NFL 2023 predictions: How the NFL divisional and wild card races will play out

NFL insider Jerry McDonald projects the AFC and NFC division winners and wild card teams in 2023

What the NFL divisional and wild card races will look like in 2023:

The NFC West

49ers. Imagine being a dominant division favorite with any of the quarterbacks on the roster. With this team, either Brock Purdy or Sam Darnold can and will win.

The NFC North

The Detroit Lions. OK, I’m in with Detroit after its 8-2 record last season. We’ll find out right away because they were assigned the Thursday night opener. Oh, and quarterback Jared Goff may be better than Matthew Stafford, the Rams’ replacement. Consider that.

The NFC South

Panthers of Carolina. The Panthers are the best of the worst in a division where 9-8 should be good enough for first place. Bryce Young, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, is in good hands with Frank Reich as his head coach and a roster that finished strong in 2022.

The NFC East

The Eagles of Philadelphia. Whatever the 49ers say, they were the best team in the NFC a year ago. There may be a drop-off from 14-3 a year ago, but an elite pass rush and do-it-all QB Jalen Hurts should be enough to win the division again.

The use of wild cards

Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings are the three teams. The Cowboys have too much talent to fall short of double-digit victories, though QB Dak Prescott is being closely monitored. The Seahawks improved their overall talent and must show that QB Geno Smith is not a mirage. The Vikings may make the playoffs, but expect Kirk Cousins and company to exit early.

Looking from the outside

The Saints of New Orleans. Derek Carr, the Raiders’ longtime quarterback, rarely hits the ground running (or passing) with a new offensive coordinator. Will Jon Gruden get a phone call during the season if the Saints don’t make a move in the NFC South?

The AFC West

Chiefs of Kansas City. The Chiefs show no signs of relinquishing division supremacy. Other than Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes’ receiving corps has been constantly reshuffled, and even that doesn’t seem to matter. That’s how good he is. Coach Andy Reid is as well.

The AFC North

The Bengals of Cincinnati. With rookie edge rusher Myles Murphy and cornerback DJ Turner contributing immediately, the Bengals should be able to hold off the Steelers and Ravens.

The AFC South

Jaguars of Jacksonville. Riding the high of overcoming a 27-0 playoff deficit to the Chargers, the Jaguars’ talent base and another step forward from third-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence should be enough to win in a weak division.

The AFC East

The Buffalo Bills. QB Josh Allen must make fewer turnovers, and the Bills must demonstrate their ability to grind it out when the weather turns cold. You’d think a team based in Buffalo would be prepared for that, but in the division playoffs last season, they were outrushed 172-64 by Cincinnati. The defense is adequate.

The use of wild cards

The New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Baltimore Ravens are all contenders. If you’ve had enough of Aaron Rodgers’ antics in Green Bay, just wait until he leads a New York-based team to the playoffs. Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season in Pittsburgh, and he has a team capable of winning 10 games or more in 2023. Todd Monken has retooled the Ravens’ offense in preparation for a healthy Lamar Jackson.

Looking from the outside

The Denver Broncos. Sean Payton, can you rebuild Russell Wilson? In Year 2 with the Broncos, the former Seattle Seahawks star will be better, but not good enough to get Denver into the playoffs.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply