Ranking N.F.L. Teams From First to Worst, With an M.V.P. for Each

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The NFL’s MVP award is going to dominate much of the conversation in the final two weeks of the regular season, but the Power Rankings think we should be celebrating more than just one player. In that holiday spirit, this week we’re awarding an MVP for each team.

Some of the names are well-known — Lamar Jackson, both Josh Allens, Dak Prescott, etc. — but some might not be. So here they are along with our weekly rankings, and, hey, let’s keep that holiday spirit going in the comments section, what do you say?

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(Last week: 2)

Monday: Beat San Francisco 49ers 33-19

MVP: Lamar Jackson

The Ravens’ sixth-year quarterback is playing the way he did when he won the 2019 MVP award. That season, Jackson passed for 3,127 yards, rushed for 1,206 yards and totaled 43 touchdowns. This year, he has 3,357 passing yards, 787 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. On Monday night, he led Baltimore to points on seven straight drives while leading the team in passing and rushing. He’s not only the MVP of the top team in these power rankings, but he may have captured the league award Monday night.

Up next: vs. Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 1)

Monday: Lost to Baltimore Ravens 33-19

MVP: Christian McCaffrey

Even with Monday night’s four-interception game, Brock Purdy’s numbers are absurd (league-leading .37 EPA per attempt), but so were Jimmy Garoppolo’s in this offense. Garoppolo led the league in EPA per attempt (.27) from 2019 to 2022, according to TruMedia. McCaffrey, meanwhile, is the most irreplaceable part of the NFL’s most potent offense. He had 14 carries for 103 yards Monday against the Ravens. For the season, he leads the NFL in rushing (1,395 yards), yards from scrimmage (1,932) and touchdowns (21).

Up next: at Washington Commanders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 4)

Sunday: Beat Dallas Cowboys 22-20

MVP: Tyreek Hill

Yes, the Dolphins scored 30 points against the Jets without Hill in Week 15, and we know quarterback Tua Tagovailoa says he’s keeping receipts on everyone who says he’s a product of Hill’s addition to the team. Still, it’s impossible to ignore the way that Hill affects the geometry of the field and how much confidence he has given this offense even when he’s not on the field. His numbers aren’t bad either: an NFL-leading 1,641 yards plus 12 touchdowns, which ranks second in the league.

Up next: at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 3)

Saturday: Beat Los Angeles Chargers 24-22

MVP: Josh Allen

Sure, he leads the NFL in turnovers (18), but with plus-1,000 odds at BetMGM, Allen might be the most sensible bet in the field for league MVP. On Saturday, Allen became the first player in NFL history to post four straight seasons of 40-plus touchdowns. He had two rushing scores and one passing touchdown. If he leads Buffalo to the playoffs, no one wants to play this team.

Up next: vs. New England Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Penei Sewell and the Lions have clinched their first division title in 30 years. (Todd Rosenberg / Getty Images)

(Last week: 7)

Sunday: Beat Minnesota Vikings 30-24

MVP: Penei Sewell

This is probably blatant disrespect for Jared Goff, but the Lions have been built around a certain attitude, and nobody represents that attitude more than Sewell, the offensive tackle who came into the weekend as Pro Football Focus’ top-rated pass blocker and run blocker. Goff is having a great year, but we don’t think Detroit is third in the league in yards per game (394.1) without Sewell, who will have his fifth-year option picked up this offseason and then get paid after that.

Up next: at Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week: 5)

Sunday: Lost to Miami Dolphins 22-20

MVP: Dak Prescott

The Cowboys go as Prescott goes. In Dallas’ wins, he is averaging 272.9 passing yards with an EPA per dropback of .26. In Dallas’ losses, he is averaging 232.6 passing yards with an EPA per dropback of minus-.01. On Sunday, he was good (253 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions) but not good enough to get the Cowboys a signature win.

