We are at the point in the NFL offseason where speculation and predictions are about all we can do as we wait for the kickoff of the 2023 NFL season. Here are some way-too-early bold predictions for the 2023 NFL season.
- Gavin – The Buffalo Bills Finish Third in Their Division and Miss the Playoffs
The Buffalo Bills have been playoff mainstays for the last four seasons, even making an AFC Championship game in 2020. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and the rest of the team are good enough to keep them in contention for a full 17-game season, but is their roster better now than it was this time last year? I don’t think so. While the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins have made significant upgrades to their rosters this offseason, the Bills have stayed relatively stagnant. It could result in them finishing third in the AFC East and missing the playoffs entirely.
- Curtiss- Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson will win the MVP this season.
For the first time in a long time, quarterback Lamar Jackson has been set up for success in Baltimore. His wide receiver trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, and rookie Zay Flowers is arguably the best set of weapons he has had since he has been in Baltimore. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is out. Todd Monken is in. Monken is far more creative in the passing game than Roman, and that is something Baltimore’s passing offense has been lacking since Lamar has been there. With a new set of weapons and a new offensive coordinator, Lamar Jackson will be a dark horse MVP candidate. Jackson has improved as a passer throughout the years and with a new set of receivers and a more diverse passing attack, Jackson has the potential to have one of his best seasons while he’s in Baltimore. If there is one player that could win the MVP this season, it is the guy in Baltimore who just got paid a huge contract extension.
- Gavin – Bryce Young Leads Carolina Panthers to Playoff Victory in 2023
The NFC South is hilariously weak. The New Orleans Saints have a limited ceiling with Derek Carr at quarterback and an aging roster. The Atlanta Falcons have massive questions at quarterback with Desmond Ridder. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting old fast and are seemingly in the future quarterback draft market. The Panthers are in prime position to take this division by the horns for the significant future. If Bryce Young turns out to be who I think he will be, the Panthers have the most complete roster in the NFC South and could contend for playoff success in the first year of the Bryce Young-Frank Reich era.
- Curtiss- Will Levis will start earlier than expected for the Tennessee Titans.
Leading up to the NFL Draft, Will Levis received a ton of first round hype. However, Levis fell out of the first round and was eventually drafted in the second round by the Tennessee Titans, who drafted quarterback Malik Willis in last year’s draft in the third round. With an aging quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee reportedly “giving up” on Willis, Levis seems primed to take over for the Titans. He will, but it will be earlier than expected. Outside of running back Derrick Henry, wide receiver Treylon Burks and tight end Chig Okonkwo, Tennessee’s offensive personnel is abysmal. Putting Levis in that offensive situation seems like a recipe for disaster, but if the Titans’ offense is poor to start the season, they might have no choice. Levis is talented, but he isn’t primed to start right away for Tennessee. Accuracy and footwork needs to be improved, but he has all the physical tools to be a good quarterback in this league. Levis is likely to be the backup for Tannehill and if Tannehill struggles, Levis is likely going to get a shot at being the starter. Levis is a bit raw, but Tennessee starting him early in the season is a possibility to look at.
- Gavin – Kevin Stefanski misses the playoffs in Cleveland, Gets Fired
Kevin Stefanski came to Cleveland via Minnesota and had immediate success. He led the Browns to an 11-5 record along with a playoff victory over the dreaded rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, he has gone 8-9 and 7-10 and missed the playoffs in both seasons. Now, Deshaun Watson has a full offseason and some games under his belt with a roster that is very strong. It is make-or-break time for Stefanski, but I predict the Browns miss the playoffs and his run in Cleveland meets its unceremonious end.
- Curtiss- Todd Bowles, not Ron Rivera will be the first coach to be fired this season.
It is some belief that if there is one head coach that could be fired first, it is Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera. One coach who is already on the hot seat and could be gone earlier is Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles. Despite making the playoffs last year due to their division being abysmal, Tampa Bay was not a great team last season. Fast-forward to this offseason, the team has talent, but I don’t view this team in high regards. Quarterback Baker Mayfield will likely be the starter for Tampa Bay on opening day, and we know what he is at this point in his career, he’s a starting quarterback but not particularly good at anything in regards to playing the position. As for the rest of the team, the offensive line is not great, defensively there is some talent, but the depth isn’t there. If Tampa Bay starts the season off poorly, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if they choose to cut ties with Bowles. It would be unfair, but we have seen coaches get fired for reasons out of their control.
- Gavin – Philadelphia Eagles Become First Repeat Winner of NFC East Since 2004
The Eagles were the last team to repeat as NFC East champions when they won it from 2001 to 2004. They do it again in 2023 with Jalen Hurts leading the way. This Eagles roster is, for lack of a better term, totally sick. The amount of elite talent and depth on this team is borderline insane. General manager Howie Roseman has done a wonderful job of building this team, and it will pay off with a second straight division championship.
- Curtiss- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson will win Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year as well as lead in receiving yards.
The last time a wide receiver led the league in receiving yards in back-to-back seasons was Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson. Johnson did it in 2011 and 2012 with the Detroit Lions. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Justin Jefferson led the league in receiving yards next season and won Offensive Player of the Year while doing it. Head coach Kevin O’Connell is an exceptional play caller, and he finds ways to get his receivers the ball as well as maximize their talents. Jefferson is a top five receiver in this league and one of the best route runners as well. Another year in this offense, there is a good chance he could have a much better season than last year. I don’t see his production going down significantly, but I do believe Jefferson has the potential to win Offensive Player of the Year in consecutive years due to having another year with Kevin O’Connell as his play caller.
- Gavin – The Cincinnati Bengals Finally Get Over the Hump and Win it All
The Cincinnati Bengals have been knocking on the door of a Super Bowl title for the last couple of seasons. It’s time they kick down said door. The offensive line is finally in a position of stability with the upgrade at left tackle to Orlando Brown Jr. and the defense is younger, deeper, and more athletic. I believe the Bengals were the best team in the NFL last season, but 2023 is the year that they finally get that elusive first Lombardi Trophy.
- Curtiss- The Detroit Lions will underachieve this year and it will cost them a wild card spot
Everyone is buying into the Detroit Lions hype. I am not a part of that group. Could Detroit prove me wrong and be really good? Yes. Could this team potentially underachieve and be a massive disappointment? Yes. I am going with Detroit being a disappointment. Outside of revamping their secondary and adding running back David Montgomery, their free agency was overrated, and their draft was disappointing. Detroit finished their regular season on a high note, but we can’t ignore how bad this team was at the early part of last season. The hype Detroit is getting seems unjustified, and it seems like the team has a target on their back despite not achieving anything. I’m concerned about their defense, particularly their interior defensive line, and the offense will have some form of regression. The team has talent, no doubt, but this team is young and has a ton of pressure to deliver. Teams with a ton of hype tend to underperform, and Detroit is primed to underperform this season. Believe in Detroit if you want, but this team is primed for a letdown.
For more NFL content, check out the links below!
–Contender or Pretender: AFC East Edition
–Three Boom or Bust Teams Ahead of the 2023 NFL Season