2023 NFL power rankings: Chiefs, Eagles lead our initial list

2023 NFL power rankings: Chiefs, Eagles lead our initial list

Soccer is again, and what time-honored custom is extra enjoyable than rating the NFL from finest to worst?

We’ve not performed power rankings for the reason that draft, and by some means it seems like the whole lot has modified. Six weeks of follow and a handful of exhibition video games have drastically altered our notion of at the very least half the league, and it is all going to get flipped on its head once more when the video games start.

Earlier than that occurs, let’s take one final have a look at the place issues stand and the way nicely or poorly our preseason expectations are going to age.

1. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs
The reigning champs have finished greater than sufficient to deserve the highest spot for Week 1. They addressed their losses at sort out by signing a stable duo of free brokers in Donovan Smith and Andrew Wylie, they usually’ve stockpiled younger receiver expertise. The one actual query is how lengthy Chris Jones’ ongoing holdout will final. The Chiefs belong right here. But when they play a big chunk of the season with out one of many league’s finest defenders, it is sure to have an impact.

2. Philadelphia Eagles 
Philly has finished an outstanding job of changing their losses from the roster that reached Tremendous Bowl LVII. Now, it is time for these guys to step up. Can new coordinators Brian Johnson and Sean Desai preserve issues buzzing with Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon off to move teaching jobs? Can the Chicken Dawgs — Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith —  step up and star for a protection that misplaced 5 starters? I totally belief that the Eagles’ stars will shine, however the efficiency of the reinforcements is an important story to observe.

3. Cincinnati Bengals
Is that this the final journey for the Bengals squad we have gotten used to? Clearly, Joe Burrow is not going anyplace. However that imminent contract extension will make it more durable to maintain this group collectively, and each Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are getting into contract seasons, with Ja’Marr Chase a yr away. Do not overlook the losses of Jessie Bates III and Von Bell within the secondary, both. That is nonetheless among the best rosters within the league, however there ought to be a way of urgency to strike whereas the iron is scorching in Cincinnati.

4. Buffalo Payments
There’s been a whole lot of hand wringing about Buffalo’s window closing, however let’s pump the brakes. The Payments have bolstered their offensive line and given Josh Allen a couple of new weapons to work with. This could nonetheless be among the best offenses within the NFL. True, there is a bit extra uncertainty surrounding the protection, however this group ought to totally count on to contend in a loaded AFC. 

5. San Francisco 49ers
It is insane {that a} group and not using a settled quarterback scenario is among the league’s finest, however that is a testomony to the roster they’ve in-built Santa Clara. Even understanding what he did as a rookie, it is onerous to rank Brock Purdy extremely amongst contending quarterbacks. However that is not an issue in case your offense is loaded with All-Professionals and your entrance workplace added Javon Hargrave to a protection that was among the many league’s elite. All that is lacking is Nick Bosa, who will hopefully get his contract extension quickly. Purdy would not must be nice to get this group the place it desires to go. 

6. Baltimore Ravens
All of it seems so, so enjoyable on paper. Lastly, an electrical expertise like Lamar Jackson is teamed with weapons like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers. In actuality, the large query is how shortly Jackson and his playmakers can jell with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. If they’ll hit the bottom working, this might be one of the vital entertaining assaults within the league. They will must be so as to offset their missing move rush, to not point out Marlon Humphrey’s lingering foot harm.

Odell Beckham Jr expects large yr from Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Odell Beckham Jr expects huge year from Lamar Jackson, Ravens

7. New York Jets 
The 2022 Jets scored 10.7 factors per recreation of their 10 losses. They’d have been a playoff group with even mediocre quarterback play. Even approaching 40 and even with a suspect offensive line, Aaron Rodgers can ship. I am unsure how good it should look, however with a protection like this, it should not matter. Something lower than ending the longest playoff drought within the league can be a disappointment. 