Up next: vs. Detroit Lions, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 6)

Monday: Beat New York Giants 33-25

MVP: A.J. Brown

The Eagles haven’t been what they wanted to be on offense this season, but throwing the ball to Brown when all else fails has worked pretty well. Brown is fifth in the league in receiving yards per game (92.9). He’s been targeted at least nine times in Philadelphia’s last five games. On Monday, he got 11 targets and caught six passes for 80 yards against the Giants, and he’s under contract for three more years.

Up next: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 9)

Sunday: Beat Houston Texans 36-22

MVP: Myles Garrett

Garrett is only 25th in the league in defensive splash plays (38), according to TruMedia, but only because he’s getting more attention than any defender in the league. The Browns have the best defensive success rate (66.8 percent) of any team since at least 2000, according to TruMedia, and Garrett is the No. 1 reason. This team is not in the playoff hunt without him. It’s a threat against anybody with him.

Up next: vs. New York Jets, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week 8)

Monday: Lost to Las Vegas Raiders 20-14

MVP: Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes won’t win the league award this year for the same reason Michael Jordan didn’t win NBA MVP every year — it just gets too boring. It’s not because he doesn’t deserve it. Mahomes is dragging an offense with an aging (but still great, everybody stay out of the comments) Travis Kelce and only one reliable wide receiver into the playoffs, and no one wants to face him there. After Monday, he is fourth in the league with 3,938 yards.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 10)

Thursday: Beat New Orleans Saints 30-22

MVP: Matthew Stafford

Los Angeles has won five of six games, and in that span, the 35-year-old Stafford has thrown 15 touchdown passes and two interceptions. In each of the last 10 years in which Stafford has played a full season, he has thrown for at least 3,700 yards. He is 11th all time in passing yards with 56,058 in 15 seasons after throwing for 328 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints on Thursday.

Up next: at New York Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 17)

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Sunday: Beat Jacksonville Jaguars 30-12

MVP: Baker Mayfield

The six-year veteran is in the running for comeback player of the year. After throwing for 283 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, he is 12th in the league in passing yards (3,598) and seventh in EPA per attempt (.19). All this is after being let go by the Browns after the 2021 season and then being used only for fill-in work by the Panthers and the Rams last season. Tampa Bay got him this year for $4 million. The price next year is going to be a lot higher.

Up next: vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 12)

Sunday: Beat Tennessee Titans 20-17

MVP: Jarran Reed

A defensive tackle’s stats usually aren’t that impressive, but Reed’s team-leading seven sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and 49 tackles are. It’s even more impressive considering almost nobody in the league has taken on more than Reed this season. And he’s doing it all on a two-year, $9 million free-agency deal. Geno Smith had a case here but missed two weeks with a groin injury. He did look good in his return Sunday though, posting a 104.7 passer rating.

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 13)

Sunday: Lost to Cleveland Browns 36-22

MVP: C.J. Stroud

He’s missed the last two weeks because of a concussion, but he sewed up this award long ago. The No. 2 pick in last year’s draft has averaged 279.3 yards per game. He has 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions, and he’s fifth in the league in passer rating (98.7) and fourth in EPA per attempt (.23). Stroud already has six games of 300-plus yards.

Up next: vs. Tennessee Titans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 14)

Sunday: Lost to Atlanta Falcons 29-10

MVP: DeForest Buckner

In his fourth year with the Colts, Buckner is playing as well as ever. Which is saying something considering he’s a two-time Pro Bowler. He already has 17 quarterback hurries, a huge number for a defensive tackle, along with being fifth on the team in tackles (71) and third in sacks (six). Next season, his ninth in the league, will be his last on his current contract.

Up next: vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Steelers star T.J. Watt leads the NFL with 17 sacks. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

(Last week: 20)

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Saturday: Beat Cincinnati Bengals 34-11

MVP: T.J. Watt

Death, taxes and a Watt brother terrorizing NFL quarterbacks. Watt leads the league in sacks this season (17). If he finishes the season in first place, it will be the fifth time in the last 12 seasons that T.J. or his brother J.J. has led the league, and T.J. will become the first player in NFL history to lead the league three straight seasons.

