Football is finally back this week, so it’s time to take another look at power rankings before the games count.
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 on every team’s talent, reliability and current level of success.
Betting markets also will influence our stances, as will each team’s path to contention within its conference. We’ll also be aware of each team’s looming schedule difficulty.
Week 1 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Rank: No. 1
It looks like the Kansas City Chiefs will be without star DT Chris Jones for opening night against the Detroit Lions. Jones’ absence turns the Chiefs’ high-quality pass rush into a below-average group. Despite the defensive downgrade, we’re giving Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid’s football operation the benefit of the doubt. The defending champs enter the year at the top of our power rankings.
Up Next: vs. DET (TNF), at JAX, vs. CHI, at NYJ (SNF)
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Rank: No. 2
The Philadelphia Eagles still have a loaded roster, but they’ll be far more reliant on young, unproven players this season. They’ll also have a new play caller on both sides of the ball. That combination makes an opening-day trip to New England more dangerous than it would have been last season. Overall, Philadelphia is well-positioned to start the year strong.
Up Next: at NE, vs. MIN (TNF), at TB (MNF), vs. WAS
3. Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Rank: No. 3
Up Next: at CLE, vs. BAL, vs. LAR (MNF), at TEN
4. Buffalo Bills
Previous Rank: No. 4
Opening the season without veteran edge Von Miller reduces the ceiling of Buffalo’s pass rush. Regardless, as long as Josh Allen is standing, the Buffalo Bills are a contending team. They’ll be tested early with a Monday night trip to the Big Apple to face Aaron Rodgers’ new-look New York Jets.
Up Next: at NYJ (MNF), vs. LV, at WAS, vs. MIA
5. San Francisco 49ers
Previous Rank: No. 5
As of this writing, the contract of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa has not been extended. Even if he returns for opening day, he probably won’t be in football shape. The San Francisco 49ers still have an excellent defense without Bosa, but his absence is an obvious negative. San Francisco is on upset alert for Week 1 in Pittsburgh.
Up Next: at PIT, at LAR, vs. NYG (TNF), vs. ARI
6. Dallas Cowboys
Previous Rank: No. 6
The Dallas Cowboys head to New York to face their division rivals for 2023’s first installment of Sunday Night Football. Dallas has a number of matchup advantages against the New York Giants, but anything can happen in a divisional road game. Long term, the Cowboys are one of the few stable teams in the NFC. They have gone 12-5 in each of the last two seasons, and they improved on both sides of the ball this offseason.
Up Next: at NYG (SNF), vs. NYJ, at ARI, vs. NE
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Rank: No. 7
Trevor Lawrence is an ascending quarterback who led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 6-1 regular season finish and a playoff win. The Jaguars’ defense has several blue chip talents, but its secondary could be a liability. Jacksonville’s schedule, on the other hand, gives the team an advantage against the conference superpowers; the Jaguars have the easiest path to winning their division among all AFC teams. If Lawrence takes another step forward, Jacksonville has a path to the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
Up Next: at IND, vs. KC, vs. HOU, vs. ATL (England)
8. Baltimore Ravens
Previous Rank: No. 8
The Baltimore Ravens have been one of the most consistent teams this century. However, they enter the year with a new offense and a revamped wide receiver group. The new Ravens offense has a higher ceiling this season, but it could suffer from some early growing pains. That shouldn’t be a major problem on opening day, because Baltimore hosts the rebuilding Houston Texans.
Up Next: vs. HOU, at CIN, vs. IND, at CLE
9. Los Angeles Chargers
Previous Rank: No. 9
The Los Angeles Chargers have all the talent in the world, especially on offense. But that has been the case many times in the past two decades. The question is, can they put it all together? Los Angeles faces a stiff opening day test against a similarly talented Dolphins team.
Up Next: vs. MIA, at TEN, at MIN, vs. LV
10. New York Jets
Previous Rank: No. 10
The Jets are the most interesting team in the NFL, and it’s not because they were on Hard Knocks this summer. If Rodgers returns to his 2021 and 2022 MVP form, a Super Bowl win is on the table for Gang Green.
If age has caught up to Rodgers or he misses significant time, New York could be in the same position as last year. Both of those extreme outcomes are possible. The Jets’ opening schedule is brutal, starting with Allen’s Bills on Monday Night Football.
Up Next: vs. BUF (MNF), at DAL, vs. NE, vs. KC (SNF)
11. Miami Dolphins
Previous Rank: No. 13
Miami is one of the few teams in the league that could finish with a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense. As long as Tua Tagovailoa stays healthy this season, the Miami Dolphins can beat anyone. Miami begins the year with a difficult four-game stretch.
