The NFL is down to its version of the great eight. With the AFC and NFC wild-card rounds in the playoffs complete, there are only eight teams still alive in the race to get to and win Super Bowl 57.
After addressing each team’s real chances of winning the Super Bowl last week, it is time to reset the best and worst of the remaining field. That leads to the latest shrinking edition of Sporting News’ league power rankings involving only postseason teams:
NFL playoff power rankings 2023
1. Kansas City Chiefs (previous week: 1)
The Chiefs have found plenty of versatility in their offense around Patrick Mahomes. They are in some ways more dangerous spreading the ball around to backs, wide receivers and tight ends beyond Travis Kelce. Mahomes will need to avoid mistakes and be in full MVP mode as the best QB in the playoffs so his team can get back to the Super Bowl. In that case, Kansas City can still win it all by playing just competent complementary defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2)
The 49ers’ offense kept on rolling as a near-unstoppable force in the eventual wild-card playoff rout of the Seahawks to make it 11 consecutive victories. With Deebo Samuel back healthy as a massive dual threat factor, opponents have a tough time containing him, Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers still carry a high floor with their run defense and rushing attack, and Nick Bosa’s pass rush does limited their pass coverage weakness from being too exposed.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (3)
The Eagles needed a bye to get Jalen Hurts’ right shoulder a little healthier and get their veteran defense some much-needed rest. They should go back to being relentless scoring with they want to do in terms of run vs. pass and then force teams into negative game scripts against their deep pass rush and secondary. They still belong barely behind the sizzling 49ers in the NFC race.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (5)
The Bengals’ offense fought through a grind against a tough Ravens’ defense at home but Joe Burrow still made the necessary clutch plays. The Bengals’ defense had an off night against the run but still came through with the key takeaways early and late (hello, Sam Hubbard) to make the difference. Cincinnati is through its first major hurdle in repeating as AFC champions with a good shot at winning in Buffalo next Sunday.
5. Buffalo Bills (4)
The Bills got sloppy with Josh Allen turnovers and too much of a dependence on throwing the ball downfield while surviving the Dolphins, but in the end, they got what they needed out of the running game Their biggest concerns is how their defense still managed to give up a ton of points and lose a sizable lead to an opponent with a shaky inexperienced quarterback ahead of hosting Joe Burrow’s Bengals in the divisional round.
6. Dallas Cowboys (8)
The Cowboys won’t get their rematch with the Eagles yet after turning back the Buccaneers with Micah Parsons and the defense getting the better of Tom Tom Brady. They also proved that their running game with Tony Pollard can remain a key effective asset taking pressure off Dak Prescott forcing the action. Prescott lit up the Buccaneers with a clean, super-efficient game while staying on point with top targets Ceedee Lamb, Dalton Schutlz and Michael Gallup. Dallas must now exorcise the demon of San Francisco, which hastened its playoff exit a year ago.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (9)
The Jaguars’ amazing comeback win against the Chargers was much like their 2022 regular season: Trevor Lawrence and the offense was out of sync with mistakes in the first half before finding a balanced and explosive up-tempo groove in the second half. The defense started out bending and not breaking before making critical game-changing stops. They remain red-hot with six straight victories and have unwavering confidence with Lawrence and Doug Pederson, but scoring enough will get tougher in the divisional round.
8. New York Giants (14)
The Giants took out the Vikings with another dazzling passing and running performance from Daniel Jones in his first playoff game. They also ran well when needed with Saquon Barkley as a dual threat and most important, stopped the run after struggling so much in the regular season. Brian Daboll may have confirmed his coach of the year status and now gets a third shot to try to take down the Eagles.