In my first year at The 33rd team, I never wrote a piece about my NFL power ratings, but this is something I’ll provide consistently moving forward. Power ratings, kind of like power rankings, are something many professional handicappers use to demonstrate their perception of each team in a given sport. Every bettor has a different approach, but the idea is to use power ratings as a reference point before placing a bet. In descending order from most important to least important, the main factors that I consider when developing power ratings are:
- Head Coach
- Offensive/Defensive line
- Culture and chemistry
- Offensive skill players
- Defensive skill players
- Special Teams
With that, I give you my final ratings. Keep in mind that these ratings reflect all of these teams at full health, and other factors (home field, rivalries, weather, other situations) are not incorporated. Free agency and the draft may change these somewhat, but we’ll assess at that juncture. Let’s get to it.
Final NFL Betting Power Ratings
1. Kansas City Chiefs: 7.5 points Better Than Average Team
The Kansas City Chiefs have young, upstart talent on offense, the best quarterback in football, a group of wide receivers that should only improve with more time together, arguably the best tight end in football, and in my opinion, the league’s most creative and consistent coach. I don’t see anyone dethroning the Chiefs any time soon.
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 7 Points Better
The Philadelphia Eagles deserve their flowers, even though they didn’t get the job done in the end. We’ll see how free agency and the loss of both coordinators has on this team, but the reality is they’re still overflowing with supreme talent on offense and defense and Jalen Hurts has beyond proven that he can handle the role of franchise quarterback.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: 6.5 Points Better
The Cincinnati Bengals have all the ingredients to win a Super Bowl; they just haven’t done it yet. Joe Burrow is a born winner, unbothered by the game’s most tense moments, and he has the most elite group of WRs in the NFL. Zac Taylor really gained my respect this season, too, especially the way he handled Damar Hamlin’s injury. Their defense is also very stout, full of underrated veterans who constantly make big plays when it matters most. This is a high-level organization and, in my mind, the biggest threat to the Kansas City Chiefs’ potential dynastic run.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 6 Points Better
No roster may be more stacked than the San Francisco 49ers. But there’s just one problem — they don’t have a stable quarterback. If they stick with Brock Purdy, that would be enough for me to put this team in my top five. San Francisco’s defense looked like an all-time unit in segments of last season, and the dynamic talent they have on offense (Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle) might be second-to-none. Give this team some consistency at quarterback and they could quickly rise. Either way, Kyle Shanahan and a sharp front office should keep this franchise at the top for years to come.
5. Buffalo Bills: 6 Points Better
Everyone loves the Buffalo Bills. It’s hard not to. Josh Allen is one of the most entertaining players in the league, mowing over linebackers when needed and a howitzer arm that can hit any guy downfield. His accuracy and in-game decision-making have also improved exponentially in the last two seasons. Sean McDermott is among the best culture-creating coaches in the NFL, and they have a true No. 1 wide receiver in Stefon Diggs. Their depth needs improvement, particularly on defense, and I think Von Miller’s injury made a big difference last season. Buffalo’s potential still rests on the shoulders of Allen, and those are broad, hulky shoulders we trust, but they’re a few shades away from being a truly elite team for now.
6. Baltimore Ravens: 5 Points Better
The Baltimore Ravens had a disappointing year in the end, but when they’re completely healthy, this is still a very dangerous team. I’m still not sure if Lamar Jackson can make the “big throws” deep in the playoffs. We just haven’t seen it yet. But he’s still the fastest and most athletic quarterback in the NFL. The Ravens incurred injuries on defense (again), limiting their results, but Roquan Smith made an immediate impact. He’s the leader they’ve been waiting for on that end. They still desperately need a true No. 1 receiver, but the foundation of this franchise is very solid. John Harbaugh is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NFL (15 seasons and going), and their blue-collar, hard-hitting identity is still intact. I expect bigger and better things next season.
