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Setting the NFC Hierarchy, Post NFL Draft

A couple weeks ago, I wrote my 2024 AFC Hierarchy at the conclusion of the NFL Draft, and although the National Football Conference doesn’t boast the same insane depth of high-quality teams as the AFC, it still is home to several real contenders in the race for Super Bowl LIX.

In this article, you’ll find that I ranked the NFC franchises 1 to 16, but also broke them up into tiers based on my expectations for each team as it stands right now. These rankings will obviously change once the 2024 NFL Season is under way and teams rise and fall throughout the year.

As for the grading system, I am assigning an “Offseason Grade” to each team based on their losses and additions throughout Free Agency and the Draft so far. For the “2024 Composite Strength of Schedule” (SOS), I combined the Projected 2024 Vegas Win Totals and 2023 Win-Loss Records for each team’s opponents and ranked them from hardest to easiest (1-32). I prefer this method of calculating SOS because it considers both statistical and predictive data to determine the final ranking.

With those considerations in play, let’s dive into my early look at the 2024 AFC Hierarchy after the conclusion of the NFL Draft!


Offseason Grade: B | 2024 Composite SOS: T-13th | Early Prediction: 1st in West

Biggest Upgrade: The Niners made a concerted effort to add young depth across the board for a team loaded with highly paid stars on both sides of the ball. If goal was to help make sure one of the best rosters in the NFL is stocked for the next wave of contributors, consider San Fran’s offseason a success!

Biggest Question Mark: Did Kyle Shanahan do enough along the OL to keep his efficient offense rolling? Additions like FA Chris Hubbard and 2nd Round pick Dominic Puni could have key roles right away for the Niners. That’s a little concerning for a team otherwise primed for another Super Bowl run.

Offseason Grade: B+ | 2024 Composite SOS: T-11th | Early Prediction: 1st in North

Biggest Upgrade: The Lions are doing everything in their power to ensure that the secondary doesn’t give up the 2nd most yards to opposing passing attacks again in 2024. Trading up for 1st Round corner Terrion Arnold, and then doubling down in the 2nd Round with Ennis Rakestraw proved the Lions’ resolve in this area. They already look much better on the back end of the defense.

Biggest Question Mark: What’s the plan at WR behind All-Pro Amon-Ra St. Brown? Detroit is putting a lot of faith in guys like Jameson Williams and Donovan Peoples-Jones to contribute significantly in the pass game behind St. Brown and TE sensation Sam LaPorta. Dan Campbell is putting a lot of trust in OC Ben Johnson to figure it out.

Offseason Grade: A | 2024 Composite SOS: 24th | Early Prediction: 1st in East

Biggest Upgrade: Much like the Lions, Philly invested significant Draft capital into their league-worst secondary from 2023, drafting CB Quinyon Mitchell in the 1st and then adding Swiss-army knife Cooper DeJean out of Iowa in the 2nd. The addition of DC Vic Fangio should also be a boost for one of the weakest position groups in the league from last year.

Biggest Question Mark: Can the offense stay together if things stay rocky early? HC Nick Siriani’s squad fell apart last season with Jalen Hurts hurting and the rest of the NFC gunning for the 2022 Super Bowl runner ups. Health will be key, but if things start out slow, it’s on Siriani to not lose the locker room. If he does, it will be a long season.


Offseason Grade: B+ | 2024 Composite SOS: 8th | Early Prediction: 2nd in North

Biggest Upgrade: The Packers did less “upgrading” and more “filling out” on their Roster this offseason, but the additions in the Draft at ILB and Safety (the Packers took 2 of each inside the first 4 Rounds) should give the defense a jolt heading into an exciting 2024 campaign.

Biggest Question Mark: Can the young guys on offense make the leap? If so, this is one of the best teams in football, let alone the NFC. If, however, QB Jordan Love and this youthful pass-catching corps struggle take that next step as a unit, the Green Bay could find itself falling back to the pack in what will be a rugged NFC North division in 2024.

