5 NFL teams most likely to rebound for 2022 playoffs
After missing the playoffs last year, these five NFL teams have the best shot of reaching the postseason this time around.
5. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are somewhat under the radar, but they deserve mention. For starters, they should be much healthier with quarterback Jameis Winston coming back off a torn ACL and wide receiver Michael Thomas returning from a season-long ankle ailment. New Orleans also has one of the league’s best defenses which added safeties Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu. The Saints aren’t going to the Super Bowl, but they can absolutely challenge in the NFC for a playoff spot.
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4. Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell, who served under Sean McVay as the offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams last season. With O’Connell, expect the Vikings to open up their offense a bit more, utilizing receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, with running back Dalvin Cook perhaps being able to exploit more space. Finally, Minnesota also plays in the lesser conference and in a division that is very winnable.
3. Denver Broncos
The Broncos haven’t reached the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 to conclude the 2015 season. However, general manager George Paton is being aggressive these days, landing quarterback Russell Wilson in an offseason trade with the Seattle Seahawks. By adding Wilson, Denver now has a quarterback who can compete in the AFC West against Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
It’s tough to have the Chargers anywhere but near the top of this list. Los Angeles has added a litany of talent this offseason, ranging from edge rusher Khalil Mack and corner J.C. Jackson to linebacker Kyle Van Noy, defensive tackle Austin Sebastian-Day and corner Bryce Callahan. With Herbert under center and weapons Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams surrounding him, Los Angeles has a real chance to win the AFC West and be a strong Super Bowl contender.
1. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are the best bet to both make the playoffs of all teams who missed in ’21, and also to go worst-to-first. Baltimore was ravaged by injuries last season to an absurd degree last year and still was a Week 18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers away from being a playoff team. Assuming Baltimore is healthier, there’s no reason the Ravens don’t find their way into one of the AFC’s seven seeds.