7. Dallas Cowboys: 4.5 Points Better
The Dallas Cowboys have, unfortunately for their fans, become a little too predictable. They’ve thrived at the start of the last two seasons, displaying exceptional offense and a burgeoning defense behind new talent and one of the better defensive coordinators in the league in Dan Quinn, yet they’ve regularly failed to make a dent in the NFC playoffs. It’s hard to pinpoint what goes wrong in every situation, but in my opinion, Dak Prescott isn’t a true franchise quarterback. He’s good, not great, kind of like Daniel Jones, and he fails to elevate his team when it matters most. I’m not sure how adept Mike McCarthy is, either, but his record against the spread (ATS) over the last two years is astounding (24-13). Only Zac Taylor has a better record. With talent oozing on offense and defense, the Cowboys are always a threat to knock off the best.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4 Points Better
The Jacksonville Jaguars might have the most exciting franchise in the NFL right now. Hell, the state of Florida might have the top two most exciting teams (yes, we’re talking about you, Miami fans). Trevor Lawrence finally showed why he was one of the most anticipated draft picks in NFL history this season, ascending in the second half of the season as one of the highest-ranked quarterbacks in the league. Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson has clearly elevated his play, restoring Lawrence’s confidence after a lost season under Urban Meyer. The Jaguars are packed with young talent on both offense and defense and all signs suggest Jacksonville may reign over the AFC South for years to come. Pederson and Lawrence led Jacksonville to a comeback playoff win in 2022– that’s an exciting start to a team that’s bound to keep impressing as they continue to grow together.
9. Los Angeles Chargers: 3.5 Points Better
Despite their preseason hype, the Los Angeles Chargers mostly flew under the radar in 2022. Surprisingly, they were one of the best NFL teams ATS. Justin Herbert’s rib injury limited the stud quarterback early in the season, but L.A. still accrued enough wins to earn a playoff berth. Their defense is still very inconsistent, something that shouldn’t be paired with a “defensive specialist” at head coach, but the Chargers’ organization seems to be all-in for Brandon Staley. Personally, I think he is their downfall. It’s simply too complacent to recognize the immense talent on their roster while simultaneously accepting how little they’ve achieved since Staley took over. This is a good team that could be great if they corrected their perennial flaws. Staley is officially on the hot seat in 2023, as he should be.
10. Detroit Lions: 3 Points Better
The jury has reached a verdict — the Detroit Lions are a good football team. Dan Campbell has been a mostly exceptional coach the last two seasons, leading his team to a 23-11 ATS record and nearly a playoff berth in 2022. Their defense vastly improved as the season went on, and the Lions’ offense looked as explosive and dynamic as the Chiefs at certain junctures. In perhaps their biggest win in a few seasons, Detroit defeated their long-time archrival, the Packers, in Week 18 to eliminate their chances of making the playoffs. It was the kind of grit and tenacity that Campbell has been preaching since he became their head coach, and I think it’s a sign of greater things to come. As long as they approach free agency wisely, this team should only get better. The NFC North should be without Aaron Rodgers next season, too, leaving greater opportunity for the surging Lions to climb to new heights in 2023.
11. Minnesota Vikings: 2.5 Points Better
There was no chance the Minnesota Vikings would make my top 10. Sorry, but they’re right there on the fringe. Minnesota’s defense has been a problem for a long time, and only late in the season did the world see how porous it can be. Teams like the Giants, who got squashed by more elite opponents, did whatever they wanted against Minnesota. Of course, there’s something to be said about the Vikings’ NFL record 11 one-score wins in 2022, but from my vantage point a lot of that was luck. Brian Flores could make their defense a unit to take more seriously, and then the Vikings will be welcomed into my top 10. Until then, it’s a big TBD.
12. Miami Dolphins: 2.5 Points Better
The Miami Dolphins only need to stay healthy and they’ll probably crack my top 10 next season. Their potential is easy to notice, Tua Tagovailoa's missed time due to multiple concussions was ultimately the prime reason why they didn’t make the playoffs. Signing Vic Fangio brings a much-needed veteran mind to a defense that let Miami down in too many situations early in the season. Mike McDaniel is one of the most creative and interesting head coaches in the league, a true departure from the “norm” of what we usually see in an NFL coach, and his effect on the Dolphins’ organization was plain to see in year one. They fought hard in a playoff loss to the Bills, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they won a postseason contest next season.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2 Points Better
I’m higher on the Pittsburgh Steelers than most. Once T.J. Watt returned from injury in Week 10, their defense was instantly more capable last season, and I love what I’m seeing from Kenny Pickett. Most rookie quarterbacks don’t have ideal situations where they can instantly thrive, Pickett has gone through some growing pains, but the kid has real moxie. He made some elite passes down the stretch in big-game situations. Somehow Pittsburgh managed to still muster a winning record despite a down season in one of the best divisions in football. Next year, motivated by enigmatic head coach Mike Tomlin, I expect this team to be even better.