Offseason Grade: B | 2024 Composite SOS: T-16th | Early Prediction: 2nd in West

Biggest Upgrade: The Rams are quietly a real contender in the NFC, and that thought is bolstered by their offseason focus on upgrading the offensive and defensive lines. Addressing Aaron Donald’s absence on the defensive front was the priority, and the selections of DE Jared Verse and DT Braden Fiske in the first two rounds will significantly impact the unit’s growth.

Biggest Question Mark: Does Matt Stafford have one more run in him? The Rams are leaning into Stafford as the catalyst of a potential run in 2024, and there’s not much of a backup plan behind him. Here’s hoping the gun-slinging QB can stay healthy this season. If he does, I like the Rams chances of being really good.

Offseason Grade: B | 2024 Composite SOS: T-11th | Early Prediction: 2nd in East

Biggest Upgrade: The addition of high-upside project players in the trenches seemed to be the play for Dallas in the Draft. There’s plenty of well-earned concern though that the Cowboys actually did very little to really improve their 2024 roster.

Biggest Question Mark: Why didn’t the Cowboys do more this offseason? Dallas is dead last in cash spending this offseason, and doesn’t quite make sense for a team who’s season will be deemed a failure with anything short of a Super Bowl appearance.


Offseason Grade: B+ | 2024 Composite SOS: 32nd | Early Prediction: 1st in South

Biggest Upgrade: Despite the team’s highly questionable decision to draft QB Michael Penix Jr., it’s an indisputable fact that the Falcons drastically upgraded their QB room this offseason by adding Penix and prize FA Kirk Cousins. Adding these two guys to a loaded offense should make for an electric attack in 2024.

Biggest Question Mark: Can the defense make any strides on a solid 2023? The team’s glaring needs at ED and CB were passed over at the 8th overall pick in favor of Penix, but Atlanta still did a solid job of addressing those issues later in the Draft and in FA. Was it enough in a suddenly competitive NFC? We’ll find out.

Offseason Grade: B- | 2024 Composite SOS: T-26th | Early Prediction: 2nd in South

Biggest Upgrade: The Bucs did a fine job adding solid depth to their roster this offseason, but the addition of 1st Round OC/OG prospect Graham Barton has a chance to really move the needle up front for Tampa. Adding him to the OL room should help them play a more physical brand of football in 2024 and take some of the pressure off Baker Mayfield.

Biggest Question Mark: Did Baker Mayfield hit his ceiling in 2023, or is there more? Mayfield played very well last season, but if the Buccaneers want to truly be in the mix in the NFC, they’ll need more from their newly paid signal caller in 2024.

Offseason Grade: B- | 2024 Composite SOS: 22nd | Early Prediction: 3rd in West

Biggest Upgrade: The Seahawks want to be dominant up front on Defense, and they put their money where their mouth is, adding 1st Round DT Byron Murphy to a group that also includes All-Pro Leonard Williams and the newly acquired Jonathan Hankins. That group should be formidable in 2024.

Biggest Question Mark: How quickly will new HC Mike McDonald be able to make an impact on the defense overall? We know that Geno Smith, DK Metcalf, and co. will be produce solid offensive production, but can the former Ravens’ DC bring the Boom back to Seattle in short order?

Offseason Grade: A+ | 2024 Composite SOS: T-30th | Early Prediction: 3rd in North

Biggest Upgrade: QB. Caleb Williams is a potential star in the making and even though Justin Fields showed flashes in his 3 seasons with Chicago, Williams has a chance to take the Bears to new heights their fans haven’t seen before at the position, and fast.

Biggest Question Mark: Can the defense replicate it’s 2nd half surge from 2023? The offense could be special this season, but Chicago’s defense was the league’s best over the 2nd half of the year. If they can replicate that level of dominance, this team could be way more dangerous than I’m giving them credit for at this point.


