If you follow Rahl Reviews, then you may know that I post my NFL Power Rankings each week, along with a paragraph or two recapping the previous week and/or the future outlook for each team. With everyone excited for the start of the 2023 NFL Regular Season, the rest of the staff wanted to get in on the action! So, we each ranked all 32 NFL teams to form the “Rahl Reviews Staff Composite Rankings”.
The formula was simple: take everyone’s individual rankings and average them together to form the final list. We were then all assigned a few teams to write about. So, here you have it – this is how the Rahl Reviews staff views the league as we enter the 2023 season!
You can find our individual rankings at the bottom of the page!
P.S. – I will also continue to post my own Power Ranking articles after Week 1. Just like last season, they will be updated & published each Thursday morning. Enjoy!
– Brock Hartley
NFL Preseason Power Rankings & Win Totals
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS
This team has completely declined since last year. Kyler Murray is hurt. Deandre Hopkins is gone. JJ Watt retired. Kliff Kingsbury called it as head coach. Not a lot of hope left for this organization as they face tampering allegations from their former GM. If this team gets 1 win this season I’ll be surprised. So take the under for their win total, which is set at 4.5.
– Shane Ierardi
31. HOUSTON TEXANS
CJ Stroud and Damian Pierce are going to have a long season behind this weak offensive line. I’ll be surprised if they finish in the top 30 on offense with their unproven wide receivers in Nico Collins and John Metchie. I highly doubt this team makes much of a splash this season and with this mediocre defense, I don’t see much change. There are two bright spots though who should have great seasons in Derek Stingley and Will Anderson. Derek should be one of the best cornerbacks in the league entering his second season, while Will Anderson could be pushing for Defensive Player of the Year fresh out of Alabama. When it comes to their win total I have them landing under 6.5.
– Shane Ierardi
30. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Sorry Colts fans, but I think you are going to be in for a rough season. This roster is flat out bad. It will be even worse if Jonathan Taylor doesn’t play. Fortunately, hope is on the horizon. That hope comes in the form of rookie QB Anthony Richardson, who the Colts drafted 4th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. He won’t come out and turn things around for this franchise in Week 1, so this season should be looked at as a “preview” for what the future of the team looks like. Richardson will take some lumps along the way, especially behind this dinged up offensive line, but he should give the folks in Indy a good idea of whether or not he can lead this team to success in the future. I like Richardson and think he will be a decent starter down the road, but he will have a frustrating rookie year, albeit with some flashes of brilliance. I have the Colts under 6.5 wins.
– Brock Hartley
29. CAROLINA PANTHERS
When we were randomly given teams for this article, I was hopeful to not have to speak on teams like the Panthers. They don’t bring much to the table, and from top to bottom they look like dog shit. Everyone is hopeful Bryce Young will become relevant, but he’s too short, so the chances of that happening are slim. He looks like a child amongst men and he’s going to struggle to see over the line of scrimmage, resulting in him needing to rely heavily on quick passes, screens, flats, and all the things that don’t work unless you’re the Miami Dolphins.
They added 33-year-old WR Adam Thielen to the roster and also added a very questionable WR in DJ Chark, who begins the season injured. There’s a lot of people in the sports world who think Thielen is washed up and that his role in this offense is going to be limited. I don’t buy that one bit. This is someone who put up 14 touchdowns in a single season not too long ago and consistently led the Vikings in receiving until JJ got into the mix. He is someone who will help guide the young talent, as well as lead by example. Thielen and Chark need to find a way to help bail out Young, and the Panthers need to pick a #1 running back early if they want to compete in this division, otherwise the Falcons and Saints will pull away early. Regardless, I don’t see Carolina winning more than 7 games this season.
– Tanner Rahl
28. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Super Bowl LV seems like a lifetime ago, and the Bucs sure would love to have Tom Brady back under center for them. After retiring this offseason, Tampa is now entering the Baker Mayfield era. Luckily for them, every team in the division will be starting a new quarterback this season, including two rookies. A roster that, on paper, doesn’t impress you, Tampa still has some pivotal players from that Super Bowl winning team 2 years ago. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tristan Wirfs, Devin White, and Levonte Davis just to name a few. Tampa is looking to win their third consecutive NFC South title, but it all falls on if Baker can produce. With only third year quarterback Kyle Trask on their roster to compete with Baker, I believe he will have a long leash as Tampa could be looking at this as a rebuilding year. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs tanked to position themselves to draft one of the very talented quarterbacks coming into the draft next season. With that being said, I’m predicting the Bucs to finish the season at 4-13 which is under the 6.5 win total set for them, but it should put them in the top 5 of the draft to secure a QB like Drake Maye or Bo Nix to be the new face of the franchise in Tampa.
