The 2022 NFL season finally kicks off Thursday night when the Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills in a potential preview of Super Bowl XLVII in February.
It's also a matchup of two elite quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen. Stafford won his first Super Bowl last season, helping the Rams overcome a late deficit in the fourth quarter. Allen is hoping to lead the Bills to their first ever Lombardi Trophy.
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When you look around the league, there's probably more quality quarterbacks right now than at any other time in league history. There aren't many bad QBs starting in Week 1.
And while there's definitely an exciting group of young quarterbacks giving franchises and fans plenty of hope, there's also a sizable contingent of veteran QBs looking to revive their careers early in the regular season.
Check out our first installment of QB power rankings for the 2022 season.
32. Jacoby Brissett, Browns
Brissett will open the season as the Browns' starting quarterback while Deshaun Watson is suspended for 11 games. The former Patriot isn't likely going to carry the Browns to many victories. That pressure falls on star running back Nick Chubb and Cleveland's defense.
31. Joe Flacco, Jets
Flacco will open the season as the Jets' starter while second-year QB Zach Wilson recovers from knee surgery. The 37-year-old veteran is far from the player he used to be, but he does have some exciting weapons around him on offense, including young wide receivers Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson.
30. Daniel Jones, Giants
It's basically put up or shut up time for Jones. He's thrown just 21 touchdowns with 17 interceptions over the last two seasons combined. Jones tallied more than 250 passing yards in just three of the 11 games he played in 2021. The return of running back Saquon Barkley from injury should take some pressure off Jones and the offense, but he needs to take a meaningful step (or two) forward in his development to cement his place as the Giants' starting quarterback of the future.
29. Justin Fields, Bears
Fields has the chance to be a really good quarterback -- which the Bears haven't had in a long time -- but his supporting cast is pretty weak. Darnell Mooney is fantastic, but after him, the talent level at wide receiver drops off dramatically in Chicago.
28. Geno Smith, Seahawks
Smith will open the season as the starter in the post-Russell Wilson era in Seattle. And he faces a pretty tough test right off the bat against Wilson and a top-tier Broncos defense.
27. Davis Mills, Texans
Mills was surprisingly adequate as a rookie, completing 66.8 percent of his passes and leading the Texans to a Week 15 victory over the Chargers where he outplayed Justin Herbert. It's still unknown whether Mills is the true QB of the future in Houston, but he's definitely off to a good start.
26. Carson Wentz, Commanders
Wentz lasted just one season with the Colts before they traded him to the Commanders, where the 29-year-old veteran doesn't have a ton of weapons around him on offense outside of wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
25. Marcus Mariota, Falcons
After two seasons with the Raiders, Mariota will open the season as the starter in Atlanta. It'll be interesting to see how long of a leash he gets if the offense struggles. The Falcons drafted Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round.
24. Mitchell Trubisky, Steelers
Trubisky's stats are not as bad as you might think. He's completed 64.1 percent of his passes with 64 touchdowns and 38 interceptions in 57 career games. And the Steelers have surrounded him with one of the best wide receiver groups in the league, headlined by Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and rookie George Pickens. Pat Freiermuth is a pretty good tight end, too. All the pieces are in place for Trubisky to get his career back on track in Pittsburgh.
23. Baker Mayfield, Panthers
Mayfield will try to revive his career in Carolina after the Browns decided they'd rather give up massive draft capital to acquire Deshaun Watson instead of giving Mayfield a contract extension. Mayfield's issue is inconsistency. You never know which player you'll get each week. That said, we should see a focused, motivated Mayfield in Week 1 when the Panthers play the Browns.
22. Trey Lance, 49ers
The 49ers gave Lance the keys to the offense over the offseason, but they also brought back veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. How will Lance handle the pressure of knowing that if he struggles, the team can turn to a proven QB who's led the 49ers on multiple deep playoff runs? Few quarterbacks are under more pressure to start the season strong than Lance.
21. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
There's no excuse for Tagovailoa to struggle in Year 3. The Dolphins offense is loaded with weapons. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle could be the best wide receiver duo in the league. Mike Gesicki is a very good tight end and Chase Edmunds is a quality starting running back. Mike McDaniel is an offensive-minded head coach and will put Tagovailoa in positions to succeed. Everything is set up for a breakout season for Tagovailoa, but the pressure on him to deliver is immense.
20. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Which Tannehill are we going to see this season? The 2020 version who threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions, or the 2021 version that tallied 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions? A healthy Derrick Henry will take a lot of pressure off Tannehill, but at some point, he'll have to win them an important game. Right now, it's hard to have much confidence Tannehill will deliver.
19. Jared Goff, Lions
Goff's stats in 2021 were better than you might expect. He completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,245 with 19 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He's not an elite player by any means, but he's well above average and has some decent weapons on offense including wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
18. Jalen Hurts, Eagles
There's high expectations for Hurts after he led the Eagles back to the playoffs last season. He has no shortage of weapons, too, with AJ Brown and Devonta Smith at wide receiver, and Dallas Goedert at tight end.
