NFL 2023 Predictions
Chiefs Face Heavy AFC Competition to Repeat
Bengals Ready for SB Challenge
Eagles and 49ers Hope to Hold Off NFC Risers
DraftInsiders.com – NFL 2023 Predictions
Frank Coyle/ Head scout
The 2023 NFL season is finally here with huge changes across the league giving fans hope their team can get to the elusive Super Bowl. Teams are hard pressed to duplicate the SB, just ask the Los Angeles Rams who fell significantly last season. The Chiefs will seek their third title in four seasons this year, though they will be pressured in the deep talented AFC Conference which is loaded with contenders with premier QBs from top to bottom.
Parity reigns across the league with both the AFC East and West and NFC East and West looking like powerhouse divisions which could provide multiple playoff teams each. New upstarts like the Jaguars, Giants, Jets, Lions, Saints and Chargers could all play a huge role in the playoff races while established clubs like Bucs, Packers and Rams may be pressed to return to the NFL postseason.
2023 Season Awards
MVP Award – QB Josh Allen – Bills
Offensive Player of the Year – QB Jalen Hurts – Eagles
Defensive Player of the Year – DE Aidan Hutchinson – Lions
Comeback Player of the Year – QB Baker Mayfield – Bucs
Rookies of the Year
Offense – RB Bijan Robinson – Falcons
Defense – DL Lukas Van Ness – Packers
Offensive Player of the Year – QB Trevor Lawrence – Jaguars
Defensive Player of the Year – LB T.J. Watt – Steelers
Comeback Player of the Year – QB Marc Jones – Patriots
Rookies of the Year
Offense – WR Zay Flowers – Ravens
Defense – LB Will Anderson – Texans
Philadelphia Eagles – 12-5
Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC and rely on young QB Jalen Hurts and veteran defense to make another strong run at title.
New York Giants – 10-7
GMen are geared up to make the playoffs again behind an offense directed by young emerging talented Daniel Jones. Their offensive line made looks to RT Evan Neal to take a critical step up. They look to explosive Kayvon Thibodeaux to become a difference maker weekly.
Dallas Cowboys – 9-8
Cowboys are still a contender though need QB Dak Prescott to prove he can beat the top clubs. Their defense depends on big play defenders, LB Micah Parsons and corner Trevon Diggs to set the pace.
Washington Redskins – 6-11
Skins start another new QB in Sam Howell behind a very average line. Their defense loses DE Chase Young early to IR, though front four is one of most in the league.
Detroit Lions – 10-7
Lions closed winning 8 of final 9 last season and looks to ride that momentum to a playoff appearance. HC Dan Campbell has them playing hard and their defense can step up behind dominant DE Aidan Hutchinson.
Minnesota Vikings – 9-8
Vikes will ride QB Kirk Cousin and wideout Justin Jefferson. Their changing defense will determine if they can repeat in the average NFC North.
Green Bay Packers -7-9
The post Aaron Rodgers ear begins with young QB Jordan Love. Young offense will be challenged. Veteran tough defense should keep them competitive weekly.
Chicago Bears – 6-11
QB Justin Fields was a threat to run and dangerous there, though only an average pocket passer entering his third season. Their young defense probably goes through painful growing challenges.
New Orleans Saints – 10-7
The Saints begin the Derek Carr era looking for an explosive offense with wideout Chris Olvie and Michael Thomas. Saints’ defense is a top five unit who keeps them in the postseason chase.
Tampa Bay Bucs – 9-8
The Bucs lose QB Tom Brady to retirement and look to new vet Baker Mayfield to direct this attack. Their veteran talented defense has faded recently and must return to prior levels for this club to challenge for the NFC South.
Atlanta Falcons – 7-10
Falcons have changed the face of this club recently, but improvement probably depends on first year starting QB Desmond Ridder. Their ground game behind rookie Bijan Robinson gives them a much needed new dimension. Defense ranked with the worst in the league and will have half new starters.
Carolina Panthers – 6-11
Panthers turns the page with top pick QB Lance Young starting behind a much-improved line. Their talented young defense should continue to improve. This club could be the surprise team here, though probably a year away of turning them into victories.
San Francisco 49ers – 11-6
The 49ers look to young Brock Purdy to lead this balanced offense which ranks among the best in the league. Wideout Deebo Samuel and TE George Kittle are among the best playmakers in the game. Edge defender Nick Bosa is the games’ best pass rusher. 49ers will challenge for the NFL title.
Seattle Seahawks – 10-7
Seahawks hope to ride the hot hand of Geno Smith for another strong offense. They have rebuilt their once renowned defense and will press for the NFC West division.
Los Angeles Rams – 9-8
Rams seem so removed from their SB title from just two years ago. Only a strong performance behind star QB Matthew Stafford can return this club to the postseason. Their once top defense still relies on DT Aaron Donald, though the supporting cast has slipped noticeably recently.
Arizona Cardinals – 4-13
Cards will start the season without injured QB Kyler Murray after the worst season of his career. They face massive turnover on both sides of the ball and have the makeup to challenge for the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft 2024.
Eagles, Lions, Saints and 49ers
Wild Card Clubs
Giants, Seahawks & Cowboys
49ers beat Eagles in NFC title game
Buffalo Bills – 12-5
Bills are shooting for their 4th consecutive East title behind star QB Josh Allen. Receivers Diggs and Gabriel along with TEs Knox and rookie Dalton Kincaid form a strong contingent. One of the league’s top defenses will have to prove better in big game situations to get that elusive SB title.