8. Dallas Cowboys
If not now, when? That is the query I preserve coming again to with this Cowboys group. They added to each side of the ball by buying and selling for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. They’re bringing again all their stars. They’ve a veteran coach, a veteran quarterback and never a lot in the best way of excuses. If Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy cannot discover a approach over the hump this yr, it is onerous to think about when it will occur.

[NFL young talent rankings: No. 2 Cowboys have emerging superstars. Can they pay them all?]

Why Cowboys are in a greater place to make a Tremendous Bowl this yr

Why Cowboys are in a better position to make a Super Bowl this year

9. Miami Dolphins
When you can promise me Tua Tagovailoa performs the entire season, I am all-in on the Dolphins. The offense is explosive and the protection is loaded. Even with Jalen Ramsey anticipated to overlook a giant chunk of the season, Miami has Professional Bowl-caliber play in any respect three ranges, with Vic Fangio calling the pictures. If the quarterback is wholesome, I believe the sky is the restrict. If he is not — nicely, we have seen how that goes. 

10. Jacksonville Jaguars
I count on the Jags to climb this list, and shortly. Jacksonville did not do a lot to handle their protection within the offseason, however the offense ought to be unbelievable with Calvin Ridley becoming a member of what was already a enjoyable unit. If Trevor Lawrence is able to take the following step, I agree with Peter King that the Jags are able to grabbing the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

11. Los Angeles Chargers
By some means, the Chargers managed to show a playoff berth right into a disappointment — which seems like Peak Charger Habits. Kellen Moore is now available to unlock the offense, and his observe document provides loads of confidence that he’ll. Moore goes to seek out that there are a lot fewer eyeballs on him right here than there have been in Dallas, however the expectations ought to really feel acquainted. For Justin Herbert, nothing lower than an actual playoff run will suffice. 

12. Seattle Seahawks
I am not prepared at hand the NFC West to San Francisco. Seattle added Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet to an offense that was already among the many league’s finest, and the protection is now working with Dre’Mont Jones, Devon Witherspoon, Bobby Wagner and (hopefully) a wholesome Jamal Adams. The Seahawks don’t get as a lot shine because the Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers, however they don’t seem to be far behind.

Might Seahawks overcome stacked 49ers group for NFC West title?

Could Seahawks overcome stacked 49ers team for NFC West title?

13. Detroit Lions
Lastly, it is time to put up or shut up. No Lions group in historical past has been as anticipated as this one, as evidenced by their spot within the Thursday night time season opener. I’ve questions in regards to the talent gamers behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, and I can not wait to see if the protection picks up the place it left off final season. Thankfully for the Lions, it is simpler to consider once you have a look at their competitors within the NFC North.

14. New Orleans Saints
I strive to not overreact to preseason soccer, however I am shopping for a bit of Saints hype after seeing Derek Carr in motion along with his new group. There’s all the time going to be concern in regards to the age and harm historical past of this roster. However the Saints have the very best quarterback within the NFC South, the best power of schedule within the league and a ton of veteran manufacturing. It isn’t going to be stunning in the event that they win a whole lot of video games, even when they don’t seem to be fairly nearly as good because the league’s elite. 

15. Minnesota Vikings
I am curious to see what Brian Flores can do in his first season as Vikings defensive coordinator. Even with Dalvin Prepare dinner off to New York, I am not anxious in regards to the offensive manufacturing — particularly with Jordan Addison becoming a member of the fold. Defensively, although, the Vikings are asking a whole lot of a bunch of unproven gamers. If Flores can coach higher manufacturing out of this group, the Vikings are a sleeper.

16. New York Giants
The Giants had been a yr forward of schedule in Brian Daboll’s first season. Can they stick with it? Credit score to them, they have not been idle. Darren Waller will assist, as ought to a big-time rookie class. Everybody expects the Giants to be feisty, nevertheless it’ll be really spectacular if they’ll take one other step ahead and really contend to win a loaded division. They’ve an early alternative to make an impression, because the Giants haven’t overwhelmed Dak Prescott since his rookie yr, approach again in 2016. 

