2023 NFL Power Rankings: Bears up seven spots
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Bears up seven spots

by - Staff Writer -

The 2023 NFL season is underway, and boy, has it been exciting thus far. Last season, of course, was one for the record books and was topped off with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. The offseason provided an entertaining draft, some big contract extensions, trades, signings, coaching hires, and more.

While some big contract issues are to be ironed out, and some big names are still on the market, most of the rosters are pretty settled.

So, with that being said, here is our seventh power rankings of the NFL season ahead of week 6.

*We decided to explain the top 16 and the Bears.*

1. San Francisco 49ers 5-0 (up 1)

San Francisco has one of the most talented rosters in the sport and rode their best players to another NFC Championship appearance last year. The 49ers had had a topsy-turvy season, losing newly named starting QB Trey Lance in week 1 — and Jimmy Garropolo later on in the season. But that never stopped the 49ers from winning. Garropolo is now a Raider; Trey Lance is now a Cowboy, and Brock Purdy is the starter on a team with one of the best rosters in the NFL; he has never lost in the regular season, including four dominant wins to open the 2023-2024 campaign.

A recent drubbing of Dallas solidifies this No. 1 spot.

2. Philadelphia Eagles 5-0 (up 1)

Philadelphia was one of the league’s best teams from start to finish a year ago and looks poised to repeat that title. A dominating pass rush, a veteran offensive line, All-Pros all over the field, and a duo of AJ Brown and Jalen Hurts. The Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the Chiefs but are still loaded with talent and should be considered favorites to return to the pinnacle next season. The roster, indeed, does not have many holes. The NFC East champs look to control that division for now. They lost Miles Sanders but added De’Andre Swift to the bunch, and he is a big reason they are 5-0 in the early going. It hasn’t been flashy, but it has been dominant.

3. Kansas City Chiefs 4-1 (up 1)

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs turned a rocky start into a dominating end of the season a year ago. Despite losing Tyreek Hill before last season, the Chiefs still dominated the AFC West and won their second Super Bowl in four seasons. Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns, winning his second MVP. The defense stepped up, Travis Kelce was phenomenal, and the Chiefs have cemented themselves as the NFL’s next dynasty. Chris Jones was a big reason the Chiefs succeeded, and he recently signed a new deal. A week one hiccup against Detroit will not deter me from the Chiefs’ bandwagon — plus, now Taylor Swift is a regular at Chiefs games. Chiefs have won four in a row.

4. Miami Dolphins 4-1 (up 1)

The question surrounding the Miami Dolphins is how good Tua can be because the offense that features Tyreek Hill, Jalen Waddle, and Raheem Mostert is loaded with speed. Tua looked great early on, but a few scary head injuries jeopardized his career and the Dolphins' 2022-2023 season. They are one of the most exciting teams in football — and a healthy, capable Tua can undoubtedly make them contenders. The Dolphins also added Jalen Ramsey to the cornerback room, so the defense should be better when he returns. Miami turned heads in their thrilling season-opening victory over the Chargers and primetime dub over New England. But the Dolphins clicked on all cylinders in a way I have never seen before a 70-point showing. Even with the loss to the Bills, they’re one of the league’s best teams.

5. Buffalo Bills 3-2 (down 1)

The Bills are one of the league’s best teams and had a heartbreaking end to the postseason three years in a row. The defense took a step back in 2022, but Josh Allen is still one of the league’s best QBs and leads one of the league’s best offenses. The Bills heard all of that Dolphins talk and dismantled them; the AFC East still runs through Buffalo. They faltered in week 5 in London but are easily a top-5 team in the NFL.

6. Detroit Lions 4-1 (up 2)

The Lions were one of the best stories in the NFL last season. Despite faltering to 1-6 out of the gate, the Lions finished 9-8. They are loaded with young talent and might need a QB change before they are TRUE contenders, but the Lions should be expected to be a playoff contender shortly. They have a confident coach and young playmakers on both sides of the field. Keep an eye on the Lions moving forward, especially after the week one win over the Chiefs, and they have maintained their lead in the NFC North.

7. Dallas Cowboys 3-2 (down 1)

Dallas has one of the best defenses in the league but can not get over the offensive hump to put them into the elite category. Nonetheless, the team is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. The fact of the matter is that as long as the Eagles look the way they do, Dallas will be playing for the Wild Card for the foreseeable future. Prescott is getting paid QB1 money; it’s time for him to also play like it this season. Ezekiel Elliot is no longer in the picture, so it is Tony Pollard’s backfield, and the Cowboys added Brandin Cooks to a loaded WR room. Dallas has either blown teams out or been blown out thus far, and the latest dismantling at the hands of the 49ers leaves many questioning what to make of a Dallas team with loads of talent.

8. Baltimore Ravens 3-2 (down 1)

Baltimore has one of the league’s strongest rosters, but they spent most of 2021 and 2022 as the most injured team in the sport. But this team has speed all over the field, on both sides of the ball, and they know their identity. Led by an MVP in Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have the recipe for success — they must stay healthy. The Ravens paid Lamar Jackson, signed OBJ in free agency, and added a WR in the draft in Zay Flowers. This will be the strongest team Lamar Jackson has quarterbacked, so look out for Baltimore. It’s been topsy-turvy for Baltimore—strong wins over Cincinnati and Cleveland but disappointing losses to Pittsburgh and the Colts. The team should be a contender on paper, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-2 (up 1)

Trevor Lawrence is showing everybody in the NFL why he was selected with the number one overall pick in 2021. The talented QB led the Jaguars to a division championship and a playoff win — and look primed to only get better as a team. The defense needs some help to take the next step, but the AFC South seems to be Jacksonville’s division to lose for the first time. Young QBs in Indianapolis and Houston and the Titans’ playoff pedigree have made this division much tighter than anticipated. Still, if Jacksonville can beat Buffalo, they can beat anyone.