Up next: at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

(Last week: 16)

Sunday: Lost to Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-12

MVP: Josh Allen

Fellow linebacker Foye Okluokun hasn’t been bad (46 defensive splash plays), but Allen gets the nod because of his ability to get the quarterback to the ground. He is fifth in the league with 13 1/2 sacks. It’s his first double-digit sack season since his rookie year in 2019. He also has 55 tackles, 27 pressures, two forced fumbles and an interception this season.

Up next: vs. Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 11)

Saturday: Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 34-11

MVP: Ja’Marr Chase

Yes, Jake Browning was making a push for this spot, and if he gets Cincinnati to the playoffs in Joe Burrow’s absence, he might deserve it, but that looks unlikely after Saturday’s loss, which dropped the Bengals’ postseason chances below 15 percent. So we’re going with the guy who made both quarterbacks look good. Chase, who is in the third year of his rookie deal, didn’t play this week and still is top 10 in the league in receiving yards (1,156).

Up next: at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 19)

Sunday: Lost to Detroit Lions 30-24

MVP: T.J. Hockenson

It’s not Justin Jefferson because Minnesota has a losing record when he plays and a winning one when he doesn’t. Instead, it’s another pass catcher, Hockenson, who was acquired last season via trade with the Lions. Hockenson has been targeted more than any tight end in the NFL (127) and has more receiving yards (960) than all of them except Travis Kelce.

Up next: vs. Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 15)

Sunday: Lost to New England Patriots 26-23

MVP: Courtland Sutton

Sutton’s 770 receiving yards don’t rank in the top 30 in the league, but how many times this season has he saved the Broncos with a highlight-reel catch? He’s tied for the NFL lead with four fourth-quarter receiving touchdowns and entered the week as the league’s highest-graded receiver on contested targets by Pro Football Focus.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 18)

Sunday: Beat Carolina Panthers 33-30

MVP: Jordan Love

The Packers may not make the playoffs, but the season has to be counted as a success considering Love’s progress. In his first season since taking over for Aaron Rodgers, Love posted more passing touchdowns in his first 15 starts (26) than either Rodgers or Brett Favre. He is ninth in the league in EPA per attempt (.18) after throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.

Up next: at Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

(Last week: 21)

Thursday: Lost to Los Angeles Rams 30-22

MVP: Chris Olave

The second-year wide receiver was targeted 13 times and ended up with nine catches for 123 yards Sunday against the Rams. He is 14th in the league in receiving yards this season (1,041 yards on 91 catches), and he’s carrying a lot of the load for a Saints team that still is sniffing around the playoff race. He gets 24.8 percent of New Orleans’ targets.

Up next: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 22)

Monday: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 20-14

MVP: Maxx Crosby

Crosby is tied for first in the league in defensive splash plays with Khalil Mack (51). He’s been the only consistent bright spot in an all-over-the-place Raiders season, and consistency is maybe his best trait. Crosby has played 95 percent of the defensive snaps for the Raiders this season, a staggering number for a defensive lineman, and the Raiders are suddenly on a two-game winning streak after beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on Monday.

Up next: at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 23)

Sunday: Beat Indianapolis Colts 29-10

MVP: Jessie Bates

Not much has gone right in Atlanta this season, but signing Bates in the offseason has proved to be a good choice. The sixth-year safety has a career-high six interceptions and leads the Falcons with 117 tackles. He has also forced three fumbles, all of which explains why he’s first in Pro Bowl fan voting at safety this year. He sealed Sunday’s win over Indianapolis with a fourth-quarter interception.

Up next: at Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 24)

Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 27-16

MVP: DJ Moore

Acquired in the trade that got Carolina the Bryce Young pick, Moore is having the best season of his career. Despite being held to just three catches for 18 yards because he suffered an ankle injury Sunday, he is 10th in the league in receiving yards (1,141) and just 52 yards short of his single-season high. Whoever plays quarterback for the Bears in 2024 is going to be happy to have Moore on the team.

