NFL 2-year power rankings for the NFC in 2024 and 2025

If I made you the general manager of an NFL team in January and told you that your goal was to make the playoffs in either of the next two seasons, then you would make different decisions than if I told you that you had to make the playoffs right away and to only worry about 2024. The perfect example of a team that only cares about 2024 is the Dallas Cowboys, and owner Jerry Jones’ actions reveal a man who only cares about the present and not the future.

Not only has Jones outright said that the theme of the season is “All-In”, the Cowboys didn’t spend any money this offseason. Okay, they’ve spent a total of $16.925 million on 10 players in 2024, so it’s not nothing, but that is almost one-fourth the amount that the team that is 31st in spending (the Chargers) has spent so far. Most teams spent more than $17 million on one player, but the Cowboys have spent that much on their entire offseason, not including draft picks, so clearly Dallas has a goal to win right away. That’s an “All-in” Offseason.

That will still put the Cowboys relatively high in my two-year NFL power rankings, which looks at both 2024 and 2025 as relevant for ranking all 32 teams: Which teams have the best and worst odds of winning either of the next two Super Bowls?

How do we decide where to put the Cowboys and every other NFC team on a two-year power ranking, then? Through a points system that ranks every team and assigns points 1-32 over seven key categories and then adds up the total to determine the 2024 AND 2025 power rankings. It’s important to know what these categories mean:

The 7 categories

HC/Stability – Ranking not only the quality of the head coach, but also how STABLE is he in the job? Mike McCarthy could be a really good head coach, however he’s also on the hot seat.

Recent History – What have you done for me lately?

Non-QB Roster, 2024-2025: Accounting for all the non-QBs on the roster, how much talent is there and how likely is it that the good players will be good and on the team for each of the next two years?

QB/Passing Success – Ranking not only the quarterbacks, but also the passing game; so it’s not just “Geno Smith” in a bubble, it’s Geno plus DK Metcalf, plus the offensive line, plus the offensive coordinator, all culminating in answering “How good is the entire passing offense?”

DEF/Passing Un-Success – So the opposite of the QB/Passing Success question, looking at the defenses and defensive coordinators

Division Hierarchy Situation, also known as DHS – Teams were ranked on a combination of Overall Division Quality + Their place in the Hierarchy. So the Browns are a good team, but they’re fourth in the hierarchy of the toughest division in the NFL.

Dealer’s Choice – For all variables that didn’t get a category, like salary cap situation, and ownership, and probability of injury regression, etc., this is my own personal stamp on the rankings.

Every team was ranked 1-32 in each category and then we split it up into AFC and NFC. You get 1 point for being ranked first, 32 points for being ranked 32nd, and just like golf the lower your score, the better.

There’s a clear number one in the AFC and the NFL overall, but a tie atop the NFC power rankings, with Jerry Jones close on the trail of those two teams.

t1. Detroit Lions (Points: 41)

Overall ranking: T4
Best ranking: Non-QB Roster (1)
Worst ranking: Def/Pass (15)

We thought this day would never come. The Lions now have all their key players signed through 2025 and more than enough money to extend Aidan Hutchinson next offseason, plus offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is back for another year. The 12-5 team we saw last year should be intact for at least two more seasons, and the defense seems to be slowly catching up to the offense, so we haven’t seen the best of Detroit just yet.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

t1. San Francisco 49ers (Points: 41)

Overall ranking: T4
Best ranking: Recent (2), Non-QB Roster (2), Dealer’s Choice (2)
Worst ranking: QB (16)

Yes, the 49ers will have to move money around next year to get cap-compliant. But by restructuring Trent Williams and Javon Hargrave, plus potentially trading or releasing Deebo Samuel, San Francisco will be compliant and still have a very talented team that’s been to four of the last five NFC Championships. The priority here is to extend Brandon Aiyuk and pair him with first-round pick Ricky Pearsall for years to come.

