Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL power rankings before Super Bowl LVII take a look across the National Football League. While there are a few teams still battling to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, many eyes our focused on the 2023 NFL offseason.
It will prove to be a critical spring for every team. We anticipate the quarterback carousel to be active this offseason, dramatically altering the landscape of the NFL. If that’s not enough, the 2023 NFL Draft and free agency will change how so many teams are viewed.
Let’s dive into our 2023 NFL power rankings, looking at the two teams left in the the NFL playoffs and previewing offseasons for every eliminated club.
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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.
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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.
29. Arizona Cardinals
- Previously: 29th 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.
28. Tennessee Titans
- Previously: No. 26 in NFL power rankings
The Tennessee Titans offense, outside of running back Derrick Henry, needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Bringing in a new offensive coordinator is a step in the right direction, but this currently projects to be one of the worst offenses in the NFL and it won’t have a top-15 defense to balance things out. Mike Vrabel is a good coach, but the Titans’ window seems closed.
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27. Atlanta Falcons
- Previously: No. 25 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 but the right defensive play-caller can accelerate the process.
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26. Las Vegas Raiders
- Previously: No. 22 in NFL power rankings
Tom Brady might help the Las Vegas Raiders’ culture, but that also means betting on a 46-year-old quarterback who needs perfect circumstances to be great. Between a porous offensive line, bad second-half play-calling and a bottom-tier defense, Las Vegas doesn’t offer that. Yet, Brady is a superior option to Jimmy Garoppolo or any other stop-gap solution.
25. Denver Broncos
- Previously: No. 27 in NFL power rankings
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 Denver Broncos could become a potential Wild Card contender.
24. Los Angeles Rams
- Previously: No. 28 in NFL power rankings
Getting Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald back means the Los Angeles Rams won’t be one of the worst NFL teams in 2023. However, the defense will take a step backward if Jalen Ramsey is traded and Los Angeles lacks the resources to rebuild its offensive line. The 2023 season projects to be another rough ride in Los Angeles.
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23. New Orleans Saints
- Previously: No. 24 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.
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22. Washington Commanders
- Previously: No. 19 in NFL power rankings
The best thing that is going to happen during the Washington Commanders’ offseason is the sale of the franchise. Ditching owner Daniel Snyder means stability, a new stadium and a drastically improved reputation. While the Commanders’ quarterback position still keeps them down, the future is bright for this franchise.
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21. 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, even if the offense still has a lot of room for improvement.
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20. Carolina Panthers
- Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings
Frank Reich walks into a better situation as the Carolina Panthers head coach than he left with the Colts. The Carolina Panthers are starved for a franchise quarterback and the hiring of Reich re-affirms that owner David Tepper will do whatever it takes to land that guy. Find the right quarterback and Carolina wins the NFC South in 2023.
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19. Cleveland Browns
- Previously: No. 23 in NFL power rankings
Projections for the Cleveland Browns in 2023 will come down to confidence in the defense improving and quarterback Deshaun Watson shaking off the rust he showed in 2022. There are holes to fill on both sides of the ball, with the defensive line and offensive weapons standing out. How well Andrew Berry addresses those with limited resources will dictate if Cleveland is a playoff team next season.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Previously: No. 13 in NFL power rankings
Tom Brady is likely headed out the door and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might lose several key starters along with him. The bill is due for going all-in to win a Super Bowl and it’s time for the Bucs to pay it. Barring a surprise return from Brady, it should be an uneventful offseason in Tampa Bay and Todd Bowles likely knows he could be gone a year from now.
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17. Green Bay Packers
- Previously: No. 16 in NFL power rankings
All the signs are pointing to an Aaron Rodgers trade during the 2023 NFL offseason. If that’s the case, next season is a rebuilding year for the Green Bay Packers with the sole focus this offseason on building a young team around Jordan Love. The offensive line and receiving corps already look strong, but filling out holes becomes challenging thanks to years of kicking cap hits down the road.
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16. New York Giants
- Previously: No. 12 in NFL power rankings
Brian Daboll and the New York Giants wildly exceeded expectations in 2022. It offers promising signs for the future, but the offseason decisions with Saquon Bakley and Daniel Jones are pivotal. Barkley needs to be back and while Jones improved, paying him $35-plus million is a huge gamble. Given this roster is still relatively thin, it stacks up below many other 2023 playoff contenders.
15. New England Patriots
- Previously: No. 18 in NFL power rankings
Even if Bill O’Brien wasn’t the best hire Bill Belichick could’ve made, he is still an upgrade over Matt Patricia. Consider the offensive instability and problems went through and this defense still nearly took the Patriots to the playoffs. If New England’s offense is even league-average, this is a playoff team next year and even more so if Mac Jones improves.
