2024 NFL power rankings: Evaluating all 32 teams, impact from Day 1 of NFL free agency

2024 NFL power rankings
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL season is drawing to a close with Super Bowl LVIII as the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs proved they were the best teams in football. Everyone’s focus now shifts towards the offseason, with all 32 NFL teams hoping to take a big step forward this fall.

As always, free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft will have a huge influence on the hierarchy of the league. Outstanding draft classes led the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers to the playoffs this season. So it stands to reason a new wave of teams will experience a similar breakthrough in 2024.

Let’s dive into our way-too-early 2024 NFL power rankings.

NFL power rankings 2024: Worst NFL teams

32. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers are the worst NFL team in 2024. Hiring Dave Canales will be a step forward for Bryce Young’s development, but the second-year quarterback is still staring at a situation with one of the worst offensive lines and receiving corps in the NFL. With no first-round pick and limited cap space, it’s hard to see how Panthers general manager Dan Morgan significantly improves this roster for the 2024 season. Our concerns for the Panthers next season were further highlighted by the Brian Burns trade. With the star edge rusher gone, Carolina doesn’t have anyone to get after the passer.

Related: Carolina Panthers get overwhelming feedback on 2024 hires

31. New York Giants

The New York Giants are in a bad situation in 2024. Brian Daboll’s reputation is crumbling, the organization’s reputation is taking hits, Saquon Barkley might leave and they still have one of the worst offenses in the NFL on paper. Even with Daniel Jones returning from an ACL tear, there’s very little going on to suggest the Giants can avoid being one of the worst NFL teams in 2024. Acquiring Brian Burns will certainly make the Giants defense better, but as of now this will right alongside Carolina as the worst NFL offense in 2024.

Related: Bill Belichick taking shots at New York Giants organization

30. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans potentially have the framework for long-term success. Ran Carthon is an excellent talent evaluator, head coach Brian Callahan has an outstanding football mind and new defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson could become a future head coach. For now, however, the Titans roster is a massive work in progress. A bottom-10 offense and defense in 2024 will likely put Tennessee near the bottom of the standings.

Related: Tennessee Titans mock draft 2024

29. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots finally hit the reset button, a decision that arguably should’ve been made a year ago. While Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo have the cap space and draft capital to start overhauling this roster, the offense is a mess and it’s not going to be a one-year fix. Whether New England takes Jayden Daniels with the third pick or trades down and gives Mac Jones another shot, the 2024 season is a rebuilding year.

28. Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos haven’t even experienced the salary-cap problems that come with having Sean Payton as your head coach. In 2024, however, Denver will be living through the ramifications of the Russell Wilson deal. A team with a league-average defense, a mediocre offensive line and below-average quarterback play does not project to be relevant in the AFC next season. At some point in 2024, fans might start wondering why the Broncos signed up for this experience.

Related: NFL Draft rumors 2024

27. Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings come in so low in our preliminary 2024 NFL power rankings because of the quarterback uncertainty. Kirk Cousins is gone, obviously, because Minnesota wasn’t willing to match what the Atlanta Falcons offered. Sam Darnold is the guy for now, but even if it’s J.J. McCarthy at quarterback, there’s not a lot of reason to believe the Vikings are any kind of playoff threat in 2024.

Related: Grading NFL coaching hires 2024

26. Arizona Cardinals

It was always going to be a multi-year process for the Arizona Cardinals. In cleaning up the mess left by Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury, Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon put the Arizona Cardinals on the right path in 2023. Now loaded with draft capital, Ossenfort can start finding young talent to unlock Gannon’s defense and help quarterback Kyler Murray. Youth comes with growing pains but it will provide a bright future, too.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

25. Washington Commanders

Despite the debacle with the coaching search, the Washington Commanders are still in an outstanding situation for team building. First-year general manager Adam Peters is one of the best talent evaluators in the NFL and he has a lot of valuable draft picks to work with. Plus, Washington leads the NFL in cap space and can use that to add much-needed help for Dan Quinn’s defense. This is an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback like Drake Maye or Caleb Williams to walk into as the starting quarterback in 2024.

Related: Washington Commanders mock draft 2024

24. Las Vegas Raiders

Fans and players got what they wanted, Antonio Pierce sticking around as head coach. Unfortunately, this feels like a situation ripe for disaster. The Luke Getsy hire at offensive coordinator comes with its own red flags and general manager Tom Telesco had an alarming track record of misses on draft picks outside the first two rounds. The fact that Las Vegas overpaid for Gardner Minshew and now seems poised to start him in 2024 is just another reminder that, outside of this defense, the Raiders don’t have much going for them.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars

We’ll start with the positives. A healthy Trevor Lawrence can make a significant difference for the Jacksonville Jaguars offense and the addition of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen should help improve the pass rush improve. Unfortunately, Doug Pederson kept close friend Press Taylor around and we saw what happened last season with Taylor heavily involved in this offense. Between that and our lack of confidence in Trent Baalke’s ability to build a good team, the Jaguars are losing ground on their AFC South rivals.