– Tyler Thorne
27. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Las Vegas, I hope you enjoyed that NHL title this summer because it doesn’t appear as if this football team is ready to give you the same satisfaction as the Golden Knights. The Raiders seem to be at a crossroads. On the one hand, they have one of the best receivers and one of the best running backs in the entire league. They are led by a proven game manager, and when you look at Jimmy G’s resume, he also wins. Defense seems like it has its holes but really the issue with this team is its front office and coaching staff. There have been reports of players expressing their displeasure with Josh Mcdaniels, and ownership has been vocal that they aren’t happy with the product they saw last year. While this offense may look good on paper, there just seems to be some sort of stink radiating from this team overall. Jimmy G hasn’t proven to be able to stay healthy for a full season, Josh Jacobs missed a large portion of camp, and they really didn’t address the main issues on the defense. Now let’s factor in that they have the 2nd toughest schedule in the league based on last year’s win totals. The Chiefs always whoop them, LA and Denver project to be better which will make life more difficult in the division. Then they have games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Miami, Minnesota, Green Bay, and both teams in New York.
The only way an average team like the Raiders could make it out alive with this schedule, would be if the entire team bought in, and had a great coaching staff to navigate and motivate them to victory. Yet Vegas is sadly stuck with a Belichick rip-off who just can’t seem to thrive without Tom Brady being his quarterback. Las Vegas seems like a franchise who knows it needs to just start fresh, yet they just paid billions of dollars to move to Vegas so they kind of have to be good in order to pay for everything. That’s only going to make this team fail even worse. I have them landing under 6.5 wins, and would also sprinkle something on the alt line of under 4.5 wins at +230 for some value.
– Matthew Bianchi
26. ATLANTA FALCONS
I’ve been a diehard Falcons fan since Mike Vick arrived on the scene in the early 2000s. Much has changed since then as I’ve recently watched this team get to the Super Bowl and blow a 28-3 lead, and I’ve watched this team struggle to get above .500 many seasons as well. Throughout the years, the Falcons relied heavily on their offense, which they haven’t had since Matt Ryan went off to the Colts. Along with their non-existent offense as of late, they have also rarely had a defense to help keep them in games, but this year is different. The Falcons started off the 2023 season with the second-most cap space in the NFL, allowing them to spend money where they needed to most – the defense. They were able to snag players like Jessie Bates III, David Onyemata, Calais Campbell, and Bud Dupree. They also picked up a few defensive backs in the recent draft, such as Clark Phillips III from Utah and DaMarcco Hellams from Alabama.
The quarterback situation in Atlanta has been questionable the last few seasons, but Desmond Ridder is someone I watched quite a bit at Cincinnati. I have faith that he can put up a season with upwards of 4000 passing and close to 700 rushing. To help him achieve this, the Falcons picked up OT Matthew Bergeron from Syracuse to help protect their future quarterback. Ridder had time to learn and prepare behind veteran QB Marcus Mariota last season, giving him the experience needed to start Week 1 of the 2023 NFL Regular Season. With newly added running back and hopeful star, Bijan Robinson, alongside TE Kyle Pitts and WR Drake London, the Falcons have no reason to not put up points this year around. The Falcons are also in one of the easier divisions, as matchups against the Panthers and Buccaneers should be considered 4 wins in my opinion. The Saints are a different story, as they could easily become the dark horse of the entire league. It’s up to the Falcons to match the energy of the New Orleans Saints early in the season if they want to make a run for the playoffs. At the very least, I see this Falcons team winning 9 games.
– Tanner Rahl
25. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
The new owner creates new life for the Commanders, as they look to get back on the winning side of football this season. Sam Howell is your starter, which should bring some consistency to the offense. Terry McLaurin is a top receiver in this league. The offense has potential, but the star is the defense, specifically the defensive line. Loaded with SEC blue bloods, this unit is one of the best in the league. This should help propel them over 6.5 wins.
– Shane Ierardi
24. LOS ANGELES RAMS
This is the appropriate fall from grace for a team who sold off everything to deliver a Super Bowl to LA just two years ago. The franchise can also thank their lucky stars because if they didn’t win that title, we would be looking at the Sean McVay time in LA a lot differently. Sadly, the older veterans from that title run are, well… old. Matthew Stafford has always been known as a tough guy who battles through injuries to finish the year. Sadly, as he enters his 15th season, fighting through those injuries hasn’t gotten any easier. We are seeing that he is fully healthy, and ready to go. His favorite target on the other hand, Cooper Kupp looks to be in line to miss some games this season. Kupp is seeing a specialist to get a better grasp of his hamstring injury. Thats not great, especially since the depth behind Kupp is very rough. Cam Akers looked good coming off the Achilles but that’s another guy they can’t afford to lose. The defense at least has its anchor in Aaron Donald, but when you look at the roster, that’s it. They traded away Ramsey this offseason, and didn’t really upgrade the position. They also don’t have a first-round pick to come in and add immediate strength. LA has the thinnest roster in the league because of going all in for the Super Bowl. That means that they are one to two injuries away from being an average team, to a very bad team. Now they also start the year with games against Seattle on the road, San Francisco, Cincinnati on the road, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
A 2-5 start seems very possible, and could cause some of those key veterans to take their foot off the gas since the championship they expect isn’t happening. More games against the NFC East and AFC North will only give them more competitive games to finish the year. Apparently, Stafford can’t connect with the team, Aaron Donald wanted to retire, and McVay has a multi-million-dollar contract to work in broadcasting. They may still have the faces we all remember from that championship team, but they are not the same. They should finish under 6.5 wins.
– Matthew Bianchi
23. CHICAGO BEARS
Justin Fields started to find traction as the 2022 NFL season progressed, and even showed flashes of star potential through the middle of the season. Those flashes have Bears fans excited that their new franchise QB may finally live up to his billing. The Bears front office realized that to give their young QB any chance of success they needed to get him some weapons. Insert DJ Moore who will give Fields a chance to find a true WR1 connection while, in turn, Fields gives Moore the chance to be the WR1 that he, and many others believe he can be. The Bears added Chase Claypool who, if he can manage to keep his head on straight and actually decide to show up on Sundays, will give the Bears a solid red-zone threat. Darnell Mooney is also no slouch and may find more success this season now that opposing defenses won’t be focused solely on him. Khalil Herbert is expected to be a bell cow back and the team was so comfortable with him that they moved on from David Montgomery, deciding not to sign him in free agency. Reports out of Bears camp have also created quite a buzz around Cole Kmet who may become a bigger feature in the Bears offense than many expect.
The Bears also upgraded the offensive line in the offseason, to truly give Fields the best opportunity to succeed yet in his young career. The only problem in Chicago is the offense will not just have to be good, they will have to be great if the Bears expect to win with one of the league’s worst defenses entering the 2023 season. They should be good enough to win over 7.5 games though.
– Brandon Wamsley
22. GREEN BAY PACKERS
It was a long wait, but Jordan Love’s time is finally here. Green Bay will turn things over to Love after trading future HOF’er Aaron Rodgers to the Jets. He will share the backfield with a formidable duo in Aaron Jones & AJ Dillon. The WR group he will be throwing to are not as formidable… they are also banged up. Wide receivers Christian Watson & Romeo Doubs have both missed practice recently, leaving Love lacking targets. Hopefully Love soaked up some knowledge from Rodgers, because this team may only go as far as he takes them. With the other teams in this division trending upwards, the play here is obvious. Take the Packers to finish under 7.5 wins.
– Brock Hartley
21. TENNESSEE TITANS
The 2023 season will be an interesting one for the Titans. Many of us thought this could be a rebuilding year for the team but I believe head coach Mike Vrabel has other plans. The Jacksonville Jaguars seem to be the only team stopping them from winning the division. Assuming the Colts and Texans will suffer from growing pains with rookie quarterbacks taking over for their offenses. Vrabel is one of the most underrated coaches in the league and he still has the absolute savage Derrick Henry to lean on. Henry exploded last year after an injury riddled 2021 campaign. If he can put up another 1,500 yard and 13 touchdown season in this run heavy offense, the Titans are going to shock a lot of teams. Especially if newly acquired Deandre Hopkins can return to being a top 10 receiver in the league and last year’s first round draft pick Treylon Burks can make that second-year jump. The biggest question with this team is whether quarterback Ryan Tannehill is able to get the job done and, if not, will the Titans look to give young quarterback Malik Willis and rookie Will Levis a shot to lead the team.
I personally don’t have faith in any of these quarterbacks, but when King Henry is who you hand the ball off to, that makes the job a bit easier. The defense should be formidable as Vrabel always gets those guys ready to compete no matter who he throws out there. Also, in my opinion a very winnable schedule has me predicting the Titans to finish the season with a respectable 7-10 record, but missing the playoffs and going under for their win total set at 7.5.
– Tyler Thorne
20. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
It can only get better from last year. The Patriots have an actual offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien who knows the Patriots and Alabama way. Mac Jones HAS to be better. The offense has some talent at the skill positions to not completely suck. The defense will be the saving grace of this team. The unit looks strong, led by Matthew Judon, with a strong secondary that could get better. Rookie Christian Gonzalez looks legit and could find himself playing a lot of minutes this season with Jack Jones missing time. I’m looking at Christian Barmore to really step up this season. However, in their brutal division, they should still finish under 7.5 wins.
– Shane Ierardi
19. DENVER BRONCOS
The Broncos were a team that I thought had a chance to impact the league when Russell Wilson was traded to them for the world in 2022. I remember on an episode of “The 412 Podcast” last year, I made myself sound like an idiot when I said the Broncos were the dark horse of the league. As it turned out, the offensive scheme didn’t mesh well with Wilson and because of it some changes in staff were made. The Denver fans are hopeful with the hire of HC Sean Payton that a new look offense will show itself starting Week 1. In order for this to happen, I think Russ needs to be willing to use his legs to open up plays like he did in his earlier years in Seattle. He has the wide receivers to become a great QB again, but the pass rushing that takes place in the NFL nowadays appears to be too overwhelming for the 34-year-old QB.
