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NFL power rankings: Ranking 14 playoff teams, 2023 offseason outlook

NFL power rankings
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL regular season is over after 18 incredible weeks full of surprises, injuries, disappointments and so much more. While everyone should be excited about the road to Super Bowl LVII, it’s time for one final edition of the NFL power rankings.

We now have 18 teams preparing for an eventful 2023 NFL offseason. Between free agency, trades, coach hirings and the 2023 NFL Draft, the moves made in the spring will help determine what breakout teams we see next season.

Related: NFL coaching candidates 2023

Naturally, we also have to think about the NFL playoffs. While the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs enjoy first-round byes, no one would be surprised if the eventual Super Bowl champion is playing on Wild Card Weekend.

Let’s dive into our latest NFL power rankings, evaluating teams in the playoffs and previewing the offseason for those eliminated from Super Bowl contention.

32. Houston Texans

  • Previously: Last in NFL power rankings

Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio wouldn’t trade Brandin Cooks during the season because he set the price too high. Months later, Cooks became the reason Houston won in Week 18 and will either miss out on Bryce Young or need to overpay to acquire the No. 1 pick. We’re still waiting for Caserio to prove he is a quality GM.

Related: Houston Texans coaching candidates

31. Chicago Bears

  • Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings

The Chicago Bears have nearly double the amount of effective salary cap space in 2023 as the next closest team and they can trade the No. 1 pick to a quarterback-desperate team. If all of that isn’t enough, Justin Fields proved he is someone to build around. Now, the pressure is on Ryan Poles to make this all work.

30. Indianapolis Colts

  • Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings

The Indianapolis Colts should serve as a lesson for what happens when owners get too involved in football decisions. If this franchise is going to be turned around, it needs a qualified coach who is provided complete control of the organization and Chris Ballard must do whatever it takes to land C.J. Stroud. Do that, without Irsay meddling, Indianapolis can compete for a playoff spot next year.

Related: Indianapolis Colts coaching candidates

29. Arizona Cardinals

  • Previously: 28th in NFL power rankings

The Arizona Cardinals waited a year too long to make sweeping changes to the organization. Unfortunately for the franchise, it now comes at a far greater price and the ramifications will likely impact owner Michael Bidwill’s willingness to spend this offseason. Buckle up Arizona, it’s going to be a long summer.

Related: Arizona Cardinals coaching candidates

28. Los Angeles Rams

  • Previously: 27th in NFL power rankings

If Sean McVay is retiring, rebuilding is the only good option for the Los Angeles Rams. There are far too many holes to fill for a team without a first-round pick and no cap space. This is the cost that comes with hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and it’s easily worth it and more.

27. Denver Broncos

  • Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings

The Denver Broncos ownership group is willing to do whatever it takes to land a top head coach and that’s all we need to know. Javonte Williams and Tim Patrick will rejoin the offense in 2023 and a new play-caller should at least make Russell Wilson an above-average quarterback. Add that to a top-10 defense and the Broncos become a potential Wild Card contender.

Related: Denver Broncos coaching candidates

26. Tennessee Titans

  • Previously: 26th in NFL power rankings

A seven-game losing streak to end the season highlighted a lot of problems with the Tennessee Titans. Todd Downing was a big part of the problem, but it’s also fair to say the starting quarterback in 2023 might not currently be on the roster. The Titans’ window is likely shut.

25. Atlanta Falcons

  • Previously: 25th in NFL power rankings

Desmond Ridder ended his rookie season on a high note, posting a 108.2 QB rating in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Ridder, Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Tyler Allgeier, the Falcons’ offense now has building blocks for the future. As for the defense, it’s a multi-year project.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

24. New Orleans Saints

  • Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings

The arrival of the offseason means it’s time to look at the New Orleans Saints critically. This is a team $50 million over the NFL salary cap and it doesn’t have its first-round pick. Even with a marginal quarterback upgrade, New Orleans doesn’t profile as a bonafide contender next season.

