The 2023 NFL season kicks off in just 16 days, making this the perfect time for our first installment of NFL power rankings.
Every Tuesday, we’ll provide updated power rankings. The rankings will be driven by who the teams are at the moment. Those stances will be centered around every team’s talent, reliability and current level of success.
Betting markets will also influence our stances, as will each team’s path to contention within their conference. We’ll also be aware of each team’s looming schedule difficulty.
Preseason Power Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is the reigning MVP, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions. Chris Jones’ contract uncertainty and two new starting offensive tackles are Kansas City’s biggest concerns.
At the end of the day, Kansas City is the NFL’s measuring stick, so it opens the season on top of the mountain. During the next 18 weeks, we’ll find out if the Chiefs can be knocked off.
Up Next: vs. Det (TNF), at Jax, vs. Chi, at NYJ (SNF)
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles lost notable talent this offseason, including their offensive and defensive coordinators. Philadelphia will rely more on young talent, but it still has one of the best rosters in the league.
The Eagles have a much tougher schedule this season, but they begin 2023 with their softest schedule stretch of the year. Expect Philadelphia to start strong this season.
Up Next: at NE, vs. MIN (TNF), at TB (MNF), vs. WAS
3. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have played the Chiefs in each of the last two AFC Championship Games, winning one and losing in January. We know Joe Burrow’s offense can hang with anyone, and Lou Anarumo gets the most out of his defense.
As long as Burrow’s calf injury doesn’t limit him, expect Cincinnati to be a factor in the AFC once again.
Up Next: at CLE, vs. BAL, vs. LAR (MNF), at TEN
4. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have played in three of the past four NFC Championship Games behind one of the league’s most complete rosters. Even with Brock Purdy positioned to start on opening day, the quarterback position is San Francisco’s biggest question mark. Can Purdy do it again for a full season?
The 49ers’ other chief concern is that their offensive line is filled with volatility outside of LT Trent Williams. San Francisco’s defense, skill group and coaching staff remain top-notch.
Up Next: at PIT, at LAR, vs. NYG (TNF), vs. ARI
5. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have become a perennial contender under Sean McDermott, but several AFC teams have closed the talent gap on Buffalo. Josh Allen’s offense will be tested early with an opening day trip to New York for Monday Night Football against the Jets. As long as the Bills have Allen, they are a contender.
Up Next: at NYJ (MNF), vs. LV, at WAS, vs. MIA
6. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys finished 12-5 in each of the last two seasons, making them one of the three consistent contenders in the NFC. The Cowboys pair their highly capable offense with a premium defense, which has driven their success over the past two years.
Dallas added CB Stephon Gilmore this offseason, giving the Cowboys one of the league’s best cornerback duos. Speedster Brandin Cooks gives Dak Prescott a more complete group of pass catchers. Dallas is a contender that added difference-making talent this offseason.
Up Next: at NYG (SNF), vs. NYJ, at ARI, vs. NE
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
In the second half of last season, Trevor Lawrence began his ascent toward elite quarterback status. The addition of Calvin Ridley is an X-factor for Jacksonville. If he can return to his pre-suspension form, Ridley will give Lawrence a true WR1 and raise the ceiling of the entire offense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have one major advantage over the other primary contenders in the AFC: Jacksonville plays six games against AFC South opponents. If the Jaguars stumble, their vulnerable secondary likely will be the culprit.
Up Next: at IND, vs. KC, vs. HOU, vs. ATL (England)
8. Baltimore Ravens
Between that major shift and the Ravens’ revamped wide receiver room, there is a lot of new in Baltimore this season. That could be a good long-term thing, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it came with some early growing pains.
Up Next: vs. HOU, at CIN, vs. IND, at CLE
9. Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers have a premium quarterback, a top-10 offensive line, a top-10 skill group and difference-makers on defense. They have the tools to contend, but will they be consistent enough to take a step forward?
Up Next: vs. MIA, at TEN, at MIN, vs. LV
10. New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers’ arrival gives New York a championship-caliber ceiling. In a best-case scenario, Rodgers will provide stability on offense while the Jets’ young, ferocious defense continues to ascend.
