jaguars and Commanders. Detroit has been hampered by the injury bug with players like D’Andre Swift, TJ Hockenson, Tyrell Williams and Quintez Lopez going down at inopportune times. If the Lions can remain healthy they have a chance at a .500 season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the dominant team of the NFC South Division. As @TheBrysh sees it, there is no point in betting against the GOAT, and with QB Tom Brady, all things are possible. The Buc’s won the Super Bowl in 2020, they won a Wild Card playoff game against the Eagles and had a 13-4 record last year. Rumors were abound that Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski were heading to Las Vegas, but that Gruden quashed the idea. Gronkowski’s intentions were still unknown at the time of writing, but even without Gronk, the Buccaneers are still the team to beat.
In New Orleans, QB Jameis Winston is scheduled to be back from a season ending ACL injury last year. Winston has been dealing with a foot injury during the preseason, but appears to be ready for the regular season. The Saints are looking forward to the return of WR Michael Thomas from an ankle injury, and have added free agent SB Jarvis Landry, as well as 1st round draft pick WR Chris Olave. The Saints won’t challenge the Buc’s this year, but with their sturdy defense, will contend for a Wild Card spot.
With rookie QB Matt Corral expected to miss the season, the Carolina Panthers will likely rely on former Browns QB Baker Mayfield. Hopefully Mayfield can hold the reigns until Corral can be gently reinjected into the lineup. Mayfield was steady for Cleveland, but his receiving unit in Carolina is inconsistent. If the Panthers acquire performances up to potential from RB Christian McCaffrey, WR’s DJMoore, Robbie Anderson and Terrace Marshall Jr, they could have the powerhouse offense of the NFC South. But don’t count on them making the playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons are in the midst of one of the slowest rebuilds in modern history. The Falcons are noted as having a horrendous scoring differential last season of -146 points. The QB position is still up in the air, with rookie Desmond Ridder and Raiders free agent Marcus Mariota competing for the spot. Weak offense and weak defense does not foreshadow a successful season, I can’t see Atlanta winning more than 4 games this season.
The NFC West looks to be the most competitive division in the league this season. The Arizona Cardinals came off the tracks last year, but @TheBrysh predicts a strong comeback for in 2022. The Cardinals are a very complete team, and have the luxury of a relatively soft schedule this year. With QB Kyler Murray establishing himself as a franchise player, and the optimistic return of 10,000 yard WR AJ Green, this looks to be a top offense. The defense is also at the top of the division with 3 time Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt leading a brutal pass rush, and Pro Bowl Safety Budda Baker with CB’s Byron Murphy and Robert Alford. Bet on the Cards to win the NFC West crown.
With the Los Angeles Rams returning as Super Bowl Champions, it is with a heavy heart that I have to place them in 2nd place behind The Cardinals this year. The Rams have enjoyed division titles 9 of the last 20 seasons, and look to place closely behind Arizona. The Rams offense will be without star WR’s Odell Beckham Jr and Robert Woods, will QB Matthew Stafford have another near 5,000 yard campaign without these pieces? On defense, the Rams DT’s Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines, along with LB’s Leonard Floyd and Von Miller, combined for over 31 QB Sacks last year. Look for the Rams in the Wild Card round.
With the NFC West representing 3 playoff entries last year, don’t bet against it happening again in the 2022 season. The San Francisco 49’ers were very impressive statistically last year where they outscored their opponents by 62 points. The QB situation is still in question, and it appears that Trey Lance is being prepared for a succession from veteran Jimmy Garappolo. Either way, with the 49’ers solid on offense and defense, they look to compete for a Wild Card playoff berth.
The descent of the Seattle Seahawks, and their monster defense, is well underway. The Seahawks will have to redefine themselves without the help of star QB Russell Wilson. Seattle received plenty of draft picks, and some forgettable names from the Wilson trade to Denver. None of these additions look to turn the Seahawks into a division contender any time soon. Even with a positive point differential last year, and a somewhat easier schedule this season, @TheBrysh identifies the ‘Hawks as a cellar dweller in the NFC West.
Written by: Jack Cameron @TheBrysh