23. Cleveland Browns

  • Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings

There will be plenty of excuses made for Deshaun Watson’s six mediocre starts. The truth is, he practiced with the Cleveland Browns in training camp, studied the playbook all year and rejoined the team long before his first start on Dec. 4. If he isn’t an MVP-caliber quarterback for an AFC North champion next year, the Browns grossly overpaid for him.

Related: NFL stadium rankings

22. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Previously: 23rd in NFL power rankings

If Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, this can be a top-12 team next season. However, replacing Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo or another stop-gap option is a marginal upgrade at best and the Raiders will experience a repeat of this season.

21. New York Jets

  • Previously: 22nd in NFL power rankings

Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson, Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams and D.J. Reed Jr. There is a lot of exciting, young talent on both sides of the ball to get excited about. Unfortunately, none of it will matter that much if the New York Jets don’t make the right decision at quarterback this spring.

Related: 2023 NFL Draft rumors

20. Carolina Panthers

  • Previously: 21st in NFL power rankings

Steve Wilks needs to be the Carolina Panthers’ head coach in 2023. The locker room wants him back, he got everyone to buy into his vision and Carolina might only be a quarterback away from running the NFC South. Then again, David Tepper’s desire for headlines could get in the way.

19. Washington Commanders

  • Previously: No. 19 in NFL power rankings

Sam Howell didn’t show nearly enough in Week 18 to suggest he should become the Washington Commanders starting quarterback in 2023. Whether it’s Carr, Garoppolo or someone like Gardner Minshew, Washington simply needs steady quarterback play to be in the mix for the No. 7 seed next season.

18. New England Patriots

  • Previously: No. 15 in NFL power rankings

Bill Belichick declared before the season he would take full responsibility if the New England Patriots offense didn’t meet his expectations in 2022. Everyone except the legendary head coach knew Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were not meant to coach the offense. It’s time to hire deserving assistants, not confidants who Belichicks trusts to maintain The Patriot Way.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Previously: No. 17 in NFL power rankings

The Pittsburgh Steelers faced plenty of skepticism for spending a first-round pick on Kenny Pickett. While he’s clearly never going to be a star, Pickett demonstrated more than enough skill to prove he can elevate an offense with a strong supporting cast. The future is bright in Pittsburgh.

16. Green Bay Packers

  • Previously: No. 10 in NFL power rankings

The Green Bay Packers had their chance, now it’s time to hit the reset button. Whether Aaron Rodgers wants to retire or be traded, the 2023 season must be used to evaluate Jordan Love. He’ll have some exciting skill players around him and a great offensive line, which should be more than enough to fairly determine if he can be the long-term quarterback.

15. Detroit Lions

  • Previously: No. 9 in NFL power rankings

The Detroit Lions came far closer to clinching a playoff spot than anyone expected this season. We love the emerging, young talent on defense and there are building blocks in the offense to pair with a great offensive line. Throw in two first-round picks and you could have the future kings of the NFC North by 2024.

Related: NFL QB rankings

NFL power rankings: Ranking the playoff teams

14. Miami Dolphins

Syndication: Palm Beach Post
JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 18 in NFL power rankings

Barring a return from Tua Tagovailoa, the Miami Dolphins will be a one-and-done playoff team. It will be a disappointing end after such a promising record entering December, but at least the playoff drought is over and Mike McDaniel will remain the head coach.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 14 in NFL power rankings

Even if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers find a way to win their home playoff game, it might say a lot more about the Dallas Cowboys. Tampa Bay’s offense is extremely flawed and its defense can be attacked through the air and even on the ground by the right scheme. Needless to say, these are the final quarters of Tom Brady‘s stint in Florida.

Related: Best Tom Brady landing spots in 2023

12. New York Giants

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 12 in NFL power rankings

No matter what happens to the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card Round, this season was an unbelievable success. A playoff drought is over, Brian Daboll is the first good Giants’ coach in nearly a decade and things should only get better in the years to come.