14. New York Jets
- Previously: No. 21 in NFL power rankings
The New York Jets’ landing spot in 2023 NFL power rankings before training camp will all come down to the quarterback. If it’s a player like Aaron Rodgers, this becomes a top-10 team. Even settling for a player like Derek Carr puts New York in the top-12 range. That’s a testament to the rest of this roster.
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13. Minnesota Vikings
- Previously: No. 9 in NFL power rankings
There is ample evidence of NFL teams experiencing regression from one year to the next in one-score games. The Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record with 11 wins in one-score games in 2022, Regression is coming for a team that caught a lot of breaks, even if the defense is completely revamped this spring.
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12. Seattle Seahawks
- Previously: No. 11 in NFL power rankings
The Seattle Seahawks defied the label as one of the worst NFL teams in 2022 by becoming a huge surprise. Geno Smith earned the franchise tag and Seattle’s offense proved it can be one of the most well-rounded units in the NFC, if the interior offensive line is improved. With a lot of draft capital and cap space, the Seahawks’ front office can also add some talent to the defense.
11. Detroit Lions
- Previously: No. 15 in NFL defense rankings
The NFC North should belong to the Detroit Lions in 2023. Dan Campbell’s team showed in the second half of the season that Detroit can hang with just about anybody and it should be favored to win the division. With the resources available for Detroit this spring, it’s well-positioned to become one of the best well-constructed rosters in the league.
10. Baltimore Ravens
- Previously: 10th in NFL power rankings
The Baltimore Ravens’ future hangs in the balance. If the franchise doesn’t take the right approach to contract negotiations with Lamar Jackson, it’s no longer a foregone conclusion that he stays. For a front office that has done so many things well, burning bridges with Jackson and launching this team into quarterback purgatory could set it back years.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Previously: 8th in NFL power rankings
The Jacksonville Jaguars are set up nicely to control the AFC South for years to come. Trevor Lawrence is the face of the franchise and head coach Doug Pederson helped him reach that level. Throw Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley onto the field and you’ll have one of the best NFL offenses in 2023.
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8. Miami Dolphins
- Previously: 14th in NFL power rankings
A healthy Tua Tagovailoa under center in 2022 makes the Miami Dolphins a Super Bowl contender. The defense showed enough improvements in the second half that, when paired with Tagovailoa spending another year in Mike McDaniel’s system, can return this team to the dominant force we saw in stretches during the 2022 campaign.
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7. Los Angeles Chargers
- Previously: 6th in NFL power rankings
The playoff loss will sting for a while, but the 2022 season demonstrated why the Los Angeles Chargers can be a perennial contender. We’re already seeing the first step towards improvement with a new offensive coordinator taking over and that could change the trajectory of Justin Herbert‘s career for the better.
6. Buffalo Bills
- Previously: 4th in NFL power rankings
The end of the Buffalo Bills’ season highlighted some of the problems with the roster. Unfortunately, the Josh Allen contract is now kicking in and that makes it far more difficult to plug holes in the offensive line, front seven and complicates finding a playmaker. Buffalo remains one of the best teams in the AFC, but it’s now tiers removed from the top and it could get worse.
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5. Dallas Cowboys
- Previously: 7th in NFL power rankings
The conversations about trading Dak Prescott need to end. He is a very good quarterback, a player capable of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy if on the right team. Entering the offseason, the Cowboys’ offense just lacks the offensive weapons to beat a team like the San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles in a playoff game. Dallas needs to stick with Prescott and just build a better team around him.
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4. San Francisco 49ers
- Previously: 3rd in NFL power rankings
Kyle Shanahan and a phenomenal San Francisco 49ers defense can take this team a long way, but they need a quarterback to win the Super Bowl. If Tom Brady doesn’t come home in 2023 and the 49ers start Brock Purdy or Trey Lance, we’re likely looking at another runner-up finish.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
- Previously: 5th in NFL power rankings
Joe Burrow has elevated the Cincinnati Bengals franchise in a way that only seems comparable to what Tom Brady did for the New England Patriots. A franchise that won five playoff games since it joined the NFL has matched that postseason victory total in the last two years with Burrow. The Bengals are a Super Bowl contender as long as Burrow is around.
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2. Kansas City Chiefs
- Previously: 4th in NFL power rankings
Patrick Mahomes is easily the best quarterback of his generation and that gives the Kansas City Chiefs a shot at the Super Bowl. It turns out, he can even win an AFC title on a high-ankle sprain. While the Chiefs might not be the best team in the NFL, they have an all-time great under center and he gives them a shot to win Super Bowl LVII even on one leg.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
- Previously: 2nd in NFL power rankings
The Philadelphia Eagles went all-in this year to win a Super Bowl. Now, arguably the best roster in the NFL is on the doorstep of winning another championship, with Jalen Hurts leading an elite offense and backed by a shutdown defense. The Eagles have to be viewed as the team to beat.
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