The 2022 NFL regular season came to a close Sunday, a day full of both meaningful and useless football games.
The Bears closed a book on the first season of the Matt Eberflus era with a 29-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. At the same time, the Houston Texans pulled off a miraculous comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts, handing the Bears the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
As for the games that had playoff implications, the Buffalo Bills’ win over the New England Patriots allowed Skylar Thompson and the zombie Dolphins to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Those were the only fireworks in the AFC.
The NFC was far more eventful.
The Seattle Seahawks avoided disaster by beating the Los Angeles Rams in overtime. That win eliminated the Detroit Lions, but the Seahawks needed the Lions to beat the Green Bay Packers to earn the No. 7 seed and a trip to San Francisco on Super Wild Card Weekend.
Dan Campbell’s team enjoyed playing the role of spoiler in Green Bay, knocking off the Packers 20-16 to end Aaron Rodgers’ season.
With the playoffs set, here are the final NFL Power Rankings for the 2022 season:
32. Houston Texans (3-13-1): The Texans can’t even tank properly.
31. Denver Broncos (5-12): I’d pay good money to be a fly on the wall when Sean Payton gives his honest opinion to Broncos ownership about Russell Wilson.
30. Arizona Cardinals (4-13): This was a lost year in the desert, and 2023 might not be much better.
29. Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1): Everything that could go wrong for the 2022 Colts did. Now, the work begins trying to craft a contender from the rubble.
28. Chicago Bears (3-14): No. 1 pick, over $100 million in salary cap, and an ascending young quarterback. It was a perfect rebuilding season for the Bears.
27. Atlanta Falcons (7-10): The 2022 Falcons: Could have been worse.
26. Carolina Panthers (7-10): The Panthers won a game in which Sam Darnold went 5-for-15 for 43 yards and two picks. That about sums up Carolina’s season.
25. Tennessee Titans (7-10): I’m just thankful we don’t have to watch the Titans in the playoffs.
24. New Orleans Saints (7-10): The Saints have to make quarterback their top offseason priority. If only they owned their first-round pick.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (6-11): If Tom Brady is coming to Vegas, the Raiders better find a way to add two cornerbacks, a linebacker, a defensive tackle, and two offensive linemen. Otherwise, the GOAT isn’t coming.
22. Los Angeles Rams (5-12): Rumors are swirling that Sean McVay might be done with the Rams. That’s understandable. He accomplished his goal. Rebuilds aren’t for everyone
21. Cleveland Browns (7-10): Among 39 quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks this season, Deshaun Watson ranks 38th in EPA per play. Guess $250 million doesn’t get you what it used to.
20. Washington Commanders (8-8-1): Sam Howell and the Commanders’ defense delivered Washington a win to end their season. Too bad it came a week too late.
19. New York Jets (7-10): The Jets plan to stand by Zach Wilson come “hell or high water.” If only they had drafted Justin Fields.
18. New England Patriots (8-9): Mac Jones has a 66.5 completion percentage through his first two seasons. Only Joe Burrow (68.2) has a better number through two seasons. Fire Matt Patricia and set Mac up for success.
17. Miami Dolphins (9-8): Mike McDaniel found a way to get the Dolphins to the playoffs. Now, who plays quarterback next week in Buffalo?
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9): Count Tom Brady out of the playoffs at your own risk, but this Bucs team stinks.
15. Detroit Lions (9-8): The Lions took a big leap forward this season. Playoffs are a must in 2023.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8): Mike Tomlin still hasn’t finished a season under .500 as the Steelers’ head coach. Whatever he’s getting paid, it’s not enough.
13. Green Bay Packers (8-9): The Packers were one of the seven best teams in the NFC this season, but they dug themselves a hole they couldn’t climb out of to get to the playoffs.
12. Seattle Seahawks (9-8): The Seahawks made the playoffs and owned the No. 5 overall pick, thanks to the Russell Wilson trade. That’ll do.
11. New York Giants (9-7-1): If Brian Daboll isn’t the Coach of the Year, I don’t know what the point of the award is.
10. Baltimore Ravens (10-7): The Ravens get to return to Cincinnati next week to face the Bengals in the Wild Card Round. Whether or not Lamar Jackson plays will determine their fate.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8): The Jaguars went from 3-14 to division champs in one offseason. Should give the Bears hope for 2023.
8. Minnesota Vikings (13-4): The Vikings finished their season by pounding the Bears without Justin Fields. Now, they get their chance to prove they are for real.
7. Dallas Cowboys (12-5): Dak Prescott couldn’t be entering the playoffs on a worse note. He has thrown an interception in seven straight games and missed eight consecutive passes at one point in Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. Dallas needs better starting next week.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (10-7): Brandon Staley dodged a bullet Sunday. Wide receiver Mike Williams left the game with back spasms, but the MRI was negative, and he is expected to be available for the playoff game vs. the Jaguars.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4): I’ll never count out Joe Burrow, but losing another offensive lineman might be too much to overcome.
4. San Francisco 49ers (13-4): Brock Purdy has been steady since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo, but how will he fare when the lights get brighter?
3. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3): The NFC goes through Philly and Jalen Hurts. As it should be, the Eagles were the best team all season.
2. Buffalo Bills (13-3): For 17 years, there were no playoffs in Buffalo. Now the Bills are a mainstay, thanks to Josh Allen.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3): The AFC playoffs will be a gauntlet, but the Chiefs are well-positioned to make it through with a first-round bye and the best player in the dance.
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