NFL Power Rankings: Colts Near Bottom, Jets Climbing Up As Teams Prepare For Summer | Armando Salguero

Videos by OutKick

Memorial Day weekend is a great time in the NFL. Teams are almost done with their OTA practices and veterans minicamps will soon be the next order of business before vacation at the end of June and early July.

That makes this a perfect time for an NFL power rankings post. Why?

Because one of my editors wanted it, so here we are.

We’re going worst to best:

NFL Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes, Bryce Young, Darren Waller and Sean Payton. (Getty Images)

32. Arizona Cardinals

They have a rookie head coach, quarterback Kyler Murray may miss the start of the season because of a knee injury, receiver DeAndre Hopkins is on the trade block, except no one wants his contract. They weren’t great at pressuring the passer or shutting down the passing game last year and this year bodes not much better. Sounds rough because it is.

31. Indianapolis Colts

They can muster a solid pass rush if everyone is healthy but their cornerback play is a question. They promise a solid running game with a solid offensive line and star running back Jonathan Taylor but the passing game is replete with questions. No one knows whether rookie QB Anthony Richardson will be great. But as a rookie with limited college experience, everyone knows he’ll need time.

30. Houston Texans

There is talent here but it’s hard to expect quarterback C.J. Stroud and pass rusher Will Anderson to live up to their lofty draft pedigree (No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively) as rookies. Instead, chances are this team will be better than the last couple of years. But not yet good enough to be postseason relevant.

29. Chicago Bears

The offensive line has been remade and has the potential to actually be good. The defense doesn’t have an answer at pass rusher. Perhaps the Bears address that in the coming weeks. Regardless, quarterback Justin Fields has to prove he can win games from the pocket and last year showed precious little evidence he can. So that is a big unknown.

Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears tries to stiff-arm John Cominsky #79 of the Detroit Lions in the second half of a game at Ford Field on January 01, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

28. Carolina Panthers

If (big if) rookie Bryce Young is as good on the field as the praise he’s received since being drafted No. 1 overall, this team is going to factor in the NFC South. Otherwise, the hiring of Frank Reich, who in turn has hired an outstanding staff, plus the addition of a couple of free agents such as D.J. Chark, Miles Sanders and Hayden Hurst will make the Panthers interesting.

27. Los Angeles Rams

A lot of the big names — Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, Leonard Floyd — are gone. The offensive line is still questionable and the defense is Aaron Donald and some guys. Maybe Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp can both stay healthy long enough to get the team to .500.

26. Washington Commanders

If we knew they had a good quarterback they’d be a playoff pick. They think they have one in Sam Howell. I’ll believe it when I see it. They also play in probably the toughest division in the NFL.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

They were ravaged by injuries, especially on the offensive line, last season and that set the club’s direction. Now mostly healthy again, they still have a fine receiver corps and a reasonable expectation the defense will be good. So why are they this low? Tom Brady retired.

24. Atlanta Falcons

They did a lot of offseason work to shore up the defense in general and secondary in particular. They have confidence quarterback Desmond Ridder, in his second season, will be good. They also hope the addition of running back Bijan Robinson and return to health of tight end Kyle Pitts will spark the offense. This team is relying on a lot of uncertain projections.

23. Denver Broncos

New coach Sean Payton will rid this team of its previous entitlement issues. This bunch will work, and frankly, it will begin with quarterback Russell Wilson who has been tireless throughout his career. The question is: Does Wilson still have the legs to get out of the pocket and make off-script plays? He didn’t last year. Is it possible to play younger as he’s gotten a year older?

Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers scrambles with the ball against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

22. Green Bay Packers

Rookie LB Lukas Van Ness should help the pass rush. QB Jordan Love needs to bond with young budding star WR Christian Watson so he can continue his promising development. All this while following not one but two Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks. It’s fair to expect growing pains, folks.

21. Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill needs a big year to continue his career as a starting quarterback. Failing that, he’s out of town and headed toward a backup job somewhere. It would help immensely if second-year receiver Treylon Burks starts to reach his potential because he’s the only dynamic downfield threat on the club. Otherwise it’s all Derrick Henry and that simply isn’t enough to make it to the postseason. One thing is certain, this club will be physical.

20. Las Vegas Raiders

There are two Raiders directions for 2023 and the first is Jimmy Garoppolo finds a way to stay healthy in which case they’ll be a solid team. But if Jimmy G does what he’s done throughout his career except 2019, and that is get hurt, this team might actually be worse than last year when they won only six games.

19. New England Patriots

The offense should be better because they have an actual, experienced offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien who should help Mac Jones be solid. Tight end Mike Gesicki and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will make some plays. The front 7 should be fine but this team needs rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez to be very good very quickly

18. Minnesota Vikings

They won 13 games last year, which is difficult to do no matter how close the margins were. It says something about a team that wins close games. But this offseason has brought a different vibe, starting with the distancing from Dalvin Cook, trade of Za’Darius Smith, and cooling on Kirk Cousins as the long term QB. This feels like a team in transition and not toward immediate improvement.

17. New Orleans Saints

There’s so much to love about this team’s roster and the addition of Derek Carr at quarterback is going to pay dividends, particularly at home under the roof. The question with this club for a couple of years now has been the durability of its players. If they’re generally healthy, they’ll be the class of the NFC South.