17. Cleveland Browns
Make no mistake, the Browns are solely this low due to what they regarded just like the final month of 2022. This Cleveland group jogs my memory of final yr’s Eagles within the sense that they’ve all of the items in place — aside from a giant query mark at quarterback. Clearly, the circumstances aren’t the identical. Jalen Hurts was a younger man seeking to take the following step, whereas Deshaun Watson is attempting to regain his type after off-field points sidelined him for roughly two years. If he performs like a $230 million quarterback, the Browns are simply as able to making a run as any group within the AFC.  

18. Pittsburgh Steelers
I preserve repeating to myself that it is simply preseason ball, however man, it was thrilling watching Kenny Pickett and George Pickens in August. If these two play like that when the outcomes matter, that is an awfully feisty group. We all know the protection is powerful. T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are on the brief list of the league’s finest defenders. If Pickett is merely good, they will not be a straightforward out. If he is higher than that, who is aware of?

19. Inexperienced Bay Packers
Who is aware of the way it will go, nevertheless it simply feels enjoyable that issues are totally different in Inexperienced Bay. I used to be a sophomore in highschool when Aaron Rodgers was drafted, and I used to be a sophomore in faculty when he took over because the Packers’ starter. Now, as my again ache will get worse and I inch perilously near 40, it is Jordan Love’s flip. Is it bizarre if I’ve extra religion within the younger, unproven offense than the protection that is famously loaded with eight first-round draft picks?

Will Lions or Packers snag the NFC North title?

Will Lions or Packers snag the NFC North title?

20. Carolina Panthers
I had actually excessive hopes for what the Panthers could be in Bryce Younger’s rookie season, nevertheless it’s onerous to not be scared by the offensive line’s efficiency this preseason. For the millionth time, we should not overreact to what we see within the preseason, however the Panthers’ offense simply would not have sufficient expertise to assist Younger overcome leaky safety. Consider a potential Brian Burns holdout, and the vibes in Charlotte do not feel nice proper now.

21. Denver Broncos
The roster regarded good on paper final summer season and the Broncos turned in one of many ugliest seasons in NFL historical past. Even with Sean Payton calling the pictures, seeing is believing for these guys. The highest precedence needs to be figuring out if Russell Wilson nonetheless has gasoline within the tank. If Payton cannot get usable soccer out of the $240 million man, nothing else is even related.

Russell Wilson is reportedly ‘on a very brief leash’ with Broncos this season

Russell Wilson is reportedly 'on a really short leash' with Broncos this season

 22. Atlanta Falcons

Lots of sensible persons are excessive on the Falcons as a result of they’ve a great offensive line, incredible talent gamers and a few sturdy new additions on protection. That every one sounds nice so long as you are keen to miss a very powerful place within the sport. It isn’t that I believe Desmond Ridder is unhealthy, it is simply that I must see him do extra earlier than I can put Atlanta any larger than this.

23. New England Patriots
If the Pats performed in nearly another division, I believe we would really feel a lot in another way about them. The protection figures to be one of many NFL’s finest as soon as once more. Nothing in regards to the offense wows you, however there are some serviceable items. And the sensible wager is that Invoice O’Brien will at the very least assist Mac Jones play competent soccer. It isn’t a nasty recipe for fulfillment — until you play within the loaded AFC East, the place this simply would not really feel like sufficient to get the job finished.

24. Washington Commanders
The Commanders remind me a whole lot of the Falcons. They’ve intriguing expertise all around the roster, besides a very powerful place of all. It could be fairly a coup if Sam Howell turns right into a participant, as a result of the remainder of this group is prepared. Washington boasts one of the vital ferocious defensive fronts within the recreation, an underrated receiver duo of Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson in addition to a proficient secondary. Finest-case situation, Howell rises to the event and the Commanders shock some individuals. Worst-case situation, he would not and this new possession regime is aware of what it must search for. Not a nasty spot for an up-and-coming group, both approach.

