NFL Week 18 Power Rankings 2022: 1-32 poll, season in review

Every week our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how NFL teams stack up against each other, then ranks them from 1 to 32.

The Monday night game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was suspended after Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and had his heartbeat restored on the field. The game will not be resumed this week, the NFL announced Tuesday afternoon. The league has made no decision on resuming the game at a later date.

The rankings below are updated to reflect the results of the other Week 17 games.

In addition to our updated rankings, NFL Nation reporters described each team's season using five or fewer words. We also noted each team's highest and lowest rankings of the regular season.

Jump to a team:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

1. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

Week 17 ranking: 1

Highest power ranking: 1
Lowest power ranking: 4

Regular season in five words or fewer: Top of AFC West again

The Chiefs won their seventh straight AFC West title, but it wasn't as easy as it might have looked. The Chiefs are 5-0 in divisional contests heading into the final regular-season game against the Raiders -- they won all five games by six or fewer points. The Chiefs have played five games against opponents that currently have four or fewer wins, and they lost one and won three by six or fewer points. The Chiefs are still to be feared in the postseason, as Patrick Mahomes has passed for more than 5,000 yards and is having an MVP-type season. -- Adam Teicher

2. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

Week 17 ranking: 3

Highest power ranking: 1
Lowest power ranking: 5

The Bills are scheduled to host the Patriots on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

3. San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Week 17 ranking: 4

Highest power ranking: 3
Lowest power ranking: 14

Regular season in five words or fewer: Slow start and big streak

The 49ers stumbled out of the gate to a 3-4 start when they struggled to find an offensive identity. But the midseason acquisition of running back Christian McCaffrey transformed the offense and the season. The Niners are 9-1 since acquiring McCaffrey, with the lone loss coming only a couple of days after his arrival, in a game in which he had a limited role. Now, San Francisco is riding a nine-game winning streak, the longest by any Niners team since 1997. -- Nick Wagoner

4. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

Week 17 ranking: 5

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 26

Regular season in five words or fewer: Meeting regular-season expectations

It didn't start well in Week 1, with a defeat to Tampa Bay and losing Dak Prescott to a thumb injury. But they went 4-1 with QB Cooper Rush as the starter and have lost just twice -- in overtime both times -- since Prescott returned from having thumb surgery. The Cowboys have three wins against teams with at least 11 wins and although they might not repeat as NFC East champs, they have 12 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1994-95. Of course, this season was always about what the Cowboys do in the playoffs. -- Todd Archer

5. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Week 17 ranking: 2

Highest power ranking: 1
Lowest power ranking: 9

Regular season in five words or fewer: Record-breaking

This group has rewritten the franchise record books in many areas, including touchdowns (58) and sacks (67) in a season. DeVonta Smith is now tied for the most receptions (88) by a receiver in single-season franchise history, joining Irving Fryar in 1996, while A.J. Brown is just 8 yards shy of Mike Quick's single-season team record for receiving yards (1,409 in 1983). -- Tim McManus

6. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

Week 17 ranking: 6

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 15

The Bengals are scheduled to host the Ravens on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

7. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)

Week 17 ranking: 9

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 17

Regular season in five words or fewer: Weathered the storm

The Chargers opened the season with a ready-made roster for a Super Bowl run, but that goal quickly appeared in jeopardy after the Bolts suffered several significant injuries within the first three weeks: Justin Herbert fractured rib cartilage; WR Keenan Allen strained a hamstring; and LT Rashawn Slater and edge rusher Joey Bosa were placed on injured reserve. Continuing into the season, injuries continued to plague the team, with CB J.C. Jackson, DL Austin Johnson and WR Mike Williams all missing time. Nevertheless, the Chargers remained on course and in contention to earn a postseason berth. Now several players -- including Allen, Williams and Bosa -- have returned healthy and the Chargers have clinched their first playoff berth since 2018. -- Lindsey Thiry

8. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

Week 17 ranking: 7

Highest power ranking: 3
Lowest power ranking: 11

Regular season in five words or fewer: Close game or blowout

For the most part, it's been one or the other every week this season for the Vikings. They've won an NFL-record 11 games by one score, including eight via fourth-quarter comebacks. All four of their losses have come by double-digit deficits and an average of 22.3 points. As a result, they've been outscored by opponents 414-395. "When we lose," receiver Justin Jefferson said, "we lose bad. We've got to fix that and find ways to be better throughout the whole game." -- Kevin Seifert

