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Way-Too-Early NFL 2024 Power Rankings

The 2023 NFL season ended, not with a bang bang (Niner gang) but with a collective sigh, as the Kansas City Chiefs once again won the Super Bowl.  Even though some immediately declared it was baseball season, we all know the sun never sets on the NFL empire.  And while one team celebrates its triumph, the other 31 franchises are setting out to embark on their next chapter.  From impending free agency and salary cap issues to the 2024 NFL Draft, it's time to look at a way-too-early power rankings for the upcoming season.  

This set of power rankings summarizes each team’s season in ten words or less. 

  1. San Francisco 49ers

  • 2023 Record: 12-5 NFC Champions

  • Summary: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

The San Francisco 49ers held a two-score lead in the Super Bowl but couldn’t close the deal.  Heading into the 2024 season, they should be considered the frontrunners of the NFC West and the entire NFC. 

  1. Detroit Lions

  • 2023 Record: 12-5

  • Summary: You’ve gotta know when to hold‘em, know when to fold‘em. 

The Detroit Lions and head coach Dan Campbell are risk-takers.  They have an offense that can compete with any team in the league.  However, their defense has seen some inconsistencies throughout Campbell’s tenure.  With a late-round pick, the Lions should consider drafting T’Vondre Sweat to shore up the line's interior or a defensive back to assist in their bottom-of-the-league pass coverage.  

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

  • 2023 Record: 11-6 Super Bowl Champions 

  • Summary: To be the best, you’ve gotta beat the best. 

It is increasingly challenging to deny Patrick Mahomes’ GOAT status, and Andy Reid is a masterclass on offensive schemes.  Still, the Chiefs' offensive line needs a lot of work, and their defense might soon be without stud lineman Chris Jones’ services, along with other potential contract headaches.  Somehow, the Chiefs will find a way and should be clear frontrunners to represent the AFC in New Orleans next year at Super Bowl LIX. 

  1. Houston Texans

  • 2023 Record: 10-7 

  • Summary: Struck it rich on two consecutive picks. 

The future couldn’t be brighter for the Houston Texans.  They have a head coach in Demeco Ryans, who is the darling of the franchise.  Players love him, the front office loves him, and by all accounts, the fans should be very positive about their future. The team will face challenges as over half the roster is slated for free agency.  If they can figure it out and capitalize on their late, first-round pick, the Texans may wind up surprising the whole league.  

  1. Cincinnati Bengals

  • 2023 Record: 9-8

  • Summary: Underwhelming at best. 

The Bengals are not a 9-8 team.  As the window may be starting to close on other franchises, the Bengals will need to figure out how to keep their receiving corps happy while keeping quarterback Joe Burrow upright and healthy.  

  1. Buffalo Bills

  • 2023 Record: 11-6

  • Summary: The window slammed shut, but they don’t know it yet. 

The Bills have to make some tough decisions this offseason. There are players who are frustrated, and salary cap expenses that easily exceed 40 million dollars.  It’ll be hard to bet against Josh Allen, and that’s why they are ranked so high.   

  1. Miami Dolphins

  • 2023 Record: 11-6

  • Summary: On the doorstep. 

Miami is in the perfect position to extend contracts and solidify the foundation they started building over the past few seasons.  Young and in prime position to overshadow the Bills next season, the only limitations I see are Tua’s arm and health.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles

  • 2023 Record: 11-6 

  • Summary: An epic collapse that keeps getting worse. 

Fans of the Eagles must still be shell-shocked; a season that started so promising (10-1) ended in failure (1-5), allowing the rival Cowboys to sneak past them for the division title and an early exit from the playoffs.  The front office demanded change, and head coach Siriani has made sweeping adjustments to his staff.  Now, how much of the personnel gets overhauled to right the ship remains to be seen. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys

  • 2023 Record: 12-5

  • Summary: If second chances got second chances. 

Jerry Jones is getting softer in his old age; that or he still believes in head coach Mike McCarthy.  Either way, it has been nearly 30 years since the Boys won the Super Bowl, and the pressure is absolutely there.  It may be the Super Bowl or bust in Dallas.    

  1. Baltimore Ravens 

  • 2023 Record: 13-4

  • Summary: Jackson carries the weight, but Ravens still come up short. 

The Ravens are caught between a rock and a hard place.  They are on the precipice of challenging for the Super Bowl, but the cap issues will be nearly impossible this off-season.  Baltimore will have to resort to drafting well, and if there is one GM in the NFL who can set his team up for success, it's Eric DeCosta. 

  1. Green Bay Packers

  • 2023 Record: 9-8 

  • Summary: Is anyone else tired of Green Bay’s success? 

The Packers will need to address their defensive coordinator position, which has equally plagued Green Bay as much as their inability to draft a high-caliber receiver in the first round.  Nevertheless, the Lions should be looking over their shoulder because the Packers have repeatedly proven that they will continue to compete for the NFC North. 