11. Seattle Seahawks

NFL: New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 16 in NFL power rankings

Not only did Geno Smith lead the Seattle Seahawks to the NFL playoffs while Russell Wilson is at home in Denver, but he also set franchise records. The former journeyman quarterback set the Seahawks’ single-season record for passing yards (4,282), completions (399) and completion rate (69.8). As the Seahawks coaching staff and players celebrate, the front office now gets to enjoy scouting its options with the No. 5 pick.

10. Baltimore Ravens

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 13 in NFL power rankings

Lamar Jackson is the only thing worth getting excited about when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens. The defense is solid, but it’s not nearly good enough to create low-scoring games against top opponents. If Jackson is starting and the PCL injury doesn’t limit his athleticism, he could upset the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card Game.

Related: Latest on Baltimore Ravens planned contract talks with Lamar Jackson

9. Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 11 in NFL power rankings

The Minnesota Vikings (-3) finished by the Lions and Seahawks in point differential. If not for their double-digit victories in Weeks 1 and 18, they would plummet into company with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. We’re not trusting Kirk Cousins in primetime games against playoff teams with great pass rushes.

Related: Highest-paid NFL coaches

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 8 in NFL power rankings

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the NFL playoffs, a fact that seemed unfathomable back in Week 13 with a 4-8 record. Youth and a lack of depth might prevent a postseason run, but this is going to be a crucial experience for Trevor Lawrence and Co.

7. Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 6 in NFL power rankings

Dak Prescott threw 11 interceptions in his final seven regular-season starts to close out the year. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys pass defense really started taking a step back in late November. If all of that isn’t enough to be wary of this team, Mike McCarthy’s history in the playoffs isn’t something anyone should bet on.

Related: Jerry Jones reportedly already has eyes on new Dallas Cowboys coach

6. Los Angeles Chargers

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 7 in NFL power rankings

Outside the top 5 teams in the NFL, the rest of the playoff field is wide open. The Los Angeles Chargers have the star power on both sides of the ball to make things interesting and they’ve got more momentum than Dallas. Even if the Chargers suffer a first-round knockout, Sean Payton could save the day.

NFL power rankings 2023: Super Bowl contenders

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Syndication: The Enquirer
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 2 in NFL power rankings

Joe Burrow said it best, the Cincinnati Bengals’ window for contention is open as long as he is around. Not only does he have a great receiving trio around him, but Burrow just seems to elevate his game in the biggest games. It’s just a shame the season-ending injuries to La’el Collins and Chidobe Awuzie might be what slows down Cincinnati.

Related: Highest paid NFL players

4. Buffalo Bills

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle
JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings

It would be a phenomenal story if the Buffalo Bills could rally and win a Super Bowl ring for Damar Hamlin. Unfortunately, injuries have led to defensive regression and Josh Allen still doesn’t look like an MVP-caliber passer since suffering the UCL injury.

3. San Francisco 49es

NFL: Washington Commanders at San Francisco 49ers
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 4 in NFL power rankings

Brock Purdy put together a historic stretch and inspired confidence in the San Francisco 49ers being a legit Super Bowl contender. It’s impossible to not love the defense, the two best play-callers are on the 49ers’ coaching staff and they have the best offensive weapons. It just seems highly improbable that Purdy doesn’t regress and ultimately cost San Francisco a ring.

Related: NFL defense rankings

2. Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 5 in NFL power rankings

Jalen Hurts is back and the first-round bye will allow Robert Quinn and C.J. Gardner Johnson to return in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. Great coaching, an elite defense and one of the best offenses in the NFL with home-field advantage in the NFC. Those are all the necessary ingredients for the Lombardi Trophy.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 3 in NFL power rankings

It’s time to bet on one team to win the Super Bowl and there’s no better player in the NFL than Patrick Mahomes. We’ve seen the defense take enough strides and there are more than enough playmakers around the most physically talented quarterback of our generation for him to create havoc in the playoffs. For all of those reasons, the Chiefs are No. 1 in the NFL power rankings.