Who is the best NFL team in 2022? Sportsnaut’s Week 13 NFL power rankings examine the National Football League after Week 12, reviewing all 32 teams following an exciting weekend of football.
A three-game slate on Thanksgiving providing more than enough for football fans to feast on. The Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills played like Super Bowl contenders, while the Detroit Lions and New York Giants displayed signs of a promising future.
Related: NFL standings
Sunday also delivered plenty of NFL Week 12 excitement. Trevor Lawrence had a defining moment, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens suffered alarming defeats. It creates the discussion about playoff contenders even more interesting as December arrives.
Let’s dive into the Week 13 NFL power rankings.
32. Houston Texans
- Previously: 32nd in NFL power rankings
Lovie Smith isn’t making it another year. The Houston Texans are the worst NFL team in 2022 and it’s not remotely close. As they race towards the No.1 pick, though, it’s fair to wonder if the front office had always planned to use Smith as a sacrificial lamb, just like they did with David Culley.
31. Los Angeles Rams
- Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings
Even if Matthew Stafford is cleared to play anytime soon, there is no incentive for the Los Angeles Rams to bring him back. At 3-8 with one of the worst point differentials in the NFL, Sean McVay and Les Snead must see the writing on the wall. Shut everyone down and start planning serious changes for the offseason.
30. Chicago Bears
- Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings
Fans didn’t need a reminder of what this team looks like without Justin Fields, but the Chicago Bears provided it on Sunday. All that matters moving forward is that Fields stays healthy and Chicago maximizes its assets to build a great offense around him.
29. Denver Broncos
- Previously: 27th in NFL power rankings
Nathaniel Hackett isn’t calling plays and he is receiving assistance with clock management. With the losses stockpiling, the Denver Broncos might as well fire a coach who now seems like a mascot representing a lot of the offense’s problems. Unfortunately for Denver, getting out of Russell Wilson‘s contract won’t be nearly as easy.
Related: Denver Broncos coaching candidates
28. New Orleans Saints
- Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings
Playoff contention was out of consideration weeks ago for the New Orleans Saints. Once that is off the table, our focus is on the future. New Orleans won’t have its top-10 pick in Round 1 and it is $54 million over the cap. It’s time for a rebuild, one that starts with a Sean Payton trade.
27. Indianapolis Colts
- Previously: No. 22 in NFL power rankings
Ugly. Just ugly. For the first time in his new role, head coach Jeff Saturday looked like an amateur late in Monday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It pretty much ended any hopes that Indianapolis had for playoff contention moving forward. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan continues to prove that he’s a shell of his former self. It’s in this that the Colts drop down in our Week 13 NFL power rankings.
26. Arizona Cardinals
- Previously: 25th in NFL power rankings
The list of the Arizona Cardinals’ problems is long, with many capable of writing a dissertation detailing how the franchise got to this point. With so many central figures holding a sizable stake of responsibility, it’s not out of the question to think ownership contemplates sweeping changes once this disastrous season mercifully ends.
25. Carolina Panthers
- Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings
It’s time to give serious consideration to Steve Wilks being the Carolina Panthers’ head coach in 2023. The team looks better and more disciplined since he took over, even as quarterback play continues to limit the offense most weeks.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
- Previously: 28th in NFL power rankings
We have to give Mike Tomlin’s squad credit for not playing out the string. Pittsburgh’s performance in a 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday adds another layer to that. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett played mistake-free football. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense played extremely well on the road in Indy. It’s not enough to compete for a playoff spot. But things could be looking up here.
23. Green Bay Packers
- Previously: No. 23 in NFL power rankings
Aaron Rodgers can both be in decline and severely limited by an avulsion fracture. It also certainly doesn’t help that the Packers’ offensive line and defense haven’t played up to expectations this year. If Packers fans are looking for something to feel good about, the sudden availability of Jim Leonhard could compel Matt LaFleur to fire Joe Barry.
