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NFL Week 1 Power Rankings: Bills, Rams lead the way ahead of season opener

It's officially NFL game week and it's the Bills and Rams atop Locked On's pre-Week 1 NFL power rankings before the two teams face off in Thursday night's opener.

LOS ANGELES β€” Can you hear the music? This week, the 2022-23 NFL season officially starts as the Buffalo Bills take on the defending champion Los Angeles Rams on Thursday for the season opener ahead of the full Sunday slate.

This year, the NFL hosts across the Locked On Podcast Network will vote weekly to rank all 32 NFL teams in our Locked On NFL Power Rankings. 

The first edition is pre-Week 1 rankings, taking into account how each team's offseason held up with their 2021-22 results.

Our local Locked On NFL hosts ranked their 1-32 power rankings and the averages created the official power rankings. Check back after Week 1 for our first power rankings of the new season.

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Pre-Week 1 Power Rankings

1. Buffalo Bills

2021 record: 11-6, lost in AFC Divisional Round
Key players: Josh Allen, QB; Stefon Diggs, WR; Tre'Davious White, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 1/3

The Bills come in at No. 1 on the Locked On NFL power rankings. Not exactly a surprise as the Bills are the favorites to win the Super Bowl this upcoming year. Josh Allen returns for his fifth season with the Bills, hoping to make improvements from their AFC playoff exits over the past three seasons. 

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2. Los Angeles Rams

2021 record: 12-5, won Super Bowl
Key players: Matthew Stafford, QB; Aaron Donald, DT; Cooper Kupp, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 1/7

It was a dream year last year for the Los Angeles Rams as all of their offseason moves from the previous year paid off, winning the Super Bowl in Year 1 with Matthew Stafford at QB. Will we get a Super Bowl hangover or will the Rams pick up where they left off? They face the Bills on Thursday night, a game where we'll learn a lot about both squads.

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3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

2021 record: 13-4, lost in NFC Divisional Round
Key players: Tom Brady, QB; Lavonte David, LB; Mike Evans, WR 

Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 3/10

It was a disappointing ending for the Bucs when they got bounced out of the playoffs by the Rams after a strong year. It got even worse when Tom Brady retired before the Super Bowl. However, Brady's retirement was short-lived as he is back hoping to win another Super Bowl in Tampa to close out his career. He'll have plenty of weapons even with the loss of Rob Gronkowski.

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4. Kansas City Chiefs

2021 record: 12-5, lost in AFC Championship Game
Key players: Patrick Mahomes, QB; Travis Kelce, TE; Chris Jones, DT
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 1/9

It was a shocking game last year in the AFC title game when Joe Burrow and the Bengals came back to upset the Chiefs and head to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs went on to lose top receiver Tyreek Hill in a trade with the Dolphins, leaving many to wonder if they'll have the same firepower. But, they still brought in Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling and drafted Skyy Moore in the hopes that they can fill the void left by Hill. This is a team that has been to two Super Bowls and three AFC Championships over the past three seasons. 

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5. Cincinnati Bengals

2021 record: 10-7, lost in Super Bowl
Key players: Joe Burrow, QB; Ja'Marr Chase, WR; Jessie Bates III, S
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 2/10

The Cincinnati Bengals started ranked 28th in our preseason power ranking poll heading into last season. Then they went on to do what many thought was impossible, get all the way to the Super Bowl and almost win it. They've got a top young QB in Joe Burrow and one of the NFL's best receiving corps with Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, plus a strong rushing attack with Joe Mixon. The Bengals should be in the mix again this season.

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6. Green Bay Packers

2021 record: 13-4, lost in NFC Divisional Round
Key players: Aaron Rodgers, QB; Jaire Alexander, CB; Aaron Jones, RB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 2/10

The Packers had a disappointing end, again, to their season last year after they were defeated by the 49ers in the snow at home in the NFC Divisional Round. Aaron Rodgers went on to win his second-straight MVP, but he'll face a tough test this year after the Packers traded away All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Raiders. 

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7. Los Angeles Chargers

2021 record: 9-8
Key players: Keenan Allen, WR; Joey Bosa, EDGE; Justin Herbert, QB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 3/20

The Chargers are coming into the season with what some are calling the best roster in football, but can they translate that to enough wins? The Chargers fell just short of making the playoffs last year after falling to the Raiders in a thrilling game to decide the final playoff spot. The Chargers return young phenom QB Justin Herbert as well as RB Austin Ekeler and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. They also went out and got Khalil Mack and CB JC Jackson as they hope to do a little more than just push for the playoffs this season.

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8. San Francisco 49ers

2021 record: 10-7, lost in NFC Championship Game
Key players: Trey Lance, QB; Nick Bosa, DE, Deebo Samuel, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 4/19

It's hard to believe the 49ers finished third in the NFC West last year but still made it to the NFC Championship Game. While much of the roster remains the same, there will be a big shakeup for the Niners as they give the ball to second-year QB Trey Lance to lead the offense. Jimmy Garoppolo was expected to get traded all offseason before the 49ers brought him back for a backup role, which could mix some things up for the 49ers if they're struggling for wins. This is still one of the best defenses in football with an offense that is expected to be improved with Lance.

