Now is the time to turn to Glendale, Arizona, where the next Super Bowl will take place. If we believe the trend of the moment, is it enough to bet on the Cardinals next February and believe in “never two without three”?
We will see. In the meantime, the NFL offseason or “Offseason” has begun. And to imagine who could do more or less well in 2022, who can believe it and who will still have to wait, here is my Power Rankings (Final Edition), a totally subjective vision of the balance of power in the NFL, before the Draft of April and almost 200 days before the resumption.
1 (6)* – LOS ANGELES RAMS (16-5)
The Rams put all their chips on the table and took the bet, but does the formula for instant success have lasting power? the task will be complex, especially since key players are likely to test the market. How, however, not to envy them, those who will take care of managing this situation by contemplating the Lombardi trophy.
The Rams offer the Super Bowl at home!
2 (3) – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (14-6)
A more than indigestible defeat in the AFC final will not prevent the Mahomes band from claiming a 2th title in 4 years. The Chiefs remain the benchmark of the AFC with 6 consecutive division titles, 4 conference finals in a row and two appearances at the grand ball at the end of the season.
3 (5) – BUFFALO BILLS (12-7)
The Bills were an “infamous” 13 seconds out of a conference final in Kansas City, guided by a playoff run in Josh Allen’s “Rock Star” mode, and they’ll once again start as heavy AFC favorites. The Quarterback has already turned his mind to the Super Bowl he wants to offer his franchise.
4 (1) – GREEN BAY PACKERS (13-5)
3th consecutive year with 13 wins, 1time place of the NFC and Aaron Rodgers MVP, before dying again in the playoffs. The frustrations are immense and the window could well close depending on the choices of the off-season… Of course, the 4th place in this ranking is totally dependent on the presence of Aaron Rodgers.
5 (8) – CINCINNATI BENGALS (13-8)
Be careful not to think too quickly that this type of course will automatically become the norm. The Bengals have learned to win, now they must learn to dominate. They must also learn to protect Joe Burrow who will not last long by cashing 70 sacks per season.
6 (9) – SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (12-8)
A season on the roller coaster, only to fail a few lengths from the Super Bowl, the Niners have shown treasures of adaptability, resilience and tactical genius. It remains to be determined which path to take in 2022, mainly on the Jimmy Garoppolo / Trey Lance file.
7 (4) – TENNESSEE TITANS (12-6)
12 wins and the 1time place of the AFC, despite a long absence of Derrick Henry, logically propelled Mike Vrabel to the title of coach of the year. However, it lacked the spark, in the playoffs, when they were favorites against the Bengals. The conclusion is clear: The Titans have not found their Joe Burrow
8 (16) – BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-9)
Unprecedented “hospital tension” completely blew up the Ravens’ season, but these great playoff regulars should return without too much trouble, once their squad is back on track. A hot topic, all the same: Lamar Jackson’s contract which is likely to seriously occupy the minds before the recovery.
9 (7) – DALLAS COWBOYS (12-6)
The Cowboys will still surely win the NFC East, but will they be able to satisfy their obsession with playoff victories. The pressure is on coach Mike McCarthy who must finally find the right formula to drive his collection of stars.
10 (12) – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-8)
Digested the absence of the playoffs in 2020, the Patriots quickly returned to success and came very close to blowing first place in the AFC East from the Buffalo Bills. Now is the time to build a balanced team around Mac Jones, who was very promising in his rookie year.
11 (11) – LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (10-8)
Josh McDaniels has suggested that Derek Carr has the makings of a Quarterback franchise and one of the new boss’ priority missions will be to lock down the position. Despite the misfortunes encountered in 2021, the Raiders have shown a lot of character and should join in the discussion of underdogs on the restart.
12 (15) – LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-8)
The Chargers hit the nail on the head with Justin Herbert. They now have the challenge of supporting the immense potential of their young Quarterback. A proper defense and less whimsical coaching would be a good start. Their absence from the playoffs remains one of the most shocking facts of the 2021 season.
13 (10) – ARIZONA CARDINALS (11-7)
Long among the leaders of the NFC, the Cardinals finished the regular season on the rims, before exploding against the Rams in the playoffs. Worse still, we started pointing fingers at each other in the locker room. Big doubts hang over the leadership of a team with great potential.
14 (13) – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-9)
Helped by a favorable calendar, the Eagles made a success of their transition by reaching the playoffs. GM Howie Roseman must now take advantage of 10 Draft picks, including 3 first rounds, to build a team capable of taking on the biggest opponents.
15 (2) – TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (14-5)
A being is missing and everything is depopulated. Especially when the being in question turns out to be the GOAT. What successor for Tom Brady? If they find the right answer, the amount of talent present in their workforce is undoubtedly a source of optimism.