25. Chicago Bears 
They name Chicago the Metropolis of Broad Shoulders, and Justin Fields goes to wish them to hold the load of those expectations. I do not suppose there is a participant within the NFL dealing with this a lot hype — which is type of loopy contemplating the Bears completed with the worst document within the league final yr. Hopefully, Fields makes a leap now that there is expertise round him on offense. If nothing else, Bears GM Ryan Poles must see that, or he must hunt for a brand new QB within the spring. If Fields can reply that query, the season is a hit. I do know the NFC North is down, however a playoff push feels prefer it’s at the very least a yr away.

[Vitali: Can Justin Fields make the ‘Jalen Hurts jump?’ Context for Bears’ young QB is important]

26. Las Vegas Raiders 
It is onerous to know what to do with the Raiders. Their big-ticket names like Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Maxx Crosby are nearly as good as anybody’s. And Jimmy Garoppolo has received loads of video games in his 9 years. The difficulty is the remainder of the roster — notably the protection, which lacks expertise behind Crosby and Chandler Jones. Now keep in mind that Vegas shares a division with Patrick Mahomes & Co., and it is onerous to seek out the optimism.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Baker Mayfield has some magic left in him, the Bucs might be sneaky good. Lots of the fellows that helped them win Tremendous Bowl LV are nonetheless round, and most of them are nonetheless enjoying at a excessive stage. If Mayfield can re-discover his type from 2020, when he led the Browns to a playoff win, then possibly Tampa can shock some individuals. The issue is that we have seen a big pattern measurement that means Mayfield is not as much as the duty. If that is the case, issues get might ugly shortly.

28. Houston Texans
DeMeco Ryans will get to play with home cash in Yr 1 as a head coach. All that issues is that C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. play like top-five picks; the remaining is gravy. In fact, given Ryans’ defensive pedigree, it could even be enjoyable if he might mildew the Texans’ younger protection right into a formidable unit.

29. Indianapolis Colts
The identical logic applies in Indy because it does in Houston — besides the vibes are significantly weirder. All of the discuss across the Colts ought to be about Anthony Richardson making his much-anticipated debut. As a substitute, we’re all caught on this unusual contract standoff between Jonathan Taylor and Colts proprietor Jim Irsay. Not solely did the Colts not commerce their disgruntled working again, however they did not take him off the Bodily Unable to Carry out list — which implies he will not have the ability to assist Richardson for at the very least a month. Richardson will likely be must-see TV, nevertheless it’s onerous to really feel enthusiastic about a lot else.

Shocked Colts gave RB Jonathan Taylor permission to hunt a commerce?

Surprised Colts gave RB Jonathan Taylor permission to seek a trade?

30. Tennessee Titans
I am not giving Mike Vrabel sufficient credit score for being a hell of a coach, nevertheless it’s simply onerous to see the imaginative and prescient. As a lot because the Titans wish to pound the rock and depend on play motion, their offensive line is a wreck and I am unsure Peter Skoronski is sufficient to repair it. The protection goes to be good as a result of Vrabel is teaching them, however is that sufficient?

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31. L.A. Rams
Earlier within the offseason, you could possibly have satisfied me the trio of Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford was ok to tug this group to a decent document. Right here in September, Kupp is already coping with an harm and Stafford is supposedly having bother connecting with all his younger teammates. If the Rams can discover a handful of high quality gamers amongst all these rookies, the season will likely be a hit. Exhausting to see rather more than that.

32. Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals followers, begin spending your Saturdays watching Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. Sure, Kyler Murray will finally be again from harm, and he has an enormous contract. But when issues go as poorly in Phoenix because it seems like they could, the Cardinals will discover a option to determine that out. In the event that they tank their approach into the No. 1 choose in 2024, odds are they will not move on a more recent, youthful QB.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand spent 9 seasons masking the Cowboys for the group’s official web site. In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his position in producing “Dak Prescott: A Household Reunion” in regards to the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Observe him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.

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