The S3’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 1!
Written by Jeff Demers on 09/05/2023
That’s right, it’s time for The S3’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 1! This is the part where I either give your team hope, or I’ll be the first person to point out how much your team really sucks after you’ve spent all offseason building your team up. So let’s just get right into it!
- Kansas City Chiefs: How do they keep doing this? Has Andy Reid taken Bill Belichick’s spot as the best coach in football? Well, no. Or at least not until he manages to win a playoff game against BB as Reid has never beat a Bill Belichick team in the playoffs or the Super Bowl. But until the defending champions show some form of a consistent weakness, then they’ll be at the top of my power rankings for a while. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are in my top two or three quarterback/TE or WR pairs in the league. And if the Chiefs can get Chris Ford back on the field (contract negotiations), then their defense will be solid.
- Philadelphia Eagles: If you were looking for a weakness in their game at the running back position, you’re not going to find one this season. The Eagles went out and brought in DeAndre Swift and Rashaad Penny to make them one of the better 1-2 punches in the league. Plus, you still need to account for Jalen Hurts ability to run the ball, even though you also need to worry about the three-headed monster in AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert.
- San Francisco 49ers: If only the new QB rules were created at the beginning of last season. We may have had a different outcome at the end of last season. The 49ers go into Week 1 with a healthy Brock Purdy and what is still a top-ranked defense. It is not in your best interest to bet against the 49ers this year, unless Sam Darnold becomes the starter.
- Buffalo Bills: Man, did I drink the cool-aid last year, or what? I picked this team to win it all and then I got a sense of what being a member (in my mind ONLY) of Bills Mafia. All the hype with potentially the best team on paper, and they did what the Bills do. But in the regular season, they are tough, and they do win a lot. I don’t see the Jets or any other team in the AFC East having enough to stay with them.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Making sure Joe Mixon didn’t go anywhere was big for the Bengals. That’s not because he can dominate in the running game. It’s because he’s one of the best pass-catching backs that creates huge mismatches for the defense. Last season Mixon caught 60 passes with a 7.3 YPC average. The Bengals still have one of the top receiving pairs in the NFL in Higgins and Chase, and their defense is top ten.
- New York Jets: My fingers almost threw up typing this. As a die-hard Patriots fan who is actually FROM New England, I find it hard to give any credit at all to any team from New York….or New Jersey. But picking up Aaron Rodgers was big. He’s worth all the hype. The question mark lays in their offensive line and it will be tested in Week 1 against Buffalo. But for now, they will sit at #6.
- Baltimore Ravens: If you’re not a Ravens fan, can you tell me who led the Ravens in receiving last year for them? Most likely without “Googling,” that’s a NO. But you do know at least one of them this season. He goes by “OBJ.” The Ravens also went out after paying their QB and picked up Zay Flowers, their first round WR out of Boston College. He’s easily the fastest guy on the field and it should be fun to see how the Ravens plan to use him.
- New Orleans Saints: I have the Saints winning the NFC South this year. Derek Carr is not a scrub and seems to be fitting in well. Alvin Kamara’s suspension may not be that big of a deal since he’ll miss games against Tennessee (at home), Carolina (away) and Green Bay (away). I’m not saying that they will go 3-0, but can easily go 2-1 with one home game and one game matching up a Top 5 defense against an unproven Rookie QB in Carolina. Plus, Jamaal Williams is not some “scrub #2” running back to start in Kamara’s place. FANTASY NOTE: DRAFT KAMARA EARLY! If he wasn’t suspended, you’d draft him early anyways. Pick up Williams later to fill in for 3 weeks.
- Dallas Cowboys: This is the undeniably the team with the most pressure to win. And I put them in the Top 10 for one reason…. So I can have the pleasure of kicking them out when they get beat down in their first week to their divisional rival, New York Giants. Plus I’m putting the OVER/UNDER of how long it takes for Cowboy fans to start calling for Trey Lance at 4.5 games. No excuses this season, get it done!!
- Minnesota Vikings: I think the NFC North is the Vikings division to lose. If they even got 10% better on defense, then they’ll win 11-12 games this season. Kirk Cousins has a plethera of weapons to throw to and he will be a top 5 quarterback in total yards. Picking up Addison in the 1st round of the draft was a great move to help take some pressure off of Jefferson, who is arguable THE #1 wide receiver in the game.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Make no mistake about it, this is a team led by its defense. But if Pickett can take a giant leap forward this season and Harris can run with a purpose, they could be a contender in the AFC North. At the moment, I have them fighting for third in that division with the Cleveland Browns.
- Los Angeles Chargers: The best running back in the game is in a Chargers uniform and it’s time to put some respect on his name; Austin Ekeler is the BEST all-around running back in the game. Yes, even to the dude in San Francisco. He just has a nose for the end zone. The Chargers also took care of the “old wide receivers” tale by drafting big 6’4″ 250 pound wide receiver Quentin Johnston out of TCU. We don’t need to talk about what TCU just did. If there is any team in the AFC West that can compete with the Chiefs, it’s the Chargers.
- Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith is a top-10 quarterback in my book. Everyone is waiting for him to fail miserably. But he threw for over 4,000 yards last season and the Seahawks added another toy for him in Jaxon Smith-Njigba out of Ohio State. This is not a team you can look at on your team’s schedule and assume it to be a win. The Seahawks will keep the pressure on the 49ers this season.
