Predicting The 2023 NFL Season

Guess who’s back! Back again! The NFL prediction post is the one that’s back again. Here are the prior years I’ve done it:

Last year, I was just BRUTALLY awful. Bills over Packers in the Super Bowl, let’s just start there, because believe me, it gets worse. I had Denver and the Colts as division champions. I had the Giants and Seahawks as among the four worst teams in football; I also had the Jags coming in last in their division.

Turn the page! On to the next! Let’s flush 2022 and get back on the winning train. Here are my predictions for the entire NFL:

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • New York Giants
  • Washington Commanders

I made this mistake – picking the Cowboys over the Eagles – last year, but I’m running it back because I think Dallas is really good on both sides of the ball. I think Dak has a bounce-back season in him (I’m banking one of my fantasy team’s fortunes on this), and I think they win one more than Philly in a Super Bowl Hangover season. I don’t know if I like the Giants to repeat as wild card teams, and I actually lowkey believe in Washington keeping things close with New York

NFC North

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears

I think most people are penciling in the Lions as division champs – based on how they finished 2022 – but I’m not buying it. They MIGHT be able to squeak into the playoffs, but we’ll see. I like the Vikings; I think they’re underrated. I don’t think they’ll be as fortunate in close games as they were last year, but even if they regress down to 10 wins or so, I think that’s enough to win the division. My big reach is the Packers overtaking the Lions behind Jordan Love and a solid defense. I think the Bears are – at best – a year away.

NFC South

  • New Orleans Saints
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I like the Saints to win this at 9-8; very mediocre. I think the Falcons might get to 7-8 wins at best. I think the Panthers will be better than people expect (many are expecting them to be among the worst teams in football), but they’ll come on too late to make an impact. I think the Bucs will legitimately be among the four worst teams in football.

NFC West

  • Seattle Seahawks
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Arizona Cardinals

Fuck it, let’s go! Give me the Seahawks as division champs! Give me the Seahawks as a Top 2 seed! Give me the 49ers settling for the wild card. Give me the Rams being slightly better than expected (6-8 wins). And give me the Cards contending for a top overall draft pick.

AFC East

  • New York Jets
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Buffalo Bills
  • New England Patriots

I had the toughest time with this one, but here’s my rationale. I love the Jets’ defense. I know the popular pick is for the offense to underperform behind Aaron Rodgers, but I think he has enough in the tank to give them one good season; they also shouldn’t need to score a ton to get there. With the talent they have at the skill positions, I think that’ll be more than enough to compensate for a potentially-shaky O-Line. I’m putting my eggs in the basket that Tua will stay healthy and that Miami offense will do some work. I think Buffalo’s defense is shaky as hell, and we’ll see some regression out of an offense that relies too much on Josh Allen. For what it’s worth, I think the Pats’ defense is among the best in football, and they’ll be involved in a lot of low-scoring games where they still manage to win 8-9 games.

AFC North

  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Baltimore Ravens

I just think the Bengals are the whole package. I love the Steelers’ defense and think Pickett takes a big step in his development. The Browns have a lot of talent, but I’m not so sure they’ve got enough at the quarterback spot to overtake the top two teams. And, sort of by default, I think the Ravens struggle.

AFC South

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts

I want one last ride with the Titans: great coaching, good-enough defense, so-so quarterback play, and one final monster year from Derrick Henry. I think the Jags are also right there and will nab one of the wild card spots. Houston and Indy will be among the bottom-feeders in football

AFC West

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Denver Broncos
  • Las Vegas Raiders

I’m not super high on the Chiefs to repeat as champions, but I think they’re the best of an otherwise Just Okay division. The Chargers will probably be among the first ones out of the playoffs. I think Denver will be slightly improved, but I also think Russell Wilson is finished as a premiere quarterback. And I think the Raiders are a mess.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. New Orleans Saints
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. San Francisco 49ers
  7. Green Bay Packers

AFC Playoffs

  1. Cincinnati Bengals
  2. New York Jets
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Tennessee Titans
  5. Miami Dolphins
  6. Jacksonville Jaguars
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Wild Card Round

  • Seahawks over Packers
  • 49ers over Vikings
  • Eagles over Saints
  • Jets over Steelers
  • Chiefs over Jaguars
  • Dolphins over Titans

Divisional Round

  • Cowboys over 49ers
  • Seahawks over Eagles
  • Bengals over Dolphins
  • Chiefs over Jets

Championship Round

  • Cowboys over Seahawks
  • Bengals over Chiefs

Super Bowl

  • Bengals over Cowboys

Probably a little too high on the Seahawks. Probably a little too low on the 49ers. Almost certainly too high on the Cowboys. Might be a mistake dismissing the Bills the way I did. We’ll see! I don’t feel great about any of it, other than the Bengals. For whatever reason, I really like Cincy this year (almost certainly the kiss of death!).

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