3. Dallas Cowboys (Points: 60)

Overall ranking: 6
Best ranking: Non-QB Roster (4)
Worst ranking: HC Stability (14)

It’s very hard to choose between the two teams trading blows in the NFC East, and especially hard to give Dallas the nod given that Dak Prescott isn’t signed beyond 2024, but the Cowboys are “probably” going to extend him according to Blogging The Boys managing editor R.J. Ochoa. The Cowboys have won 12 games in each of the past three seasons and though they’ve lost almost every key playoff game in the past 30 years, Dallas could be due.

In my rankings, the Cowboys came in fourth for non-QB roster and fifth for defense/pass un-success created (PUC), but were helped mostly by the fact that they didn’t rank lower than 14th in any category. McCarthy isn’t as bad of a coach as people say, but anything less than the NFC Championship could cost him his job, and who knows who Jerry Jones will go after to replace him.

4. Los Angeles Rams (Points: 79)

Overall ranking: 9
Best ranking: HC (3)
Worst ranking: Non-QB Roster (22)

This is not what I expected, I just let the points do the talking. The Rams have three distinct advantages over their NFC counterparts in the next two seasons: Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, and the probability that they can at least finish in second place in the West. And by playing in the NFC, they already have an advantage over a lot of AFC teams. Stafford might rank eighth or ninth in the AFC, but some believe he’s first in the NFC.

5. Green Bay Packers (Points: 86)

Overall ranking: 10
Best ranking: Dealer’s Choice (9)
Worst ranking: Def/Pass (18)

The premise that the Packers “don’t have a No. 1 receiver” feels like bunk to me. Jayden Reed had 793 yards and eight touchdowns…as a rookie with a first-year starting quarterback…and we’re writing these players off as supporting actors already? Between the emergence of Jordan Love as a top-5 quarterback in the NFC (note: I didn’t say NFL), a deep supporting cast, and replacing Joe Barry with Jeff Hafley as defensive coordinator, Green Bay looks like a team that will either win the division or be the most dangerous Wild Card in the conference.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (Points: 87)

Overall ranking: 11
Best ranking: Recent (9), Non-QB Roster (9)
Worst ranking: Def/Pass (20)

The last seven times you saw the Eagles play, they lost six games. Usually in a blowout. Nick Sirianni has lost the trust fans had in his abilities after reaching the Super Bowl a year earlier, so how Philly responds next season sans Jason Kelce will say everything about their two-year plan. This is another team that didn’t rank super high in any category, but also didn’t rank super low.

7. Atlanta Falcons (Points: 126)

Overall ranking: t17
Best ranking: DHS (9)
Worst ranking: HC/Stability (29)

They’re my highest-ranked team in my lowest-ranked division. If the Falcons weren’t in the NFC South and had the exact same roster and coaches, they wouldn’t be in the top 20.

Taking Michael Penix in itself isn’t that surprising. But taking Penix over Rome Odunze as if you’re endorsing the phrase “Kirk Cousins to Rondale Moore” is what I find most shocking. We haven’t seen the best of Drake London yet, but if he goes down for any period of time then the Falcons could have the worst receivers in the NFL.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Points: 127)

Overall ranking: 19
Best ranking: DHS (7)
Worst ranking: HC/Stability (30)

If they didn’t play the worst team in the NFL in Week 13 and 18, the Bucs wouldn’t have made the playoffs last season. There’s a non-zero chance that the Bucs will regret the decision to let Dave Canales leave for the Panthers instead of firing Todd Bowles and promoting their former offensive coordinator, however they could still win the NFC South (for the fourth year in a row) and anything could happen in the playoffs. Including losing — that could happen and probably will.

