NFL Week 1: VW's Power Rankings

by Vegas Writer

Thursday, Sep 07, 2023
Football is back!

And every week you'll be able to find my personal NFL Power Rankings, ranking the league from best to worst.

I've scoured every media outlet, read most beat writers, and familiarized myself with every team after six weeks of practice and the few exhibition games we've seen.

Where did it all leave me? Dazed and confused, of course.

And if I thought the past several weeks were bad, wait, the league turns my rankings on its head and has me baffled every week.

We have to start somewhere, and with the season getting underway Thursday, let's get to it:


1. Kansas City - Until I am proven otherwise, the reigning champs deserve the top spot in Week 1. The Chiefs addressed issues on the offensive line, they've bolstered the wide receivers' room and, in two words: Patrick Mahomes

2. Philadelphia - The reigning runner-up Eagles made headlines with their draft selections, and figure to be better than last season. Everyone is excited to see Jalen Hurts, but I can't wait to see defensive lineman Jalen Carter.

3. Cincinnati - I keep hearing chatter about Joe Burrow's extension and this being Tee Higgins' final year. But is anyone taking in consideration both those things in a positive light? Both will be at their best, proving their worth for obvious reasons.

4. San Francisco - A healthy Brock Purdy will go a long way this season. The fact the 49ers felt comfortable in shipping Trey Lance to Dallas, not to mention them returning a stellar defensive unit now that Nick Bosa agreed to terms, tells me they're ready to overtake the NFC and return to the Super Bowl.

5. Buffalo - The Bills will always get their respect because of Josh Allen, who has the offensive weapons to keep this team relevant. That said, I want to see Monday's game vs. the Jets and Aaron Rodgers, as it wouldn't shock me if I swapped these two next week.

6. Dallas - It's now or never. If the Cowboys aren't in must-win mode this season, meaning "Super Bowl or Bust," owner Jerry Jones needs to be questioned. There is pressure on everyone to produce, and if Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy can't deliver, it'll be time to move on.

7. Baltimore - The only question I have with the Ravens is how long it'll take to move them up the ranks, since I fully expect Lamar Jackson to jell nicely with like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers. If there's immediate chemistry, the rest of the AFC North will be contending to earn a wild-card berth.

8. Miami - The Dolphins' season hinges on a healthy Tua Tagovailoa. If he plays the entire season, the Fins are a Top 10 team and will challenge for the AFC East title. We'll also need to see an immediate impact with Vic Fangio serving as defensive coordinator.

9. N.Y. Jets - The team I had the biggest struggle with comes in ninth, as this is another team that I need to see in action, with chemistry the biggest question, before I turn in a firm verdict. Something tells me Rodgers will have things shaken up - in either a good way, or bad.

10. Jacksonville - Remember when the Jaguars were the doormat of the league? Now they've crept into the Top 10, and they're a candidate to move up the rankings since they'll face the Colts and rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson in Week 1.

11. L.A. Chargers - The only reason I'm giving the Bolts this much respect, this early on, is because they've finally bolstered their offensive line, which will help keep Justin Herbert upright. Since arriving in the NFL, Herbert ranks ninth in being sacked 101 times - one of nine quarterbacks who have been sacked at least 100 times.

12. Detroit
- An upset in Week 1 would catapult this team into the Top 10. Can the Lions pull off an upset of the Chiefs? Hey, anything is possible. And we're talking about one of the most anticipated teams in franchise history, all due respect to some talented teams that included Barry Sanders.

13. Seattle - Were the Seahawks expected to make it to the postseason in 2022? Not by many. Yet there they were, creeping into the postseason thanks to Geno Smith's career revival. Coach Pete Carroll has a nice blend of experience and youthful exuberance making up a talented roster.

14. Cleveland - Not the Browns sneaking in higher than the Steelers. But yes, I think this team has the potential to challenge for a playoff spot. If, and it's a big IF, quarterback Deshaun Watson can be better than we've ever seen from him. If not, disappointing quarterback play won't cut it and they may want to switch to Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

15. Minnesota - If there is one team I think could see a drastic decline, it's the Vikings. Last year's 13-win season was a facade behind a rather easy schedule. This year's slate is much tougher, so this is another team the verdict remains out until I can see how competitive they are against tougher competition.

16. Pittsburgh - I'm a big believer in Kenny Pickett, and with the right protection, I can see him and tight end Darnell Washington having immediate chemistry. Pickett showed poise last season, but with the blueprint out, any skittish moments can be calmed with Washington in his sights.


17. N.Y. Giants - Two words: Darren Waller. Get him involved immediately.

18. New Orleans
- Is Derek Carr poised for a career year just to spite the Raiders?

19. Green Bay - Jordan Love has been waiting for this moment. Will he make the most of it?

20. New England - JuJu Smith-Schuster and Ezekiel Elliott are in Foxborough. Problem might be, so is Mac Jones.

21. Denver - If Sean Payton can revive Russell Wilson, look out.

22. Washington - The Commanders need to improve on the offensive line most of all.

23. Atlanta - The Falcons did some good things in building their roster with stout offensive linemen and top defenders. Now if only Desmond Ridder proves critics wrong.

24. Carolina - Bryce Young will either make or break this team.

25. Chicago - It's a make-or-break season for Justin Fields. We need to see the kid who was highly regarded out of high school.

26. Las Vegas - Poor Raiders fans, the last thing coach Josh McDaniels needed was media leaks that he's begun losing the locker room.

27. Tennessee - The Titans ranked last in the league last season with their PFF pass-blocking grade (53.7) and allowed the fifth-most sacks in the league (33). That will be an issue.

28. Tampa Bay - Baker Mayfield has thrown the most interceptions (64) in the NFL since 2018. Let's see how his tenure in Tampa starts out.

29. L.A. Rams - Don't be surprised if Aaron Donald is shipped out at some point, to a contender that needs a defensive menace. The Rams aren't going anywhere they'll need him.

30. Indianapolis - Let the Anthony Richardson era begin. May the growing pains be minimal.

31. Houston - The good news is, the Texans aren't the worst team in the league anymore. That's it, there is no other news.

32. Arizona - I actually feel bad for Kyler Murray. It'll be a long season in Glendale.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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