2023 NFL Power Rankings Based on Opening Betting Lines
Warning: these are not your usual NFL power rankings. Instead of opinion, I choose to use betting lines provided by the sportsbooks to fill out SBD’s power rankings.
We got the opening lines for the 2023 NFL season pretty early. These spreads provide a great look into the expectations for each team this season. I have taken these spreads and calculated each team’s sum of spreads for all 17 games. This objective, quantitative measure is perfect for putting out some NFL power rankings as we prepare for the 2023 NFL season to kick off.
This differs slightly from a traditional power ranking, since it factors in NFL strength of schedule and is also rooted in numbers instead of pure speculation. Using a consistent method each year also allows us to draw trends based on past results, which you’ll see below.
2023 NFL Power Rankings | Super Bowl Favorites | Past Power Rankings | Trends from Power Rankings
To be clear, these are opening lines from the offseason for every week. We will not consider what the lines open at ahead of each week during the season. Obviously, with the way NFL spreads work – the favorite is giving up points – the more negative the ATS +/- is, the better the team is expected to be.
2023 NFL Power Rankings
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||-80|
|4||San Francisco 49ers||-54.5|
|9||New York Jets||-28|
|12||Los Angeles Chargers||-18.5|
|14||New Orleans Saints||-10|
|20||Green Bay Packers||+18.5|
|21||New York Giants||+20|
|22||New England Patriots||+20.5|
|26||Los Angeles Rams||+34.5|
|27||Las Vegas Raiders||+37|
|30||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+55|
This year’s NFL power rankings look much different than last year’s. The top team listed is the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and company sit well above the field with a -80 ATS (against the spread) +/- for the 2023 NFL season. The next closest is the Cincinnati Bengals (#2 in the power rankings) with a -62.5 ATS +/-.
It’s worth noting last year’s top-ranked team (Buffalo) had an ATS +/- of -85, which is pretty comparable to the Chiefs this year. However, the previous two years saw the #1 team in our NFL power rankings listed at -115 and -106, respectively. Even in 2017, 2018, and 2019, when we only had spreads for 15 games —only a 16-game schedule in these seasons and sportsbooks did not release lines for Week 17—we saw better ATS +/- numbers than this season.
To find a worse ATS +/- from the top-ranked team, we have to go back to 2016, when the Green Bay Packers were atop the power rankings with a -77 ATS +/-. (Again, this year had two fewer games in the calculation.) In the 2016 season we saw the Patriots, who were ranked third in our power rankings heading into the season, take down the Atlanta Falcons, who were ranked 25th, in the Super Bowl. The third-ranked team in this year’s power rankings is the Philadelphia Eagles, while the 25th is the Tennessee Titans.
The takeaway from this is more parity to be expected this season. The league does not possess any team who stands so far above the rest.
The worst-ranked team in the power rankings is the Arizona Cardinals, who are quite a bit below the second-worst team, the Houston Texans.
Here are a handful of teams who see themselves in a very different position than last year:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the Tom Brady-led Bucs came in at #2 in last year’s power rankings, but see themselves at #30 heading into 2023 without Brady.
- Los Angeles Rams – after winning Super Bowl 56, the Rams entered last season #3 in the power rankings, but an awful injury-riddled 2022 sees expectations much lower for the 2023 season. LA ranks #26 in this year’s power rankings.
- Green Bay Packers – what a difference Aaron Rodgers not being under center is expected to make in Green Bay. The Packers were #4 in the power rankings last year, but are #20 this year with Jordan Love taking over at QB.
- Indianapolis Colts – after acquiring Matt Ryan, expectations were high in Indianapolis last season. They ranked #9 in the power rankings but had a terrible season. They come into this season ranked #28.
- Detroit Lions – Dan Campbell has people believing in the Lions this season. After coming into last season ranked #25, Detroit is now #11 entering the 2023 season.
- New York Jets – remember what I said about Aaron Rodgers earlier? The Jets were ranked #29 ahead of the 2022 season and now with Rodgers are ranked #9.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Doug Pederson’s Jags showed a lot of promise last season in spite of coming into the season ranked #30 in the power rankings. Jacksonville enters 2023 ranked #6!
Super Bowl Favorites
1) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs come in as the top team in the 2023 NFL power rankings. They also find themselves atop the Super Bowl odds after winning their second championship in the last four seasons.
The Chiefs lost JuJu Smith-Schuster but drafted Rashee Rice and also get a full offseason to work Kadarius Toney into their offense. You have to feel if the Chiefs offense had no problem overcoming the loss of Tyreek Hill last season, they will manage without JuJu.
2) Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow continues to be a real thorn in the Chiefs’ side. The Bengals are the biggest threat to Kansas City’s dominance in the AFC and come in at #2 in the power rankings.
Cincinnati continued to bulk up their offensive line with the addition of Orlando Brown Jr and Cody Ford. If they can keep Burrow upright, this team is going to have a real chance.
3) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles had a number of free agents on the defensive side of the ball but were able to re-sign James Bradberry, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and even managed to work out a new contract with Darius Slay. They did lose Miles Sanders but replaced him with Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift. They also continued adding more very good Georgia Bulldog defenders to their team.
It’s no surprise that after a Super Bowl run and a very successful offseason, the Eagles come in at #3 in our power rankings.
4) San Francisco 49ers
Though San Francisco’s quarterback situation might be a little more uncertain than it was last year, they still come in at #4 in the power rankings. Brock Purdy may not be ready for Week 1, but either Trey Lance or Sam Darnold have one hell of a team around them if they need to be thrust into action.
5) Buffalo Bills
At the halfway point of last season, it felt like the Bills were headed towards their first Super Bowl championship. Sadly for Bills Mafia, a Josh Allen elbow injury really derailed the offense and the defense wasn’t able to recover from losing Von Miller.
They’ll have to find a way to fill the hole left by Tremaine Edmunds’ departure this season too. But Allen and the offense have too much potential to fall too far in the power rankings, coming in at #5 this year.
Power Rankings from Previous Seasons
Trends from ATS +/- in Past Seasons
- A team from the top four in ATS +/- has won the Super Bowl in four of the last eight seasons
- A team from the top eight has won the Super Bowl each of the last five seasons
- A team from the top four in ATS +/- has made the Super Bowl in six of the last eight seasons – the last two years were the two times this trend has failed
- At least one team from the top three in ATS +/- has missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons – the Rams, who were #3 last year, missed the playoffs
- At least two of the top five have missed the playoffs in five of the last eight seasons – the Packers joined the Rams in being top five teams to miss the playoffs
- The team with the worst ATS +/- has won more than five games only twice in the last eight seasons – the Falcons last year and Commanders (then-Football Team) in 2020 are the only two to conquer this feat
- The team with the best ATS +/- has only won the Super Bowl once in the last eight years – it has not happened since 2018
- At least two of the five worst teams in ATS +/- have gone on to lose 11+ games in seven of the last eight seasons – last season was the first time we saw this trend broken
- A team ranked between 18th and 25th of the ATS +/- has made the Super Bowl in four of the last eight seasons
- A team ranked between 18th and 25th of the ATS +/- has made their respective conference championship in five of the last eight years – the last three seasons are the ones where this did not come true
- Of the two teams with the worst ATS +/- each season, we’ve only seen one go on to make the playoffs – the 2020 Washington Football Team
- Only six teams who were in the bottom-five in ATS +/- have made the playoffs over the last seven years (2022 Jaguars, 2022 Seahawks, 2021 Bengals, 2020 Football Team, 2018 Colts, and 2017 Rams)
- At least half of the top ten teams in ATS +/- have missed the playoffs in five of the last eight years – it did not happen in the last three seasons, but they also expanded the playoffs to include an extra wild card spot in each conference these seasons; last year saw three of the top ten miss and four of the top 11
2023 NFL Predictions Based Off Power Ranking Trends
If you’re planning on betting Super Bowl futures, your apparent only real options include: the Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles, 49ers, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens, and Cowboys. You might want to steer clear of Kansas City, though.
Trends from our power rankings also say one of the Chiefs, Bengals, or Eagles will miss the playoffs. I know, that’s hard to believe. It would be a very nice payout to hit, though. You can see your potential profit over in our NFL playoff odds. If you like that one, trends say one of the Niners and Bills will also miss the playoffs.
It’s also bad news for Arizona. As the team ranked 32nd in our power rankings, the trend says they won’t win more than five games in 2023 – their NFL win total is set at 4.5.
What are the power rankings in the NFL right now?
All NFL teams are ranked from 1-32, with the Kansas City Chiefs at the top and the Arizona Cardinals at the bottom.
The Kansas City Chiefs are currently ranked #1 in the NFL Power Rankings.
The Cincinnati Bengals are ranked #2 in the NFL Power Rankings behind the Chiefs.
The Arizona Cardinals are the worst-ranked team in the NFL Power Rankings.
The top ten teams in the NFL Power Rankings are: the Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles, 49ers, Bills, Jaguars, Ravens, Cowboys, Jets, and Dolphins.