New York Jets – 11-6
Aaron Rodgers mania is at a high pitch with good reason. Jets’ offense will depend on their line to step up and protect Rodgers. This defense will rank among the top in the game, though must come up big in late key games to make the postseason. Capable of competing vs every NFL club.
Miami Dolphins – 10-7
Dolphins ride the health of young QB Tua Tagovailoa to direct this potent offense. They look to new DC Vic Fangio to improve this talented unit. Dolphins capable of returning to the postseason if Tua stays heathy. Must survive the tough AFC East race.
New England Patriots – 8-9
Pats are slipping in one of the best divisions. They look to new OC Bill O’Brien to help QB Mac Jones take a huge step up after a disappointing 2022. Bill Belichick will coax this young defense to further improvement. Pats are always in the playoff hunt, though the AFC may be too loaded this season.
Cincinnati Bengals – 12-5
QB Joe Burrow is a difference maker again and capable of carrying this club to the SB. He goes to wideouts Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins both produced 1000-yard performances. Their defense needs to improve especially in coverage. They look for critical maturing to live up to SB hype.
Baltimore Ravens – 10-7
The Ravens look for a healthy QB Lamar Jackson to improve their passing game vs top competition. Their ground game is highly productive, though unspectacular. They made major changes in their secondary to improve coverage. Ravens will push to return to postseason, though need a big effort from Jackson vs top clubs.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 10-7
Steelers look to young QB Kenny Pickett to continue his fast progress. Wideout George Pickens is ready to emerge to an elite level in year two. Their offensive line must improve to play up to their potential. The Steel defense slipped noticeably especially vs the pass despite edge TJ Watt. This club is a borderline contender and needs offensive line and secondary to step up to make the postseason.
Cleveland Browns – 7-10
Browns started vet QB Deshaun Watson after his 11 game suspension where he was noticeably rusty. No excuses this season for their poor passing game. Back Nick Chubb is a workhorse. Their highly rated defense gives up too much air yardage and points and will have to improve for this club to contend.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 11-6
Jaguars rode the hot hand of young QB Trevor Lawrence to the divisional round. HC Doug Pederson can improve this offense further with new wideout Clavin Ridley joining a strong receiving group. Their young defense is loaded and looks to edge Travon Walker and Mike LB Devin Lloyd to become playmakers. This club can take another step up with Lawrence directing this club to another AFC South title.
Tennessee Titans – 9-8
The Titans slipped significantly last season and will be hard pressed to win a playoff spot. They need both QB Ryan Tannehill and premier back Derrick Henry to return to prior form. Their OL must improve after surrendering too many sacks. Their defense crashed last season and their young corners must improve especially vs playoff clubs. Tough team with limited playmakers on both sides of the ball. Long shot for postseason.
Houston Texans – 7-10
New regime and field leadership in HC DeMeco Ryans and QB CJ Stroud and edge Will Anderson. Stroud gets the starting call to begin a new era. Their defense ranks among the worst in the league and equally inept vs the pass and run. HC Ryans will continue their massive roster turnover, hoping he can turn more games into W while he develops their young talent.
Indianapolis Colts – 5-12
The Colts have fallen quickly attempting to maintain playoff levels with veteran passers. They turn the page with raw rookie QB Anthony Richardson. Stud runner Jon Taylor may move in a trade which could begin a bigger house cleaning. Their young defense has failed to improve and a big reason they could land in the basement.
Kansas City Chiefs – 12-5
Chiefs look for their 8th consecutive West title behind elite QB Patrick Mahomes. He will rely on TE Travis Kelce to lead a changing receiving corps. Their defense looks to CB McDuffie and edge rusher Karlaftis to become playmakers. Veterans DT Chris Jones ranks with the best interior linemen in the league. SB contender plays in the toughest conference and will be pushed to the fullest with every team capable of West title.
San Diego Chargers – 11-6
The Chargers look to young QB Justin Herbert to lead this potent offense to the playoffs again. Herbert was outstanding and adds top pick WR Quinten Johnston. The line looks to a healthy LT Slater to stabilize their front. They can surprise for the West title, though need improvement from their young defense especially healthy vets, LB Joey Bosa, CB J.C. Jackson and safety Darwin James.
Denver Broncos – 9-8
Broncos have missed the playoffs since 2016 with vet QB Russell Wilson playing poorly. He must return to prior levels for this club to compete in the tough AFC. Their highly regarded defense performed only average with marginal pressure and average coverage. Club is hoping new HC Sean Payton can get Wilson right and defense returns to prior levels.
Oakland Raiders – 7-10
Raiders parted ways with talented QB Derek Car and replaced by vet Jimmy Garoppolo. This club has fall significantly off horrible draft classes from 2019 thru 2021 with five of six top picks released or let go. Wideout Davante Adams and runner Josh Jacobs need to carry this offense. Edge rushers Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones are difference makers, though have a marginal supporting cast. Raiders will be hard pressed to play over .500 in the tough AFC and probably a few draft classes from postseason.
Bills, Bengals, Jaguars and Chiefs
Wild Card Clubs
Jets, Dolphins & Ravens
Bengals beat the Chiefs
Super Bowl Matchup
Bengals over 49ers
Joe Burrow drives Bengals to a SB title