2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Craig Ebinger
3 min readSep 20, 2023

The top tier of NFL teams, at least early in the season, has clearly revealed itself. And the three teams all belong to the NFC. The Eagles, 49ers and Cowboys are all powerhouses. The Eagles are without any questions seeing as they can get it done in such a number of different ways. But the 49ers and Cowboys are right there. I still question both of the QBs in big moments, but we’re nitpicking really. These teams are loaded.

The AFC, as everyone expected, is clearly the lesser of the two conferences. They are currently 0–6 against the NFC in inter-conference games. This is a product of a few things. While the AFC has all the QBs and the flash, the NFC has the defenses and the o-lines. It takes time for these QBs and these offenses to get going. Will they get there? Probably. That’s why the Chiefs, Bills and Bengals are all in this tier despite shaky starts to their seasons, particularly for Cincy. But the team in the AFC that looks most Super Bowl — ready right now is the Dolphins. They’re going to be tough if the defense can play at a high level. That and of course, Tua staying healthy.

Parity reigns supreme in the NFL, meaning it’s very tough to identify truly great teams capable of making a Super Bowl run. The Ravens and Jaguars are the only other two that, in the AFC, have shown me anything thus far early in the season. In the NFC, it’s really just the Lions. All of these teams have their flaws though.

The middle of the NFL is loaded. There are so many teams that week to week could flip from looking like true contenders to being potential top 10 picks in the draft. The Rams have probably been the most impressive of this bunch. Not only did they go into Seattle and whoop up on the Seahawks, but they followed that up with a very competitive game against the 49ers in a stadium that largely resembled a road game. Matthew Stafford is playing at an absolutely elite level. If he continues to do that, they’ll be tough. The Packers losing to the Falcons was a big swing, but I still believe overall that Green Bay is the better team. They both have their strengths and weaknesses though. The Saints and Commanders are both 2–0, which can’t simply be ignored, although neither of them have been truly impressive. In the AFC, the Browns had a tough loss to the Steelers where they also lost star RB Nick Chubb, hurting their season-long hopes. But their defense is legit and so is their o-line. Pittsburgh is the team that really needs to figure things out on offense if they want to have a shot at anything. And I also have the 0–2 Chargers in this tier, simply because despite being winless, they’re not playing awful football. They just haven’t figured out winning yet.

The Giants played arguably the worst 6 quarters of football any team has ever played to begin their season, but then seemed to figure something out at halftime this week. The Jets offense is what it is at this point. But don’t forget they were the same last year and their defense carried them to keep them competitive. For their sake, I hope this past week was simply a hangover from the Rodgers’ injury. Speaking of bad offenses and good defense, the Patriots defense and coaching staff will keep them in every game. Their offense will likely keep their wins to a minimum though. The Vikings stink, but they’re offense is exciting enough to keep them around in some games. The Buccaneers may not stink, although I think they do. They are 2–0 though. But pretty sure the Sam Darnold-led Panthers were 3–0 once too. Rough game for the Raiders, which they’ll likely have a few of. But they’ll win their share of games. Really nice win by the Titans. I may be too low on them, but we’ll see. The Panthers defense is legit. But they still have a ways to go offensively.

The Broncos, Colts, Texans, Cardinals and Bears all stink. But Joshua Dobbs did look awesome for a half.

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Craig Ebinger

I like sports. I’m very opinionated. I like sharing my opinions and arguing senselessly with anyone who wants to argue.