9. New York Giants (9-6-1)

Week 17 ranking: 10

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 24

Regular season in five words or fewer: Quite the surprise

Nobody outside the Giants' building predicted they would clinch their first postseason berth since 2016. The Giants' projected win total at the start of the season was six. Even that seemed high. But they won every close game, received every fortunate bounce and and every break while racing to a 7-2 start. When they had to face better competition and had their struggles, everyone jumped off the bandwagon. But they've again proved worthy of being a playoff team by winning two of their past three games under heavy pressure. It has been a successful Year 1 for Brian Daboll and the Giants. -- Jordan Raanan

10. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

Week 17 ranking: 8

Highest power ranking: 6
Lowest power ranking: 10

Regular season in five words or fewer: Playoff team with question mark

The Ravens clinched a playoff berth in Week 16, but no one really knows how good this team really is. Baltimore is struggling to score points without an injured Lamar Jackson, and the defense continues to have fourth-quarter collapses. The Ravens are 0-3 against teams that had winning records at the time, and Baltimore hasn't faced a team with a winning record since Week 6. If Jackson doesn't return close to full strength, it's tough to be optimistic about the Ravens' postseason chances. -- Jamison Hensley

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 12

Highest power ranking: 11
Lowest power ranking: 31

Regular season in five words or fewer: Doing a 180

At the end of October, the Jaguars were 2-6 after losing five consecutive games, two of which came against the Texans and Broncos. But since then? They're 6-2 and have a chance to win the AFC South for just the second time in franchise history by beating the Titans on Saturday. Trevor Lawrence's play has been the main catalyst for the turnaround. He leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.5), is second in passer rating (106) and has thrown for 2,061 yards with 14 TD passes and two interceptions in the eight games. -- Michael DiRocco

12. Green Bay Packers (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 15

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 24

Regular season in five words or fewer: You're saying there's a chance

At one point this season, the Packers had a 3% chance to make the playoffs. They were 4-8 and likely needed to win out and get some help along the way. A month later, they've done their part by winning four in a row. They got all the help they needed to the point where all they have to do is win Sunday's regular-season finale against the Lions and they're in. -- Rob Demovsky

13. Detroit Lions (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 13

Highest power ranking: 12
Lowest power ranking: 31

Regular season in five words or fewer: Night and day

After a 1-6 start, it seemed as if the Lions were on pace for yet another disappointing season. However, Dan Campbell and the front office decided to shake things up by making some defensive tweaks and trading Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson. Now they find themselves in the playoff conversation. Although their odds of reaching the playoffs are slim, this season is still a success for the second-year coach, as the team made a tremendous turnaround. The Lions are still in the midst of a rebuild but will enter the offseason with high draft capital. -- Eric Woodyard

14. New England Patriots (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 20

Highest power ranking: 14
Lowest power ranking: 23

Regular season in five words or fewer: Not coming through in clutch

The Patriots have a chance to erase this narrative with a season-ending win on the road against the Bills on Sunday, but their penchant for malfunctioning in critical situations -- such as lateraling the game away on the final play against the Raiders -- has been a dominant storyline of the season. -- Mike Reiss

15. Miami Dolphins (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 11

Highest power ranking: 1
Lowest power ranking: 17

Regular season in five words or fewer: Faltered down the stretch

After losing all four of their games in December and one in January, it's fair to say the Dolphins are playing their worst football at the most critical time of the season -- and it just might cost them a playoff spot. This team has been hit hard by injuries, particularly on defense and to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but Miami's offense has sputtered even with Tagovailoa healthy late in the year. The Dolphins are frustrated by five straight losses but could still salvage a playoff spot with a win over the Jets and a Patriots loss this week. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 18

Highest power ranking: 14
Lowest power ranking: 30

Regular season in five words or fewer: Before and after the bye

The Steelers are where they are entering Week 18 -- fighting for a chance to make the playoffs -- because of the bye week transformation. After starting 2-6 with an unceremonious halftime benching of Mitch Trubisky in favor of Kenny Pickett in Week 4, the Steelers rallied after the Week 9 bye to go 6-2 down the stretch. Not only was the defense bolstered by T.J. Watt's return, but the young offense grew up as the team started meeting differently and bought in to the game plan, and perhaps most importantly, into each other. -- Brooke Pryor

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 22

Highest power ranking: 3
Lowest power ranking: 22

Regular season in five words or fewer: Roller-coaster ride

Tom Brady and the Bucs' offense offense spent nearly the entire season looking like a shell of themselves before exploding for 30 points against the Panthers in Week 17 and clinching a playoff spot. The defense spent much of the season looking like a top 10 unit -- holding five opponents to 15 points or less -- but gave up 41 points to the Chiefs, 35 to the 49ers and 34 to the Bengals. There's been nothing about the Bucs that's been consistent all season, but after Week 17, they might have started to figure it out. -- Jenna Laine

18. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

Week 17 ranking: 17

Highest power ranking: 8
Lowest power ranking: 27

Regular season in five words or fewer: Inconsistent, but better than expected

The Seahawks jumped out to a 6-3 start that had them in first place in the NFC West before losing five of their next six. They kept their playoff hopes alive in Week 17 with perhaps their most resounding win of the season and now need a win over the Rams and some help from the Lions to sneak in as the conference's seventh seed. They could have skated in if not for letdown home losses to the sub-.500 Raiders and Panthers. Then again, no one outside of Seahawks headquarters thought the playoffs would be anywhere within reach after the Russell Wilson trade and Bobby Wagner's release. Geno Smith's surprising Pro Bowl season and a stellar draft class have sped up the rebuild. -- Brady Henderson

19. Tennessee Titans (7-9)

Week 17 ranking: 19

Highest power ranking: 9
Lowest power ranking: 22

Regular season in five words or fewer: Fighting through too many injuries

The Titans have put 83 different players on the field this season after using a record-setting 91 players used last season. Tennessee currently has 22 players on injured reserve, eight of whom are starters. The first blow came before the season when outside linebacker Harold Landry suffered a torn ACL. Left tackle Taylor Lewan tore his ACL in Week 2. The injuries became insurmountable, especially during Tennessee's six-game losing streak that caused the Titans to drop to second place in the AFC South despite a comfortable lead. Now the Titans are in a "win and in" game against Jacksonville in their regular-season finale Saturday. -- Turron Davenport

20. Cleveland Browns (7-9)

Week 17 ranking: 26

Highest power ranking: 11
Lowest power ranking: 26

Regular season in five words or fewer: Trade leads to lost year

Cleveland effectively punted on 2022 -- and another season of DE Myles Garrett's and RB Nick Chubb' prime years -- when it traded for QB Deshaun Watson in March. Watson, who violated the NFL's personal conduct policy (by committing sexual assault, as defined by the league), was suspended 11 games. Even though backup QB Jacoby Brissett played well in those 11 games, Cleveland couldn't overcome Watson's suspension -- or a run defense that ranked last in the league proving to be a major culprit. -- Jake Trotter

21. Washington Commanders (7-8-1)

Week 17 ranking: 14

Highest power ranking: 12
Lowest power ranking: 31

Regular season in five words or fewer: Year 3 disappointment

Coach Ron Rivera made a big emphasis on taking a big step in Year 3 of his program, just as he did in Carolina -- and by Year 5 the Panthers were in the Super Bowl. Instead, he'll finish with his third consecutive non-winning season in Washington, in one of the most disappointing seasons here in a while. The Commanders were 7-5-1 and in control of their playoff destiny, only to lose three in a row. Washington wasted a defense that was playoff caliber most of the season as well as a solid rushing attack. A poorly constructed offensive line combined with ineffective quarterback play -- from Carson Wentz in particular -- wrecked their chances. -- John Keim

22. New Orleans Saints (7-9)

Week 17 ranking: 23

Highest power ranking: 12
Lowest power ranking: 26

Regular season in five words or fewer: Too little, too late

The Saints have gone on a run in December, playing their best football on the day they got eliminated from the playoffs. The Saints know they had their chances in a weak division, but they were constantly their own worst enemy. The Saints blew leads, had untimely penalties and turnovers and never could quite get it together in time to make a run. A lot of mistakes doomed their season, but the blown lead against the Buccaneers is the one that hurts the most. -- Katherine Terrell

23. New York Jets (7-9)

Week 17 ranking: 16

Highest power ranking: 8
Lowest power ranking: 32

Regular season in five words or fewer: End the playoff drought? Psych!

The Jets were 6-3 and 7-4, seemingly on their way to ending the league's longest active postseason slump (11 years), but their offense flew south for the cold months. The Jets have produced only four touchdowns during the current five-game losing streak -- with none in the first quarter. Each week, they fall behind and put too much stress on the defense, which invariably surrenders a back-breaking touchdown. Rinse, repeat. And now the drought is 12 years. -- Rich Cimini

24. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

Week 17 ranking: 21

Highest power ranking: 21
Lowest power ranking: 32

Regular season in five words or fewer: Chaotic

The Panthers fired coach Matt Rhule five games into his third season, traded away their best player in Christian McCaffrey a week later and blew a 14-0 lead in Week 17 with a chance to set up a Week 18 opportunity to win the NFC South. And oh, they began the season with Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback and finished it with Mayfield a member of the Rams and Sam Darnold, who lost the job in camp, as the starter. -- David Newton

25. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)

Week 17 ranking: 24

Highest power ranking: 17
Lowest power ranking: 31

Regular season in five words or fewer: Second-half lulls

The Raiders have lost five games in which they held a double-digit lead in the second half and, per Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most in a single season by any team all time. No lead was safe with the offense and defense struggling to stay consistent throughout the game. And while a change at QB, from Derek Carr to Jarrett Stidham, provided a spark, the Raiders still came from ahead, 24-14, in the third quarter to a 37-34 loss Sunday. -- Paul Gutierrez

26. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

Week 17 ranking: 27

Highest power ranking: 15
Lowest power ranking: 32

Regular season in five words or fewer: Missed opportunities, yet clear progress

This was supposed to be a season in transition -- and it remained so moving from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota to Desmond Ridder at quarterback and turning over so much of the roster. But the Falcons were more competitive than expected, in part due to a woeful division, and have obvious young players to build around for the future in WR Drake London, RB Tyler Allgeier, OL Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom, CB A.J. Terrell and DT Grady Jarrett. There are still many questions about the future of this team, but there's at least a base for head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot to start with. -- Michael Rothstein

27. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)

Week 17 ranking: 25

Regular season in five words or fewer: High expectations

Highest power ranking: 4
Lowest power ranking: 30

Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Rams were a favorite to win the NFC West and make it back to the playoffs. But due to injuries and inconsistent offensive play, the Rams quickly found themselves near the bottom of the standings. Los Angeles lost six games in a row in the middle of the season, and though they've had some more success down the stretch, this will end up being a forgettable season for the Rams. -- Sarah Barshop

28. Chicago Bears (3-13)

Week 17 ranking: 29

Highest power ranking: 22
Lowest power ranking: 30

Regular season in five words or fewer: What else did you expect?

The Bears are in line for the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick because they were not constructed to win in 2022. That was the expectation going into the season when the front office tore down the roster to begin rebuilding, and it did not change even despite seeing glimpses of this offense's high-scoring potential in Weeks 7-10. Injuries and talent deficiencies define the season but do not excuse everything, including the defense's inability to stop the run (ranked 31st) and allowing 504 yards to Detroit to usher in a new franchise-worst losing streak at nine games. -- Courtney Cronin

29. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

Week 17 ranking: 30

Highest power ranking: 14
Lowest power ranking: 30

Regular season in five words or fewer: Nothing went right

This season has been one long, constant letdown for the Cardinals. They came off a playoff appearance for the first time since 2015 only to not live up to expectations amid a slew of injuries, suspensions and an underperforming offense that looked like a Super Bowl-caliber roster on paper. Behind the scenes, the Cardinals have been a mess, as well, with relationships souring between all the major parties in Arizona. -- Josh Weinfuss

30. Denver Broncos (4-12)

Week 17 ranking: 32

Highest power ranking: 12
Lowest power ranking: 32

Regular season in five words or fewer: Points matter

Save for a defensive blip from time to time, the majority of the Broncos' woes this season can be piled at the feet of a struggling offense that has spent much of the season as the league's lowest scoring outfit. Nathaniel Hackett was fired 15 games into his first season on the job, quarterback Russell Wilson is on track for a career low in touchdown passes to go with a career high in sacks, and the Broncos have lost nine games by seven or fewer points. -- Jeff Legwold

31. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)

Week 17 ranking: 28

Highest power ranking: 16
Lowest power ranking: 31

Regular season in five words or fewer: A complete and unmitigated mess

Perhaps nothing sums up the sad state of the Colts season like their league-worst point differential. The Colts have a minus-137 margin, a number that grew with Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Giants. The results in recent weeks have been trending in the wrong direction, with multiple blowout losses and waning overall effort from the team. Dramatic changes might be necessary, and the coming offseason feels like Indianapolis' most critical in years. -- Stephen Holder

32. Houston Texans (2-13-1)

Week 17 ranking: 31

Highest power ranking: 28
Lowest power ranking: 32

Regular season in five words or fewer: Bad quarterback play

The Texans quarterback play hasn't been good enough between Davis Mills, Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen. They've thrown 17 interceptions, tied for second-most in the NFL. They average 190 yards passing per game, 25th in the NFL, and they've thrown 17 touchdown passes, the 12th fewest in the NFL. Their lost season is not all on the quarterback play; the run defense is allowing 168 yards rushing per game -- worst in the league -- but the quarterback play is a large reason why they have just two wins. -- DJ Bien-Aime