14. New York Giants: 2 Points Better
My New York Giants took a huge leap in 2022. A laughingstock of cyclically bad football for the last few seasons under names like Joe Judge, Pat Shurmur, and Ben McAdoo, it felt different when New York hired Brian Daboll as their new head coach. Daboll knows how to build great offenses; he did it at the University of Alabama and most recently with the Buffalo Bills, and it showed in his very first year coaching the Giants. Daniel Jones had the lowest interception ratio in the NFL, a huge change from his previously turnover-prone habits, Saquon Barkley was finally thriving again, and the Giants won a playoff game with a roster that many experts still consider to be one of the least talented in the NFL. Daboll earned AP Coach of the Year honors for his efforts, and again there’s hope in New York. While they’re still far from an elite, the Giants developed many high-potential players last season and made the most out of every opportunity. Daniel Jones is not the answer at QB, the Giants have options. Either way, their 2022 roster vastly overachieved thanks to Daboll’s new culture. The future is bright for big blue.
15. Cleveland Browns: 1.5 Points Better
The Cleveland Browns are a difficult team to love for myriad reasons– they’re cyclically underperforming, despite a super-talented roster, and of course, Deshaun Watson isn’t exactly the most embraced athlete at the moment (nor should he be). Regardless, this is still a good team that could be really good if they finally have a more stable season. The 2022 season was not that. Deshaun Watson started to show some of the magic we’ve seen from him in previous seasons with Houston, but ultimately Cleveland leaned on their run game, and they were let down often by a disappointing defense. They’re still better than average because of their depth of talent, but personally, I’d like to see some more results next season. Being in the AFC North certainly doesn’t make that any easier.
16. New England Patriots: 1.5 Points Better
Ultimately, the New England Patriots' downfall in 2022 was their anemic offense. Hardly a surprise, considering who they had calling plays. But the Patriots were still a competitive team for most of the year. Although still far from the greatness of the Belichick-Brady era, the Patriots have some pieces to build around on offense. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are an exceptional duo at running back if they can avoid further injuries, and Mac Jones has shown plenty to deserve another year starting at quarterback. Without more talent/depth on their offensive line and at wide receiver, it’s hard to picture this offense becoming more explosive. This is a team held together by a top-tier defense. We’ll see if they can become more dynamic on the other side of the ball next season.
17. Green Bay Packers: 1 Point Better
It appears the Aaron Rodgers era is over for the Green Bay Packers. It certainly seemed that way when Rodgers walked off the field after a bad loss to the Lions in Week 18, eliminating the perennial contender from another shot at a Super Bowl. In limited spots, Jordan Love looked like he’s vastly improved from the version we saw in his first two seasons with the Packers, and it’s coming at the right time. Green Bay still has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were more competitive next year. Moving on from Rodgers feels overdue at this point.
18. Tennessee Titans: 1 Point Better
For the Tennessee Titans, it was a tale of two seasons. They started off hot and, again, were one of the best ATS teams in the NFL because of a gritty culture established by Mike Vrabel, stingy defensive play, and efficient-enough offense. Then Ryan Tannehill went down to injury later in the season, their defensive line couldn’t stay completely healthy, and even their offensive line (which has been a historically exceptional run-blocking unit) wasn’t holding up. The Titans should be concerned about their future. Their rival in South Florida is growing by the second, and the Titans clearly don’t have enough offensive talent to keep up with better squads. All that said, they’re still slightly above an average team, and I wouldn't be surprised if Vrabel finds a way to overcome more of their deficits in 2023.
At this point, hopefully, it makes sense how power ratings work. If the Titans are 1 point better than an average team and the Chiefs are 7.5 points better, then I think the Chiefs should be -6.5 on a neutral field. Let’s move on to the average to below-average group.