Up next: vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

25. New York Jets (6-9)

(Last week: 25)

Sunday: Beat Washington Commanders 30-28

MVP: C.J. Mosley

There are a lot of defensive candidates on the Jets (Quincy Williams has 124 tackles and Quinnen Williams has 18 quarterback hurries), but the nod here goes to Mosley, who ties everything together for New York. The ninth-year pro leads the Jets with 137 tackles and has seven deflected passes and a half-sack to go along with it. He’s also one of eight finalists for this season’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

Up next: at Cleveland Browns, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

26. New York Giants (5-10)

(Last week: 26)

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Monday: Lost to Philadelphia Eagles 33-25

MVP: Bobby Okereke

It’s been a really good year for inside linebackers, and Okereke is a prime example. In his first season after signing a four-year, $40 million free-agency deal with the Giants, the fifth-year pro is filling up the stat sheet. Okereke is 10th in the league in defensive splash plays (44) and has nine tackles for loss, nine passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 27)

Sunday: Lost to Seattle Seahawks 20-17

MVP: DeAndre Hopkins

Nobody was banging down Hopkins’ door during free agency this offseason, but the 11th-year pro has paid off the faith the Titans showed by giving him a two-year, $26 million deal. In a year with uneven quarterback play, Hopkins is 26th in the league with 939 receiving yards. It’s the most receiving yards he’s had since 2020 with the Texans when he had 1,407.

Up next: at Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

28. Los Angeles Chargers (5-10)

(Last week: 28)

Saturday: Lost to Buffalo Bills 24-22

MVP: Justin Herbert

There’s one reason the Chargers’ job opening will be the most coveted in the league this offseason, and it’s not the Spanos family’s history of throwing money around. It’s Herbert, who was 11th in the league in passing yards (3,134), 13th in EPA per attempt (.14) and 14th in passer rating (93.2) before a finger injury ended his season after Week 14. The numbers don’t tell Herbert’s story, though. The tape does, and if the right coach lands in Los Angeles, look out.

Up next: at Denver Broncos, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

(Last week: 30)

Sunday: Beat Denver Broncos 26-23

MVP: Jabrill Peppers

The seventh-year safety, who didn’t play Sunday because of a hamstring injury, is one of the few bright spots in New England. After starting just five games for the Patriots last season, Peppers has started all 14 this year and has 76 tackles and seven passes deflected. In a season in which the Patriots lost Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon to injury, they have needed everything they’ve gotten from Peppers.

Up next: at Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

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(Last week: 31)

Sunday: Lost to New York Jets 30-28

MVP: Curtis Samuel

An argument could be made for Montez Sweat, who still leads the Commanders in sacks (six) despite playing there for only eight weeks before being traded to the Bears, but that feels mean. Samuel hasn’t had a stellar season — 565 yards — but he has provided some stability.

Up next: vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 29)

Sunday: Lost to Chicago Bears 27-16

MVP: Trey McBride

It hasn’t been an easy season in Arizona, but McBride has managed to play well enough often enough that the Cardinals felt comfortable letting Zach Ertz leave town. He’s had at least five targets every week since Week 6, and among tight ends in the NFL, he’s seventh in receiving yards (743) and third in yards per route run (2.15). It’s been quite a breakout season for a 2022 second-round pick who had 265 receiving yards last season.

Up next: at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

32. Carolina Panthers (2-13)

(Last week: 32)

Sunday: Lost to Green Bay Packers 33-30

MVP: Derrick Brown

He has only one sack this season, but Brown has been the most dominant force on a defensive line that also includes Brian Burns. Brown is second on the team in both tackles (88) and quarterback hurries (13). His tackles total, already a career high, is going to get him a big payday as soon as he finishes his fifth-year option season in 2024.

Up next: at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Top photo of Lamar Jackson: Loren Elliott/  Getty Images)


“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the NFL’s best 100 players of all time, is on sale now. Order it here.

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Ranking N.F.L. Teams From First to Worst, With an M.V.P. for Each

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