Dustin Baker’s Midsummer NFL Power Rankings

Dustin Baker’s Midsummer NFL Power Rankings
Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Since the last posting of these NFL power rankings, a handful of transactions have occurred, like the trade by the Carolina Panthers for Baker Mayfield this week.

Accordingly, consider this batch the summer edition of power rankings. Before the 2022 regular season begins, one final edition will be published.

The teams are ranked in ascending order, from worst to best.

32. Houston Texans

Jan 2, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports.

Davis Mills might develop into something neat, but the Texans roster is lousy compared to the rest of the league.

31. Atlanta Falcons

Jun 14, 2022; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

The Falcons live in a self-imposed friend zone. We don’t know if they’re trying to tank — or compete.

30. Chicago Bears

Bears QB Plans to 'Take Over' NFL
Jun 8, 2022; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Bears lost Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Tarik Cohen, Jimmy Graham, Tashaun Gipson, Jason Peters, and Eddie Goldman this offseason.

Lord have mercy.

29. Seattle Seahawks

Jan 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Drew Lock experiment begins — unless Seattle trades for division foe Jimmy Garoppolo — and so does Seattle’s tenure in the bottom tier of league power rankings.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. © Corey Perrine / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Jaguars can grow substantially in 2022, but their roster is still timid compared to other depth charts.

27. New York Jets

Jan 9, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

After a phenomenal 2022 draft class, Zach Wilson and his peers begin to drag the Jets out of the NFL’s doghouse, where they’ve lived for years.

26. Detroit Lions

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions will finish third in the NFC North, maybe even with a 7-10 record so. Detroit’s offensive and defensive trenches are impressive. So is Amon-Ra St. Brown. But Jared Goff is not.

25. Washington Commanders

Another WR Gets Paid, and Justin Jefferson Salivates Somewhere.
Oct 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Washington will be the latest team to experience the Carson Wentz snakebite. They should’ve traded for Baker Mayfield if they wanted a question-mark QB1. Wentz had his chance in Indianapolis — and flopped.

24. New York Giants

Aug 28, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

There is a lot of Daniel Jones hype as “mini-Josh Allen,” but hype is hype. Turning the culture around is solely up to Brian Daboll.

23. Cleveland Browns

Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports.

Low, right? They live at #23 because their $230 million quarterback will likely be suspended for 8-17 games. The Browns will pay Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield not to play in 2022. Then, Jacoby Brissett leads the charge versus a deadly AFC. Audible laugh out loud.

22. Carolina Panthers

Dec 10, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports.

Some believe the Panthers defense stinks. Last year, Carolina’s defense was outstanding. What gives? Lost in the Mayfield trade hubbub was the idea he can simply give the ball to Christian McCaffrey 25 times per game. That helps.

21. Miami Dolphins

Dec 5, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

This will be a very fun team to watch. It has newness galore, with Tua Tagovailoa as the fulcrum to determine if Miami is any good.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

Trubisky or Pickett? Coming to a Steelers-themed website near year. Regardless of who plays QB1 for the bulk of the regular season, we know Pittsburgh has an 8-9 floor. They won’t be terrible. It’s impossible.

19. New Orleans Saints

Jun 2, 2022; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints Jameis Winston. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

No Brees. No Payton. Who are these guys? The Saints are a fringe 10-7 team — is what. The Winston saga continues as the QB1 gets another starting nod.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

Nov 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Sneakily, the Eagles made it to the 2021 playoffs. They suddenly have a bunch of firepower on offense. Like Daniel Jones in New York, this team’s prognosis depends on Hurts’ maturational progression.

17. New England Patriots

Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports.

New England will probably find a way to contend for a sixth or seventh seed. But doesn’t their lack of talent of offense eventually bottom the franchise out (at least by their standards)?

16. Las Vegas Raiders

Jan 15, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports.

The AFC West is murderous, and the Raiders will be the only AFC West team susceptible to murder.

15. San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance
Aug 29, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Kyle Shanahan needs Trey Lance to bust out for his trade 14 months ago to look smart. So, they’ll force him to start, hell or high water.

14. Minnesota Vikings

Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell talks to wide receivers Adam Thielen (left) and Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings, undeniably, have the roster to reach the postseason. The enterprise is banking on Kevin O’Connell to shine immediately, mainly because the 2022 roster looks 80% similar to the 2021 edition.

13. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans center Ben Jones.

Tennessee is the beneficiary of a weak division, and an obituary on their little run amid the last few years cannot be authored just yet.

12. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts QB, Matt Ryan. © Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Matt Ryan isn’t geriatric, and a competent quarterback is all the Colts need. Now, they have one.

11. Baltimore Ravens

John Harbaugh
Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

While Baltimore doesn’t have loads of offensive weaponry around Lamar Jackson, they do have John Harbaugh and a fabulous 2022 draft class.

10. Arizona Cardinals

vikings Kyler Murray's Trade Availablity
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Folks sleep on the Cardinals for unknown reasons. The CBs aren’t great, but the rest of the depth chart is pretty fantastic.

9. Dallas Cowboys

Former Vikings LB Could Be on Cowboys Shopping List
Jun 14, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

Dak Prescott enters Year Seven as a starter, so all excuses surrounding his performance must cease. He’s not a young-young quarterback anymore. It’s time for the Cowboys to make noise.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

Beware of the Super Bowl runner-up curse. Thankfully for their sake, the Bengals, like the Chiefs last offseason, fixed their one scourge — offensive line pass protection — in a single offseason. Must be nice.

7. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers and D.J. Wonnum
Nov 1, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is hit by Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent via USA TODAY NETWORK.

Aaron Rodgers will find a way to make them an 11+ win team, but the Packers window is closing.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle James Lynch (92) tackles Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

A depth chart of dreams, it’s very strange that Los Angeles hasn’t reached the postseason in Justin Herbert’s first two years. That will change in 2022.

5. Denver Broncos

Jan 28, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos GM George Paton. Mandatory Credit: John Leyba-USA TODAY Sports.
  • 2020 Super Bowl Winner = Team with a new and wonderful veteran quarterback
  • 2021 Super Bowl Winner = Team with a new and wonderful veteran quarterback
  • 2022 Super Bowl Winner = Hmmmm.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

Any person who ever counts a Tom Brady-led team is a lunatic.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Oct 10, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) talks with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Chiefs don’t reach the Super Bowl in 2022, the shine of Patrick Mahomes will fade just a little bit.

2. Los Angeles Rams

Sep 27, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) chases down Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

The dream-team roster from 2021 is still intact — and might even be better.

1. Buffalo Bills

Jan 15, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

If this isn’t “the Bills year,” when is? Buffalo’s roster is marvelous, deep, and hungry. Should the Bills falls short of the Super Bowl again, Brandon Beane might go bonkers trying to figure out the solution.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).