It’s not just bad coaching and a possibly washed up QB that impacted this team last year. The Broncos have had many issues with injuries, and if they can remain healthy throughout the 2023 season, I believe they have a chance at a Wild Card spot out of the AFC. Javonte Williams is a great running back that can help keep the defenses guessing, but he’ll need to prove he can overcome a knee injury from last year. Jerry Jeudy was also injured much of last year, which had Courtland Sutton struggling to get open as most defenses focused on him. Fast forward to August of this year and he was carted off the field with another injury. Regardless of whether he’s out there to start the season or not, I don’t think they’re out beating the Chiefs this season, but they can compete with the Raiders and Chargers for that #2 spot. They have an O/U win total of 8.5 to start the season, which I believe is going to be quite the task. Regardless, I see them overcoming injuries and figuring out this offense that has so much potential. Give me the Broncos to go over 8.5 and win 9 or 10 games in hopes of securing a spot in the 2023 AFC Wild Card game.
– Tanner Rahl
18. CLEVELAND BROWNS
No excuses this year. Deshaun Watson is ready to start Week 1. Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper are in the top 10 at their position. Everything says the Cleveland offensive line is one of the best in the league. How can this offense struggle? The defense on the other hand can struggle easily. If Myles Garrett struggles at all, this entire defense will fall into the bottom echelons. I don’t see how this defense will be able to hold its own in the AFC North, let alone against some of these air raid offenses. I have them landing under 9.5 wins.
– Shane Ierardi
17. DETROIT LIONS
Throughout all the NFL, I don’t believe there’s a team that has improved as much over the offseason. The Lions improved over this past offseason, following a great end to the 2022 season. Just to give you an idea, this team began the season 1-6, but still managed to pull off a 9-8 record to end the season, giving Detroit their first winning season in the last 5 years. With an MVP caliber WR in Amon-Ra St Brown, newly added Marvin Jones, and a capable QB in Jared Goff, there’s no reason to count this team out as they added more key players on offense. David Montgomery is the new running back, as we saw Jamal Williams leave for the Saints and D’Andre Swift for the Eagles. I have faith that he can come in and help speed this team up when needed, since he’s an option for both running and passing plays. They also went out and drafted Jahmyr Gibbs, out of Alabama, in the first round so expect to see the rock shared often throughout the year between these two.
Something that may look completely different is the Lions’ defense. They went and drafted a LB out of Iowa, Jack Campbell, who is a game changer, as well as DB Brian Branch and DT Brodric Martin. Some key additions were Emmanuel Moseley and Camerson Sutton at cornerback, as well as C.J. Gardener-Johnson at defensive back. This is most likely due to the departure of both cornerbacks, Jack Huges and Jeff Okudah. With all these new changes, I see the Lions defense putting up top-10 numbers this year and going on to become the best defense in the NFC North. This is going to be a tough division, as the spotlight is on the QBs heavily from each team (Love, Fields, Cousins). These are guys who may struggle to put up wins against other teams outside of the division, but will put a great deal of effort to win when up against their divisional rivals. I look for all of these teams to have single digit wins up until the final game of the season, where one team secures a 10-7 record. Detroit has a win total of 9.5, which is exactly where most people expected. 10 wins is very possible, but anything more may be a stretch with their upcoming schedule. Personally, I have the Vikings taking the division at 10-7, with the Lions keeping it close at 9-8, which would land them under 9.5.
– Tanner Rahl
16. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
The 12th man and Seattle are looking to build off their surprising 9-8 season and playoff berth last year that saw them ultimately losing to division foe San Francisco. Nobody expected the Seahawks to move on from franchise quarterback Russell Wilson so seamlessly. You gotta give head coach Pete Carrol credit on that one. The resurgence of Geno Smith, who earned the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, also helped. Carroll had his team ready to compete every game. With that success will also come a lot more eyes on this team, who the league will not write off this year. They added two Day 1 starters in the draft with first round selections of Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Other than that, it is a very similar roster to last year’s that the Seahawks will be rolling with this season. The team had a very lackluster free agency with the only notable signing being the reunion with one of the key members from the “Legion of Boom” days in linebacker Bobby Wagner. It’s worth noting that Wagner is a short-term fix for the linebacker position. He should be a great locker room guy for a young team, and he will also get the fans fired up for his return. Although their division may seem weak, their out of division games are no walk in the park.
With the Giants, Bengals, Eagles, Ravens and Cowboys on their schedule this year, I’m expecting more of the same from the Seahawks – a slightly above average team that is going to win their fair share of games. I’m predicting the Seahawks to finish the season with the same record as last year, 9-8, which would be over the team total set at 8.5 and have this young, but talented, team eyeing up another Wild Card berth.
