The Seattle Seahawks have improved a great deal over the last 15 months thanks to the Russell Wilson trade and the talent that they have acquired as a result. Let’s see where they stand now compared to the competition.
Here’s how we rank all 32 teams around the NFL heading into June.
The good news is that help is on the way to Arizona. The bad news is it won’t arrive until the 2024 NFL draft. For now, this is easily the worst roster in the league – especially after losing DeAndre Hopkins and getting nothing but a massive dead money hit for their trouble. What games they win this year will be 100% thanks to Kyler Murray’s incredible talent.
Derrick Henry remains a remarkable playmaker and one of the most entertaining players to watch in the entire spot. That said, any time an aging running back is the face of your franchise it’s usually not a good sign for the state of the roster. That’s certainly the case for these Titans, who have fallen off hard and must hope rookie quarterback Will Levis develops quick.
Indy got one of the best draft classes in the league this year, topped by the game’s most-athletic quarterback prospect. However, Anthony Richardson’s reign is unlikely to start until 2024. For now, the Colts offense will be led by Jonathan Taylor and Gardner Minshew, who’s better than most people think. That said, Minshew has no proven receivers to speak of and the team’s defensive talent is lacking, as well. Until Richardson and Josh Downs come of age and the overall depth improves, the ceiling will likely be low for this team.
We seem to be higher on Houston than most, but it’s a very low bar to clear. It all depends on how well rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud adjusts to the speed of the pro game and how long it takes him to surpass Davis Mills on the depth chart. The Texans might even have an interesting offense if Tank Dell starts hot and they can get DeAndre Hopkins back. Defensively they have some decent building blocks, especially No. 1 ranked edge Will Anderson. Still, they’re a long way from contending.
It’s a similar situation in Carolina, where they will likely start Andy Dalton Week 1. It would be malpractice to let No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young stand on the sidelines for much longer than that, though because the only way to truly develop young QBs is to play them. The Panthers have put together a low-key strong receiver corps despite losing D.J. Moore to Chicago and they have a surplus of riches on defense. They also have a low ceiling for now but the future is looking bright.
Finally free of supervillian former owner Dan Snyder, a new era is about to begin in Washington. The Commanders are absolutely loaded defensively and adding former Seattle linebacker Cody Barton should help plug one of their few weaknesses on that side of the ball. At QB Jacoby Brissett is probably their best option to compete in 2023. That said, he’s not a long-term option and it makes more sense to see what they have in Sam Howell.
The Buccaners are about to learn the same harsh lesson the Patriots have the last few years: it’s easier to compete with Tom Brady than without him. Baker Mayfield is now slated to start at quarterback for Tampa, which might be the biggest step down in the league this year. While their talent at wide receiver and linebacker wil help keep them from bottoming out, this team was built to win two years ago and will likely need time to reload a bit before they’re ready to compete in the NFC again.
Atlanta’s quarterback situation is hardly enviable. The new regime deserves credit for dressing up the rest of the roster, though. In free agency they added safety Jessie Bates and they traded for cornerback Jeff Okudah, radically upgrading their secondary. They also still have the highly-underrated defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and have also added Calais Campbell to that unit. If nothing else, the Falcons should be entertaining to watch with Bijan Robinson in a starring role on offense. Don’t expect them in the Super Bowl, but don’t sleep on them, either.
The Raiders have some real talents, including Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. However, they also have a lot of roster holes yet to fill. Jimmy Garoppolo failing his physical doesn’t inspire much confidence at the game’s most important position, either. It would take an all-time coaching job by Josh McDaniels to make this team a contender and we don’t see it happening.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick will always keep New England out of the basement. Still, he doesn’t have the firepower he needs to compete in what’s become the toughest division in the NFL by several miles. Aside from an always-superb secondary there’s just not enough athletes to go around, here. Until Mac Jones improves or they find someone better, third place in the AFC East may be as high as they go.
Much like Belichick, Mike Tomlin will always keep his teams respectable. While they have finished at .500 a few times, the Steelers have never had a losing record under Tomlin. He faces a battle similar to Belichick’s as well, competing in an AFC North with three potential MVP-level quarterbacks starting for the competition. Finishing anywhere but last place in their division should be considered a massive win for Pittsburgh.
Another brilliant head coach in a difficult division, here. Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald returning from injuries will improve Sean McVay’s odds a great deal. Then again, losing both Bobby Wagner and Jalen Ramsey will sting in a bad way. LA will give the Cardinals and to a lesser extent the Seahawks some trouble, but the Rams have lost eight of their last nine matchups with the 49ers and they haven’t gotten better since.
Sean Payton makes it four in a row for coaches with Hall of Fame credentials but also having to compete with multiple championship contenders within their own division. We’d be surprised if Payton can’t get Russell Wilson back to an at-least-average level of play. However, their defense ended the 2022 season trending in the wrong direction and their offensive line remains uninspiring. A third-place finish in the AFC West should be considered the ceiling, here.
This is where you place teams if you’re not quite sure what to make of them going into the season. Jordan Love is as-yet an unproven commodity, so we can’t say anything with real certainty about Green Bay’s chances this year. This is a respectable-enough roster otherwise, so all depends on how well Love can follow the Aaron Rodgers act. Odds are they’re in for a bit of a step down.
Don’t look now, but these Bears have finally done the decades-long elusive goal and found themselves an exciting franchise quarterback. They’re beginning to build around Justin Fields, too. Adding wide receiver D.J. Moore and right tackle Darnell Wright should help with his development as a passer. However, in an ironic twist, it’s Chicago’s usually-stellar defense that’s the liability now. Until that changes, 9-8 is likely their ceiling.