22. Las Vegas Raiders
- Previously: No. 26 in NFL power rankings
FInally, a statement victory for the Las Vegas Raiders. Beating the worst NFL teams doesn’t say much, but going on the road and outlasting the Seattle Seahawks in a shootout is a positive sign. It doesn’t change the fact that Las Vegas isn’t close to sniffing a .500 record, but these are much-needed bright spots in a dark season.
21. Atlanta Falcons
- Previously: No. 19 in NFL power rankings
Marcus Mariota hasn’t posted a QBR of 60-plus since Oct. 30 and he’s cleared that mark only twice in the last six games. There is nothing Mariota does for the Falcons’ offense that Arthur Smith couldn’t try with Desmond Ridder. Sadly, the quarterback change won’t come until Atlanta is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Related: Best NFL dynasties ever
20. Cleveland Browns
- Previously: 21st in NFL power rankings
Sunday changed everything for the Cleveland Browns. Instead of dropping to 3-8, effectively eliminated from playoff contention, Cleveland is now 4-7 with Deshaun Watson return. From Week 13 on, there’s a distinct possibility the Browns look like one of the better teams in the NFL. Even if it doesn’t earn a playoff berth, it could be a sign of things to come next year.
20. Detroit Lions
- Previously: 18th in NFL power rankings
The Detroit Lions’ record in one-score games might suggest it’s time to replace Dan Campbell. In reality, the first step is finding a franchise-caliber quarterback to take over for Jared Goff. Find the passer who can make the big throws in critical moments and lift the ceiling on this offense. Accomplish that and the Lions are a playoff contender.
18. Seattle Seahawks
- Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings
Well, it isn’t hard to point to positions the Seattle Seahawks will need to spend their first-round picks on. It is becoming evident that the Seahawks are gliding back down to earth, but the descent is softened for fans watching one of the best offenses in the NFL. Whether or not the Seahawks make the playoffs, this season exceeded expectations and the future is bright.
Related: NFL RB rankings
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings
Sunday felt like a turning point for the Jacksonville Jaguars. We’ve mentioned in previous editions of our NFL rankings that the one thing this young team needed was to prove it could step up in clutch moments. Trevor Lawrence‘s game-winning drive delivered just that. Remember Week 12, it could be the launching point for an AFC contender in 2023.
16. New York Giants
- Previously: 17th in NFL power rankings
Odell Beckham Jr. likely witnessed on Thanksgiving what should’ve been obvious. The New York Giants aren’t a contender right now. This is a well-coached team with insufficient talent at critical positions, which proved costly in this two-game losing skid. Considering how the Commanders have played lately, New York could lose three of its next four games.
15. New England Patriots
- Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings
There are no moral victories, especially for the New England Patriots, but Bill Belichick had to feel a little better about Mac Jones after Thanksgiving. Heading into Week 13, Jones boasts a 77.3% completion rate and 116.2 QB rating over his last 66 attempts. It’s a step in the right direction after he played like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for most of the season.
Related: New England Patriots schedule
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Previously: 11th in NFL power rankings
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to win the NFC South and host a playoff game, but that says far more about the division itself. This is the most disappointing NFL team in 2022 and its wild inconsistency has a lot to do with it. When Tom Brady leaves this offseason, we’ll likely see the Buccaneers retool the roster.
Related: Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule
13. Los Angeles Chargers
- Previously: 12th in NFL power rankings
Apparently the Los Angeles Chargers just love playing in close games. They should have had an easier time knocking it Arizona, but all that matters is the final result. Back over the .500 mark, the next three weeks (@ LV, vs MIA, vs TEN) will determine if the Chargers are a playoff team.
12. Washington Commanders
- Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings
The Washington Commanders are a kaleidoscope. Look at them one way and you see a 7-5 team that has won six of its last seven games. Of course, the other view points toward an offense averaging under 21 points per game during that stretch. Considering Washington sandwiches a bye between two matchups against the Giants, eight wins before mid-December is plausible.
11. Baltimore Ravens
- Previously: 9th in NFL power rankings
The Baltimore Ravens are just far too flawed of a team to be a real threat in the AFC. Lamar Jackson can do a lot of things, but he isn’t Superman. It seems hard to believe Baltimore went through Jackson’s entire rookie contract without ever surrounding him with great weapons or even a No.1. receiver. It’s going to be the thing that costs Baltimore, in more ways than one.
