The 2023 NFL season is HERE! And so it is the perfect time for an extremely meaningful exercise: NFL Power Rankings! Let’s take a look at how all 32 teams stack up. What differentiates these rankings from others is that they’re the only truly accurate ones in the entire universe. So, it’s best to take them entirely too seriously.
BLG’S WEEK 1 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Kansas City Chiefs - The reigning Super Bowl champions typically get the benefit of the doubt in my Week 1 rankings. Having the best player at the most important position in all of sports is a pretty big deal. That said, there will be even more pressure on Patrick Mahomes to carry his squad with Travis Kelce getting banged up and Chris Jones holding out.
2 - Philadelphia Eagles - After falling just short of ultimate glory, the Birds have to the climb the mountain back to the Super Bowl all over again. It’s an exhausting journey that usually doesn’t prove to be fruitful; only two Super Bowl losers have gone on to win the big game the very next year. Led by a relentless Jalen Hurts, the best quarterback in the NFC, the Eagles do seem up for the massive challenge in front of them.
3 - Cincinnati Bengals - While Mahomes is the most intimidating quarterback to go up against, a healthy Joe Burrow isn’t far behind. And he’s obviously proven he can led his team to victory over Mahomes. The Bengals also have one of the NFL’s best defensive coordinators in Lou Anarumo.
4 - Buffalo Bills - The Bills might be underrated? They’re the number one team ranked by DVOA entering 2023. They finished second in point differential last year. They lost just three regular season games … one on the road against a division rival by two points, one on the road against a division rival by three points, and one in overtime by three points. They could conceivably end up as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
5 - Dallas Cowboys - Dak Prescott’s 3.8% interception rate last year was easily the worst of his career. Unless the 30-year-old is simply a declining player at this point, he’s due for some positive regression in the turnover department. One could argue the Cowboys should be division favorites by virtue of playing in an NFC East that hasn’t seen a repeat winner since 2004. But maybe Mike McCarthy taking over play-calling duties from a scapegoated Kellen Moore turns out to be a downgrade.
6 - New York Jets - Aaron Rodgers was a back-to-back MVP prior to last season. I’m not among those ready to write him off. Even if he’s not THAT guy anymore, he’s still a massive upgrade over Zach Wilson and whoever else the Jets were trotting out under center last year. Rodgers might very well come up short in the playoffs yet again but the Jets will be a formidable regular season team.
7 - San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers have really bad vibes, man. They’ve been unable to stop whining about getting beat by the Eagles in the NFC championship Game. They lost DeMeco Ryans. Nick Bosa is in jeopardy of missing games as he holds out. They traded their quarterback of the future for pennies on the dollar. They’re assuming Brock Purdy will be great after a small sample size … and they might turn to Sam Darnold of all people if he doesn’t work out. There’s still enough talent here to give them some benefit of the doubt, especially in a relatively weak NFC. But I’m feeling more and more like this is a team that should be faded.
8 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence got better as the season went along last year and he might make another leap from Year 2 to Year 3. He should benefit from getting to work with Calvin Ridley. Doug Pederson’s teams haven’t always gotten off to hot starts but they’re typically playing well late in the season. While the conference being tough works against them, the Jags have an opportunity to capitalize on a weak division.
9 - Detroit Lions - Has the hype gone too far? There’s a lot of pressure on this historically bad team to live up to high expectations. They’re in a tough spot in Week 1. If they beat a Chiefs team missing Travis Kelce, they did what they should’ve done. If they don’t? They’re going to be accused of being frauds. I ultimately like their chances of winning the NFC North but the sailing might not be as smooth as expected.
10 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Sleep on the Steelers at your own peril. Kenny Pickett is actually going to make the leap that everyone mistakenly thinks Justin Fields is going to take. Playing in the NFL’s best division is working against them … but Mike Tomlin is going to take this team to the playoffs.
11 - Los Angeles Chargers - It’s basically impossible to give the Bolts benefit of the doubt. But Justin Herbert is a special passer and he will benefit from Kellen Moore being his new OC. The Chargers’ ceiling will ultimately be capped by Brandon Staley, who is entering a make-or-break season.
