Home / frontnfl / 2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 18
AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 18

An insane 20 teams are alive for a postseason berth ahead of Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season.


1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3) | Last week: 1

Baltimore emphatically clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC behind a dominant all-around effort versus Miami that included suffocating defense and five touchdowns from Lamar Jackson. We’ll see if they play the starters this week against the Steelers; interestingly, a win over their rival could help a dangerous Bills team get into the postseason.


2. San Francisco 49ers (12-4) | Last week: 2

The Niners clinched the top seed in the NFC behind an expected bounce-back and comfortable performance at Washington. Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a calf injury and will miss the regular season finale, but I’m expecting the 49ers won’t rest all their starters the entire game given Kyle Shanahan’s past stance on it being a bad idea to rest guys.


3. Buffalo Bills (10-6) | Last week: 3

While the Bills are still at No. 3, they can be as high as the No. 2 seed in the AFC or fall all the way out of the playoffs with a Sunday night loss to the Dolphins (if the Steelers and Jaguars both win their games). But if Buffalo gets in, they will be extremely dangerous. Josh Allen and company were a bit off in the Week 17 win against the Patriots, but I think they’ll be locked in for Game 272.


4. Dallas Cowboys (11-5) | Last week: 8 (+4)

Officiating certainly appeared to help, but the Cowboys were able to get a huge Saturday night win over the Lions that—paired with Philly’s loss the next day—put themselves in position to clinch the NFC East and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.


5. Detroit Lions (11-5) | Last week: 5

It’s disappointing to see officiating cause controversy at the end of games, which has been all too common in big games the past few years. The difference between the No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed is serious, but it sounds like the Lions are going to channel their frustrations into Week 18 and through the playoffs.


6. Miami Dolphins (11-5) | Last week: 4 (-2)

The Dolphins were banged up heading into the matchup with the Ravens, but I don’t think anyone saw that type of blowout loss coming. Now, top pass rusher Bradley Chubb is out for the year with a torn ACL as Miami gets set to host Buffalo with the division on the line.


7. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) | Last week: 7

As everyone knows, it has not been pretty. But the Chiefs playing in a bunch of tight games could benefit them in the long run if they can somehow find something consistent offensively—as close games are typically the name of the game in January.


8. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) | Last week: 6 (-2)

After the stunning home loss to the Cardinals, the Eagles are 1-4 in their past five games. It’s almost like they are having a delayed Super Bowl hangover—and people in Philadelphia are not happy.


9. Cleveland Browns (11-5) | Last week: 9



When you see the way former Jets teammates went up to Joe Flacco after last Thursday night’s win for the Browns, it’s no wonder the team has rallied around the veteran quarterback. Cleveland is locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC.


10. Los Angeles Rams (9-7) | Last week: 10

The Rams exceeded the expectations of most and clinched a playoff berth—and head coach Sean McVay already says he’ll be back next season. The hits on later draft picks like Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua is showing what strong drafting can do for a club.


11. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) | Last week: 13 (+2)

Josh Allen recorded three sacks to help the Jaguars defense get back on track in an ideal matchup with the Panthers. With the AFC South at stake, we’ll see if Trevor Lawrence (shoulder) can return in Week 18 after missing his first career game.


12. Houston Texans (9-7) | Last week: 14 (+2)

DeMeco Ryans’ defense held the Titans to 187 total yards in their 26-3 victory. Derrick Henry previously ran all over Houston in recent years, so give Ryans a ton of credit for changing that after his group held down the premier runner in both 2023 matchups. The Texans head on the road with a playoff berth on the line Saturday night.


13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) | Last week: 12 (-1)

Thankfully, the Bucs had some breathing room and can still win the NFC South by beating the 2-14 Panthers this week, but as Todd Bowles said after the loss to the Saints, they would’ve have beaten anyone the way they played. The Tampa defense must fly around and make plays while the offense rides Rachaad White.


14. Green Bay Packers (8-8) | Last week: 20 (+6)

A strong outing from Jordan Love and a major bounce back for the defense after a down few weeks led to a blowout victory at Minnesota to set up a win-and-in scenario versus the Bears this Sunday. Hindsight is 20/20, but I’m still surprised that the Packers were underdogs taking on a rookie quarterback last week.


15. Indianapolis Colts (9-7) | Last week: 17 (+2)

The Colts also bounced back defensively last week, making enough plays despite a comeback effort by the Raiders. Expect a massive workload for Jonathan Taylor with a postseason spot on the line at home against the Texans.


16. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) | Last week: 15 (-1)

The Steelers drop a spot because of the nature of their situation in needing help whereas some teams ahead of them are in win-and-in spots, but the victory at Seattle was still very impressive last week. Unsurprisingly, Pittsburgh is sticking with what’s working in Mason Rudolph at quarterback over 2022 first-rounder Kenny Pickett.


17. Seattle Seahawks (8-8) | Last week: 11 (-6)

The run defense struggled for Seattle in their loss to Pittsburgh, and they are now on the outside looking in for an NFC playoff spot. If they can beat the Cardinals and get help to make the postseason, it could set up a rematch with the Cowboys after a tight Thursday night loss the week after Thanksgiving.


18. New Orleans Saints (8-8) | Last week: 22 (+4)

Derek Carr and the passing game came through offensively for New Orleans at Tampa, and the Saints defense did a nice job of getting off the field while jumping to a 17-0 first-half lead. The status of Alvin Kamara (ankle) should be monitored ahead of the Falcons matchup this week.


19. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) | Last week: 21 (+2)

The Vikings rise in the power rankings simply because they are alive for a playoff spot, but the primetime performance at home was a rough one for both sides of the ball. Kevin O’Connell has done a tremendous job his first two seasons leading Minnesota, but the quarterback situation after Kirk Cousins went down became a bit too inconsistent.


20. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) | Last week: 23 (+3)

The Falcons could not stay hot after their Week 16 win over the Colts, with a poor outing on both sides of the ball in Chicago. They took the first matchup with the Saints, though, and will look to claim the NFC South with a win and a Bucs loss.


21. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8) | Last week: 16 (-5)

It felt like a typical Bengals-Chiefs matchup in Week 17, and credit to Zac Taylor’s club for fighting while undermanned to push for a playoff berth. They’ll look to close out the year at above .500 when facing the Browns this week.


22. Chicago Bears (7-9) | Last week: 24 (+2)

The Bears regime is reportedly staying another year, which I think definitely makes sense (for head coach Matt Eberflus especially with how he’s gotten his players to play hard and well since the 0-4 start). Justin Fields is making a case to remain the team’s quarterback moving forward, and an upset win over the Packers could make the case even more compelling.


23. Denver Broncos (8-8) | Last week: 19 (-4)

While the Broncos won against the Chargers, they (and the Raiders behind them) drop in the power rankings due to the Bears playing so well and the teams alive for the playoffs jumping ahead. It’s been an odd situation and season at times, but Sean Payton would love to finish his first year in Denver with a winning record.


24. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) | Last week: 18 (-6)

Perhaps it was a letdown type of situation for the Raiders after beating the Chiefs on Christmas, but a slow start for the offense could not be overcome in time on the road. Antonio Pierce has one more opportunity to show that he should lead the franchise on the field moving forward.


25. New York Giants (5-11) | Last week: 25

The Giants lost a heartbreaker while trying to upset the Rams, but Brian Daboll is getting his guys to play the spoiler role by putting teams on the ropes. They’ll close out their year with another shot at the Eagles.


26. New England Patriots (4-12) | Last week: 28 (+2)

Despite the loss to Buffalo, the Patriots rise a couple of spots in the power rankings with the way the defense and special teams are performing. I personally hope this is not the final game for Bill Belichick leading New England if he wants to return.


27. Arizona Cardinals (4-12) | Last week: 30 (+3)

The Cardinals also leap a few spots, but their jump comes with a win after topping the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Kyler Murray, James Conner, and the offensive line all played well to control the clock and the game.


28. Tennessee Titans (5-11) | Last week: 27 (-1)

It’s unfortunate that rookie quarterback Will Levis hurt his foot and left last week’s loss to the Texans, as he wants to put good play on tape ahead of a potential quarterback decision for the Titans this offseason.


29. New York Jets (6-10) | Last week: 26 (-3)

The Jets drop despite the 6-10 record compared to a few teams ahead of them, as they are simply playing poorly and have not played well at this time of year. We’ll see if they can at least end their losing streak to the Pats.


30. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) | Last week: 29 (-1)

The Chargers played another close game, but interim head coach Giff Smith would certainly be thrilled to get a win in his third opportunity—and the players continue to play hard for him. Hopefully the receiving group can get healthier for Week 18.


31. Washington Commanders (4-12) | Last week: 31

The quarterback situation for the Commanders—with Jacoby Brissett (hamstring) not starting and the team going with Sam Howell days after saying he needed a break—is yet another example of how poorly managed the team has been for years.


32. Carolina Panthers (2-14) | Last week: 32

David Tepper threw his drink at an unhappy fan, which obviously is an awful look for both him and the NFL. The behavior, likely stemming from frustration on the field, is indicative of how bad things have been for the Panthers.