– Tyler Thorne
15. NEW YORK GIANTS
When people talk about surprise teams from last season, the New York Giants come to mind. Their quick rise from mediocrity to playoffs wasn’t exactly an expected story line. Then when you break down the numbers from last year, it’s even more perplexing. The offense finished in the bottom half of the league in YPG, PPG, 3rd down conversion %, and sacks allowed. Daniel Jones looks like a better passer, but that’s not saying too much. He finished with just 3,200 yards and 15 touchdowns. Even though this offense looks mediocre more often than not, this team possesses something most franchises spend years searching for. Brian Daboll has come into this franchise and set the tone for what a winning franchise should be, and this team has bought in. The Giants roster shouldn’t scare most teams, but they don’t make mistakes, and everyone does their job. They brought back the biggest piece to their success, Saquon Barkley, to help ease the pressure off Jones, and once again lead one of the top 5 rushing attacks in the league. Not to mention one of the biggest reasons their offense looked so average was that they had no one to throw the ball too. So, New York went out and made one of the bigger moves in the league this offseason and acquired Darren Waller to finally give Jones someone to hit in the middle of the field.
The defense got upgraded in the draft, and this unit should elevate into the top 10. According to Sharp Football Analysis, New York has the 12th easiest schedule on the year. Daniel Jones doesn’t turn the ball over, and 8 of their 9 wins all came in one score games. They have proven to be able to compete and win when it counts. I have them going over 7.5 wins, and backing their playoff prop at +172 wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
– Matthew Bianchi
14. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Derek Carr takes over in New Orleans, as he begins a new chapter in his NFL career. He should certainly have more help than he did in Las Vegas. This is a very capable roster. This team has been plagued by injuries in recent years, especially WR Michael Thomas. He has only played a handful of games in the past few seasons. This is a gifted receiver, who will now be complemented by emerging star WR Chris Olave. Alvin Kamara will miss some time, but when he returns, he will be another problem for opposing defenses. This division is weak, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see New Orleans run away with it. Take them to go over 9.5 wins.
– Brock Hartley
13. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Last season Trevor Lawrence took a big next step to prove himself as the franchise QB he was drafted to be. Lawrence got better as the season progressed and then showed his leadership and determination by leading the 3rd largest comeback in NFL postseason history. It’s clear that everyone in Jacksonville believes in Trevor Lawrence and the reports out of training camp show the team is entirely bought in. This is a team who most people forget gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs a very tough game in last season’s Divisional Round. Doug Pederson showed he really can be a fantastic coach for young quarterbacks and another year should only make things that much better for both Lawrence and the entire Jaguars offense. The most notable addition to that Jags offense is Calvin Ridley. Ridley has come in with something to prove after being suspended for a year for betting on games. A suspension he did not feel fit the crime. That motivation may be just what Ridley needed as all reports have said Ridley came into Jacksonville in the best shape of his life, and has quickly established a connection with Lawrence. Last season’s WR1 Christian Kirk has welcomed the addition of Ridley, and even though Kirk may fall to number 2 on the depth chart, he will be able to play a role he is much more familiar with and it may actually increase his success, which says a lot after a nice first season in Jacksonville.
Travis Etienne will be fully healthy and Evan Engram rounds out a solid support staff. The problem is, the Jags lost their best pass blocker in Jawaan Taylor in the offseason and were already one of the league’s worst offensive lines. They did draft Anton Harrison in hopes of salvaging the line, but it’s still undeniable that a very bad offensive line got worse heading into the new season. While the defense didn’t get worse, they also did nothing to improve and although they did get slightly better down the stretch in 2022, they were certainly not good. Jaguars fans and many in sports media have lofty expectations for the Jaguars this season, it’s hard to imagine the team living up to the hype unless something dramatic happens with the o-line and the defense. However, they should still be able to surpass their win total, which is set at 9.5.
– Brandon Wamsley
12. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The AFC North has a common thread this season that will undoubtedly decide the final standings and the playoff race, and that is quarterback play. The Steelers may be the team with the biggest question mark, but also the most to gain. Kenny Pickett had an up and down rookie season but has big expectations heading into his second season. The young QB didn’t have much of a chance to succeed behind a disaster of an offensive line last year. The Steelers believe they corrected that problem this offseason, bringing in Issac Seumalo and drafting Broderick Jones. If the new line succeeds like the front office and many forecasters predict, the success of the team will rest solely on Pickett. The offense has an abundance of weapons to help him out, with a dynamic RB duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, who will both relieve some pressure by generating a solid run game and give Pickett two nice pass catching options out of the backfield. Everyone has been talking about the Pickett to Pickens connection, and rightfully so as Pickens appears to be Kenny’s guy heading into the season. He’s not alone though as many have forgotten how good Diontae Johnson can be.