The New York Jets begin the season with a difficult four-game stretch. Even if the Jets struggle early, they have the raw materials to make some noise in the AFC East.
Up Next: vs. BUF (MNF), at DAL, vs. NE, vs. KC (SNF)
11. Detroit Lions
Detroit added talent to its defense, putting it in a position to take a step forward. The Lions are on the short list of teams that can contend in the NFC.
Up Next: at KC (TNF), vs. SEA, vs. ATL, at GB (TNF)
12. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks made an unexpected wild card appearance last year behind Geno Smith’s Comeback Player of the Year season. Armed with four draft picks in the first two rounds and a ton of cap space, the Seahawks improved on both sides of the ball this offseason.
Smith could turn back into a pumpkin after his spectacular 2022 campaign. But if he doesn’t, Seattle has enough talent to contend in the NFC.
Up Next: vs. LAR, at DET vs. CAR, at NYG (MNF)
13. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are one of few teams who could end up with a top-10 offense and defense. If Tua Tagovailoa can stay healthy, Miami’s game-breaking speed is a unique challenge for every opposing defense.
The addition of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was among the biggest difference-making moves of the offseason. The Jalen Ramsey injury hurts, but Fangio can still push Miami’s defense toward the top 10.
Up Next: at LAC, at NE, vs. DEN, at BUF
14. New Orleans Saints
The Saints’ league-easiest schedule puts them in a position to win 10 or more games.
Up Next: vs. TEN, at CAR (MNF), at GB, vs. TB
15. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are one of the most interesting teams in the league. On the positive side, Kirk Cousins‘ offense looks like a top-10 unit with some top-five upside. Adding new defensive coordinator Brian Flores should help what was a disastrous Vikings defense last season.
On the other side of things, Minnesota went 11-0 in one-score games last season. That makes them the most obvious negative regression candidate in recent memory. Expect Minnesota to be a competitive team but not to reach its 13-win-type ceiling from last year.
Up Next: vs. TB, at PHI (TNF), vs. LAC, at CAR
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin became the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach in 2007, and he’s never had a losing season. That sounds made up, but it’s the reality of the situation. The Steelers enter 2023 with a top-10 defense that has top-five upside.
High-performing, physical defenses have been the norm in Pittsburgh for a long time. If the Steelers are going to improve, it will be on their offense. Pittsburgh has a good, young skill group and it improved its offensive line this offseason.
If second-year QB Kenny Pickett can take a step forward, the Steelers can be a playoff team.
Up Next: vs. SF, vs. CLE (MNF), at LV (SNF), at HOU
17. Cleveland Browns
If Watson returns to his pre-suspension form, the Browns have an excellent roster that could contend.
Up Next: vs. CIN, at PIT (MNF), vs. TEN, vs. BAL
18. New York Giants
The New York Giants don’t have a loaded roster like many of the teams before them on this list, but Brian Daboll and his staff have brought innovation and stability to New York.
The Giants have a much tougher schedule this year, making them a team that could be better this season even if their record doesn’t reflect that progress.
Up Next: vs. DAL (SNF), at ARI, at SF (TNF), vs. SEA (MNF)
19. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have a top-10 caliber offensive line and three blue-chip skill position players still on their rookie deals. Atlanta also added significant talent to its defense, to the point it could make a leap into league-average territory.
When he was the Titans offensive coordinator, Falcons coach Arthur Smith played a big role in Ryan Tannehill’s career resurrection. If Smith can get Tannehill-like efficiency out of second-year QB Desmond Ridder, the Falcons can push the Saints for the NFC South crown.
Up Next: vs. CAR, vs. GB, at DET, vs. JAX (England)
20. Denver Broncos
The 2022 season was a disaster for the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson. Now Sean Payton is in charge, and the Broncos upgraded their offensive line this offseason. Denver’s had a good defense for years, and there is a realistic path to a bounce-back year for Wilson.
The big issue for Denver is that it plays in the AFC West and the conference is loaded with playoff-caliber teams. If the Broncos were in the NFC, they’d be ranked several spots higher.