Related: Jacksonville Jaguars GM may resign

22. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are essentially running it back with the same cast from the 2023 season, albeit with some minor changes. Years of kicking salary-cap problems down the road are finally starting to catch up to New Orleans. Realistically, this team just doesn’t have the talent or youth to be viable in the NFC. Expect Dennis Allen to be featured prominently on the hot seat this fall.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers

The addition of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff will help improve the ground game’s consistency and effectiveness. There’s also reason to believe that if Pittsburgh fins a quality No. 2 cornerback, this team could field a top-12 defense in 2024. Most importantly, though, Pittsburgh finally upgraded over Kenny Pickett. We’re not suggesting Russell Wilson will be a savior, but even mediocre quarterback play will be an upgrade over what the Steelers had under center in the previous two years.

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20. Chicago Bears

The future is bright for the Chicago Bears. Shane Waldron will presumably be an upgrade over play-caller Luke Getsy and Matt Eberflus coached up a top-10 defense in the second half of the regular season after taking over play-calling duties. With Caleb Williams presumably coming in and more talent being added on both sides of the ball, the Bears are a dark horse Wild Card contender in 2024.

Related: Chicago Bears mock draft 2024

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield is back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mike Evans is finishing his career where it started. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still dealing with some salary-cap issues and there are no guarantees this passing offense is as efficient without Dave Canales. We certainly still view Tampa Bay as a viable threat to win the NFC South, but no one should be surprised if the Buccaneers finish with a top-12 pick in the 2025 NFL Draft either.

Related: NFL exec reveals Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ plans with Baker Mayfield

18. Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts nearly made the playoffs in a season with a first-year head coach, Jonathan Taylor missing 7 games and Anthony Richardson missing a majority of his rookie campaign. Shane Steichen’s offense looked outstanding with a backup quarterback in it. If the Colts can find a No. 2 receiver and Richardson stays healthy, Indianapolis has a legitimate shot to win the AFC South and host a playoff game.

Related: Best NFL rookie classes 2023

17. Seattle Seahawks

We have no doubts the Seattle Seahawks offense will be good in 2024. The hiring of Mike Macdonald as head coach also has a chance to be just as impactful as the organization’s decision to hire Pete Carroll years ago. With that said, Macdonald’s complex system takes two years to learn and he’s a first-year head coach. The growing pains we anticipate are why the Seahawks aren’t higher in the preliminary 2024 NFL power rankings.

16. Los Angeles Chargers

Perhaps this might seem too high for the Los Angeles Chargers in our 2024 NFL power rankings. Remember, though, Jim Harbaugh is one of the best head coaches in the NFL and he went 13-3 in his first season with the San Francisco 49ers. We’re not expecting that. After all, the Chargers’ defense needs to be overhauled and several key starters will be salary-cap casualties. With that said, we’ll bet on Harbaugh and Justin Herbert to challenge for a playoff spot immediately.

Related: Everything you need to know about the new Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff 2024

15. Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the fan base got what they wanted all these years after moving on from Matt Ryan. Yes, there are risks in an aging quarterback coming off a torn Achilles. However, Kirk Cousins was never a player who made plays with his athleticism. He is perfect for offensive coordinator Zac Robinson’s offense, which should have some similarities to Kevin O’Connell’s system in Minnesota. Cousins will unlock Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts and Drake London, easily making Atlanta the team to beat in the NFC South.

14. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams far outplayed expectations in 2023 and their front office dominated the 2023 NFL Draft. One year later, it’s clear this team is in a much better position long-term than anyone expected. There are emerging stars (Kobie Turner, Puka Nacua) on both sides of the ball and Los Angeles kicked off NFL free agency by improving its interior offensive line. While winning the NFC West seems unlikely, the Rams should once again be a Wild Card team in 2024.

Related: Fastest players at NFL Combine 2024

13. Cleveland Browns

It’s simple, 2023 was the Cleveland Browns’ best chance to win a Super Bowl. Joe Flacco outplayed Deshaun Watson and Cleveland had the best defense in football for the majority of the season. Now, there are concerns about how salary-cap issues influence the depth and talent on Cleveland’s roster. More importantly, Watson is the great unknown. There’s too much uncertainty to put the Browns higher in our 2024 NFL power rankings.

Related: NFL defense rankings 2024

12. New York Jets

Can the New York Jets protect a 40-year-old Aaron Rodgers? That’s pretty much what their chances come down to. Adding a left tackle like David Bakhtiari would certainly help, but one addition isn’t enough to repair the offensive line. Plus, reports on the Jets coaching staff and front office this offseason raise even bigger concerns about what will happen if New York gets off to a slow start or their injury-prone QB1 goes down again.

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11. Cincinnati Bengals

The two things that derailed the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023 were defensive regression and the injuries to Joe Burrow. We’ll grant Cincinnati the presumption of Burrow staying healthy in 2024, although, that’s not a guarantee behind this offensive line. As for the Bengals defense, their AFC North title hopes and Lou Anarumo’s future as an NFL head coach is dependent on whether or not this defense improves.