Up Next: at LAC, at NE, vs. DEN, at BUF
12. Detroit Lions
Previous Rank: No. 11
Detroit gets the toughest of Week 1 draws as it heads to Kansas City on opening night. Coach Dan Campbell has completely remade this team the past two seasons; his Lions might lose on opening night, but they are in a position to make some noise in the NFC.
Up Next: at KC (TNF), vs. SEA, vs. ATL, at GB (TNF)
13. Seattle Seahawks
Previous Rank: No. 12
If Geno Smith’s 2022 performance is his new reality, the Seattle Seahawks have elite talent on offense and a vastly improved defense. Much like Detroit, Seattle can make some real noise in the NFC in a best-case scenario. We’ll see the Lions and Seahawks square off in Week 2.
Up Next: vs. LAR, at DET vs. CAR, at NYG (MNF)
14. New Orleans Saints
Previous Rank: No. 14
The New Orleans Saints are a good, not great team with the league’s easiest schedule. That advantage could lead them to an inflated record. The Saints open the year with a tough matchup against Tennessee, but New Orleans could realistically start 3-1. If Derek Carr plays well this season, the Saints’ easy schedule could put them in the mix for the NFC’s top seed.
Up Next: vs. Ten, at Car (MNF), at GB, vs. TB
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Rank: No. 16
Kenny Pickett’s young offense had an encouraging preseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers already have a top-10 defense in place. If preseason momentum continues, there’s a strong chance Mike Tomlin’s winning-record streak continues for a 16th season.
Up Next: vs. SF, vs. CLE (MNF), at LV (SNF), at HOU
16. Minnesota Vikings
Previous Rank: No. 15
The Minnesota Vikings have one of the most talented passing attacks in football. If new coordinator Brian Flores can even mildly improve the defense, Minnesota can be a playoff team again. If Flores can get this defense to league-average territory, the Vikings can be a factor in the NFC.
Up Next: vs. TB, at PHI (TNF), vs. LAC, at CAR
17. New York Giants
Previous Rank: No. 18
The Giants are suddenly a well-run football operation that improved their roster on both sides of the ball. If New York’s new group of pass catchers enables Daniel Jones to be more aggressive this season, the Giants could improve this year. That said, New York has an absolutely brutal schedule through the first half of the year. The Giants could be a more dangerous team this season — but a less successful one.
Up Next: vs. DAL (SNF), at ARI, at SF (TNF), vs. SEA (MNF)
18. Cleveland Browns
Previous Rank: No. 17
The Cleveland Browns have a strong enough roster to contend in the AFC. Whether or not they do boils down to Deshaun Watson. If we see the 2020 version of Watson, the Browns could make a deep playoff run. If what we saw from Watson at the end of last season is the new reality, the AFC has too many quality teams for Cleveland to contend. The Browns open the year with a tough schedule, but Watson faces some beatable pass defenses during that stretch.
Up Next: vs. CIN, at PIT (MNF), vs. TEN, vs. BAL
19. Denver Broncos
Previous Rank: No. 20
The Denver Broncos are in a similar situation to the Browns in many ways. If Russell Wilson has a bounce-back season, Denver can be a playoff team. If he doesn’t, the AFC has too many high-quality teams for the Broncos to keep pace. We’re at least slightly bullish on Wilson, who should benefit from a manageable early schedule.
Up Next: vs. LV, vs. WAS, at MIA, at CHI
20. Atlanta Falcons
Previous Rank: No. 19
Few teams improved their roster — especially on defense — more than the Atlanta Falcons this offseason. On offense, the Falcons have a top-10 offensive line to go with three blue chip skill position players. If coach Arthur Smith can get Ryan Tannehill-type efficiency out of Desmond Ridder, Atlanta can win the NFC South. That is, however, a big if.
Up Next: vs. CAR, vs. GB, at DET, vs. JAX (England)
21. Tennessee Titans
Previous Rank: No. 21
The Tennessee Titans uncharacteristically collapsed last season, losing their last seven games. If we ignore that stretch, Mike Vrabel’s Titans have been an overachieving, physical football team for years. But even assuming a return to that norm, Lawrence is already the man to beat in the South, and the AFC is absolutely loaded. Those factors create an uphill battle for the Titans to return to the playoffs.
Up Next: at NO, vs. LAC, at CLE, vs. CIN
22. Green Bay Packers
Previous Rank: No. 22
The Green Bay Packers have one of the widest outcome ranges of any team. If Green Bay’s defense plays to its potential while Jordan Love leads an efficient offense, the Packers will be in the wild card mix. They could even win the NFC North. If Love struggles while the defense continues to underachieve, Green Bay could end up with a top-five pick in next year’s draft.