  1. Cleveland Browns 

  • 2023 Record: 11-6

  • Summary: Everything comes down to Watson. 

I don’t think there is a team as perplexing as the Browns.  They seemingly have all the tools to compete in the AFC North and even make a run in the playoffs.  Yet, they come up short time after time.  The 2024 season will rest solely on whether or not Watson and his massive cap hit can stay healthy and propel the Browns to new heights.  Otherwise, look for the Browns to blow it up and start over again. 

  1. Los Angeles Rams

  • 2023 Record: 10-7 

  • Summary: A soft rebuild in ‘23 leaves holes to fill. 

Like the Bengals, the Rams are better than their recent efforts indicate.  When free agency opens in March, they will greatly benefit from some excellent cap space.  Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford aren’t getting any younger, and you have to wonder how short the leash is for head coach Sean McVay. 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • 2023 Record: 10-7 

  • Summary: No QB, big problems. 

Sophomore slumps are relatively common for NFL quarterbacks.  The amount that Pickett regressed is alarming.  The Steelers addressed one problem on offense but must figure out their quarterback problems if they wish to continue competing with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Baltimore.  If not, head coach Mike Tomlin may be looking for a job next season.  

  1. Indianapolis Colts

  • 2023 Record: 9-8 

  • Summary: The time for rebuilding is nearly over. 

Indianapolis has toiled in obscurity with a carousel of quarterbacks in the absence of Andrew Luck.  The AFC South is an easily winnable division, and it seems like only the Texans pose a threat as the Jaguars took steps backward, as did the Titans.  It all comes down to how the Colts perform in the off-season.  The front office should make it a priority to keep receiver Michael Pittman Jr. above everything else.  

  1. Las Vegas Raiders

  • 2023 Record: 8-9

  • Summary: Turmoil turned to promise.

Look, the Raiders are probably ranked too high in reality.  However, promoting interim coach Antonio Pierce to the full-time position may have been Mark Davis’ best move in years.  Time will tell if the trio of Pierce, Telesco, and Kelly will work well together.  The Raiders also have to find a quarterback and find their offensive identity.  

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

  • 2023 Record: 9-8

  • Summary: A flicker of hope dashed in uncertainty. 

The Buccaneers are set to have surprise hero and quarterback Baker Mayfield become a free agent along with receiver, Mike Evans.  Even if they both return, offensive production is a looming question mark as offensive coordinator Dave Canels is set to helm a derelict Panthers team.  Stranger things have happened, but I doubt the Bucs are in a position to dominate the weak NFC South. 

  1. New York Jets

  • 2023 Record: 7-10 

  • Summary: Rodgers goes down, season over. 

At 7-10, the Jets won six more games than I thought they would without Rodgers at quarterback.  They’ll need to work quickly to solidify the offensive line while also getting another weapon at receiver if the Jets hope the “former Packer turned savior” experiment is to work this time. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings

  • 2023 Record: 7-10

  • Summary: Is anyone’s Achilles safe in the NFL?

Like a few other teams this off-season, the Vikings are faced with a dilemma at quarterback.  They are stuck trying to decide on a potentially high-priced, aging  Kirk Cousins, still recovering from his own Achilles issues and not having another option at the ready.  Neither backup worked this season, and that has to worry Viking fans.  They’ll have a very small window to decide on their options.  Either way, Minnesota will take a large risk heading into the 2024 season.  

  1. New Orleans Saints

  • 2023 Record: 9-8

  • Summary: On the verge of returning to the Aint’s. 

New Orleans hosts the Super Bowl next season.  The Saints are a far cry from playing host, let alone contending for the win.  I think the window is closed on this team as well.  However, a few, especially in the front office, believe this group can contend.  I would dismantle this roster, except for a few key players, and move on.  The NFC South may be weak, but the Saints aren’t the ones.  

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 2023 Record: 9-8 

  • Summary: One step forward, two steps back. 

The offensive line is a wreck.  The Jaguars can’t run the ball or protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence.  The offense was an absolute liability to the Jaguars this season, even if the defense looked (on paper) amazing this season.  I’ve never thought Trevor Lawrence was elite, and this past season proved it.  They’d be further back, except the AFC South has the potential to be wide open.  

  1. Los Angeles Chargers

  • 2023 Record: 5-12

  • Summary: If salary cap hell exists, it's the Chargers.

On paper, this Chargers team should be Super Bowl champions.  In actuality, it looks like an all-star roster that never reaches its full potential.  Sure, some of that is the poor coaching, and replacing the struggling Brandon Staley with the hot hand that is Jim Harbaugh may go down as a genius move.  However, the star-studded hire will pale compared to what new GM Joe Horitz can do with that massive cap issue.  

  1. Atlanta Falcons

  • 2023 Record: 7-10

  • Summary: Apparently, the NFL has a franchise quarterback issue.  