Offseason Grade: B | 2024 Composite SOS: 10th | Early Prediction: 4th in North

Biggest Upgrade: The Vikings also prioritized their Defensive front this offseason, bringing in 3 potential new starters in FA, and also trading up for ED Dallas Turner in the 1st Round of the Draft. The Vikings want to be an explosive, physical defense in 2024

Biggest Question Mark: How quickly can JJ McCarthy become the QB1? Sam Darnold likely gets a shot to win the job for Week 1, but at the very least his leash will be short, and with the McCarthy hype-train gaining significant steam throughout the Draft process, the Vikes could turn to him quickly if he proves to be the better QB.

Offseason Grade: A | 2024 Composite SOS: T-20th | Early Prediction: 4th in West

Biggest Upgrade: Adding Marvin Harrison Jr. to this offense is the definition of game changing, and a healthy Kyler Murray tossing him the rock should help spark an offense that was stagnant for the majority of the 2023 season.

Biggest Question Mark: Who’s going to step up on Offense outside of Harrison, TE Trey McBride, and RB James Conner? There are plenty of jobs to be won on a team coming off a 4-13 season. If the Cards can find a couple more quality role pieces on O, it will go a long way to getting this team out of the NFL cellar.

Offseason Grade: C+ | 2024 Composite SOS: T-30th | Early Prediction: 3rd in South

Biggest Upgrade: 1st Round pick Taliese Fuaga will be asked to start right away for the Saints, and fortunately for them, he’s one of the few rookies from this class that a team can count on to provide immediate plus starter snaps at a prime position right away. Fuaga makes this OL much better.

Biggest Question Mark: Whatcha got for us, Derek? The Saints signed Derek Carr last offseason, and the mercurial QB wasn’t very good in 2023, finishing the year on the bench. If Carr can’t be better quickly in 2024, the Saints could opt to see what they have in intriguing 5th Round selection Spencer Rattler.

Offseason Grade: C+ | 2024 Composite SOS: 9th | Early Prediction: 3rd in East

Biggest Upgrade: 6th overall Draft pick Malik Nabers is immediately the best WR to play for the Giants since O’Dell Beckham Jr. was bending over backwards for one-handed catches in the Big Apple. He should give Daniel Jones (or Drew Lock) a true WR1 to work with right away.

Biggest Question Mark: Whatcha got for us, Daniel? Same question here for New York as it was for the Saints. The Giants need their highly-paid QB to way outperform his disappointing 2023 if they want to have any shot at contending for the postseason in 2024.


Offseason Grade: A | 2024 Composite SOS: 18th | Early Prediction: 4th in East

Biggest Upgrade: 2nd overall Draft pick Jayden Daniels needs to be the playmaking Franchise QB the Commanders drafted him to be right away. This season is all about finding out what kind of player you have in the former LSU Tiger. If he’s all they hope he can be, Washington will be thrilled, even if their record doesn’t reflect it.

Biggest Question Mark: Did new GM Adam Peters and HC Dan Quinn do enough along the OL to help out their Rookie QB? Daniel’s needs to stay upright this season for the Commanders to truly evaluate where they’re at by seasons’ end. Adding more to the OL felt like a bigger priority than it turned out to be this offseason.

Offseason Grade: B | 2024 Composite SOS: 28th | Early Prediction: 4th in South

Biggest Upgrade: The Panthers prioritized adding real weapons to the offense for 2nd-year passer Bryce Young, trading for Pittsburgh’s Diontae Johnson and adding powerhouse WR Xavier Legette with the 32nd pick of the 2024 Draft. This was the league’s worst offensive roster in 2023. Carolina made sure that wouldn’t be the case this season.

Biggest Question Mark: Is Bryce the guy? It’s the only question that matters in Carolina, so it’s the only one we’ll ask here.

How would you rank the 16 NFC squads at this point of the Offseason? Let me know in the comments! Also, tune in to the final episode of the FFSN NFL Draft Recap below for a deeper dive into each NFC squad’s Draft class of 2024!

Category: NFL

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