NFL power rankings: Kansas City, San Francisco lead way entering training camp


Staff member

This year’s top two teams are the same as last year’s top two teams.

Ranking the NFL in early June is an exercise in tomfoolery, but only after putting Kansas City first and San Francisco second.
The two-time defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs and the reigning NFC champion 49ers return mostly intact, which means the rest of the league is in chase mode.

Led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to become the first team to win three consecutive Super Bowls. Harry Scull Jr., Buffalo News
Our post-offseason program power rankings:
1. Kansas City: The Chiefs were 15th in points per game (21.8). Enter receivers Marquise Brown and Xavier Worthy, who will take some pressure off tight end Travis Kelce.
2. San Francisco: A final shot at glory for this core of 49ers, who need to pile up cap space for quarterback Brock Purdy’s inevitable contract extension next offseason.
3. Cincinnati: I saw one magazine picked the Bengals third … in the AFC North. No way. If quarterback Joe Burrow plays every game, the Bengals are a Super Bowl threat.
4. Baltimore: Signing veteran running back Derrick Henry was a no-brainer even though the Ravens were the league’s top rushing team last year (156.5). Quarterback Lamar Jackson won’t lead the team in yards.
5. Detroit: What we got wrong last year – thinking the full-of-buzz Lions, after just missing the 2022 playoffs, would spin their wheels. They reached the NFC title game and are still ascending.
6. Bills: Make it five consecutive AFC East titles. The under-the-radar storyline that should be front-and-center entering Week 1 – do the Bills have enough pass rush to reach the Super Bowl?
7. L.A. Rams: The Rams had a first-round pick (outside linebacker Jared Verse) for the first time since 2016. A lot to like about this team, starting with the offensive skill-position quartet of quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Kyren Williams and receivers Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp.
8. Houston: Don’t expect the Texans to give up ground in the AFC South like Jacksonville did last year for one reason – quarterback C.J. Stroud is better than Trevor Lawrence.
9. L.A. Chargers: The days of the Chargers underachieving are over. New coach Jim Harbaugh will make sure quarterback Justin Herbert gets good protection and a running game with a pulse.
10. Dallas: A top subplot leaguewide is quarterback Dak Prescott’s future. He is a free agent next March and can’t be placed with the franchise tag due to language in his current contract. He shouldn’t re-sign before seeing his market.
11. Cleveland: The Browns will finish third in their division and return to the playoffs. The Browns led the league last year in fewest yards and passing yards allowed and were fourth in sacks (49).
12. Philadelphia: Coach Nick Sirianni is supervising new offensive/defensive coordinators (Kellen Moore/Vic Fangio) for the third consecutive year. A critical season for Sirianni, the Jamestown native.
13. Green Bay: The roster returns mostly intact and running back Josh Jacobs was signed to replace Aaron Jones. The Packers need to improve defensively – they were 28th against the run and second-to-last in interceptions (nine).
14. Tampa Bay: The NFC South isn’t great (again), but the Buccaneers are a decent team who will repeat as division champs and win a first-round playoff game. Receiver Mike Evans will tie Jerry Rice with his 11th consecutive 1,000-yard season.
15. Miami: Coach Mike McDaniel is 1-5 against the Bills since joining the Dolphins in 2022. More concerning is how his first two teams have collapsed down the stretch – 4-10 in December/January (including playoffs).
16. Indianapolis: Quarterback Anthony Richardson has played only 28 combined games in college and the NFL. He needs to play a full season to set himself up for a big step in 2025.
17. Atlanta: It certainly appears the Falcons bid against themselves for free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, then drafted his backup (Michael Penix) in the first round. Huh?
18. Jacksonville: From 8-3 and in control of the division to 9-8 and out of the playoffs was last year’s collapse. A second consecutive third-place finish is on the way.
19. N.Y. Jets: The Jets have missed the playoffs for 13 consecutive years, most in the league by five years (Denver, eight). Make it 14.

Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson makes a spectacular catch against the Bills in November 2022. Jefferson could challenge for the single-season receiving yardage record this year. Harry Scull Jr., Buffalo News
20. Minnesota: The NFL’s single-season receiving yardage record is 1,964 by Detroit’s Calvin Johnson in a 16-game 2012 season. Justin Jefferson will break that this year.
21. Chicago: Coach Matt Eberflus needs Caleb Williams to be good right away or the Bears will be the favorite to hire Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.
22. Tennessee: The Titans spent money on center Lloyd Cushenberry, receiver Calvin Ridley and tailback Tony Pollard and drafted left tackle JC Latham to give their 28th-ranked scoring offense a boost. A last-place team, but at least they will score points.
23. Arizona: Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. will be an instant star and will keep the Cardinals out of the NFC West cellar.
24. New Orleans: The post-Sean Payton/Drew Brees Era has flamed out. Shocker. The pressure is on coach Dennis Allen to make the playoffs or the Saints will start over.
25. Seattle: The Seahawks turned to coach Mike Macdonald (formerly Baltimore’s defensive coordinator) to replace Pete Carroll. Prediction – Sam Howell replaces Geno Smith at quarterback at midseason.
26. Washington: Another new era for the Commanders. They could have as many as 10 new starters, including second overall pick Jayden Daniels at quarterback. Not a lot of reason to be optimistic.
27. Pittsburgh: The Steelers are in a seven-year drought without a postseason win, their longest streak since the 1970 merger. What’s their plan at quarterback? If the options are Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, they need another plan.
28. Denver: The Broncos haven’t played in a postseason game since February 2016. Quarterback Bo Nix should be the Week 1 starter, but Denver will remain bad, boring and irrelevant this year.
29. Las Vegas: Only Miami (23 years) has a longer playoff win drought than the Raiders’ 21 seasons. Coach Antonio Pierce was promoted from the interim spot and gets to choose between Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew at quarterback. Good luck.
30. N.Y. Giants: Pressure cooker for St. Francis alum/Giants coach Brian Daboll. The Giants allowed 85 sacks last year, 20 more than any other team. If they can’t fix that, they’re again in trouble.
31. Carolina: Nowhere to go but up for quarterback Bryce Young, whose 59.8 completion rate last year was the worst of any passer with at least 400 attempts.
32. New England: With the first pick in the 2025 NFL draft, the Patriots select (to be determined). A floor-to-ceiling rebuild is underway.