The Steelers are also hoping to rejuvenate Allen Robinson II, and have Pat Freiermuth as one of the league’s top pass catching tight ends. To go with a loaded offense, Pittsburgh will have one of the league’s better defenses with a top 3 front 7. So, with weapons all around, and a solid defense, all eyes will be on Pickett and the success of the team will be in his hands. He should be able to lead this team over their win total of 8.5.
– Brandon Wamsley
11. DALLAS COWBOYS
Dallas……….Oh. Dallas. Is this the year they finally have to look in the mirror and accept the fact that maybe, just maybe they are a bad team? This does seem like a horrible take when you look at how they finished last year. Last year the Cowboys finished 4th in PPG, 10th in YPG, 1st in takeaways, which resulted in a 12-5 record with a playoff appearance. However, Mike McCarthy’s biggest takeaway from last season was the fact that their offense scored too quickly, and their defense was too tired to defend opponents. The direct quote regarding his thoughts on Kellen Moore running the Dallas Offense was: “Kellen wants to light the scoreboard up, but I want him to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense.” So, let’s take a look at the roster he has to “run the damn ball.” Tony Pollard who has never seen a full workload and is currently recovering from a gruesome leg injury, Deuce Vaughn who is trending not for his play but for the fact that he looks like a toddler, and Rico Dowdle who has no real experience.
Dallas plays in a tough division with the Eagles and Giants moving in the right direction. They also play the AFC East and NFC West. The Jets, Bills, Dolphins, 49ers, and Seahawks could all be losses outside the division. McCarthy is my favorite to be the first coach fired, and this team could be in line for a top 10 pick. Dallas let go of their best asset in Kellen Moore. A guy who was a candidate to be head coach before McCarthy, but was deemed too inexperienced. Karma bites this franchise and Jerry Jones’s ego right in the ass. I have this team finishing under 9.5 wins, and you should also think about taking the “Dallas to miss the playoffs” prop at +180.
– Matthew Bianchi
10. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Skol! Minnesota fans should have a fun time watching their beloved Vikings this year. Still with a bitter taste in their mouth after dominating their way to winning the NFC North, yet getting bounced in the wildcard game by the Giants last year. The future looks bright in Kevin O’Connell’s second year at the helm. The Vikings had an interesting offseason to say the least. Most importantly, parting ways with Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook after four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Going with the next man up mentality, Alexander Mattison will now take over as the starting running back. His minimal touches last year behind Cook begs the question is he a true every down back? Luckily, he’s sure to see some soft defenses with the high-flying passing game Minnesota is equipped with.
Justin Jefferson already cemented himself as one of the best receivers in the league and will be commanding every defense’s attention. Complemented by the freshly PAID! TJ Hockenson and first round rookie receiver Jordan Addison, life should be good for Kirk Cousins! Although I’m not sold on their shaky defense, and they have to face the Chiefs, Niners, Eagles, and Bengals, I’m excited to see Brian Flores’ influence as he takes over as the Defensive Coordinator. I predict the Minnesota Vikings to end the year at 11-6 which is comfortably over the team win total set for them at 8.5.
– Tyler Thorne
9. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Injuries have rocked this secondary group already, including big hog Jalen Ramsey who should be back by December. The defensive line is the real strength of this unit and ready to run it back. Tua looks every bit ready to do what he did last year and he must be protected at all costs. Tyreek wants to break 2k yards. Waddle is still getting better. They have a stable in the backfield. All eyes on that offensive line who did not play well without veteran Terron Armstead on the left side. This group should manage to go over their 9.5 game win total.
– Shane Ierardi
8. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
These guys have been one of the more underwhelming NFL teams in the past few seasons. This team has had big expectations since QB Justin Herbert entered the scene, but things never seem to go quite as planned. Sometimes due to injuries, sometimes due to poor coaching/game planning. But anyway, here we are again. We are entering the 2023 season with the Chargers thought of by many as a dark horse Super Bowl contender, myself included. I love this roster. However, if this team doesn’t win a playoff game this year, I’d expect to see head coach Brandon Staley gassed. This is a put up or shut up year, in my opinion. The roster is good, the QB is great. However, the coach is a risk taker and a gambler, and things often don’t play out in his favor. If the Chargers once again disappoint, it’s a good bet the front office will take a gamble on someone else calling the shots. I’m not confident that they will get that playoff win, but I am confident that they will pick up over 9.5 wins in the regular season.
