Way too early 2024 NFL Power Rankings: Texans soaring, Steelers playing catch-up

  • Steelers playing catch-up in the AFC North
  • Texans rise up the rankings
  • Panthers hit rock bottom

Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs, T.J. Watt
Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs, T.J. Watt / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs put a stamp on their 2023 season with yet another playoff run capped off by a Super Bowl win. This becomes the third Super Bowl victory Patrick Mahomes earned by the age of 28. Though this is a familiar sight for many players on the Chiefs, they will take some time to soak it all in and enjoy the ride on top.

For 31 other NFL teams, it's back to the drawing board as they look for ways to improve early in the 2024 offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers are among them, as they desperately need to snap a seven-year drought without a playoff win.

Though the offseason is just beginning, it's never too early to look ahead at how these teams will stack up against each other if they were to put the pads back on and continue the season into spring. Here are my first NFL power rankings of the 2024 offseason.

2024 NFL Power Rankings: Where does every team fall after Super Bowl LVIII?

1. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have the best player in the world -- who now happens to be a three-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time league MVP. Their most recent title came without much assistance from the offensive line and receiving corps. Imagine if they address these things in the offseason.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers have been so close to winning it all several times now. San Francisco unquestionably had the most talented roster last year, and while changes could be coming, they are still a safe bet to be one of the top teams in the league again in 2024.

3. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens poured it on during the regular season with a 14-3 record and an AFC Championship crown. Folks want to see Lamar Jackson take the next step in the postseason, but Baltimore should be a great team regardless next year with the reigning MVP at the helm.

4. Detroit Lions

The Lions have been the fastest-rising team in the NFL over the past two seasons, and with Ben Johnson returning on a pay raise as the team's offensive coordinator, there's plenty of reason to believe this young and talented roster can be in the thick of the postseason race again next year.

5. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys continue to shine in the regular season, but they are still desperately searching for playoff success. While they do have some big contracts on the horizon, Dallas should boast one of the NFL's best rosters again in 2024 and a postseason berth seems inevitable for Dak Prescott and company.

6. Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen can't do it all, but Buffalo's signal-caller shows you just how much ground a great quarterback can make up. If the Bills can patch some of the gaping holes on their roster, they could be one of the best teams in the AFC next year.

7. Miami Dolphins

Football fans are going to be hard on Mike McDaniel after his offense put up a dud in a bitter-cold playoff game this year, but the Dolphins had some of the worst injury luck in 2023. If they can get healthy and improve on the offensive line, the sky is the limit for Miami's offense.

8. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles took a noticeable step back during the 2023 season after losing their coordinators. There are more changes coming, but I still believe in the overall talent of this team. However, they desperately need to make multiple roster moves to improve the secondary (which proved to be their Achilles heel in 2023).

9. Houston Texans

There's never been a better time to be a Houston Texans fan. DeMeco Ryans was excellent in his debut and offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik could be the next young mastermind calling plays on offense. The Texans have the Offensive Rookie of the Year in C.J. Stroud and the Defensive Rookie of the Year in Will Anderson Jr. The future is bright.

10. Green Bay Packers

The performance of Jordan Love during the second half of the season and against the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs should have Packers fans overflowing with confidence as they look ahead to next year. This young roster still has some retooling to do, but it appears they have found their next franchise quarterback.

11. Cincinnati Bengals

I'm not going to be nearly as hard on the Bengals as some analysts out there. With a healthy Joe Burrow, Cincinnati can go toe-to-toe with any team in the league -- including Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bengals could see a major bounce-back year in 2024.

12. Cleveland Browns

The Browns proved that their defense was ready to take a significant step as Jim Schwartz helped them to the league's best total defense in 2023. Still, questions remain on offense, and the performance of Deshaun Watson next season will dictate how far this team can go. I'm a bit skeptical that he's the franchise quarterback they thought they were getting in the trade with the Texans.

13. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are an interesting team in that most of their best players are in their 30s. The emergence of star rookie receiver Puka Nacua gives them hope for their future on offense, but the window could be closing as Matthew Stafford nears what are presumed to be the final good years of his career. They need to make a play this offseason that could give them a boost as a true contender.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been far too content with 'running it back' for way too long. Despite a defense that was competent last season, their offense struggled to put points on the board. Pittsburgh's roster isn't far away from competing, though they do have major holes to fill at offensive tackle, cornerback, and center. The biggest issue, however, is the pedestrian quarterback play they have been getting from Kenny Pickett, and if they aren't willing to make a push for a significant upgrade, we can't expect them to be a completely different team in 2024 -- even though Matt Canada is gone as the team's OC.

15. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts were an incredibly well-coached team in 2023, and HC Shane Steichen outperformed expectations in his first season in Indianapolis. They managed to earn a winning record despite their first-round quarterback, Anthony Richardson, leaving with a season-ending injury early in the year. They have a chance to be a real threat in the AFC if Richardson turns out.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars were one of the NFL's biggest disappointments in 2023 as they seemingly fell apart. I'm still a believer in a young, talented Trevor Lawrence, but big investments on both sides of the football, they aren't performing up to their billing. This young team will attempt to take the next step in 2024.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were surprisingly impressive with Baker Mayfield leading the charge. Despite being on his third NFL team, Mayfield revitalized his career in Tampa Bay and put the exclamation point on the season with a huge win over the Eagles in the playoffs. They should be the frontrunners to win the NFC South again in 2024.

18. New York Jets

The Jets have some good things going for them as well as a few young cornerstone players like Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson. Unfortunately, they were nothing without competent quarterback play in 2023. Aaron Rodgers is coming off an Achilles injury, but he is certainly capable of changing the narrative in New York this season.

19. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have had an impressive offense with Geno Smith at the helm, but they still finished with a negative point differential this past season. Things aren't guaranteed to be smooth right away either following the departure of long-team head coach, Pete Carroll. Their defense will need to improve if they want to be competing in the postseason next year.

20. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are a hard team to gauge at the moment, as their success during the 2024 season could hinge on what QB Kirk Cousins decides to do in free agency. Minnesota has some foundational pieces and Justin Jefferson should be fully healthy, but I'm not sure that's enough to compete -- even if Cousins comes back and returns to form after his Achilles injury.

21. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers were one of the biggest letdowns in the NFL this past season, but that was largely because Justin Herbert played banged up and was later placed on IR. With Jim Harbaugh taking over as the head coach, things could turn around in a hurry for a team that already has a franchise quarterback and high draft capital this year.

22. New Orleans Saints

The Saints don't have a lot going for them, and Derek Carr has proven at this point that he's not the quarterback that is ever going to get his team over the hump. This aging roster needs a spark, but in a lackluster NFC South, they still should be competitive (at least within their own division).

23. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears could look like a totally different team in 2024. Caleb Williams is projected to be the quarterback at the helm as Chicago owns the first overall pick. If a Justin Fields trade does happen before the draft, this gives them even more draft capital to work with, and they already possess two first-round picks. They might not be competitive right away, but they should take a step up from where they have been the past few years.

24. Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos are in a bad way financially after swinging and missing on the trade for Russell Wilson. They will be forced to eat loads of dead money this offseason when Wilson is released, and the Broncos will now be in the hunt for a new quarterback. The roster isn't all bad, but this is a rut that could be hard to climb out of.

25. Arizona Cardinals

Despite their four-win season, the Cardinals have shown that they can be a competitive team when Kyler Murray is healthy and available. Now it's time to get him some weapons. This team is expected to use their top pick on a dynamic wide receiver -- possibly Marvin Harrison Jr. There are plenty of holes on Arizona's roster, but they might be able to win a few more shootouts in 2024.

26. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have a surprisingly stout defense in 2023 -- thanks in large part to star pass rusher, Maxx Crosby. Now Antonio Pierce is taking over as the team's head coach, and we can expect the defense to keep Las Vegas in some games they have no business being close in. However, the offense is the real question, and the Raiders need to find a franchise quarterback.

27. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have some promising young pieces on their roster, but former head coach, Arthur Smith, couldn't figure out how to make his offense run. Now Raheem Morris is calling the shots as the new head coach, and Atlanta will shift their focus to dominating on the defensive side of the ball. But this team is going to have trouble competing if they don't find a major upgrade at quarterback.

28. Tennessee Titans

Will Levis showed promise at times for the Titans when he saw the field in his first season, but just like his college film, his accuracy and decision-maker were sporadic at times. Meanwhile, Mike Vrabel is out as the head coach, and Brian Callahan is in. This suggests that Tennessee could take a step back on offense, but Callahan could aid in the development of his young quarterback.

29. New England Patriots

The Patriots were a dumpster fire last year. Bill Belichick's defense managed to stay competitive at times, but you aren't going to win many games when your offense scores just under 14 points per contest. The step they could take in 2024 depends largely on which quarterback they draft and what type of immediate impact he has on the team.

30. Washington Commanders

Like the Patriots, the Commanders are almost a lock to grab a quarterback with their second overall pick this year. Sam Howell simply could not cut down on the turnover-worthy throws. This team needs to add plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but much like the Panthers in 2023, we can't expect them to be competitive anytime soon.

31. New York Giants

The Giants have made the mistake of believing that they could get by with Daniel Jones at quarterback for far too long, and they still might not be willing to turn the page just yet. The Giants have a few strong foundational pieces, but most of their roster is a mess, and Brian Daboll might not be able to fix it.

32. Carolina Panthers

It's a safe bet to think that the Carolina Panthers will be the worst team once again during the 2024 season. Trading up for QB Bryce Young already looks like a mistake, and this team was as bad as they have ever been. The Panthers don't have much notable talent on their roster and they no longer have a first-round pick this April that could help give them a spark.