It has been over two months since the Detroit Lions upset the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to kick off the 2023 National Football League season. And while both teams have since cemented themselves as legitimate threats in their respective conferences, franchises across the league have seen their fortunes crumble. So, without further ado, here’s where every team in the NFL stands at the season’s halfway point!
32. Arizona Cardinals (2-8)
Things haven’t been pretty in the desert, but they weren’t expected to be, either. We’ll see if the return of Kyler Murray can salvage what will undoubtedly be another miserable year.
31. Carolina Panthers (1-8)
Carolina has no incentive to lose, with the Chicago Bears having taken their first-round pick for 2024 in what could ultimately be the number-one pick. Unfortunately, they’re just that bad. There isn’t much optimism in Charlotte.
30. New York Giants (2-8)
Admittedly, the injury bug has struck the Giants more than most other teams. However, it feels like matters can only get worse with Tommy DeVito at the helm. A 30-6 loss to a Las Vegas team that just fired their coach isn’t exactly inspiring, either.
29. Chicago Bears (3-7)
For what has been one of the most poorly-run organizations in sports over the last decade or so, at least Bears fans can look to the fact that there is a real possibility that they might own the top two picks in 2024.
28. New England Patriots (2-8)
In a season that has placed arguably the greatest coach in sports history squarely on the hot seat, New England hasn’t done much of anything right. Injuries to Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon have only compounded their problems.
27. Green Bay Packers (3-6)
Don’t let a much-closer-than-the-score-indicated 20-3 victory over the Brett Rypien-led Rams fool you. The Packers are bad. An underachieving defense and a hopeless offense have also called head coach Matt LaFleur’s job into question.
26. Denver Broncos (4-5)
Although fortunes are changing in the Mile High City, the reality is that Denver is still a bad football team. It’s tough to justify putting them any higher.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-6)
Like it often is in Nashville, the Titans have a gritty 3-6 record. Nothing’s pretty, but it wasn’t expected to be, either. Instead, rookie quarterback Will Levis has come in and proven that maybe he merited the first-round selection he was billed to be—as opposed to the second-round pick he fell to.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
You could make the case they should be lower, and I wouldn’t totally disagree. 4-5 in football’s weakest division isn’t great, but they always find a way to make it interesting (good or bad) with Baker Mayfield.
23. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
It was tough to see rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson go down, but Indianapolis has performed admirably in his absence under first-year head coach Shane Steichen. A great run game has kept them in most contests, with Gardner Minshew at the controls.
22. Washington Commanders (4-6)
Maybe trading your two best edge rushers makes you better? I’m kidding, of course, but both sides of the ball performed well against the Patriots in week nine in Foxborough. The offense, in particular, looked fluid despite only scoring 20 points.
21. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
This ranking is more of a byproduct of when Matthew Stafford is healthy. When he is, Sean McVay has the L.A. offense clicking. As we saw in week nine with Rypien, everything falters without him. Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua alone make this team anything but a pushover when healthy.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (5-5)
A weak schedule has “carried” Las Vegas to a 5-5 record. Still, suddenly, the locker room has been reinvigorated by the promotion of Antonio Pierce to interim head coach in the wake of Josh McDaniels’ long-overdue firing.
19. New York Jets (4-5)
Troy Aikman said it best after the New York Jets lost 27-6 to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football: “This is a bad team with a really good defense.” And honestly, that couldn’t be more true. Despite boasting an elite defense, the offense is arguably the league’s worst.
18. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Again, despite having a losing record, the Atlanta Falcons find themselves in the thick of the NFC South race. That’s great, but losing games to a Minnesota Vikings team with Joshua Dobbs learning plays mid-game is not something a playoff team should do.
17. Houston Texans (5-4)
While Houston lacks talent across the board, it appears that they’ve found their franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud. In no hurry to win now, this season has been an overwhelming success for the Texans and DeMeco Ryans up to this point.
16. New Orleans Saints (5-5)
For what can be generously described as the most mediocre team in the NFL, their playoff chances are looking good in the lowly NFC South. And while the Saints have talent on offense and defense, it always feels like they can lose to anyone.