12 - Baltimore Ravens - Lamar Jackson playoff numbers: 1-3 starting record, 4 total TD, 7 total giveaways, 68.3 passer rating. Ravens average points scored in his starts: 13. Two losses came with home field advantage. The sole win came in a “road game” where there were no fans due to COVID. Lamar was unavailable down the stretch due to injury in 2021 and 2022. Considering he’s now making the second-most quarterback money on an annual basis ($52 million), I’d say it’s a good time for him to actually play well in the postseason.
13 - Seattle Seahawks - Sleepers in Seattle? Assuming Geno Smith doesn’t turn into a pumpkin, the Seahawks might be able to hit another gear this year. Last year’s success was powered by rookie players who might be even better this season. They could overtake the Niners and end up as the second-best team in the NFC.
14 - Miami Dolphins - I’m no TuAnon member but I do think he got so overrated that he actually became underrated. If he can stay healthy, he should have success throwing to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The Dolphins adding Vic Fangio was also a big deal. At the end of the day, though, this team’s offensive line outlook outside of Terron Armstead is a big question mark. And it could very well be their undoing.
15 - New York Giants - We know the G-Men are no longer a total laughingstock. We do not know if they’re ready to truly hang with the big boys. Until they prove they can actually do that, we’ll assume they’re mid.
16 - New Orleans Saints - Derek Carr projects to be the best quarterback in the NFC South by a significant margin. The Saints are in a good position to take advantage of their weak division.
17 - Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings put together the least impressive 13-win season of all time last year. They’re actually the 28th-ranked team by DVOA entering this season. At best, Kirk Cousins will do what he always does in terms of beating up on bad teams and losing to the legitimately good ones.
18 - Cleveland Browns - Deshaun Watson was not good last year. Deshaun Watson was not good in joint training camp practices in Philly. I’m quite comfortable fading him. I do think the Browns defense could be pretty good under old friend Jim Schwartz.
19 - Green Bay Packers - There could be some value to Aaron Rodgers’ bad vibes being gone. Jordan Love has much to prove, though.
20 - Tennessee Titans - Mike Vrabel isn’t easy to bet against but the Titans’ quarterback situation isn’t inspiring a ton of confidence. Derrick Henry was this team’s identity at their zenith and he’s only getting older and more worn down.
21 - Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons have the NFL’s easiest schedule in terms of projected win totals. Problem is, I’m not buying Desmond Ridder.
22 - New England Patriots - They have the NFL’s toughest schedule in terms of projected win totals. Bill Belichick isn’t nearly as scary without Tom Brady. I saw a Boston writer talk about how 2023 “isn’t all about wins” for the Pats, which is something that gets written about a team that clearly isn’t going to be very good.
23 - Denver Broncos - As one of Russell Wilson’s biggest believers as recently as last offseason, I’m not counting on him to be good again until we see it happen. Sean Payton’s presence raises the Broncos’ ceiling but it’s for naught if the quarterback is cooked.
24 - Washington Commanders - Dan Snyder’s departure must be a refreshing feeling for everyone in this organization. Commanders fans have reason to be hopeful when it comes to a long-term outlook but this is still a team in a lame duck holding patter in the short-term. 2023 is all about seeing if Sam Howell is part of the solution or not.
25 - Carolina Panthers - Don’t want to discount the possibility that Bryce Young looks pretty good early on and the Panthers seize the NFC South. Also don’t want to merely assume that’s going to be the case.
26 - Chicago Bears - Their quarterback is the most overrated player in the entire NFL. There’s virtually no precedent for Fields becoming a good passer after being as dreadful as he’s been so far.
27 - Las Vegas Raiders - The Raiders shouldn’t waste too much with Jimmy G when Aidan O’Connell looked at good as he did in the preseason.
28 - Los Angeles Rams - Outside of Aaron Donald, how many players on the Rams’ defense can you name? Hard to know what to make of this team given uncertainty about what Matthew Stafford is at this point. The Rams could be in position to have a fire sale ahead of the NFL trade deadline.
29 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Back to being irrelevant with Tom Brady gone. Their fortune could change if they’re bad enough to land the No. 1 overall pick.
30 - Houston Texans - DeMeco Ryans is going to be a good head coach. This teams still lacks talent, though.
31 - Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Richardson certainly has intriguing upside. But he also has considerable downside. He’s a big-time work in progress; expect a lot of rookie mistakes. Richardson is hardly surrounded by a great supporting cast; this Colts roster stinks.
32 - Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Gannon is so transparently a fraud. He gives off such bad vibes and I don’t know how anyone could argue otherwise.