Brian Daboll deserves a ton of credit for getting what he did out of this team last year. Unfortunately, giving mediocre starting quarterback Daniel Jones a huge pay-day is not going to help these Giants take the next step. Daboll deserves a young, more dynamic QB to build around and until he gets it they have absolutely zero chance of catching up with the Eagles.
Signing Derek Carr offers a mild upgrade over what the Saints have gotten at quarterback since Drew Brees retired. They also have some great veteran pieces in Alvin Kamara, Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, Tyrann Mathieu, Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk. Overall though this roster is aging fast and their window is shrinking every season. They can probably take a relatively weak NFC South this year. Actually winning a playoff game seems like a long shot, though.
Drafting Jordan Addison should help take some of the load off of the absolutely incredible Justin Jefferson. Unfortunately for Minnesota fans, the rest of their roster is light years behind their star-studded group at wide receiver. Most importantly, Kirk Cousins has a high basement but a low ceiling – making the same dynamic true for his team.
Now that the boring/average teams are done, we’ve arrived at the up-and-comers around the league. The Jags have a young and rising roster and getting Calvin Ridley back from suspension gives them help where they needed it the most. If key defensive pieces like Foye Oluokun stay healthy and Trevor Lawrence continues to improve under Doug Pederson this may be the dark-horse team that nobody wants to face in the Wild Card round.
Detroit doesn’t have an exciting young QB like Jacksonville but the rest of the profile mostly fits. If they had only gone for premium positions in the draft rather than targeting running backs and linebackers they might even be a top-10 team now. As it stands, they’re still clearly a rising power and Jared Goff is far better now than he was early in his career with the Rams.
The Browns also have one of the NFL’s top young teams in terms of talent. The x-factor will be whether Deshaun Watson can shake off the rust he showed in 2022 after his off-year followed by a 12-game suspension. If Watson returns to the top-five level he was playing at in Houston, Cleveland might just be a serious Super Bowl contender. Even if Watson is broken, this is still a very well-rounded group that nobody can write off any given week.
Dallas has all the pieces it needs to make the deep playoff run that’s eluded them since the mid-90s. Dak Prescott is an undeniable top-10 QB, they’ve finally gotten rid of Zeke to make room for Tony Pollard and their receiver corps is loaded as usual. Defensively, they have some superb pieces as well. We would feel a whole lot better about their chances if it was Dan Quinn calling the shots rather than head coach Mike McCarthy, though.
Thanks to Geno Smith’s surprise growth and two great draft classes in a row, these Seahawks now have quality projected starters at all of the positions that matter most in the modern game. They also have an obscenity of riches at running back as well as safety. Just how far they go will depend mostly on the performance of their new-look defensive front seven. If they can show moderate gains against the run and dramatically improve their pass rush this should be a very dangerous team come January.
Los Angeles Chargers
Adding Quentin Johnston gives LA that critical third piece at wide receiver to complement the criminally-underrated combo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Now Justin Herbert is finally playing with a complete deck and the sky is the limit on offense. On the other side of the ball, picking up Eric Kendricks was another huge upgrade at a position of need. These Chargers should be able to compete with anybody outside of Kansas City, winners of their last three matchups and 15 of the last 18 overall.
In almost any other division but the AFC East, these Dolphins might be considered the easy favorites. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle give them a powerful 1-2 punch at wide receiver and if they can keep Tua Tagovailoa healthy their passing game should be as good as any in the NFL. Defensively they’ve only gotten better, adding Jalen Ramsey to an already-awesome secondary unit.
New York Jets
Nobody got a bigger upgrade at quarterback this offseason than the Jets, who’ve gone from Zach Wilson to four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers. With all his old favorites from Green Bay joining Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall returning he can’t complain of not having weapons. Defensively the Jets are equally imposing. The AFC is a murderer’s row of serious Super Bowl contenders, but they should have a legitimate chance to reach the conference title game.
The Ravens finally paid Lamar Jackson and then went out and got him some wide receivers. Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman make for a quality three-some and Mark Andrews offer the best pair of hands at tight end not belonging to Travis Kelce. If they can maintain their long-standing prowess on defense and special teams, Baltimore will be extremely difficult to eliminate from the postseason picture.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were unable to make any real gains in the draft, but that shouldn’t matter. This is still a lethally-talented team that doesn’t even seem to need a functional starting quarterback to make the NFC Championship. Adding Javon Hargrave to what was an already ridiculous defensive line only makes them more potent at what makes them great.
Last year at this time Buffalo looked like the NFL’s best team on paper. A season-ending injury to Von Miller ultimately derailed what was supposed to be their inevitable Super Bowl run, though. Josh Allen remains an MVP candidate at QB and the Bills have managed to keep all the other pieces that matter, so they should be the favorites in the AFC East despite the excruciating level of competition.
Some of Philly’s major pieces are getting old (center Jason Kelce chief among them), but these Eagles are still by far the best team in the NFC. Their offensive line is the envy of the league, their WR corps is stupid-good, Jalen Hurts is already brilliant and only going to get better with time and they’ve somehow managed to draft half of Georgia’s dominant defense. At least for the forseeable future, this is the conference favorite.
It seems like only a matter of time before these Bengals win their first Super Bowl ring. Joe Burrow is already playing like Drew Brees in his prime, he has the best receivers in the AFC on his side and the team has moved mountains to remodel the offensive line. With a little bit of luck and some light defensive improvement, the Lombardi could be theirs this year.
Kanas City Chiefs
The best team doesn’t always win the Super Bowl. However, as long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy this is probably going to be the team to beat. The eventual retirement of superstar tight end Travis Kelce may test that, but it’s hard to see Andy Reid not overcoming that. If they can keep replacement level talent coming in where it matters it’s not out of the question to win five or six championships over the next 10 years.