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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

We are through one week in the 2023 NFL season, and it’s best not to overreact. That said, the Week 2 power rankings do include quite a bit of shuffling after getting our first real look at all 32 teams.


1. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) | Last week: 5 (+4)

Brock Purdy looks just like he did as a rookie (comfortable and excellent), Christian McCaffrey (169 total yards and a touchdown) might end up being a legitimate MVP candidate, and the determined defense flew around the field in San Francisco’s Week 1 road win at Pittsburgh. If health cooperates, the Niners are going to be a problem for every opponent.


2. Dallas Cowboys (1-0) | Last week: 8 (+6)

The Giants obviously did not play well on Sunday night, but the performance of the Cowboys defense and special teams had a lot do to with that. Micah Parsons is a total monster that led the charge in the 40-0 victory, and exciting offseason cornerback acquisition Stephon Gilmore promptly intercepted a pass in his team debut. Mike McCarthy calling the plays on offense is promising, as he understands he has an elite defense to play to.


3. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) | Last week: 2 (-1)

Facing Bill Belichick’s defense—paired with the wet conditions—didn’t help, but the Eagles looked a bit off and couldn’t find a rhythm offensively in their season opening win versus the Patriots. The outing has head coach Nick Sirianni thinking about playing the starters in the preseason moving forward. Philadelphia has a quick turnaround, hosting the Vikings on Thursday Night Football.


4. Detroit Lions (1-0) | Last week: 6 (+2)

Having four straight NFC teams to start the power rankings feels odd, but I’m giving the Lions love for opening the season with a victory. There are things to clean up, but the secondary looks much more talented than in 2022, which will help elevate the entire defense. Jared Goff in the Ben Johnson-coordinated offense has the third longest streak in NFL history without an interception (359 passes), and Detroit has a clear identity of playing through the running backs (look for Jahmyr Gibbs to become more and more involved) and Amon-Ra St. Brown.


5. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) | Last week: 1 (-4)

My big question for the Chiefs was how long would Chris Jones be out due to his holdout. Well, he’s back after one game—and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce is expected to be back for Week 2, too. On top of that, a few of the other top teams in the AFC also lost their openers, so overall the concern about Jones’ absence costing playoff seeding has subsided. Kansas City, after playing an uncharacteristically shaky game offensively without Kelce, could be higher in these power rankings, but it felt right to give the Lions the nod over them for now. I like the way the defense played even without Jones available.


6. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) | Last week: 7 (+1)

We’ll have to wait to see the Ravens’ new-look offense really take flight, as the unideal playing conditions on the East Coast impacted their Week 1. At least first-round rookie receiver Zay Flowers shined with 11 touches for 87 yards in his debut. On defense against the Texans, linebacker Roquan Smith led the unit that picked up where they left off after he was acquired from the Bears last season.


7. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) | Last week: 9 (+2)

The Colts gave the Jaguars more of a battle than might have been expected, but Jacksonville scored 14 fourth-quarter points and had a late 26-yard touchdown run by Travis Etienne Jr. to extend their lead to double digits. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley started hot for his new team, with eight receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. The defense did a nice job of getting off the field, but this Sunday against the Chiefs will be a major challenge.


8. Miami Dolphins (1-0) | Last week: 13 (+5)

Tua Tagovailoa threw the ball 45 times and got away with some early underthrown and risky deep shots—but he certainly hit on enough of them including 11 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns to Tyreek Hill in the 36-34 shootout win over the Chargers. The run defense struggled, but Miami was able to get home for a few key sacks to help begin the year 1-0.


9. Buffalo Bills (0-1) | Last week: 3 (-6)

As Troy Aikman said on the Monday Night Football broadcast, Josh Allen is not alone: The Jets defense makes a lot of quarterbacks look bad. Still, that was maybe the worst game I can remember from the superstar quarterback, who turned the ball over four times (three interceptions, one lost fumble) and seemed to get impatient with not being able to get the ball down the field. I think Buffalo needs other players to step up behind Stefon Diggs on offense, and rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid might be able to do that. Big plays given up by the Buffalo run defense is a concern.


10. Cleveland Browns (1-0) | Last week: 23 (+13)

This is a huge rise in the power rankings, but the Browns defense was on fire to begin the season, limiting the Bengals to 142 yards and 2.6 yards per play under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. I’m still not sold on the offense with Deshaun Watson, but featuring running Nick Chubb is a recipe for success and I’m anxious to see how the team fares when traveling to Pittsburgh this Monday night.


11. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) | Last week: 4 (-7)

While this is big drop in the power rankings for the Bengals, I wouldn’t be too concerned if I were them. They have had major struggles against the Browns, and on top of that Joe Burrow—now the highest-paid player in the league—missed the summer due to his calf injury and also started slow last season. Cincy was in some battles versus the Ravens—including in the Wild Card Round—last season, and their matchup this Sunday will be one of the games of the week.


12. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) | Last week: 10 (-2)

It almost feels like the Chargers are cursed in close games and have been for years. They just haven’t found a way to get it done. Pass defense has been LA’s calling card, so to struggle the way they did against Miami was surprising and disappointing. As for the good news, the Chargers appear to have found something with a more potent rushing attack after the performances by Austin Ekeler (16/117/1) and Joshua Kelley (16/91/1).


13. New York Jets (1-0) | Last week: 14 (+1)

Speaking of bad luck, the Jets have been dealt major heartbreak with Aaron Rodgers tearing his Achilles just four games into his Jets’ tenure, potentially ending the career of the all-time great quarterback—and dealing a massive blow to New York’s Super Bowl hopes. But, as they showed in the Monday night win over the Bills, Robert Saleh’s defense should be able to help keep them in any game. The walk-off punt return touchdown by undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson—a star on Hard Knocks this summer—was one of the top moments of Week 1. Look for the Jets to ride the ultra-explosive Breece Hall, along with star runner Dalvin Cook, to help take pressure off Zach Wilson, the former No. 2 overall pick with a big opportunity in front of him.


14. Green Bay Packers (1-0) | Last week: 20 (+6)

Matt LaFleur moved to 9-0 in his career against the rival Bears, and his team did it in emphatic fashion with a 38-20 win at Soldier Field. Jordan Love threw three touchdowns, including two to second-year receiver Romeo Doubs, and he did it without Christian Watson (hamstring) in the lineup. Defensively, star cornerback Jaire Alexander helped set the tone throughout the afternoon. I narrowly had Green Bay missing the postseason this year, but I’m optimistic after their Week 1 performance.


15. New Orleans Saints (1-0) | Last week: 17 (+2)

Marshon Lattimore and the New Orleans defense played a strong game and lived up to the preseason expectations of a bounce back (particularly in the turnover department), picking off Ryan Tannehill three times in their 16-15 win against the Titans. Derek Carr and the offense did enough to help secure the win, and this moment captured by NFL Films was great:



The emphatic “yes” by Jameis Winston was hilarious, and it worked out with a clutch go ball to Rashid Shaheed.


16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) | Last week: 27 (+11)

The Buccaneers make the second biggest leap in this week’s power rankings after getting a hard-fought road victory at Minnesota. Todd Bowles’ defense found a way to make plays and held the Vikings to just 17 points, with the offense making enough plays themselves—including a deep ball touchdown to Mike Evans and a connection between Baker Mayfield and Chris Godwin to seal the game late—for an all-around effort. Also, Mayfield apparently picked up on and figured out the Vikings’ defensive signals, which is very interesting. The lack of a rushing attack remains a major concern, but we’ll see if the line can open more holes for Rachaad White and Sean Tucker against the Bears.


17. New England Patriots (0-1) | Last week: 15 (-2)

The Patriots do drop a couple of spots after their Week 1 loss, but I already had them high in the power rankings and feel better about it now. Perhaps a lack of extended preseason action played a hand in it, but Mac Jones looked a little uncomfortable early before settling in and hitting his back foot to quickly deliver absolute dimes (including two touchdowns to Kendrick Bourne and another to Hunter Henry) while avoiding the Philly pass rush. Bill O’Brien at offensive coordinator should be a massive improvement for New England. And I already touched on the Pats defense, which disrupted a top offense to help make it an extremely entertaining game in Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro.


18. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) | Last week: 11 (-7)

The Steelers were among the most disappointing teams in Week 1, but it did come versus a 49ers squad that looks like a juggernaut. Pittsburgh was totally shut down for most of the first half, and a late touchdown to Pat Freiermuth showed some life to make it 20-7—but they couldn’t get much else going in an eventual 30-7 loss. T.J. Watt promptly racked up three sacks in the loss and will always help give his team a chance, but the Steelers will be without star defensive lineman Cam Heyward for several weeks due to a groin injury.


19. Minnesota Vikings (0-1) | Last week: 16 (-3)

The Vikings were able to move the ball through the air, but turnovers were the difference in scoring just 17 points in their home season opening loss to the Bucs. It’s a long season, but now Minnesota must play at Philadelphia—where they struggled last season—while looking to avoid 0-2 in what looks like a strong division with Detroit and Green Bay seemingly improved. As a positive, Brian Flores’ aggressive defense stuffed the run in Week 1, and we’ll see what his plan is for Jalen Hurts and company tomorrow night.


20. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0) | Last week: 22 (+2)

It didn’t take long for Raiders teammates to believe in new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a couple of touchdowns to Jakobi Meyers and ran for a clutch first down to help Vegas get a divisional win at Denver. Star running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Maxx Crosby are already calling Jimmy G “a dawg” as a term of endearment. The Raiders now have a tough task facing an angry Bills team in Buffalo this Sunday, but I think Crosby might be able to make some difference-making plays to help make it a game.


21. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) | Last week: 29 (+8)

The Rams were an intriguing team entering the season, taking a step back talent wise but having head coach Sean McVay return to oversee the expected tough situation—which was heightened with star receiver Cooper Kupp (hamstring) out the first four games while on injured reserve. Matthew Stafford played a great game in a balanced attack that was able to control things while paired with the LA “no-name” defense continuously getting off the field. Second-year running back Kyren Williams (15 carries, 52 yards, two touchdowns), rookie receiver Puka Nacua (ten receptions, 119 yards), and receiver Tutu Atwell (six receptions, 119 yards) are three rising contributors to watch.


22. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) | Last week: 12 (-10)

This big ten-spot drop is due partly to wanting to have the Rams ahead of them, but the injuries to the bookend tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas could deliver an immense blow to Seattle if they miss time. An issue at home in Week 1 was that the Seahawks couldn’t stay on the field offensively with just 2/9 conversions on third down, but I think a heavier dose of Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet on the ground could lead to more success.


23. Atlanta Falcons (1-0) | Last week: 25 (+2)

The Falcons remain somewhat low in the power rankings in such a deep league, but something I like about them is that they have a clear identify of a run-heavy attack with Bijan Robinson—who they also get into space, and he scored his first career touchdown on a smooth bubble screen where he broken three tackles—and Tyler Allgeier (15 carries, 75 yards, two touchdowns). Paired with a defense that added veterans and immediately got a big contribution from safety Jessie Bates III (two interceptions), Atlanta is a team to watch in an NFC South that might be better than expected.


24. Washington Commanders (1-0) | Last week: 24

It was ugly, but the Commanders got the job done with a 20-16 home victory against the Cardinals in front of a sold-out crowd in their first game under new ownership. Washington held Arizona to 3.6 yards per play but picked up just 3.8 yards per play themselves, and the Commanders offensive line looks like it’s going to be an issue in pass protection after allowing six sacks—though Sam Howell must learn to get rid of the ball quicker at times, too. Things won’t get easier moving forward, but Washington kicks off the year at 1-0.


25. Tennessee Titans (0-1) | Last week: 19 (-6)

In a 16-15 loss that was led 9-6 at halftime, I don’t understand the thought process of playing Derrick Henry for less than 50% of the snaps and throwing the ball 34 times when Ryan Tannehill was struggling. At least Mike Vrabel’s defense showed they will continue to play well, and they were able to get home for four sacks while forcing a couple of turnovers. The next three games for Tennessee are against the Chargers, Browns, and Bengals.


26. Denver Broncos (0-1) | Last week: 21 (-5)

The loss was tough, but there are some positives to take away from the first game under new head coach Sean Payton—most of all, that Russell Wilson, despite just 16 points scored, looked comfortable in the new offensive attack. Ten penalties were not ideal, and that’s something that will get cleaned up. It should be just a matter of time before the Broncos are able to get things turned around under Payton, but winning at home versus the Commanders in Week 2 could be critical if they want to make serious noise in 2023.


27. New York Giants (0-1) | Last week: 18 (-9)

Things can only go up from here for the Giants following Week 1. There’s not much to write home about, but they should get on track this Sunday when they take on the Cardinals. I’m looking for big games from Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller, with the offense running through them this season.


28. Carolina Panthers (0-1) | Last week: 26 (-2)

Week 1 was a good learning experience for No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young, who threw a couple of interceptions to veteran safety Jessie Bates III on similar attempts over the middle. The three turnovers for Carolina were killer, and this Monday night versus the Saints will likely be a similar defensive type of battle within the division.


29. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) | Last week: 30 (+1)

They couldn’t quite finish the job and come away with a home victory, but rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson showed some really encouraging things in his first career start, leading Indy in both passing (24/37 for 223 yards, one touchdown, and one interception) and rushing (ten carries for 40 yards and a touchdown); but the team certainly needs a lot more from the run game overall to help Richardson and win games. It was good to see linebacker Shaquille Leonard healthy and on the field for the Colts.


30. Chicago Bears (0-1) | Last week: 28 (-2)

There’s plenty of time in the season and you do not want to overreact, but the first game was not encouraging for the passing game in Year 3 under Justin Fields. D.J. Moore was held to two receptions for 25 yards by the Packers, and Fields struggled as a passer at home—leading to third-down issues. While the Chicago defense played hard, the big plays were too much to overcome and keep things close.


31. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) | Last week: 32 (+1)

Though not resulting in a win, the playing style under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon was evident at Washington, turning the matchup into a gritty battle they led 16-10 heading into the fourth quarter. The calling card for Arizona this season will be trying to keep games low-scoring and close, as they seem unlikely to win many shootouts.


32. Houston Texans (0-1) | Last week: 31 (-1)

11 carries for Dameon Pierce and 38 pass attempts for C.J. Stroud in his first career start was not the ideal outcome for Houston offensively. However, DeMeco Ryans’ defense played pretty well in their first game, containing Lamar Jackson and getting home for four sacks (including one by No. 3 pick Will Anderson Jr.).