- Green Bay Packers: The Packers without Rodgers are still a “top half” team. I had to say that to myself about a dozen times to believe it. But I think they could be and I don’t think 14th position as a starting point is a bad place. Jordan Love did have a win in his only start last season. So the moment is not too tough for him. I love Christian Walker as a #1 wide receiver for them. And they still have Green and Dillon in the backfield to go along with a top half defense. If this is a reach to start for Green Bay, it’s not that far of a reach.
- New York Giants: The biggest question that I have here is how hard is Barkley going to run on a 1-year deal? Daniel Jones is not fading away and the addition of Darren Waller at TE was a great pickup IF he can stay healthy.
- Miami Dolphins: You have a quarterback who is questionable when asking if he’ll be healthy for an entire year. You have a trash-talking defense who is mediocre at best. But you do have arguably the fastest wide receiver group in the entire NFL. I could have just as easily bumped them back another five spots. But I’ll give the edge to a healthy offense and have the Dolphins compete for a wild-card spot this season.
- Detroit Lions: The Lions are the underdog team that you simply love to cheer for. I love their coach, Jarred Goff has been playing really well in this system, St. Brown has become a certified #1 wide receiver……but then there is the defense. But the offense is so fun to watch!!
- New England Patriots: If we were just talking about power rankings for head coach/defense combinations, the Patriots are easily a top 10 team. But there are so many questions to be answered on offense. Who the starting quarterback is, is not one of them. And I believe they’ll finish the season as one of the best offenses in the league behind the guru known as Bill O’Brien. But for now, you need to show me, and you need to do it fast with a matchup against the NFC Champion Eagles in Week 1.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: “Sunshine. Oh, Sunshiiiiiiiine!” That’s what I think about when I bring up Trevor Lawrence. But he’s a baller. I think the Jaguars will take their division this year and they should have a fast start with four of their first six games against Indy (twice), Houston, and Atlanta.
- Tennessee Titans: I think the Titans will be behind the Jaguars, not just this season, but for many seasons to come. I think Derek Henry is on the decline, and I think Hopkins will have one of his worst seasons of his career this year. Or I could be wrong, and Mike Vrabel wins Coach of the Year.
- Washington Commanders: The Commanders don’t have the balls to change back to the Redskins. Or maybe they do. And maybe they actually have a quarterback in Sam Howell. The Reds…..COMMANDERS have a top 5 defense. They have a pretty good rushing attack, and “Scary Terry” is a legit #1 wide receiver. The COMMANDERS will surprise a few people. And unfortunately for the Arizona Cardinals, it starts with a beatdown against them at Washington’s home-opener.
- Cleveland Browns: Yep, they have one of the top running backs in the game. Yep, they have a pretty good #1 wide receiver. Yep, one of the best pass rushers and overall defense in the game. Nope. I’m not ready to say DeShaun Watson is back until he actually shows it. If Watson can go back to being the Watson of a few years ago, this team is way better than the Steelers. But if he’s just going to go through the motions and enjoy his fully-guaranteed paycheck, Browns fans are going to be extremely disappointed. You don’t have any more time to show you earned that paycheck. That time has gone. Browns fans want results right now!
- Las Vegas Raiders: How is a team with a top TWO wide receiver and the best running back from a year ago this far back? Well, because your defense is terrible. They do have Maxx Crosby, who I am a big fan of. But the secondary doesn’t scare anyone. I’m glad Jimmy G is playing for Josh McDaniels again, but I don’t see the Raiders doing much this year.
- Los Angeles Rams: How have the mighty fallen so fast? We haven’t even started this season and we’re already trying to figure out if Cooper Kupp is going to play anytime soon. Sean McVay has his work cut out for him this year. Just try not to finish worse than the Cardinals in the NFC West and maybe you’ll still have a team next year.
- Chicago Bears: They may not reach 9 wins this year, but that offense should be fun to watch. Don’t worry Bears fans, you have a LOT of money to spend for Free Agency next year. And oh yeah…STOP WITH THE MVP TALK! I don’t care how good Fields is. Your team still stinks.
- Denver Broncos: No clue what to expect from Sean Payton this season. But I’m not putting his team last out of respect for him and his coaching resume. Jerry Jeudy is already hurt and will miss some time to start the season. I have zero faith in Russell Wilson right now, os. “Broncos Country….let’s….” Let’s just not get on this train this year.
- Atlanta Falcons: I LOVE to see a team that is committed to the running game!! Unfortunately, if your defense can’t stop anyone, then you’ll need to pass the ball to win. Do you really think Desmond Ridder is that guy? Yeah…me neither.
- Indianapolis Colts: Honestly, how much power should the 28th team in the “NFL Power Rankings” have? I like Richardson’s arm strength and mobility. But I don’t like that without Jonathan Taylor, he’ll have no run protection. Sorry Colts fans. Hey, maybe you can blame it on deflated balls again. How’d that work out for you the last time?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This team is by far the youngest team in football, and I don’t think Baker is the guy you want leading them. I think they’ll move up after a few wins, but not inside the top 20.
- Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals fans are excited for their new head coach! And then Kyler Murray got caught in one of the worst photos in the history of EVER. Who told you to wear that out so everyone could see it? Maybe four wins this season for the Cardinals, and that’s after Murray returns from injury in Week 7 or 8.
- Carolina Panthers: Yeah, I have all the young quarterbacks in the back of the field. Why? Because you haven’t done a damn thing in the NFL and your team picked high for a reason….they sucked last year.
- Houston Texans: Quick! Name a starter on the Texans not named um……ahhhhhhhhhh…..I’ll get back to you on that.
Jeff Demers (JD)
Host of The S3