19. Seattle Seahawks: 0 Points Better
The Seattle Seahawks are my benchmark for an average team. It’s still true that Geno Smith played the season of a lifetime, vaulting himself into the Pro Bowl as one of the premier passers in 2022. His 69.8% completion percentage led the NFL all season. Regardless, the Seahawks are still a growing team. At virtually every position, they’re good, not great. DK Metcalf continues to provide problems for opposing offenses, and standout rookie Tariq Woolen was a nice addition for their secondary, but they just don’t have enough elite talent to compete with the big boys. As long as they have the ageless wonder at head coach Pete Carroll, they’re always a team that can contend, though.
20. New York Jets: 0 Points Better
The New York Jets are the team I hope gets better fast; they certainly showed they’re really close to becoming a formidable contender in 2022. The one thing New York needs? A true franchise quarterback. No big deal. While that type doesn’t grow on trees, the good news for Jets fans is this team has building blocks for the future.
21. New Orleans Saints: 0.5 Points Worse
The big question for the New Orlean Saints is obvious: how are they approaching their quarterback conundrum this offseason? I think Derek Carr is a darn good fit, but what do I know? I’m not sure how much I trust Saints’ coach Dennis Allen; based on one season, I saw a plethora of inconsistencies. But his defense has some nice young talent, and with the right quarterback, this could be a very formidable team. For now, they’re slightly below average.
22. Carolina Panthers: 1 Point Worse
The Frank Reich era for the Carolina Panthers is beginning, and it's come with some mixed perceptions. Reich was a key cog in the Eagles' Super Bowl win a few years ago, but his time with the Colts didn’t exactly build confidence with his supporters. Reich inherits a similar situation in Carolina — a team with stingy defense and good young talent on offense but without a quarterback that can take their team to the next level. The Panthers also brought on former Denver assistant coach Ejiro Evero and Thomas Brown, who previously served as an offensive assistant and tight ends coach with the L.A. Rams. A new regime is set in Carolina, and it’s hard to speculate what that’ll look like for the franchise in 2023. For now, without a QB we trust, they’re still a below-average unit.
23. Washington Commanders: 1 Point Worse
My friends in the DMV area (that’s DC, Maryland, Virginia for out-of-towners) won’t like how low I have the Washington Commanders, but it’s hard to give them too much credit after another disappointing 2022 campaign. Every NFC East team was a real contender in the NFC playoff picture this past season. That is, every NFC East team not named the Washington Commanders. The Commanders continue to struggle mainly because of inconsistent performance at quarterback, but I could make that statement about most of their roster. Everything is good but not great, including their run game, their pass defense, their running defense, and the way they finish games. Terry McLaurin, their star wide receiver, might be the only consistently positive product we’ve seen from this franchise over the last two seasons. Chase Young still isn’t the game-breaking rookie we saw two seasons ago before he suffered an injury, and head coach Ron Rivera has seemed out of touch and frustrated more than motivated and hopeful. Unless this team gets a big boost from signing a star QB this offseason, the Commanders will likely continue their reign of cyclically below-average results.
24. The Denver Broncos: 2 Points Worse
The Denver Broncos went through a lot of growing pains this season. They incurred key injuries early —most notably Javonte Williams, the upstart running back who was ready to have a breakout season but lost his season due to an ACL injury in Week 4 — and their offense was one of the least productive in the NFL. They fired Nathaniel Hackett, a first-year coach, one day after Christmas. Russell Wilson was scrutinized by the media and fellow players alike for his out-of-touch disposition, and now we’re hearing that he wanted his previous coach fired, too. It’s a situation most coaches would want no part of, but Sean Payton isn't like most coaches. Payton, the former Super Bowl-winning head coach of the New Orleans Saints for 9 seasons, sees potential in the franchise. We do, too, but I have to see it happen first. The Broncos were 7-10 ATS and the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL (16.9 ppg) in 2022, so they have a lot of work to do. Still, the roster is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and Payton is the type of leader Wilson needs — a coach he’ll yield to because of his experience and prowess. I can see this team improving vastly next season, but for now, they’re still a team in flux.
25. Los Angeles Rams: 2.5 Points Worse
On paper things didn’t go well in 2022 for the 2021 Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams, but let’s step back for a moment and look at it more objectively. Matthew Stafford never seemed healthy and he only played for half a season. Cooper Kupp, one of the league’s most productive receivers, was out of commission after Week 10. They were shallow at receiver and running back, and life without legendary tackle Andrew Whitworth proved to be tougher than most imagined. Aaron Donald hasn’t announced his retirement yet, and the Rams’ defense kept them in plenty of games last season. For now, this isn’t a good team, but things could change quickly when you have a championship-winning QB and head coach.