The Packers open the year with a manageable five games. If they struggle through that stretch, they could be in big trouble this season.
Up Next: at CHI, at ATL, vs. NO, vs. DET (TNF)
23. Chicago Bears
Previous Rank: No. 23
No team improved its roster this offseason more than the Chicago Bears. But ultimately, this year is about Justin Fields taking a leap as a passer. Chicago has given him a strong enough supporting cast to do just that. Fields has shown flashes in the past, but the big question is: Can he be a consistent passer? If he can, the Bears have some wild card potential.
Up Next: vs. GB, at TB, at KC, vs. DEN
24. New England Patriots
Previous Rank: No. 26
Bill Belichick’s Patriots are always a tough out, but they open the year with an absolutely brutal four-game stretch. Even if New England is a better team this season, it could take some time for that to pay obvious dividends given its early schedule.
Up Next: vs. PHI, vs. MIA, at NYJ, at DAL
25. Washington Commanders
Previous Rank: No. 24
The Washington Commanders are one of several teams that have a playoff-caliber roster — but an uncertain quarterback. If Sam Howell can provide stability, Washington will be in the mix for a wild card spot. Howell faces Arizona on opening day, giving him a great opportunity to get off to a fast start. If Howell struggles in this matchup, it could be a long year for Washington football fans.
Up Next: vs. ARI, at DEN, vs. BUF, at PHI
26. Los Angeles Rams
Previous Rank: No. 25
The Los Angeles Rams have an excellent core, but their roster gets thin in a hurry. Cooper Kupp recently suffered a setback with his hamstring injury. If Kupp misses any time, that changes what the Rams are capable of doing on offense. All teams need their stars, but Los Angeles has too many holes to lose one of Kupp, Matthew Stafford or Aaron Donald. The Rams are in real danger of starting the year 0-3.
Up Next: at SEA, vs. SF, at CIN (MNF), at IND
27. Las Vegas Raiders
Previous Rank: No. 27
Brock Purdy’s performance last year in San Francisco brings Jimmy Garoppolo’s accomplishments with the 49ers into question. San Francisco’s offense improved when Purdy took over. Purdy wasn’t some top-of-the-draft quarterback, he was the last pick in the 2022 draft.
Garoppolo played in Josh McDaniels’ system when both were in New England, so familiarity is a positive. But ultimately, the Las Vegas Raiders don’t have as much talent as Garoppolo had in San Francisco. The Raiders will be tested early. They open the year with four games against playoff-caliber teams.
Up Next: at DEN, at BUF, vs. PIT, at LAC
28. Carolina Panthers
Previous Rank: No. 28
The Carolina Panthers are a young team whose most difficult schedule stretch runs through its first six games. We expect Carolina to struggle early while gradually improving after its Week 7 bye.
Up Next: at ATL, vs. NO (MNF), at SEA, vs. MIN
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previous Rank: No. 30
It’s hard to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stabilizing, not to mention improving, as they make the transition from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield. In truth, those two names shouldn’t be said in the same sentence.
The Buccaneers’ offensive line is in flux, while the combination of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin isn’t quite as dangerous in Mayfields’ hands. If Mayfield struggles against the Vikings’ beatable pass defense on opening day, it could be a long year for Tampa Bay.
Up Next: at MIN, vs. CHI, vs. PHI (MNF), at NO
30. Houston Texans
Previous Rank: No. 29
The Texans’ upgraded offensive line suffered two injuries in left guard Kenyon Green and rookie center Juice Scruggs. The group could still be fine, but the injury to Green specifically reduces the ceiling of this promising unit. The Texans are average or worse at virtually every other position group. Houston opens the season in Baltimore, which is an extremely tough draw for a young team.
Up Next: at BAL, vs. IND, at JAX, vs. PIT
31. Indianapolis Colts
Previous Rank: No. 31
The Jonathan Taylor situation evolved into a head-scratching debacle where he’ll now sit for at least four games. Everything about that makes things harder for rookie coach Shane Steichen and QB Anthony Richardson. It would not be surprising if the Indianapolis Colts got off to a slow start.
Up Next: vs. JAX, at HOU, at BAL, vs. LAR
32. Arizona Cardinals
Previous Rank: No. 32
The Arizona Cardinals still have not named their opening day quarterback. Releasing Colt McCoy to make room for Josh Dobbs so he can compete with Clayton Tune is not a good situation. It wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Cardinals were winless when Kyler Murray returns. If he returns.
Up Next: at WAS, vs. NYG, vs. DAL, at SF