With the draft out of the way and players beginning to report to OTA’s starting from next week, the 2022 NFL season really does feel like it is getting closer and closer.
Whilst free agency will give teams the chance to make a few changes here and there, the vast majority of teams will have a rough idea of what their starting lineups are going to be, with the next few weeks and months used as an opportunity to set the last few places on their 53-man roster.
And as a result, we can start to look ahead to what we think will be happening come the end of the season.
Now that teams are mostly set, we can look at what additions and subtractions have been made from last year, analyse what they have put together and try to work out who will be making a deep run into the playoffs, and whose season is already over before it started.
How it works
To do this, we’ve used the help of TierMaker to split the teams into 5 categories for what the league will look like come the end of the season, those categories are:
Serious Super Bowl contenders: This should be pretty self-explanatory, but these are the teams we think will do deep into the playoffs and should be in a position to at least reach the conference championships
Might need some luck: The teams who have got very good foundations and could go on a run, but they just need one or two things extra to go their way in order to separate from the rest of the pack. A breakout year from an unknown player to take them over the top, or for their key player to stay injury-free.
Squeaking into the playoffs: Teams that by hook or by crook will find themselves making the playoffs come the end of the season, but have a good chance of going one and done if they have to face up to some of the more serious competition around them.
Outside looking in: Teams that have a foundation to at the very least not be an embarrassment in the league this year, but just don’t have enough to make it into the playoffs when all is said and done.
Tank-mode: This just isn’t going to be their year and should be primarily focusing on working towards the future, and if that means sliding up the draft order to get the best player next year, then so be it.
The final outcome
Serious Super Bowl contenders: Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills
Might need some luck: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers
Squeaking into the playoffs: Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles
Outside looking in: Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tank-mode: Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets
Now obviously this is just how things are now and things are subject to change going forward, for instance if Aaron Rodgers gets injured, then we would have to bump the Packers down a tier or two. Similarly, if Kenny Pickett ends up being Ben Roethlisberger 2.0, then the Pittsburgh Steelers might find themselves moving up.
But as things stand, this is where we have them, what do you think? What changes would you make?