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9. Denver Broncos

2021 record: 7-10
Key players: Russell Wilson, QB; Justin Simmons, S; Courtland Sutton, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 3/22

The Broncos finished last in the AFC West last year, but my oh my have things changed at Mile High. The Broncos had solid offensive playmaking and a solid defense last year but they were missing one very important thing: A quarterback. They went out and fixed that with a trade for Russell Wilson. Now, how far can Wilson take the Broncos?

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10. Baltimore Ravens

2021 record: 8-9
Key players: Lamar Jackson, QB; Marlon Humphrey, CB; Mark Andrews, TE
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 4/19

The Baltimore Ravens are another team that finished last in their division last year but find themselves in our preseason top 10. Lamar Jackson dealt with plenty of injuries last season as the Ravens couldn't make their way into the playoffs late in the year. Now, the former MVP is back and healthy as he tries to lead Baltimore back to the playoffs. 

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11. Philadelphia Eagles

2021 record: 9-8, lost in NFC Wild Card playoffs
Key players: Jalen Hurts, QB; AJ Brown, WR; Darius Slay, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 6/15

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12. Las Vegas Raiders

2021 record: 10-7, lost in AFC Wild Card playoffs
Key players: Derek Carr, QB; Davante Adams, WR; Darren Waller, TE
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 4/16

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13. Indianapolis Colts

2021 record: 9-8
Key players: Matt Ryan, QB; Jonathan Taylor, RB; Stephon Gillmore, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 12/21

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14. New Orleans Saints

2021 record: 9-8
Key players: Alvin Kamara, RB; Tyrann Mathieu, S; Marshon Lattimore, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 5/24

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15. Arizona Cardinals

2021 record: 11-6
Key players: Kyler Murray, QB; Budda Baker, S; DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 9/25

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16. Dallas Cowboys

2021 record:12-5, lost in NFC Wild Card playoffs
Key players: Dak Prescott, QB; Ezekiel Elliott, RB; Micah Parsons, LB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 12/21

SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Cowboys podcast, free and available on all platforms

17. Tennessee Titans

2021 record: 12-5, lost in AFC Divisional Round
Key players: Derrick Henry, RB; Ryan Tannehill, QB; Kevin Byard, S
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 13/24

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18. Miami Dolphins

2021 record: 9-8
Key players: Tua Tagovailoa, QB; Tyreek Hill, WR; Xavien Howard, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 13/22

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19. Minnesota Vikings

2021 record: 8-9
Key players: Dalvin Cook, RB; Justin Jefferson, WR; Kirk Cousins, QB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 13/22

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20. New England Patriots

2021 record: 10-7
Key players: Mac Jones, QB; Devin McCourty, FS; Matthew Judon, LB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 14/22

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21. Pittsburgh Steelers

2021 record: 9-7-1
Key players: T.J.Watt, LB; Minkah Fitzpatrick, S; Najee Harris, RB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 9/25

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22. Cleveland Browns

2021 record: 8-9
Key players: Myles Garrett, DE; Nick Chubb, RB; Denzel Ward, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 17/25

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23. Carolina Panthers

2021 record: 5-12
Key players: Christian McCaffrey, RB; Brian Burns DE; D.J. Moore, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 7/27

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24. Detroit Lions

2021 record: 3-13-1
Key players: Jared Goff, QB;
 T.J. Hockenson, TE; D'Andre Swift, RB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 17/32

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25. Washington Commanders

2021 record: 7-9
Key players: Carson Wentz, QB; Terry McLaurin, WR; Chase Young, DE
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 19/31

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26. Jacksonville Jaguars

2021 record: 3-14
Key players: Trevor Lawrence, QB; Josh Allen, LB; Shaquill Griffin, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 23/31

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27. Seattle Seahawks

2021 record: 7-10
Key players: D.K. Metcalf, WR; Jamal Adams, S; Tyler Lockett, WR
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 24/32

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28. New York Jets

2021 record: 4-13
Key players: Quinnen Williams, DT; C.J. Mosley, LB; Zach Wilson, QB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 26/31

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29. Houston Texans

2021 record: 4-13
Key players: Brandin Cooks, WR; Davis Mills, QB; Desmond King, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 31/32

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30. New York Giants

2021 record: 4-13
Key players: Saquon Barkley, RB; Daniel Jones, QB; Leonard Williams, DE
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 26/31

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31. Atlanta Falcons

2021 record: 7-10
Key players: Kyle Pitts, TE; AJ Terrell, CB; Casey Hayward, CB
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 27/32

SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Falcons podcast, free and available on all platforms

32. Chicago Bears

2021 record: 6-11
Key players: Justin Fields, QB; Roquan Smith, LB; Eddie Jackson, S
Highest/lowest vote in power rankings poll: 26/32

SUBSCRIBE to the daily Locked On Bears podcast, free and available on all platforms

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