17. Jameis Winston, Saints
Winston was 5-2 with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in October. With both Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas healthy again after an injury plagued 2021, the Saints offense could be sneakily good this season. Don't forget Alvin Kamara -- he's still the best pass-catching running back in football and will help Winston immensely.
16. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
Lawrence's rookie season was a struggle, to say the least. He threw 12 touchdown passes with 17 interceptions. He also completed just 59.6 percent of his pass attempts. In fairness, the Jaguars were an absolute mess in 2021, primarily because Urban Meyer was a disaster of a head coach. Doug Pederson is the new coach in Jacksonville, and his previous success with quarterbacks should make Jaguars fans optimistic that he can help develop Lawrence into a real star.
15. Mac Jones, Patriots
Jones was the best rookie quarterback in the league last season and led the Patriots to 10 wins and a playoff berth. Expectations are very high for Jones in Year 2, even after a rocky training camp and preseason during which the Patriots struggled to install a new offense. Jones will be under tremendous pressure to help the Patriots weather a brutal schedule over the first four weeks.
14. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins doesn't get enough respect. Sure, he's not your first pick to win a playoff game, but his consistency has to be praised. Cousins threw for 4,221 yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season. He's also one of the most accurate passers in the league.
13. Derek Carr, Raiders
The Raiders' blockbuster acquisition of elite wide receiver Davante Adams gives Carr a Tier 1 target for the first time in his career. Working with a brilliant offensive mind in new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels should also benefit Carr.
12. Matt Ryan, Colts
Ryan is a huge upgrade for the Colts over Carson Wentz. The former league MVP winner will bring more balance to Indy's offense and lessen the burden and pressure on star running back Jonathan Taylor as a result.
11. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
The Cardinals were 8-1 and Murray was among the top MVP candidates in early December. And then Murray and the Cardinals fell apart. The Cardinals lost four of their last five regular season games, and Murray's atrocious performance against the Rams in the NFC Wild Card round should give him plenty of motivation to bounce back in a major way.
10. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
The quarterback and team under the most pressure entering 2022 are Prescott and the Cowboys, especially after the clock ran out (literally) on Dallas in last season's NFC Wild Card playoff loss to the 49ers. The loss of starting left tackle and All-Pro Tyron Smith to injury until at least December could be a huge issue for Prescott and the Cowboys offense.
9. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
The Ravens will regret not giving Jackson a long-term contract extension. He's an elite dual-threat quarterback who puts so much pressure on opposing defenses. Jackson receives a lot of criticism over his skills as a pocket passer, and yet he has a career 84/31 TD-INT ratio with a 64.1 completion percentage in four seasons. Pretty good, right?
8. Russell Wilson, Broncos
Wilson's 10-year career in Seattle saw the Seahawks win their only Lombardi Trophy (2013). The Broncos are hoping he's the missing piece in their Super Bowl puzzle. Wilson will remind people he's a future Hall of Famer by leading the Broncos back to the postseason in 2022.
7. Matthew Stafford, Rams
Stafford cemented his legacy with a Super Bowl win in his first season with the Rams. And with a great group of weapons at the skill positions, including the league's best wide receiver in Cooper Kupp, Stafford should put up more eye-popping stats in 2022.
6. Justin Herbert, Chargers
Herbert is one of the most talented passers to come into the league in a while. The Chargers are arguably the most hyped team in the league right now and everyone is expecting Herbert to not only have an amazing statistical season, but also lead Los Angeles back to the playoffs.
5. Joe Burrow, Bengals
The Bengals will be top contenders in the AFC as long as Burrow is healthy. He's supremely talented and super poised and calm under pressure. Burrow also has plenty of motivation after the Bengals lost a heartbreaker in Super Bowl LVI.
4. Josh Allen, Bills
Allen is a trendy pick for MVP and with good reason. He's one of the best passers in the league and can also hurt opponents with his legs. The Bills are the Super Bowl favorites for the first time since 1990. They will go as far as Allen takes them.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Rodgers is incredible, and he's won the last two league MVP awards. The last player to win back-to-back MVPs was Peyton Manning in 2008 and 2009. But for all his regular season accolades, postseason success has often eluded Rodgers. Winning another Super Bowl would significantly improve his legacy.
2. Tom Brady, Buccaneers
Brady led the league in both passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43) at age 44 last season. He shows almost no signs of slowing down and his wide receiver group in Tampa Bay has been improved with the addition of Julio Jones and Chris Godwin's return from injury.
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Brady is still the QB you want with the game on the line.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
The AFC West quarterbacks have all received a ton of offseason hype with the exception of Mahomes. Recency bias probably has a lot to do with it. Mahomes played poorly in the second half and overtime of the AFC Championship Game loss to the Bengals. But he's led the Chiefs to FOUR consecutive AFC Championship Games, including a Super Bowl victory during that span.
Sure, losing an elite wide receiver like Tyreek Hill will force the Chiefs offense to change, but Mahomes is talented enough to dominate with any supporting cast around him. And don't forget he still has the league's best tight end in Travis Kelce.
Mahomes is still the most talented player at the position. Period.