By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2023 NFL Power Rankings – Week 18

 

January 4, 2024

Brevin Townsell - LA Rams

Rams rank 7th in total offensive yards, averaging 365.6 yards per game this season. Last season the Rams ranked 32nd in total offensive yards and averaged 280.5 ypg.

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3): The Ravens have won eight games against teams with winning records by 14 points or more. The latest was a 56-19 win over the Dolphins. The Ravens have clinched the best record in the AFC and the road to the AFC Championship will lead through Baltimore this season. Next: +4 vs Pittsburgh Steelers – Sat, Jan. 6 – O/U: 35.5 (ATS: 11-5 – O/U: 8-8)

2. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): The 49ers beat the Commanders on the road and clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Niners will not leave the Bay Area until the Super Bowl game in Las Vegas, a short 400-mile trip. Next: -4 vs Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 9-7 – O/U: 9-7)

3. Detroit Lions (11-5): The Lions lost a game at Dallas on a referee error. A penalty cost the Lions a two-point conversion and a 22-21 win over the Cowboys. That said, the Lions should have kicked the extra point and gone to overtime once the penalty was called, nullifying the two point-conversion. Next: -3.5 vs Minnesota Vikings – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 45.5 (ATS: 11-5 – O/U: 10-6)


4. Miami Dolphins (11-5): The Dolphins got boat raced in Baltimore, 56-19. The Dolphins lost outside linebacker Bradley Chubbs to an ACL injury for the rest of the season. The defensive injuries have mounted for the Dolphins and now they need to beat the Bills at home to win the AFC East. Next: +3 vs Buffalo Bills - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 49.5 (ATS: 10-6 – O/U: 9-7)

5. Dallas Cowboys (11-5): The Cowboys escaped with a win over the Lions in Dallas due to a referee error. The victory over the Lions and an Eagle loss has put the Cowboys in a good position to win the NFC East and clinch a No. 2 seed in the NFC. Next: -13.5 at Washington Commanders - Sun, Jan. 7 - O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 9-7 – O/U: 8-8)


6. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5): The Eagles suffered a stunning loss to the Cardinals, 35-31. The Eagles leaky pass defense gave up three touchdown passes to Kyler Murray. The loss to the Cardinals likely cost the Eagles a No. 2 seed and division title and a couple of home games in the playoffs. Next: -5.5 at New York Giants – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 7-7-2 – O/U: 9-7)

7. Buffalo Bills (10-6): The Bills hung on to beat the Patriots, setting up a showdown with the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday Night. The winner wins the AFC East and is the No. 2 seed in the AFC. If the Dolphins lose, they will still be in the playoffs. If the Bills lose, there is a chance they miss the playoffs. Next: -3 at Miami Dolphins - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 49.5 (ATS: 6-10 – O/U: 6-10)


8. Cleveland Browns (11-5): The Browns beat the Jets 37-20 to clinch a playoff berth. The Browns will go on the road in the wild-card round and will play the AFC South champion, either the Jaguars, Texans, or Colts. The Browns will be favored against all three. Next: +7 at Cincinnati Bengals – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 37.5 (ATS: 10-5-1 – O/U: 10-6)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6): The Chiefs beat the Bengals to clinch their 8th consecutive AFC West division title. The Chiefs were vulnerable in the AFC West this season, but none of the other three teams in the division were good enough to challenge the Chiefs. Next: +3.5 at Los Angeles Chargers - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 35 (ATS: 8-7-1 – O/U: 5-11)


10. Los Angeles Rams (9-7): The Rams have won six of their last seven games and clinched a playoff berth after defeating the Giants. No one should look forward to playing the Rams in the playoffs. Next: +4 at San Francisco 49ers – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 9-6-1 – O/U: 8-8)

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7): The Jaguars easily defeated the hapless Panthers to end a three-game losing streak. The Jags will clinch a playoff berth, a division title, and a home playoff berth with a win over the Titans in Nashville on Sunday. Next: -3.5 at Tennessee Titans - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 9-7 – O/U: 7-9)

12. Houston Texans (9-7): The Texans easily defeated the Titans, 26-3, to clinch a winning season in their first season with rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. They can clinch a playoff berth with a win Saturday Night at Indianapolis over the Colts. Next: -1.5 at Indianapolis Colts – Sat, Jan. 6 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 8-8 – O/U: 6-10)


13. Indianapolis Colts (9-7): The Colts defeated the Raiders to stay in the playoff hunt. They can clinch a playoff berth Saturday Night with a win over the Texans at home. Next: +1.5 vs Houston Colts – Sat, Jan. 6 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 9-7 – O/U: 11-5)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7): The Steelers won their second game in a row with third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph, beating the Seahawks in Seattle. The Steelers need a win and then need another contender to lose. The Steelers did secure their 20th consecutive non-losing season. Next: -4 at Baltimore Ravens – Sat, Jan. 6 – O/U: 35.5 (ATS: 9-7 – O/U: 6-10)


15. Seattle Seahawks (8-8): The Seahawks loss at home to the Steelers and put themselves into a hole. To make the playoffs, the Seahawks need to beat Arizona and hope that Green Bay or Tampa Bay loses. Next: -2.5 at Arizona Cardinals – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 8-6-2 – O/U: 7-9)

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8): The Buccaneers were upset at home by the Saints but are still in a position to win their third straight NFC South division title with a win on Sunday at Carolina against the Panthers. Next: -4.5 at Carolina Panthers - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 37.5 (ATS: 10-6 – O/U: 6-10)

