The arrival of the 2022 NFL season means we are on the verge of witnessing all 32 teams taking center stage for more exciting football. While everyone knows who the best NFL teams are in 2022, we’ll also get to see several clubs surprise this year.

There is no better example of a team surpassing expectations than the Cincinnati Bengals. Projected to finish at the bottom of the NFL standings, everyone could only watch in amazement as quarterback Joe Burrow led his team to an AFC title and come one drive shy of the Lombardi Trophy.

It’s difficult to imagine something like that happening again. However, instances like the Philadelphia Eagles making the playoffs or the Tennessee Titans earning the No.1 in the AFC last year are possible.

Here are five NFL teams who could be pleasant surprises in 2022.


Baltimore Ravens

Even before the 2021 season kicked off, injuries devastated the Baltimore Ravens. Marcus Peters, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards all went down with devastating injuries. Somehow, the team held a 5-2 record heading into its bye week and went into December with an 8-3 record. However, the injuries kept piling up and Baltimore’s season fell apart with six consecutive losses.

Everything looks a lot better heading into the 2022 season. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley returns and the offensive line is further strengthened with 25th overall pick Tyler Linderbaum. In addition, Dobbins is healthy and wide receiver Rashod Bateman is a popular breakout candidate. With a motivated Lamar Jackson, the Ravens offense could return to its top form.

Defensively, the outlook is also promising. Baltimore addressed its issues at safety with Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton, turning a weakness into an absurd strength. Quite frankly, the entire Ravens’ secondary is loaded. If the pass rush can step up, a top-10 offense and defense make Baltimore a legitimate Super Bowl contender.


Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders spent money this offseason like they are a team determined to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. Bringing in All-Pro receiver Davante Adams sets the table for potentially one of the best NFL offenses in 2022. It might even put Derek Carr in the conversation to be viewed as a top-10 quarterback. When you then factor in Josh McDaniels calling plays, this will be a unit capable of winning plenty of games on its own.

On the other side of the ball, there are things to like about the defense. Patrick Graham is one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL and he should do a much better job than his predecessor. Las Vegas also upgraded at edge rusher with Chandler Jones replacing Yannick Ngakoue and its situation at cornerback looks better than it did a year ago.

There’s enough skill talent and coaching for Las Vegas to challenge for the AFC West crown. While the level of success will depend on how the offensive line and secondary fares, there are scenarios where the Raiders could reach the AFC Championship Game.