10 bold predictions for the 2023 NFL season

The time has come to make NFL preseason predictions for 2023. It’s never easy trying to predict what will happen in the NFL before the season gets underway. Even after the season gets underway, the league can be wildly unpredictable from one week to the next.

But as part of our preview of the 2023 NFL season, we wanted to offer some NFL preseason predictions in 2023, including what team will lift the Lombardi Trophy.

NFL preseason predictions 2023

Just for fun, we wanted to be as bold as possible with our NFL preseason predictions for 2023. Keep in mind that bold doesn’t mean crazy. After all, we want to get some of these right. But since the NFL is the kind of surprises, we wanted to expect the unexpected with 10 bold NFL preseason predictions for 2023.

Jets miss Playoffs

Even with Aaron Rodgers and a strong defense, the Jets are not a lock to make the playoffs. The AFC is no joke, and New York still might only be the third-best team in the AFC East. Even grabbing a Wild Card spot won’t be easy given the depth of the AFC West and potentially two elite teams in the AFC North.

Plus, as the Broncos learned last year, you can’t always plug in a veteran quarterback and expect everything to fall into place. If there are a few growing pains early in the season, it might be enough to keep the Jets from reaching the playoffs this year.

Russell Wilson has bounceback year

Speaking of Russell Wilson and the Broncos, 2023 is bound to be a better year. It was a little unfair to expect Wilson to be Denver’s savior last year in a new system while working with a rookie head coach.

The situation is much better for him and the Broncos this season with Sean Payton, a proven head coach. Given his track record, it’d be unfair to write off Wilson completely after one bad year, so we’re expecting him to get back to playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Brock Purdy is the answer for 49ers

San Francisco’s quarterback situation is up in the air heading into the season, to say the least. The 49ers invested a lot to draft Trey Lance and also have Sam Darnold in the mix. But once he recovers from last season’s elbow injury, we expect Brock Purdy to prove that he’s the answer and San Francisco’s quarterback of the future.

His 7-0 record as a starter, including two playoff wins, wasn’t an aberration. He averaged over eight yards per pass, so he wasn’t exactly a game manager. Purdy has the tools to be a winning quarterback in the NFL, and as soon as he’s healthy, he’s going to prove that to the 49ers again.

Lions win NFC North and a Playoff Game

Dan Campbell’s team knocked on the door last season, and in 2023, the Lions are going to knock it down. A young Detroit roster gained a lot of experience and confidence last season despite falling a little short of the playoffs.

The Lions added even more pieces during the offseason, allowing them to overtake the Vikings, who are bound to come back to earth after last year’s 13-4 campaign. That will allow the Lions to host a playoff game for the first time since 1993 and win a playoff game for the first time since 1991.

Falcons win NFC South behind Desmond Ridder

On paper, the NFC South looks wide open, and that’s putting it nicely. That’s what happens when no team had a winning record last season. To be fair, the Saints look good on paper with Derek Carr and the Panthers are optimistic about Bryce Young. But the Falcons added some players to their defense during the offseason and should have a strong offensive line and solid receiving corps to support Desmond Ridder.

The young quarterback has a good arm and plenty of athleticism, allowing him to become a breakout star in 2023 and lead the Falcons to a division title.

Bijan Robinson wins Offensive Rookie of the Year

The Falcons may have taken Bijan Robinson a little sooner than expected at no. 8 overall. But Atlanta could be rewarded handsomely for their calculated risk. Granted, there were three quarterbacks selected in the top-four who are all capable of being the Rookie of the Year frontrunner if they put together a solid season. But if each of those quarterbacks struggle, there isn’t an obvious choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year other than Robinson.

Keep in mind the Falcons should have one of the top offensive lines in the league this year and will be happy to run the ball with Desmond Ridder at quarterback. That should provide Robinson with the touches he needs to assert himself as the best rookie in the NFL this season.

Justin Jefferson reaches 2,000 receiving yards

No wide receiver has ever reached 2,000 receiving yards in a season with Calvin Johnson coming up just 36 yards short in 2012. If there is anyone in the league right now who can do it, it’s Justin Jefferson.

His numbers have increased every year he’s been in the league with Jefferson amassing over 1,800 receiving yards last season. He’s talented enough to go even higher than that in 2023 and should have the opportunity to do so with a veteran like Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball.

Jefferson also has one more regular-season game to reach 2,000 yards than Johnson did. Why not shoot for the stars and predict the record to be broken this season?

Myles Garrett wins Defensive Player of the Year

It’s been a long time coming for Myles Garrett to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Early in his career, Aaron Donald was the easy choice. In recent years, the likes of T.J. Watt and Nick Bosa racked up ridiculous sack totals to earn the award. But keep in mind Garrett has had back-to-back seasons with 16 sacks.

The former top-overall pick is surely an elite pass rusher and one of the best in the game. He’s in his prime at the moment and it would be a shame if he didn’t win Defensive Player of the Year at some point. Of course, the Browns will have to play well around him and put themselves in the playoff picture. But if that happens, Garrett is more than capable of taking home this honor in 2023.

Cowboys win NFC

There always seem to be concerns and questions with the Cowboys, but they are as good a bet as anybody to come out of the NFC and reach the Super Bowl. There just aren’t that many teams in the NFC that look capable of reaching the Super Bowl outside of the Eagles, who are defending the NFC crown, and the 49ers, who have a great defense but questions at quarterback.

Teams like the Vikings and Seahawks are good but not necessarily at a Super Bowl level. That leaves the door open for Dallas to rise above the pack if Dak Prescott can stay healthy and get his turnover issues under control.

Bills win Super Bowl LVIII

We would be remiss if we didn’t provide a Super Bowl prediction for 2023. Our pick to win Super Bowl LVIII is the Buffalo Bills.

Since we’re predicting the Cowboys to win the NFC, Buffalo will get a somewhat poetic victory over Dallas, the team that beat them twice during the team’s stretch of four straight Super Bowl losses in the 90s. Obviously, getting to the Super Bowl out of the AFC won’t be easy with the Chiefs, Bengals, and others in the way.

But Josh Allen and company have been building toward this moment for several years. The Bills had some injuries on defense last year that derailed their efforts while doing a lot to improve the offense around Allen during the offseason.

While the Chiefs are good, it’s not a given that they’ll win the Super Bowl every year, and this is Buffalo’s chance to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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