Decyfr’s Power Rankings – Week 17

Decyfr’s Power Rankings – Week 17

With multiple division titles and five playoff spots still to be decided, Week 18 should prove a worthy end to the 2023 regular season. As the postseason edges closer, Decyfr ranks all 32 teams in our Week 17 Power Rankings.

  1. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens’ defiant 56-19 win over the Dolphins in Week 17 was the latest in a string of dominant performances that have made the Ravens inarguably the NFL’s most dominant force.

  1. San Francisco 49ers

Despite a tough loss to the Ravens in Week 16, the 49ers have an exceptionally talented roster on both sides of the ball that, when healthy, is capable of beating any team in the league. A restful Week 18 and a first round bye should give San Francisco the opportunity to nurse their wounds and make a deep playoff run.

  1. Dallas Cowboys

Following the first two weeks of the season, many were convinced that Dallas was destined to run away with the 2023 season. While it hasn’t quite been that straight forward, Dak Prescott’s consistently elite play has the Cowboys in pole position in the NFC East, with a chance to claim the division in Week 18.

  1. Detroit Lions

The Lions have been a treat to watch this season, with young stars shining through across both offense and defense. While Detroit has lost a number games that they shouldn’t have – notably to the Bears and Packers – with only a controversial call against the Cowboys separating them from a 12-4 record.

  1. Cleveland Browns

Just two months ago Joe Flacco was watching games from his sofa, now he’s playing some of the best football of his career and has made the Browns one of the most intimidating offenses in the NFL. Pair that with a top-five defense and Cleveland could exceed all expectations come playoff time.

  1. Buffalo Bills

The Bills naming Joe Brady their interim offensive coordinator – following their Week 11 loss to the Broncos – has proven to be one of the shrewdest decisions of the season. Since the change, the Bills are on a 5-1 run including wins against some of the league’s best. Heading into Week 18, the pressure is on for Buffalo – who have the chance to steal the AFC East from the Dolphins with a win in Miami.

  1. Miami Dolphins

Boasting the most explosive offensive weapons in the league, the Dolphins have shown their ability to dominant defenses, with eight games scoring 30 or more points. That said, Miami continue to struggle against opponents that sit above .500 on the year – winning only one of five such games.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

It’s by no means unreasonable to claim that the Eagles have the strongest roster in the NFL – with a 10-1 start to the season exemplifying that. Over the last five games, however, while battling to win the NFC East, Philadelphia have gone 1-4 with cracks in the armour starting to show.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

With Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes at the helm, it seems almost guaranteed that the Chiefs will finish atop the AFC West on a yearly basis – having just won the division for the eighth-straight year, despite leading the league in dropped passes. If their receivers can hold onto the ball and Travis Kelce can re-find his form, the reigning Super Bowl Champions could make their presence felt in the playoffs.

  1. Los Angeles Rams

After finishing 5-12 last season, no one expected the 2023 Rams to have clinched a playoff berth with a week of football still to play. But Sean McVay has done exactly that – combining the young talents of Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua with the experience of Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp to give LA a highly-powered offense.

  1. Houston Texans

DeMeco Ryans deserves a lot of praise for his first season at Houston. Even without C.J. Stroud starting at quarterback, the Texans were able to keep their heads above water – going 1-1 in his absence. Now that their rookie superstar has returned from concussion protocol, however, the Texans are back to their best and will be hoping to secure a playoff spot in Week 18.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Tomlin is inevitable. Thanks to the unexpected excellence of quarterback Mason Rudolph, the Steelers were able to take down the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 – giving Tomlin his 17th winning season. Since moving on from Matt Canada at offensive coordinator, Pittsburgh have been a team on the rise and will be looking to book their ticket to the postseason in Week 18 against the Ravens.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have been tough to predict in 2023. After a mediocre start to the season, they pulled together a phenomenal run in the middle of the year – winning seven of their eight games between Week 4 and Week 11 – before then losing four of their last five. With an all-or-nothing AFC South match-up in Week 18, the Jaguars’ playoff hopes could be decided by factors outside of their control should they fail to beat the Titans.

  1. Indianapolis Colts

With promising rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson ruled out for the season in mid-October, and star running back Jonathon Taylor missing seven games, this year has showcased the resolve and skill of new head coach Shane Steichen – leading quarterback Gardner Minshew and the rest of the Colts to a 54% chance of making the playoffs, heading into Week 18. A win against the Texans would all but guarantee that.

  1. Green Bay Packers

Jordan Love may not be Aaron Rodgers, and the play calling defensively hasn’t necessarily been the most sound. That said, when the running game is able to take the pressure off of Love, Green Bay has taken down some of the league’s best – including the Chiefs and Lions – with their young QB1 leading the way.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Heading into this season, the Buccaneers knew that life without Tom Brady wouldn’t be easy. However, Baker Mayfield has been commendable as the team’s new QB1 – sitting eighth in the league for passing yards and fifth for passing touchdowns. Having led Tampa Bay to 8-8, Mayfield has the Buccaneers a win away from clinching the NFC South division title.

  1. Seattle Seahawks

The resurgence of Geno Smith last season saw the Seahawks clinch an unexpected playoff berth – something they have a 24% chance of repeating in 2023. While Seattle’s schedule this season has been especially challenging – with nine games against teams ranked in the top 10 of this list – they have taken full advantage of their easier match-ups and thus have a real shot at making the playoffs.