Up Next: vs. LV, vs. WAS, at MIA, at CHI
21. Tennessee Titans
Then Tennessee went out and signed WR DeAndre Hopkins, signaling it is not rebuilding. Expect the Titans to be a tough out again, but that may not be enough in the loaded AFC.
Up Next: at NO, vs. LAC, at CLE, vs. CIN
22. Green Bay Packers
Even if Love has a “good” season, he’ll be a downgrade from the norm in Green Bay. The Packers’ defense underachieved last season, but it is littered with difference-making talent.
Green Bay can be a wild-card contender if Love provides a stable offense while the defense plays well.
Up Next: at CHI, at ATL, vs. NO, vs. DET (TNF)
23. Chicago Bears
What Fields can do with it is among the more intriguing storylines of the season. It could take some time for the Bears to gel, but Chicago will be a more dangerous team this season.
Up Next: vs. GB, at TB, at KC, vs. DEN
24. Washington Commanders
Washington will be in the wild-card mix late in the year if Howell plays well. If Howell struggles against regular-season defenses — as most young quarterbacks do — Washington’s new ownership group may be hitting the reset button this offseason.
Up Next: vs. ARI, at DEN, vs. BUF, at PHI
25. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams have a strong core of difference-makers in Sean McVay, QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp and DT Aaron Donald. Beyond that group the Rams have question marks throughout their offensive line, secondary and pass rush.
For the Rams to have a bounce-back year, their core four must carry this team. That’s possible, but it’s also asking a lot.
Up Next: at SEA, vs. LAR, at CIN (MNF), at IND
26. New England Patriots
Bill Belichick’s teams consistently overachieve, and that’s what it will have to do against an absolutely brutal schedule. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was brought in to put Mac Jones and the New England Patriots offense back on track.
If Jones plays like he did in his rookie season while Belichick’s defense remains a rock-solid unit, New England can be a tough out. Even in that scenario, the Patriots open the season against four contenders, so expect a slow start.
Up Next: vs. PHI, vs. MIA, at NYJ, at DAL
27. Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders have a strong core in DE Maxx Crosby, WR Davante Adams, RB Josh Jacobs and LT Kolton Miller. If Chandler Jones and seventh overall pick Tyree Wilson can be effective, the Raiders could have a top-10 edge duo.
That’s where the obvious positives end for the Raiders. After seeing what Purdy did in San Francisco last season, Jimmy Garoppolo is a parallel move, at best, from Carr. Given the Raiders’ difficult early schedule, it’s easy to see them starting slow and struggling to recover.
Up next: at DEN, at BUF, vs. PIT, at LAC
28. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are a rebuilding team with few offensive difference-makers to help support first-overall pick Bryce Young. The Panthers’ offensive line has also struggled this preseason, adding more volatility to their young offense.
Carolina’s early schedule is filled with competitive teams, so it would be no surprise if the Panthers struggled early as a prelude to improving late.
Up Next: at ATL, vs. NO (MNF), at SEA, vs. MIN
29. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans should be better this season, but they are a rebuilding team with a rookie quarterback and the worst wide receiver room in football. Houston draws two road matchups against AFC contenders in its first three games, which won’t make things easier.
Up Next: at BAL, vs. IND, at JAX, vs. PIT
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To call that a monumental downgrade is an understatement. The Buccaneers’ defense is solid, but this is a volatile team with a scary low floor.
Up Next: at MIN, vs. CHI, vs. PHI (MNF), at NO
31. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a young team whose best offensive player, RB Jonathan Taylor, wants out. New QB Anthony Richardson is a freak athlete with a fascinating upside, but he was an inconsistent passer in college.
We should expect the Colts offense to struggle early in the year, especially given the drama surrounding Taylor.
Up Next: vs. JAX, at HOU, at BAL, vs. LAR
32. Arizona Cardinals
Not only will the Arizona Cardinals start without QB Kyler Murray, but they have below-average lines on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to see the combination of Colt McCoy and Clayton Tune keeping Arizona alive in the playoff race until Murray returns.
On top of that, the Cardinals open the season against four defenses with top-10 pass rushes.
Up Next: at WAS, vs. NYG, vs. DAL, at SF