9. Minnesota Vikings (Points: 133)

Overall ranking: 20
Best ranking: DHS (14)
Worst ranking: QB (26)

As much as I respect head coach Kevin O’Connell, nobody wants to go into their third year of a job knowing that you have to take a step backwards before you can take two steps forward. It was a good idea to let Kirk Cousins leave in free agency, but Sam Darnold is much worse and J.J. McCarthy is one of the youngest players in the NFL. It would be shocking for the Vikings to make the playoffs this year, and it’ll take a monster effort of development for McCarthy to take them deep in the playoffs in 2025, but the rest of Minnesota’s plan seems to be “win now” which is kind of weird.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press


10. Seattle Seahawks (Points: 136)

Overall ranking: 21
Best ranking: Recent (17), QB (17), DHS (17)
Worst ranking: Non-QB Roster (23)

It’s hard to put the Seahawks on a pedestal when they’ve only won the division once in the past seven seasons. But if the Rams are a little vulnerable following the retirement of Aaron Donald, then Seattle could use their mysteriousness — first-time head coach Mike Macdonald’s defense and first-time NFL offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb’s offense that he brings from the high-powered University of Washington — to sneak attack their way into the NFC playoffs in either or both of the next two years. The Seahawks are in a position to become the definition of “boom or bust”.

11. New Orleans Saints (Points: 139)

Overall ranking: 22
Best ranking: Def/Pass (9)
Worst ranking: HC (24), Non-QB Roster (24)

It’s probably swept under the rug that the Saints had a defense that was top 10 in points allowed, points per drive, third-down conversion rate, red zone defense, and takeaways. But they did most of that damage against the worst teams in the NFL and they couldn’t beat a playoff team until Week 17 against the Bucs, which wasn’t impressive as playoff teams go. They also aren’t getting out of cap hell anytime soon, and they might actually be hurt by the fact that they play such a weak schedule. New Orleans needs to get a high draft pick and start over, not go 8-9 and stay mediocre.

12. Chicago Bears (Points: 145)

Overall ranking: 24
Best ranking: Def/Pass (13)
Worst ranking: Recent (25)

It is typical for teams to have bad seasons immediately after drafting a quarterback first overall. It’s happened to the Bengals, the Jaguars, the Panthers, the Cardinals, and the Rams in recent memory. There will no reason to panic if it happens to Caleb Williams, but maybe we’ll consider 2024 odds not so good and 2025 odds relatively good.

13. New York Giants (Points: 187)

Overall ranking: 26
Best ranking: DHS (21)
Worst ranking: Non-QB Roster (29), QB (29)

The Giants led the NFL in takeaways last season and they didn’t even force any turnovers in their first four games. But as the proverb goes, “Is it possible to win games with Daniel Jones and Drew Lock?”

14. Arizona Cardinals (Points: 188)

Overall ranking: 27
Best ranking: QB (23)
Worst ranking: DHS (32)

It would be great if the NFL just threw teams into better division situations if they had, say, 105 years of ineptitude. It’s painful to see the Cardinals be the Cardinals for so long, and in the two seasons after going 11-6, they’ve gone 8-26.

If there’s any hope, it’s between offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis. Both had multiple suitors who wanted to hire them in 2023 but the Cardinals won out under head coach Jonathan Gannon. Giving Kyler Murray a number one receiver is going to help a lot, but having a consistent starting five offensive line will do more. Something overlooked: The Cardinals ranked 29th and 30th in adjusted games lost due to injury in 2022 and 2023. There’s supposed to be regression to the mean after having that much bad luck, but Arizona’s might be coming a year late.

15. Washington Commanders (Points: 191)

Overall ranking: 31
Best ranking: HC/Stability (20)
Worst ranking: Non-QB Roster (31)

You’re a huge fan of Jayden Daniels and you get hyped when Dan Quinn talks about football? Great, can you name their first album? Or their left tackle? Even given an extra year to roll the dice, I can’t picture Washington in the playoffs.

16. Carolina Panthers (Points: 194)

Overall ranking: 32
Best ranking: Dealer’s Choice (24)
Worst ranking: Recent (32)

I personally wouldn’t rank the Panthers last or even in the bottom 3 because I still believe in Bryce Young, especially extended over the next two seasons. But there’s nothing to give the Panthers credit for yet. From the quarterback to the head coach to the offensive line, all the way up to the GM and owner, everybody on the Panthers top to bottom has to prove themselves. Except for Derrick Brown; he’s really good.

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