17. Green Bay Packers (8-8): The Packers rolled over the Vikings on the road, 33-10. They can clinch a wild-card playoff berth with a win at home against the Bears. The Packers were 3-6 after Week 10, so a playoff berth would be an amazing rebound from their earlier struggles. Next: -3 vs Chicago Bears - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 45 (ATS: 8-8 – O/U: 10-6)


18. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8): The Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs after a loss to the Chiefs. Injuries were difficult to overcome for the Bengals this season, as well as a defense that ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per game. Next: -7 vs Cleveland Browns – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 37.5 (ATS: 6-8-2 – O/U: 9-7)

19. Denver Broncos (8-8): The Broncos beat the Chargers on Sunday, completing a sweep of the Chargers. They can clinch a winning season with a victory on Sunday. Despite the victory, the Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs this past weekend. The loss to the Patriots at home in Week 16 will haunt the Broncos in the offseason. Next: +2.5 at Las Vegas Raiders – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 38.5 (ATS: 6-9-1 – O/U: 7-9)


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20. New Orleans Saints (8-8): The Saints defeated Buccaneers on the road to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Saints win the NFC South with a win over the Falcons and a Buccaneers loss to the Panthers. They can also get in via a wild-card berth with a win and losses by the Seahawks and the Packers. Next: -3 vs Atlanta Falcons – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 42.5 (ATS: 5-10-1 – O/U: 5-11)

21. Chicago Bears (7-9): The Bears knocked off the Cardinals in Chicago, 27-16, and appear to be showing improvement. With that said, and with the No.1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears should draft quarterback Caleb Williams of USC with the pick. Next: +3 at Green Bay Packers - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 45 (ATS: 8-6-2 – O/U: 9-7)

22. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9): The Raiders are out of playoff contention after a loss at Indianapolis to the Colts. The Raiders have a hole at quarterback and if they want to compete in the AFC West, they will fix that position in the 2024 offseason. Next: -2.5 vs Denver Broncos - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 38.5 (ATS: 9-6-1 – O/U: 5-11)

23. Atlanta Falcons (7-9): The Falcons lost to the Bears and clinched a losing record for the regular season, but still have a shot at the playoffs and a home game in the first round, thanks to the Crummy NFC South. If the Falcons beat the Saints on Sunday, the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers, the Falcons win the division with an 8-9 record. Next: +3 at New Orleans Saints – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 42.5 (ATS: 5-11 – O/U: 6-10)

24. Minnesota Vikings (7-9): The Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs after a blowout loss at home to the Packers. Injuries took a toll on the Vikings this season and they did their best to keep things together and stay competitive. The Vikings need to find a future QB in the draft in 2024. Next: +3.5 at Detroit Lions – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 45.5 (ATS: 7-6-3 – O/U: 6-10)

25. Tennessee Titans (5-11): The Titans barely competed with the Texans in a 26-3 loss. The Titans offensive line allowed seven sacks against the Texans and is rated the worst in the NFL by Pro Football Focus (PFF). Next: +3.5 vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 39.5 (ATS: 6-9-1 – O/U: 5-11)

26. New York Giants (5-11): The Giants lost to the Rams and extended their current losing streak to three games. More importantly, the Giants need to decide if they are going to bring Saquon Barkley back and if he even wants to return. A franchise tag on Barkley will cost over $10 million for one season. Next: +5.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 41.5 (ATS: 7-8-1 – O/U: 6-10)

27. New York Jets (6-10): The Jets lost to the Browns, 37-20. The Jets have some impressive wins over teams like the Bills, Eagles, and Texans. The pieces are there on offense with some changes along the offensive line. Next: +1.5 at New England Patriots - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 30.5 (ATS: 5-10-1 – O/U: 7-9)

28. Arizona Cardinals (4-12): The Cardinals stunned the Eagles in Philadelphia, 35-31. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw three touchdown passes, including the winning come-from-behind score. The Cardinals managed to defeat the Cowboys, the Eagles in Philadelphia, and the Steelers in Pittsburgh. There is hope for the future. Next: +2.5 vs Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 47.5 (ATS: 8-8 – O/U: 10-6)

29. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11): How bad has this season been for the Chargers? The Chargers have not beaten a team with a winning record this season. They are 0-7 against teams with winning records. They are 2-6 at home. Most bad teams in the NFL can point to an impressive victory or two over a good team. The Chargers cannot. Next: -3.5 vs Kansas City Chiefs - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 35 (ATS: 6-10 – O/U: 5-11)

30. New England Patriots (4-12): The Patriots battled the Bills before losing, 27-21. The offseason question about the Pats will be about head coach Bill Belichick, and the sense that his long and very successful reign with the Pats is coming to an end. Next: -1.5 vs New York Jets – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 30.5 (ATS: 5-10-1 – O/U: 7-9)

31. Washington Commanders (4-12): The Commanders lost to the 49ers, as expected, and have one more week before the changes begin, starting at head coach. The Commanders have the worst defense in the NFL, in both yardage allowed, and points allowed. Next: +13.5 vs Dallas Cowboys – Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 46.5 (ATS: 6-9-1 – O/U: 9-7)

32. Carolina Panthers (2-14): The Panthers clinched the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for the Chicago Bears. The trainwreck that is the Panthers organization has come to the point where the NFL has fined the Panthers owner for throwing a drink at an opposing fans. It was incomplete. Next: +4.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sun, Jan. 7 – O/U: 37.5 (ATS: 4-10-2 – O/U: 5-11)

Ty Nowell - LA Chargers

Chargers rank 19th in total offensive yards, averaging 327.9 yards per game this season. Last season the Chargers ranked 9th in total offensive yards and averaged 359.3 ypg.

 

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