26. Atlanta Falcons: 2.5 Points Worse
I’m really interested to see what the Atlanta Falcons do this offseason. They started off as one of the hottest ATS teams in the league, covering all six of their first contests. But as other teams started to figure out their formula and their lack of talent reared its head, that regressed. This is a franchise with a lot of holes to fill, but they also have young, enigmatic talent that could mean further improvements in 2023.
27. Las Vegas Raiders: 3 Points Worse
Who’s going to replace Derek Carr? That’s the biggest question remaining about the Las Vegas Raiders. Until we know that, it’s hard to evaluate this perpetually underperforming franchise. They have a depth of talent on offense (assuming they keep Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Darren Waller), but they have a defense that can’t stop anyone (ranked 26th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed per game). I’m not sold that Josh McDaniels is capable of leading men to consistent results of any sort. We saw them blow a ton of leads this season, and until the Raiders figure out their many roster roles, this won’t be a good team.
28. Arizona Cardinals: 3.5 Points Worse
The Arizona Cardinals hired the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon as their new head coach, and the jury is out on how that’ll go. At first glance, the guy seems like a giant cornball, but maybe that’s exactly what the organization needs. It worked with Pete Carrol in Seattle. Kliff Kingsbury just never seemed to have control over the team during his tenure, despite the fact that he often sounded overconfident and brazen in post-game interviews. Overall, this roster needs a lot of help. Their depth on their offensive and defensive lines is among the worst in the NFL, and Kyler Murray has yet to unleash his talent in a consistent, stable manner. Maybe Gannon can put it all together, but after the Eagles let Kansas City do whatever they want against his defense in Super Bowl LVII, pardon me if I’m not overly confident that it’ll happen.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4 Points Worse
No Tom Brady will be a major problem for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not long ago this was a Super Bowl roster, but now it feels more like an old, expired squad that needs to hit the refresh button. There are just too many contracts up in the air and too much uncertainty for me to have any bold takes on Tampa Bay at this time, but I think it’s reasonable to assume this may be a franchise that enters rebuild mode for a few years to come.
30. Chicago Bears: 4.5 Points Worse
I don’t have much to say on the final three teams on this list, other than it doesn’t look very good from my perspective. The Chicago Bears' biggest reason for hope is Justin Fields. The second-year quarterback should have eclipsed the single-season record for yards rushing from a QB, but he wasn’t given the chance in Week 18. Still, he almost single-handedly kept his team competitive all season thanks to his athletic ability on the ground and improved decision-making through the air. With plenty of room to further improve and with plenty of cap space to bring in new talent next season, the Chicago offense could look a lot better in 2023. Their defense was a good, not great unit, but their real issue is the offensive line. We’ll see if they can bring in the talent they need.
31. Indianapolis Colts: 4.5 Points Worse
There’s reason for the Indianapolis Colts to have hope, but they still need to find their franchise quarterback. Indy brings in Eagles’ offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, whose record with Philadelphia is quite impressive considering how average they were not long ago. Steichen seemingly helped turn around Hurts’ career, and his creatively designed run-first offense was arguably the biggest reason why the Eagles made the Super Bowl last season. If Steichen can bring some of that moxie and innovation to Indianapolis, and if they can find an adequate QB, this can quickly turn into an above-average team. They still have plenty of talent on defense, but they need to boost their depth on both lines.
32. Houston Texans: 6 Points Worse
Unfortunately for Houston Texans fans, they’re probably still a few seasons away from being competitive. To put it simply, the Texans need stability at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, and their linebackers. Their secondary is pretty good and rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. helped make that unit top 10 against the pass in a few categories last season, but they need help. However, I love Demeco Ryans as their new head coach. The Texans surprised a few teams early, hanging in games and putting up a fight against elite rosters, and I think we could see more of that brand of football next season. Ryans proved his worth as an elite defensive mind with one of the best defenses in football in San Francisco. I think that side of the ball shows clear improvements in 2023. It’s the other side that’s a cause for concern.