2023 NFL final regular-season power rankings: Bills rally to win AFC East, Ravens finish on top

There are six new playoff teams from a year ago and only four of the clubs that won division titles repeated in 2023. That includes the surging Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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It was a fascinating ending to the NFL’s 104th regular season. Both of the conference’s top seeds, the Ravens and 49ers, rested their starters and each came up short on the scoreboard.

A year ago, the Houston Texans finished with the second-worst record in the league. Thanks to an assist from the Tennessee Titans, DeMeco Ryans’s club won the AFC South. The Buffalo Bills were just 6-6 after 12 games, and are now the AFC East champions for the fourth consecutive season.

Of course, Baltimore and San Francisco weren’t the only teams to understandably give some of their best players a day off. That was certainly been taken into consideration, hence not a lot of big changes near the top from a week ago. So here is the final regular-season edition of the 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

. . . . . 2023 NFL Power Rankings. 2-15 | Previous Rank: 32nd | Week 18: Lost to Buccaneers, 9-0. . 32. 87

The good news for interim head coach Chris Tabor was that the Carolina defense limited the first-place Buccaneers to three field goals and 228 total yards. The bad news was that his team managed a mere 199 yards of offense on 50 plays. Bryce Young threw for only 94 yards, was sacked three times and had one of the club’s two turnovers.

The Panthers were shut out for the second straight week. The only previous time this franchise lost 15 games in a season was back in 2001 when the Panthers won their opener and dropped the remainder of their contests.

2023 NFL Power Rankings. . 31. . 4-13 | Previous Rank: 31st | Week 18: Lost to Cowboys, 38-10. . . . . 58

The 2023 season has mercifully come to an end for the troubled Commanders, and it may have proven to be the final season for head coach Ron Rivera in old D.C. Washington dropped its eighth consecutive game and once again, the defense was non-existent. Dallas rolled up 440 total yards and scored the final 31 points of the game.

The Commanders finished the season allowing 518 points, the third-highest single-season total in NFL annals (and yes, with an extra game). Meanwhile, this was a team that gave up 175 more points (343) than it did a year ago.

. 4-13| Previous Rank: 27th | Week 18: Lost to Jets, 17-3. . . 2023 NFL Power Rankings. . . . 30. 47

Was this the final chapter of an amazing run for a coaching legend? It’s been a long year for the Patriots and Bill Belichick. One of the constants has been their dominance of the rival Jets. Even that came to an end on Sunday as the Pats saw their 15-game winning streak over the Green and White end in snowy conditions in chilly Foxborough.

The conditions were rough for both clubs, but New England’s defense gave up 185 yards rushing. Bailey Zappe threw for 88 yards, was sacked seven times and picked off twice. The Pats were 1-of-14 on third down. Yikes!

5-12 | Previous Rank: 30th | Week 18: Lost to Chiefs, 13-12. 13. 2023 NFL Power Rankings. . . . . . . 29

This team’s performance this season was among the most disappointing in the league, and it ended with a huge thud on Sunday at home against the AFC West champions. The Chiefs sat numerous starters and the Bolts kept Andy Reid’s offense out of the end zone. The Chargers gained 353 total yards and settled for four field goals.

As it stands at the moment, the team will have the fifth overall selection in April’s draft. Of course, there’s the business of hiring a new general manager and head coach. The club’s dozen losses are the most since 2015.