– Brock Hartley
7. BALTIMORE RAVENS
The talk around Baltimore this past offseason began focused solely on Lamar Jackson. After contract talks appeared to be falling apart it looked like Jackson may be on his way out and the Ravens may be looking for a new QB. After testing the market Jackson decided to finally sign his huge 5-year, $260 million deal to stay in Baltimore, which may or may not be such a good thing. Simply put, this Ravens team can go as far as Jackson can take them. Lamar will have the best supporting cast he’s had since entering the league, and more weapons offensively than he’s ever had. Zay Flowers is a favorite for offensive ROY. Plus, he’s gotten more praise and hype through the preseason than any of his competition. The Ravens offense will also feature Jackson’s longtime favorite target in Mark Andrews, a healthy Rashod Bateman, and new addition OBJ. This makes the Ravens pass catchers far more dynamic than seasons past, and RB JK Dobbins is a full year removed from his ACL injury and will enter the season fully healthy after showing flashes of how good he can be at the end of last season. All of these guys play behind a top 5 Offensive Line according to PFF, and new OC Todd Monken said he has big plans to open up the offense.
The Ravens will also have one of the NFL’s premiere defenses and with Harbaugh at the helm we know the special teams should be great. So, this is really the year for Jackson to prove he has what it takes to make a deep run, if he can’t do it this year the Ravens will realize they’ve made a huge mistake. This team should surpass its 9.5 game win total.
– Brandon Wamsley
6. NEW YORK JETS
All you have to do is watch HBO’s “Hard Knocks” to get fired up about this New York Jets team! A talented roster with a good mix of young guns and veterans should improve from their disappointing last place finish in the AFC East last season. It was a busy offseason to say the least, as the Jets brought in future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers to take over for the #2 overall pick in the 2021 draft in Zack Wilson. Rodgers brought along a few receivers to join him with Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard to complement the also newly acquired Mecole Hardman, and the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson. The Jets also landed NFC North all-pro Dalvin Cook who will split carries with the second year Breece Hall in the backfield. With a revamped offense they look to score some points for their defense that was really impressive last season. They allowed the second fewest points and fourth fewest yards per game. This defense has playmakers all over the field for them with Quinnen Williams re-signing, CJ Mosley anchoring down the middle linebacker spot, and the generational talent that is Sauce Gardner locking up opponents’ top receivers, they are set at all 3 phases of the defense.
We are going to find out if this team is legit or not early this season. Before their bye week in Week 7, they’ll go against the Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, Chiefs, Broncos and Eagles. If they can manage to get through those first 6 games with a 3-3 record, I believe that will set them up in a good spot to make a run for the playoffs. I predict this Jets team to catch their stride in the second half of the season and finish with a respectable 10-7 record, which will cover the 9.5 game win total that is set for them.
– Tyler Thorne
5. BUFFALO BILLS
For the first time in recent memory, Buffalo is a team that people are fading. The Bills seem to be that team everyone looks back on as a team that never lives up to their potential. This perception largely has to do with Josh Allen seeming like that guy who just can’t get over the hump. Over the last three years, Allen has shown the ability to elevate himself into the “elite” tier. Yet these last two years, he has been seen forcing the ball, making mistakes, and in some cases even losing games for the Bills. Allen has finished 3rd in interceptions thrown each of the last two seasons. Could this be due to the departure of Brian Daboll? Allen is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but even Marino never won a title.
The Bills sadly appear to be playing a much tougher division with the addition of Aaron Rodgers to the Jets. The Dolphins should be better with another year in the same system, and the Patriots are always a hard out. Then you can add on the fact that they lose a home game to London against an improving Jaguars team, and also have to travel to Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles to play the Chargers.
The offseason chatter of Diggs being unhappy only causes more concerns for a team who leans on their offense to succeed. Buffalo won’t be an easy out, but a world where they lose multiple close games seems very realistic. I have them finishing under 10.5 wins, and you should also take a chance on Damar Hamlin to win “Comeback Player of the Year” at -350.
– Matthew Bianchi
4. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The Jimmy G Era is over. The Trey Lance Era ended before it even began. It’s now Brock Purdy’s time, and it’s completely up to him as to how long his era lasts. The Niners backed the young QB, who led the team to the NFC Championship after taking over the starting job halfway into his rookie campaign, by trading away 2021 1st round pick Trey Lance. San Francisco traded up to take Lance 3rd overall, so to part ways with him in favor of Purdy shows that the front office is very confident in the budding star. Purdy will still have to perform, however. This Niners team has high expectations after reaching the NFC Championship Game 3 times in the past 4 years, and they brought in QB Sam Darnold as a backup, presumably in case Purdy’s rookie season magic doesn’t carry over into his sophomore effort. The NFC West isn’t the strongest division, and Purdy has a hell of a roster around him. So, I expect San Francisco to exceed their 10.5 game win total.