  1. New Orleans Saints

The addition of Derek Carr this offseason was looked at by many as the final piece of the puzzle for the Saints – who have spent years seeking Drew Brees’ replacement. Carr’s performance, however, has been remarkably mediocre – ranking 15th in passing yards, 13th in passing touchdowns and 18th in QBR, all while leading the team to an 8-8 record. While by no means a disaster, New Orleans had hoped for more when they forked out $150 million for their new QB1.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals

When Joe Burrow went down for the season, having just overcome a rough start to the year, many Bengals fans were ready to call it quits. It is therefore a testament to the Cincinnati coaching staff that they were able to remain competitive for as long as they did with Jake Browning under center – giving those same fans a lot to look forward to next year.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders

It is widely accepted that following a midseason change at head coach, the performances of the team in question usually see some improvement. That said, the level of success that Antonio Pierce has had is by no means the norm. Since Pierce took over, the Raiders are first in points per game allowed, fifth in sacks, sixth in takeaways and fourth in defensive touchdowns – imagine what he could do over an entire season.

  1. Chicago Bears

Justin Fields’ strong performances to end the season have made it very difficult for the Bears head office to know how to use the number one pick next year. While they may have missed out on the playoffs this season, to get as close as they did while actively re-building makes the Bears a team to watch heading into 2024.

  1. Denver Broncos

Sean Peyton and the Broncos may have found themselves in hot water recently. However, the turn-around that the Broncos pulled together this year does deserve credit. After starting the season 1-5, Denver took down the Chiefs, Bills and Browns on their way to an 8-8 record – narrowly missing out on a playoff berth. With Russell Wilson benched and his time in Denver likely over, the Broncos will need to address their gaping hole at QB this off-season.

  1. Atlanta Falcons

In recent years, the Falcons have invested considerable draft capital in offensive weapons – selecting Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson in the top 10 of the last three drafts. However, with the trio seemingly being under-utilised and persistent issues at quarterback, Atlanta has suffered a sixth-straight losing season.

  1. Minnesota Vikings

A 1-4 record, Kirk Cousins tearing his Achilles and Justin Jefferson going on IR ensured a turbulent start to the season for Minnesota. Add to that the rise and fall of the ‘Passtronaut’, 14 one-score games and a 1-5 record in their last six – and you’ll see just why this season will be one that’s hard to forget for Vikings fans. Despite the adversity, however, Minnesota do still have a 4% chance of making the playoffs heading into Week 18.

  1. New York Giants

When Darren Waller moved to the Big Apple to join the reigning Coach of the Year and a Giants team that made a shock trip to the divisional round of the playoffs last season, it looked as though New York were primed to make a run at the NFC East crown. Between injuries at quarterback and disappointing performances across the board, however, the Giants have struggled to move the chains all year.

  1. Tennessee Titans

Will Levis stepping in for an injured Ryan Tannehill was a blessing in disguise for the Titans, with Levis quickly leading Tennessee to multiple victories – including a shock win over the Dolphins in Week 14. That said, Levis’ impressive run as QB1 hasn’t been enough to prevent a 5-11 record – causing some to question Mike Vrabel’s future as head coach.

  1. New York Jets

You have to feel sorry for Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall and this defense. Between a slew of injuries to the offensive line and losing Aaron Rodgers four snaps into the season, as well as questionable offensive play calling, the Jets have been one of 2023’s biggest disappointments. This off-season will be pivotal for head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers

This year came with hefty expectations for the Chargers – expectations that they were unable to meet for a multitude of reasons. Even before Justin Herbert was ruled out for the season, a particularly tough schedule meant that the Chargers sat with a disappointing 5-8 record. Following the loss of Herbert, things went from bad to worse – with Los Angeles losing every subsequent game.

  1. Arizona Cardinals

Many experts had the Cardinals pencilled in for the first overall pick in the 2024 draft, before the season had even begun – a prediction that a 1-8 start to 2023 would further substantiate. While the Cardinals have stepped up their game since the return of Kyler Murray – notably upsetting the Eagles in Week 17 – it wasn’t enough to stop an early exit from playoff contention.

  1. Washington Commanders

Prior to the season, head coach Ron Rivera placed his faith entirely in sophomore quarterback Sam Howell – with new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy there to help guide the ship. Despite a solid start for the young QB, a touchdown to interception ratio of 20:19 and over 60 sacks saw Rivera finally lose faith and send Howell to the bench in Week 16. Currently in possession of the second overall pick, will Washington capitalise on a draft class full of talented quarterbacks?

  1. New England Patriots

Even with Bill Belichick in charge, New England have seen a consistent decline since Brady’s departure – culminating in a particularly painful 4-12 record this year. With their 27-21 loss to the Bills in Week 17, the Patriots have secured their first last-place finish in the AFC East since 2000 – Belichick’s first year as head coach. Could this be the end of the Belichick era in New England?

  1. Carolina Panthers

After giving up D.J. Moore and multiple high-end draft picks to move up to number one in the draft, the Panthers were hoping for a lot more than 2-14 this season – particularly when one of those picks would end up being the first overall pick in 2024. On the bright side, Bryce Young has shown glimpses of potential and could still be the long-term answer for Carolina.

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