Atlanta has a ton of talent on offense and are slowly, quietly, building a top-tier defense. None of that will matter without getting serious at quarterback. With the number eight pick overall, the Falcons may have an outside shot at a highly-rated quarterback prospect, but maybe bringing Georgia native Justin Fields home is the more enticing thought. Then, the eighth pick can be used elsewhere. Regardless, the Falcons may just end up unsettling the NFL and take control of the NFC South.

  1. Denver Broncos

  • 2023 Record: 8-9

  • Summary: Broncos Country sure went on a ride last season. 

Finishing 8-9 almost made Denver look competent, but everyone knows it was dysfunctional.  I’m not sure this coaching regime is the answer, and we all know quarterback Russell Wilson ended up being a mistake (at least in Denver).  Now, the team faces some cap issues and almost no draft capital.  Denver will probably end up in a lower rank at the end of the season, but for now, the bottom third looks dismal by comparison.  

  1. New York Giants

  • 2023 Record: 6-11

  • Summary: Perfect example of overpaying for hopes and dreams, not results. 

Big Blue backed the wrong “superstar.”  They should have given a large extension to running back Saquan Barkley.  Instead, they gave it to quarterback Daniel Jones, who has only proven that when he is healthy, he makes questionable decisions. It is time to move on at quarterback before things worsen in East Rutherford. 

  1. Seattle Seahawks

  • 2023 Record: 9-8

  • Summary: Out with the old and in with the new. 

Former head coach Pete Carroll has stepped down and will now fill an undefined front office position.  Mike Macdonald should be an interesting hire; however, filling Carroll’s shoes may be nearly impossible.  The Seahawks will have some great draft capital heading into April and may be in a position to surprise the rest of the league, even if quarterback Geno Smith is a looming decision.  

  1. New England Patriots 

  • 2023 Record: 4-13

  • Summary: Bill’s last ride ended in failure. 

The most interesting quote I’ve heard this offseason was from Danny Amendola, “We worked for Bill Belichick, but we played for Tom Brady.”  Maybe a throwaway statement to the average fan speaks volumes about the dynamic relationship between players and coaches in Foxborough.  The Pats have been lackluster since Tom Brady left for greener pastures in Tampa Bay.  Now that owner Robert Kraft and Belichick have agreed to move on, the Patriots look to redefine the Patriot Way with the number three pick and former star linebacker Jerod Mayo at the helm.  

  1. Arizona Cardinals

  • 2023 Record: 4-13

  • Summary: The new uniforms ended up being the best part.  

The Cardinals showed they have many holes on both sides of the ball.  Some will think they showed some promise, but at 4-13, the Cardinals look about as inept as their original NFL rivals, the Bears.  The only place to go for the Cardinals is up, assuming they don’t mess up rebuilding their defense through free agency and the draft.  

  1. Washington Commanders

  • 2023 Record: 4-13

  • Summary: A complete overhaul of the front office.

The Commanders have a new ownership group and, starting next season, will have an entirely new coaching staff.  They’ll have some things to figure out as they unloaded most of their defensive talent last season and continue to struggle to find their identity on offense.  They come into the draft with the number two overall pick, and the Bears may dictate their fate.  Much like the Cardinals ranked just ahead of them, there’s nowhere to go but up.  

  1. Tennessee Titans

  • 2023 Record: 6-11

  • Summary: Games lost in the trenches. 

The folks in Nashville seemed distracted by the prospect of a brand-new stadium and forgot to play football this season.  They’ll be another team starting with a new coaching regime.  However, I don’t think former head coach Mike Vrabel was the issue.  The Titans will need to address their offensive line and running back.  Luckily, the offensive line has plenty of talent in free agency and the draft.  I expect the Titans to take another step backward in the first year of the Brian Callahan era.  

  1. Chicago Bears 

  • 2023 Record: 7-10

  • Summary: In typical Chicago fashion, ineptitude is rewarded. 

The Chicago Bears face many dilemmas as the new league year approaches.  They have plenty of cap space, ended last season with a bit of momentum (ultimately crushed by Green Bay), and have two of the first ten picks in the draft (including the overall number 1).  Yet, the front office did not part ways with head coach Matt Eberflus, which sets them up for another round of perpetual failure.  Every dive bar in Chicago is filled with people arguing for Caleb or Justin. Bears fans have become all too familiar in recent seasons of a head coach getting one more shot while bringing in a new quarterback in a win-now last-ditch effort.  Some will say the Bears are in a win-win scenario, but this particular Bears fan only sees more failure on the horizon regardless of the choices they make in April.  

  1. Carolina Panthers 

  • 2023 Record: 2-15

  • Summary: A season of woes with little upside. 

The Panthers have issues.  Their front office is a mess, and they’ll have a new coaching staff next season.  They sold the farm to draft quarterback Bryce Young, who was less than impressive.  Part of selling that farm was giving up their best receiver and first-round pick this April.  Unfortunately, that would be the number one overall.  Expect the Panthers to struggle this season, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll walk into the ‘25 draft with the number one pick as well. 

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


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