Week 13 NFL power rankings: Bonafide playoff contenders
10. New York Jets
- Previously: No. 14 in NFL power rankings
All the New York Jets needed was stability at quarterback with a passer who could make the quick, easy reads. Mike White might not be the future, but he actually makes the Jets’ offensive weapons look explosive. When you combine that with quality coaching and an elite defense, you have a playoff team that could even win a Wild Card game.
9. Tennessee Titans
- Previously: No. 7 in NFL power rankings
The Tennessee Titans are who we thought they were. This is a very good football team, one that is very capable of taking care of business in winnable games. However, a pedestrian offense is always going to be exposed against top competition and that means Tennessee is on track to repeat history, a first-round playoff exit.
Related: Highest paid NFL players in 2022
8. Cincinnati Bengals
- Previously: No. 10 in NFL power rankings
The Cincinnati Bengals are in the driver’s seat for the AFC North, heading into Week 13 with an opportunity to heat up quickly. We just saw the Bengals beat Tennessee on the road, doing it without Joe Mixon and Ja’Marr Chase. Joe Burrow‘s weapons are coming back next Sunday and it comes at the perfect time with a litmus test against the Kansas City Chiefs.
7. Minnesota Vikings
- Previously: 8th in NFL power rankings
The Minnesota Vikings recovered nicely from their most humbling loss in years. It’s nice to see the offense get back on track, but a defense allowing a 102.9 QB rating and 7-3 TD-INT rate in November, paired with an offensive line that can be spotty, are massive warning signs when we look ahead to playoff matchups.
6. Miami Dolphins
- Previously: 6th in NFL power rankings
Don’t let the score fool you, the Miami Dolphins wiped Houston off the map on Sunday. Tua Tagovailoa enjoyed some rest after taking a 30-0 lead, with a performance that reminded everyone why Tagovailoa deserves MVP votes. The only thing that keeps Miami a tier below the best NFL teams – Super Bowl favorites – is a shaky defense.
NFL power rankings: Super Bowl contenders
5. San Francisco 49ers
- Previously: 5th in NFL power rankings
Even when the San Francisco 49ers offense can’t get anything going, its defense is capable of single-handedly winning games. It’s why the 49ers are No. 1 in our NFL defense rankings and Sunday’s victory perfectly captures the variety of ways San Francisco can win games. The Dolphins vs 49ers game is must-see TV in Week 13.
4. Buffalo Bills
- Previously: 3rd in NFL power rankings
The Buffalo Bills will likely get Tremaine Edmunds, Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa back soon, but now Von Miller is out indefinitely. Minus their top edge rusher and a game-changing player, there are new concerns about the defense. It’s also fair to wonder how long Josh Allen’s elbow will hold up before a setback with him returning to 40-plus attempts. The Bills are still one of the best NFL teams in 2022, but injuries have raised a few red flags.
3. Dallas Cowboys
- Previously: 4th in NFL power rankings
Coming off a Thanksgiving victory over the New York Giants, things could soon get even better for the Dallas Cowboys. Odell Beckham Jr. to Dallas feels inevitable and he would be the last piece that truly puts this offense over the top, especially if Tyron Smith returns for the playoffs. The Cowboys are neck-and-neck with Philadelphia, which makes that Dec. 24 battle must-see television.
Related: Dallas Cowboys schedule
2. Philadelphia Eagles
- Previously: No. 2 in NFL power rankings
This is going to be one of the best races to the finish we can remember. Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles hold the edge over Dallas because of a superior roster from top to bottom and a better coaching staff. It’s a coin flip to determine who wins the NFC East, but it’s not difficult to envision either team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
- Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings
The Kansas City Chiefs are the best NFL team right now, even if some recent opponents have made them sweat. Patrick Mahomes makes all the difference, playing at a level of excellence that feels reminiscent of Michael Jordan carrying the Chicago Bulls. As long as Mahomes is around, the Chiefs can win the Super Bowl.
Related: NFL MVP race