16. Cleveland Browns

They have a talented roster with bigtime playmakers as well as outstanding players in the trenches. This should be a Super Bowl contender, to be honest. But I don’t know who Deshaun Watson is anymore. Once upon a time he was a blossoming star with a pristine off-field reputation. He’s been neither of those for two years. So what next?

15. Pittsburgh Steelers

The draft was kind to the Steelers with the additions of Broderick Jones, Keeanu Benton and Joey Porter Jr. All good. The question is whether last year’s No. 1 pick Kenny Pickett is going to make a leap from what was an acceptable but not remarkable rookie season. Pickett showed encouraging signs and seems to have the make-up for the improvement. Pickett also has Mike Tomlin, who is one of the NFL’s finest coaches.

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

14. Seattle Seahawks

A couple of 2022 non-playoff teams rate better but that’s because I need to see more from Geno Smith. He was outstanding last season and that helped the Seahawks surprise people. But Smith hadn’t been outstanding in any of his eight previous seasons. So can he do it again? Rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba should help.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

Don’t love the multiple games in London because, despite the organization putting a good face on it, it’s not home. But if Trevor Lawrence (2023 edition) makes the next logical progression from how Lawrence performed in the playoffs, they’re going to be very good in the AFC South. The tackle position, with Jawaan Taylor gone in free agency and Cam Robinson reportedly headed for a suspension, has to be a concern. Walker Little needs to be very good.

12. Miami Dolphins

The team’s biggest offseason upgrade is cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The second biggest offseason upgrade is defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The third biggest offseason upgrade is Tua Tagovailoa’s martial arts instructor who has supposedly taught the quarterback to fall without banging his head and incurring concussions.

11. New York Jets

Aaron Rodgers healthy, then Jets good. Aaron Rodgers out of the lineup, then Jets are a sub .500 team again. The problem is Rodgers is going to be 40 years old in December and New York’s offensive tackle situation is not good. So good luck with that Aaron Rodgers healthy dream.

Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions passes the ball against the Washington Commanders during the first half at Ford Field on September 18, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

10. Detroit Lions

They won 8 of their final 10 games and, although it is very difficult to carry over the momentum of one season to the next, this team is without doubt on the rise. The Lions signed 2,763 defensive backs this offseason so somebody is probably going to step up. The addition of linebacker Jack Campbell, a player multiple teams coveted early in the draft, should stabilize the middle of the defense. The addition of senior defensive assistant John Fox was smart and the overall vibe of this organization is simply good right now.

9. Los Angeles Chargers

They are a house of cards. They’ve collected a bunch of talent and recognizable names but, well, durability issues exist. J.C. Jackson, injured last year. Joey Bosa, often injured. Derwin James, mostly healthy last year but there have been issues previously. Rashawn Slater, injured last year. Keenan Allen, missed seven games last season. You seeing the problem?

8. Dallas Cowboys

If rookie Mazi Smith and free agent addition Stephon Gilmore play to expectations, the defense should be very good. Quarterback Dak Prescott has no intention of leading the NFL in interceptions as he did last season. If he returns to 2021 form, the Cowboys are going to roll.

Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrate after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on November 20, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

7. Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen is elite but it cannot all be about him. So is the running game beyond Allen going to be reliable late in the season? It wasn’t in 2022. Is OC Ken Dorsey going to get Allen to regain his 2020 heights? He didn’t last season. Is the defense going to be as good or better without former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier? Can Von Miller stay healthy?

6. New York Giants

While the Big Apple has been celebrating the Jets, the Giants have stayed out of the limelight and made deliberate improvements to the offensive line, secondary, tight end and receiver positions. Daniel Jones to Darren Waller is going to be a thing in 2023.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

They’ve kept the band — Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon — together so they’re going to score points. That’s good because their secondary is a question, one defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will have to figure out.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Another house of cards, but an imposing one. The quarterback (Lamar Jackson) comes with durability issues, the big free agent receiver addition (Odell Beckham Jr.) comes with durability issues, the guy Jackson calls WR1 (Rashod Bateman) comes with durability issues. If the Ravens avoid injuries, they will be outstanding. If they do what they’ve done the past two years, they’ll probably be out of the playoffs.

3. San Francisco 49ers

They continue to have as much talent as anyone, new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is outstanding, and they have experience at quarterback. The only issue is can they keep, or in Brock Purdy’s case get, their QBs healthy?

2. Philadelphia Eagles

They lost a lot of talent in free agency and they’ve had a brain drain on their coaching staff. If all their University of Georgia talent plays up to their draft pedigree, they’ll continue to be excellent. If not …

Travis Kelce and head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid says he remains energized, Patrick Mahomes is healthy and Matt Nagy is an upgrade at offensive coordinator. Also, to be the man, you have to beat the man.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero


Leave a Reply
  1. Solid list. Agree with comment above that Ravens are overrated, and I think the Giants are too. Never thought I’d say it, but I think the Jags are the underrated squad here. And if any of the young QBs in the NFC South hits (Ridder, Young, Trask) their team could easily be playoff-bound.

Leave a Reply