From week one to the draft and everything in between, it was an unbelievably entertaining year of football. Let’s make some far-too-early NFL predictions for 2023! While both final division standings and playoff seeding will offend several fanbases, let’s all just remember that it’s going to be okay and anything can happen. The uncertainty and hope that clashes in our minds before a new season is the beauty of it all, right?
Far-Too-Early 2023 NFL Predictions – NFC
2 New Orleans
4 Tampa Bay
I really believe that the complete overhaul this offseason from new Head Coach Frank Reich to a busy free agency and efficient draft (Hello, Mr. Young!), will launch the Panthers to the top of this anemic division. Normally, I would not have trusted a new head coach, but given Reich’s experience, I feel confident he is the man for this team.
3 Green Bay
This division was absolutely a curse word inducing me to rank and predict for obvious reasons. I do think it’s hard to bet against this young Lions roster based on their trajectory, free agency moves, and draft. While I was nervous about Detroit losing their RB tandem of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, David Montgomery (Chicago) and Jahmyr Gibbs (draft-Alabama) should still be a dangerous duo. Not only do they have weapons and competency on offense, but their D is primed to have even more firepower with the additions of C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Philadelphia) and Jack Campbell (draft/Iowa).
2 New York (Giants)
This was seemingly the easiest division in the league to forecast. Anyone who can bet against Philly to win this division is silly! Their historic offensive line retains four of five starters in front of MVP-caliber Jalen Hurts who was offered a generous extension.
While this top-tier defense lost a few key pieces this offseason, they also were able to restock with cheaper and younger options with the likes of Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith (both out of Georgia). The core of this defensive unit still includes veterans like James Bradberry, Fletcher Cox, and Darius Slay. I’d say their odds to reach the NFC Championship at least is high.
2 San Francisco
4 Los Angeles
New NFC West winner, who dis? I wouldn’t quite call this a hot take, but it is probably going to go against some bettors. Seattle is doing all of the right things as far as strengthening their roster and this includes signing Geno Smith, 2022 Comeback Player of the Year, to a giant 3-year deal. This defensive unit is young and coming around and Smith has an offense that features DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and now Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Far-Too-Early 2023 NFL Predictions – AFC
I strongly believe Jacksonville, given a consistent roster and Doug Pederson with the whistle takes this division and continues to compete. Trevor Lawrence hasn’t peaked yet and that is a scary thought for opponents and divisional foes. Wideout Calvin Ridley adds to Lawrence’s arsenal downfield as his quarterback labeled him a ‘freak’ on the field.
No way can I bet against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. I know Baltimore is loading up and Lamar is there to stay for the long haul, but I’ve seen how the Bengals can compete when Burrow is on the field. Even with poor pocket protection, they make magic happen. Cincinnati also happens to have a serviceable defense that they hope to build upon in 2023.
3 New York (Jets)
4 New England
Bills Mafia, please don’t hurt me. While I think you are extremely talented, something feels perilous about the Dolphins this year after a quick exit from the playoffs in January (ironically, to Buffalo). Miami’s defense can potentially be really scary by adding Jalen Ramsey (Los Angeles Rams) to the secondary and if Tua stays upright, the Fins can cause mayhem under McDaniel’s scheme.
1 Kansas City
2 Los Angeles
4 Las Vegas
Going into the 2022 season, this division gave me SO much anxiety. This year is a different story. Until the Chiefs can prove me wrong, lose Andy Reid and/or Mahomes, or completely unravel they will stay atop the AFC West in my projections. AFC fans: the Chiefs’ depth on both offense and defense is preparing to put on a clinic yet again on how to build a dynasty.
Playoff Seeding Predictions
2 Kansas City
5 San Francisco
6 New York Giants
7 New Orleans
Notice the familiar faces of my predicted AFC squads and then the newer landscape of the NFC playoffs starring four new helmets. I do think this adds up as the NFC was the weaker conference and there is a greater chance of a shake-up! Have some other thoughts on your early predictions? Let us know on Twitter @DraftCountdown!