10. Seattle Seahawks 3-1 (down 1 BYE)

Seattle turned heads last year by making the playoffs in Geno Smith’s first season with the Seahawks. The offense appears to have taken another step. The defense, which is Pete Carrol’s specialty, has struggled — but wins over the Lions, Panthers, and Giants (where the defense had 11 sacks) have been enough to make the Seahawks a top-10 team.

11. Los Angeles Chargers 2-2 (no change BYE)

The Chargers may have been one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams last year. They added Khalil Mack and JC Jackson to a defense that got a healthy Derwin James and Joey Bosa back in 2022 but struggled. On offense, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams battled injuries, as did Justin Herbert, so the offense became Austin Ekeler-dependent. But as the new season approaches, LA should still be one of the league’s most talented teams shortly. The division they are in still runs through the Chiefs, but the Chargers are contenders for sure, even after their losses to Miami and Tennessee in game’s that they should’ve won. They’ve since gotten back on track with big wins over the Vikings and Raiders to tighten up the standings.

12. Cincinnati Bengals 2-3 (up 2)

The Bengals were the AFC’s representative in the Super Bowl two years ago and made it to the AFC Championship again last year, led by Joe Burrow. It’s not always pretty, but the Bengals win games — and the way their roster is constructed, expect them to continue to do just that. They have won the AFC North two years in a row, and it is Burrow’s division, not Lamar’s. The Bengals added more to the offensive line, paid Burrow, and proved a threat in the AFC even after their disappointing 1-3 start. Keep an eye on Burrow’s injury, though; even though he looked good enough to power Cincy to their first win of the year over the Rams on MNF — he hasn’t been that great. However, he looked healthy against Arizona and delivered his first 300-yard performance of the season; they may be back.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers 3–2 (up 1)

This may be a surprise, but the Steelers are in the league's top half. It is no secret they boast one of the league’s best defenses, but they certainly need a boost on the offensive side of the ball. They may need some help on the offensive line and to open up the run game for Najee Harris — but the Steelers should not be a team other teams are looking forward to playing in 2023. That Picket-to-Pickens combo is nasty, and a TJ Watt-led defense is as formidable as they come.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-1 (down 2 BYE)

Nope, it's not Tom Brady; it’s Baker Mayfield who has led the Bucs past the Vikings, Bears, and Saints to open the season. They still have a ton of talent on both the offense and defensive side of the ball, and Baker is playing with so much passion. In a wide-open NFC, do not be surprised to see the Bucs' success continue, even after their loss to Philly.

15. New Orleans Saints 3-2 (no change)

The Saints have the luxury of playing in what looks to be the weakest division in the NFL — although, in the early going, it has been widely competitive. But they got a lot better in the offseason. The defense still holds Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, and Marshon Lattimore, and the offense added Derek Carr and Jamaal Williams. It will get a healthy Michael Thomas back to join Chris Olave and Rasheed Shaheed in the WR room. The Saints also have the most manageable schedule in the NFL. They won week’s one and two and looked solid in Carr’s debut. They held a 17-0 lead over Green Bay in week three before Carr was injured; they lost 18-17 and lost to Tampa Bay in a game Carr did not look right. We’ll continue to monitor Carr’s injury in conjunction with the Saints ranking moving forward, which is heading in the right direction after their HUGE win over New England this week.

16. Cleveland Browns 2-2 (no change BYE)

The Browns look primed to contend in a division loaded with talent. The pass rush is elite, the offensive line is top-notch, Nick Chubb is one of the league’s best at his position, and they just dismantled the Bengals in week 1. Chubb is hurt for the year, but the Browns still took care of Tennessee in week 3. It’s a cramped division within a loaded AFC, but don’t count out the Browns once Deshaun Watson is healthy.

17. Indianapolis Colts 3-2 (up 2)

18. New York Jets 2-3 (down 1)

19. Atlanta Falcons 3-2 (up 6)

20. Green Bay Packers 2-3 (down 2)

21. Houston Texans 2-3 (down 1)

22. Tennessee Titans 2-3 (down 1)

23. Los Angeles Rams 2-3 (down 1)

24. Minnesota Vikings 1-4 (down 1)

25. Chicago Bears 1-4 (up 7): The Bears went into the season last year with a new coach, general manager, staff, and quarterback who many expected to take the next step. Justin Fields did that in a lot of people’s eyes, and the Bears spent the offense improving the defense, adding to the offensive line and acquiring a WR1 for Justin Fields in DJ Moore. The Bears have battled some injuries in the early going but have improved enough for the Bears to expect to start showing it in the win/loss column. However, they have failed to unleash Fields or show any promise in their disastrous start to the season. However, the offense and Fields have shown some major strides over the last two weeks. Eight TDs through the air, and the Bears have grabbed their first win; now it’s time to stack them.

26. Washington Commanders 2-3 (down 2)

27. Las Vegas Raiders 2-3 (no change)

28. Denver Broncos 1-4 (no change)

29. New England Patriots 1-4 (down 3)

30. New York Giants 1-4 (no change)

31. Arizona Cardinals 1-4 (no change)

32. Carolina Panthers 0-5 (down 1)

Stay tuned as we update these rankings every week.

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