NFL power rankings: Best NFL teams in 2024

10. Miami Dolphins (Previously: 8)

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The salary cap is real, that’s why Christian Wilkins is gone. Yes, the Miami Dolphins might’ve replaced Jerome Baker with Jordyn Brooks and Anthony Walker, but this defense just lost one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. Regression on that side of the ball puts more pressure on Tua Tagovailoa and we’ve seen far too often that against good defenses who know his exact weaknesses, he doesn’t deliver. There’s still enough talent for Miami to be a top 10 team in 2024, but this roster is currently worse than it was last season.

Related: Why the Miami Dolphins have hit their ceiling with Tua Tagovailoa

9. Baltimore Ravens

NFL: Super Bowl LVIII-Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Press Conference
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Let’s just go over the Baltimore Ravens departures this offseason before NFL free agency even begins. Mike Macdonald, Dennard Wilson and Anthony Weaver are gone. Their departures also mean other departures on the Ravens coaching staff as they follow them elsewhere. The Ravens also lost top executive Joe Horitz. This isn’t even mentioning the looming free-agent losses and a potential Zay Flowers suspension. There’s a legitimate chance Baltimore is even lower in our 2024 NFL power rankings before Week 1.

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8. Philadelphia Eagles (Previously: 10)

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jaen Hurts played hurt last season and was not put in a good position by his offensive coaching staff. Both of those issues should be much better situations in 2024. However, the finger-pointing that went on, the retirement of Jason Kelce, the issues in the Eagles’ secondary and the reasons why Vic Fangio left the Miami Dolphins give us some concern in our way-too-early 2024 NFL power rankings. Still, Saquon Barkley is a massive upgrade for this rushing offense and once more talent is added to the secondary, Philadelphia can rebound and be in the second-tier of NFC teams next season.

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7. Dallas Cowboys (Previously: 4)

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
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Jerry Jones says the Dallas Cowboys are going all-in for the 2024 season. We’ll believe it when we see it and it certainly didn’t happen early in NFL free agency. The Dallas Cowboys offense, without Tony Pollard and Tyron Smith, is a question mark. An even bigger uncertainty is how the defense fares in the transition from Dan Quinn to Mike Zimmer. With all that said, while we agree Jones isn’t as big on winning as he claims, the Cowboys can at least contend for the NFC East. Once they get into the NFL playoffs, however, we all know how that story ends.

6. Buffalo Bills

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The best chance for the Buffalo Bills to come out on top of the AFC is behind them. For all of the talk suggesting Josh Allen “will” eventually get over the hump, there’s nothing to suggest that’s close to happening. Buffalo is in salary-cap hell, poised to lose key defensive starters and they are entirely dependent on Allen playing perfectly. All of that keeps Buffalo out of consideration for one of the five best NFL teams in 2024.

5. Green Bay Packers (Previously: 7)

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The youngest NFL team in 2023 made the playoffs with nearly every pass-catcher having less than two full seasons of NFL experience. Now, the Green Bay Packers have some of the best draft capital in 2024, arguably upgraded at defensive coordinator and just landed the best safety (Xavier McKinney) in NFL free agency. McKinney is going to be a fixer to a lot of the problems in the back end for Green Bay and with Rashan Gary a year removed from his first season back from an ACL tear, the Gary-Preston Smith pass-rushing combo should be better. Plus, while Aaron Jones was the heart of the locker room, Josh Jacobs is a better fit as a downhill runner in an offense that will spread the ball around. The Packers are back as Super Bowl contenders.

4. Houston Texans

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans
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The Houston Texans brought back offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson, ensuring the system that helped C.J. Stroud have one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history remains in place for 2024. DeMeco Ryans will have more talent on his defense next season and if the Texans’ skill players can stay healthier, Houston could challenge for the AFC title.

Related: Winners from the 2024 NFL Combine

3. Detroit Lions

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Say whatever you want about the fourth-down decisions in the NFC Championship Game, but that mentality from Dan Campbell is the very reason the Detroit Lions are now one of the best teams in the NFL. Jared Goff, Frank Ragnow and Ben Johnson are all returning in 2024, so we have no doubts about this defense. If Detroit can find some edge rushers and cornerbacks, the Lions’ defense will be a lot better as well. One last thing, analytics aren’t what drive Campbell’s decisions, it’s gut instinct and an organization-wide mentality. As long as that’s in place, Detroit is a perennial playoff threat.

Related: Detroit Lions potential Ben Johnson successor revealed

2. San Francisco 49ers

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The San Francisco 49ers core will return for the 2024 season and there’s reason to believe this team could improve, too. San Francisco will need to address its offensive and defensive lines this season, improving in two areas that really hurt the team at times in the playoffs. All that really matters for San Francisco, though, is Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams staying healthy. If they do, the 49ers can return to the Super Bowl next year.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

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The Kansas City Chiefs reached the Super Bowl despite season-ending injuries to Joe Thuney and Charles Omenihu, all while overcoming one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. If Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid can win the AFC with all of that happening, the future could be even brighter with improvements made to the offense. The most important thing Kansas City needed to do this offseason was re-sign Chris Jones. The All-Pro defensive tackle is coming back, any additions the Chiefs make to improve at offensive tackle or wide receiver is just strengthening a championship-winning roster. The Chiefs are the best NFL team in 2024.

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