15. Minnesota Vikings (6-4)
The torn Achilles suffered by quarterback Kirk Cousins all but ends Minnesota’s hopes of making any kind of noise in the NFC, but the feel-good story and inspiring play of journeyman Dobbs means the vibes remain high in Minneapolis.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Although the Steelers are probably the most challenging team to watch in football, you can’t bet against them in close games. Kenny Pickett looks abysmal for three quarters, only to march 75 yards down the field with two minutes left to salvage wins. Mike Tomlin also deserves a ton of credit.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)
Yes, Zach Wilson stinks. But an otherwise putrid pass defense looked solid at MetLife Stadium last Monday night despite Justin Herbert and the offense struggling. It feels like the Chargers are a receiver and cornerback short, but they remain capable of snagging a wild card spot come January.
12. Seattle Seahawks (6-3)
Was a 34-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens a sign that Seattle can’t compete, or is Baltimore just that good? The jury is still undecided. However, the Seahawks have every opportunity to grab a playoff spot in what is an extremely top-heavy NFC. The expectation is that they will do just that.
11. Cleveland Browns (6-3)
The defense—led by arguably the best in the game, Myles Garrett—is awesome. The offense, not so much. However, I think there’s enough playmaking with Amari Cooper and company to give Cleveland a puncher’s chance against anyone.
10. Buffalo Bills (5-5)
All season long, everyone has been too high on the Buffalo Bills. After years of coming up short, I think the same theme resonates in 2023. Playoffs? Perhaps, but Buffalo will be lucky to make it out of the first round unless they can overtake the Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East.
9. Miami Dolphins (6-3)
Currently sitting atop the underwhelming AFC East, it feels like this year’s Miami team is a slightly better version of their predecessors. Obliterate the bad teams and lose to the good teams. The firepower of their offense cannot be denied, and their front seven has some juice. In the end, I just can’t be confident that Tua Tagovailoa can win four straight games in January.
8. Detroit Lions (7-2)
Don’t get me wrong, the Lions are a fantastic team. There is no reason to hate Detroit. Their offense remains one of the league’s best, with Ben Johnson dialing up plays and Jared Goff slinging the rock to Amon-Ra St. Brown, David Montgomery, Sam LaPorta and Jahmyr Gibbs. Like Miami, though, can you really count on them when it matters most? After all, Detroit normally can’t even make it to January.
7. Dallas Cowboys (6-3)
Much like Detroit and Miami, it’s almost like the Cowboys’ fate is predetermined before the season starts. Have a loaded roster, look like the best team in the league at times, and then fumble it all when the lights shine brightest. And while Dallas is solid, they have shown nothing that would make anyone believe this season will end differently.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)
Jacksonville looks every bit like the contender it’s billed to be after coming up just short of a victory over the eventual champion Chiefs. However, we haven’t seen them do it yet. Protecting Trevor Lawrence will be this team’s biggest challenge (and priority).
5. San Francisco 49ers (6-3)
Fully healthy, San Francisco has the best all-around roster in football. The one weakness? It might actually be their quarterback. Brock Purdy has looked lifeless at times with Deebo Samuel out of the lineup, and it feels like one injury by a skill-position player could lead to their downfall.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
An 0-2 start to the season led many to ponder whether or not Cincinnati could assert itself as a contender once again. However, over the past four weeks, the Bengals have looked like the best team in football. Quality wins over the 49ers and Bills coupled with a healthy Joe Burrow means that Cincinnati is not going away anytime soon.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
They haven’t been convincing, but sometimes you just don’t need to. Halfway through the season, the Chiefs are in a tie for the number one seed in the AFC, and that’s with the offense looking as bad as it has during the Mahomes era. You have to believe that gets sorted out sooner rather than later.
2. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
Baltimore has outscored their last three opponents 106-33 before their loss to the Browns this week, including victories over the Lions and Seahawks by a combined score of 75-9. Injuries tend to bite the Ravens more than most, but John Harbaugh’s team has shown that when healthy, they are as good as anyone.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (8-1)Kind of like Kansas City, it feels like things have come harder for Philadelphia. But again, they stand at 8-1 with their best football ahead of them. The Eagles’ ceiling is probably the highest in the league, and they’ve shown that their floor is similarly lofty. Jalen Hurts has been his usual self, and A.J. Brown has already topped 1,000 yards. Combine that with the best offensive line and a defense that hasn’t even performed up to its expectations, and you have the likely favorite to lift the Lombardi Trophy in February.