The Buccaneers’ moving tribute to Brady
16 (18) – INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-8)
If you take away the middle part, the Colts’ season started like a fiasco and ended like a fiasco. The Colts are still wondering how everything went off the rails, despite Jonathan Taylor’s season and the presence of stars like Deforest Buckner or Darius Leonard. And don’t tell me it’s all Carson Wentz’s fault.
17 (21) – SEATTLE SEAHWKS (7-10)
Russell Wilson hints that he wants to stay. On the other hand, the Seahawks could afford a shovelful of draft rounds by trading him. Major strategic choices present themselves and it will be a question of choosing between strengthening around Wilson and starting from scratch. Not to mention that the NFC West is one of the fiercest divisions in the NFL.
18 (19) – MIAMI DOLPHINS (9-8)
Dismissed with a loss and a crash, Brian Flores hands over the position of Head Coach to Mike McDaniel, considered one of the great offensive gurus in the league. He inherits a staff with holes, in particular on the offensive line and at the position of Running Back, but has a very great salary flexibility. `
19 (22) – DENVER BRONCOS (7-10)
By recruiting Nathaniel Hackett (Offensive Coord. Packers), the Broncos hope to boost their offensive creativity. What about the Quarterback position? Main question in an otherwise very well provided team.
20 (14) – PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-8-1)
In 15 years at the head of the club, Mike Tomlin has never experienced the slightest negative balance sheet. It remains to be seen whether this model of regularity will survive after Big Ben Roethlisberger, in a pool where the Bengals have taken on a new dimension and where the Ravens will come back in force.
21 (17) – NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-8)
The retirement of Drew Brees last season, followed by the bowing out of Sean Payton this year and suddenly one of the most consistent franchises in over fifteen years finds itself having to rethink everything. One of the first major decisions will concern Jameis Winston, who will be returning from knee surgery.
22 (23) – MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-9)
Appointed Head Coach after the dismissal of Mike Zimmer, Kevin O’Connell will be able to support his offensive plans on talents like Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen, and seems to have left to keep Kirk Cousins as Quarterback.
23 (20) – CLEVELAND BROWNS (8-9)
Between the many injuries, the Odell Beckham case and the doubts hanging over Baker Mayfield, it’s as if Kevin Stefanski had to clean his house after a typhoon. Without major improvements in 2022, new reconstruction could quickly take shape near Lake Erie.
24 (24) – WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (7-10)
A new era in the capital, a new name. The Commanders now need a new Quarterback and are ready to offer Chase Young in a trade. It will also be necessary to understand the reasons for the defensive shortcomings. Ron Rivera has his plate cut short.
25 (25) – ATLANTA FALCONS (7-10)
Despite a mountain of questions and worrying numbers, on offense and defense, when you consider the state of the NFC South, the Falcons have almost enough to consider themselves favorites of their division.
26 (26) – CHICAGO BEARS (6-11)
Matt Eberflus replaces Matt Nagy and will have the main challenge of Developing Justin Fields. Once again the success of the Bears will go through their defense, the strongest sector of the team.
27 (32) – NEW YORK GIANTS (4-13)
New Head Coach, Brian Daboll. New defensive coordinator, Don Martindale. New GM, Joe Schoen. Same question, how to maximize the potential of Daniel Jones? The G-Men hope Daboll will have the same kind of impact on their 4-man QBth year, than he could get on Josh Allen in Buffalo.
28 (27) – CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-12)
Since signing his gigantic contract, Christian McCaffrey has missed 23 of his last 33 games with the Panthers. Where are we going with the figure of the franchise?
29 (29) – NEW YORK JETS (4-13)
Progress in 2022 will be closely tied to Zach Wilson’s ability to advance as a No. 2 draft pick and not a limited-talent player, which remains the image the quarterback projected in his freshman year.
30 (30) – DETROIT LIONS (3-13-1)
If not for a few rare feats, The Toothless Lions finished the season, 25th in terms of points scored and 31th in terms of points earned. The revolution is not for tomorrow.
31 (31) – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-14)
Doug Pederson led the Eagles to the Super Bowl. He will try to save the Jaguars from the wreckage orchestrated by Urban Meyer and ensure that Trevor Lawrence does not become the flop of the 2020 Draft.
32 (28) – HOUSTON TEXANS (4-13)
Lovie Smith is promoted to Head Coach of a franchise that drags like a ball what was considered one of the figures of the NFL. It’s hard to imagine a future for this franchise as long as the Deshaun Watson telenovela lasts.
* last ranking given at the end of the regular season