– Brock Hartley
3. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Here’s a team that has won three consecutive AFC North titles and has had much promise to win the Super Bowl the last few years thanks to star players QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase. If you add in the fact that they also have Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd at WR, alongside Joe Mixon at running back, then you get a pretty good understanding of why this team is able to compete each year as of late. This year is going to be difficult, as the Bengals are in what I believe to be the toughest division in all the NFL. They’ll start off the season against their rival, the Cleveland Browns, in what should be a pretty good indication of who is one of the top teams out of the AFC North. I say this because I don’t think the Ravens have enough offensive firepower, as well as a defense with too many question marks, and then you have a Steelers team who will most likely need a few games to get things going. The last time the Bengals met up against the Browns was in December, when Cincy defeated them 23-10. The Bengals were able to keep Chubb under 2.5 yards per carry and also managed to keep Watson from having an impact throwing the ball. Following the matchup against the Browns to start the 2023 season, the Bengals have a pretty easy schedule up until their bye in Week 7.
With the Bengals losing in Arrowhead the last two years, it’s important that they secure home field advantage this year around. The Bengals will need to string together some wins to start the season if they want to compete with the Steelers, who I believe are taking the division this year. Maybe that’s my bias showing, but I think the pass rush of the Steelers will keep each AFC North quarterback at bay. The Bengals have lost some key players on defense, and also Eli Apple. I include him separately because he’s one of the biggest bums to step foot onto a backfield. If I’m a Bengals fan, I’m glad to have seen him go. Regarding the draft, the Bengals appeared to favor the defensive backfield, but with their first pick took a defensive end in Myles Murphy out of Clemson. They also snagged a couple good WRs late in Charlie Jones out of Purdue and Andrei losivas out of Princeton. These are two very athletic receivers who could make an instant impact, pending they even get field time with how good that receiver room is. With all of the off the field question marks surrounding their star RB Joe Mixon, they also secured RB Chase Brown out of Illinois to ensure they have someone in case of emergency in the years ahead.
No matter where you look, the professionals believe that the Bengals can put up 11 wins or higher, but with a O/U win total of 11.5, it’s going to be close. I think this team slips up a bit as they take on a division that has some of the toughest players in football. This is going to be a gritty season for many teams, but one in particular is the Bengals. I’m predicting this is the year they’re taken off their high horse as they struggle to compete in not just the AFC, but the AFC North all season long. I see this Cincinnati Bengals team going 10-7, with it coming down to those final three games of the season, where they could easily go 1-2 or worse against the Steelers, Browns and Chiefs. This would land them under their win total of 11.5.
– Tanner Rahl
2. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
As we enter the 2023 season, the Georgia Bulldogs will look to be the first ever NCAA team to win a Super Bowl. But seriously, what a great draft strategy the Eagles have had in recent years. Taking the best players from the best college teams… genius. Who knew it was just that easy? Jokes aside, there are some lofty goals in Philly this year, as there should be. After all this team was narrowly defeated in the Super Bowl last season. There’s no reason to think this team will fall off, so seeing Hurts & company lift the Lombardi Trophy is a good possibility. They should pick up over 11.5 wins while they attempt to win the NFC for a second straight year.
– Brock Hartley
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs, as always, are the team to beat this year. They may have question marks at wide receiver, but with a game changer in Patrick Mahomes, it doesn’t really matter. His ability to extend plays gives the other players on the field a chance to find that next best spot for the catch. The most significant action taken by the Chiefs during free agency was letting Orlando Brown join the Bengals, allowing them to acquire Jawaan Taylor instead. Taylor has emerged as one of the more proficient pass defenders within the league. In the 2022 season, he achieved a noteworthy pass-blocking grade (76.7) and an impressive pressure rate allowed (5.2%), positioning him within the top 15 among tackles on authentic passing plays.
With the departures of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman during the free agency period, the Chiefs were compelled to shift their attention to the draft in order to reconstruct their group of receivers. But with those departures, the Chiefs might have stumbled upon a true treasure with Rashee Rice. Rice exhibits the kind of swiftness and agility essential for creating separation in the NFL.
Although the first-round selection Felix Anudike-Uzomah, an edge defender, is poised to attract the majority of the spotlight, there’s another pass-rushing prospect that the Chiefs managed to secure. BJ Thompson, despite needing to substantially enhance his physical mass to match his elongated physique, put on display a remarkably impressive assortment of skills pertinent to pass-rushing during his tenure at Stephen F. Austin. Evidently, he notched a total of 31 instances where he applied pressure, culminating in a remarkable pass-rushing grade of 92.7. This grade stands as the second-highest among all prospects in the draft class, accentuating his potential.
The Chiefs have upheld the caliber of talent within their offensive line. Their acquisition of a robust draft class bodes well for enhancing the offensive unit’s capacity for generating impactful plays, while bolstering the defense’s prowess in mounting effective pass-rushing going into the 2023 season. The Chiefs have a relatively easy division, and I see them going 4-2 or better. It’ll be interesting to see the Alongside a tough division, the Chiefs take on the AFC East this year, with those 4 games being tough no matter who they’re playing. Kansas City’s win total is set at 11.5. Give me the Chiefs to go over this total by winning 12-13 games this year and securing the bye going into the 2023 NFL Playoffs, where I’m hopeful to see them lose to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
– Tanner Rahl