The 2023 NFL season is just around the corner and it’s shaping up to be filled with excitement, unforgettable moments and performances we’ll never forget. As kickoff slowly approaches, it’s time for a full set of NFL predictions for the 2023 season.
Sportsnaut is looking at each team and evaluating how they will perform during the regular season. There are plenty of things we’ll be keeping an eye on this year, providing analysis throughout the upcoming season. From the NFL MVP race and Rookie of the Year candidates to the road toward Super Bowl LVIII and the battle for NFL playoff spots.
Let’s dive into our 2023 NFL win-loss predictions for every team.
NFL projections 2023: Win-loss records for all 32 teams
The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat champion since 2004, so we’ll lead off our NFL predictions with that streak coming to an end after nearly two decades. The Philadelphia Eagles sit near the top of our NFL defense rankings and have one of the best NFL offenses in 2023. There aren’t any true weaknesses on this roster and both the +7 turnover differential (third in NFL) and 47.6% third-down conversion rate (third in NFL) are repeatable. It’ll be a tight race with the Dallas Cowboys but both are playoff teams.
It’s easy for Dallas Cowboys season predictions to have this team finding success. Under Mike McCarthy, Dallas has consecutive 12-win seasons and it ranked sixth in Football Outsiders Total DVOA last season. Heading into 2023, the Cowboys’ defense could be even better with Stephon Gilmore and Mazi Smith. Add wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a healthy Michael Gallup, the Cowboys have a championship-caliber team.
The New York Giants blew past even the rosiest NFL predictions for them in 2022. Led by head coach Brian Daboll, Daniel Jones showed true improvement and the offense became more consistent. Now, Jones has an upgraded cast of weapons to work with and the Giants’ defenders have more experience in Wink Martindale’s scheme. New York can threaten for a Wild Card spot in the NFC, but it still doesn’t have sufficient talent or depth to give Dallas and Philadelphia a legitimate push.
The Washington Commanders opted against pursuing a high-end starting quarterback in the offseason, instead choosing to roll with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett. It’s slightly unfortunate as the quarterback is the one position holding Washington back from becoming a viable contender. Washington boasts a top-10 defense and its offense will surprise a lot of people in 2023. With that said, starting one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL and some questions at head coach will likely keep the Commanders out of the playoff mix.
The NFC East is wide open in 2023 and the Carolina Panthers should be the team to beat. Frank Reich is the perfect coach to work with Bryce Young and the Panthers arguably have the best coaching staff in the NFL. If Carolina can deliver a top-15 defense in the fall with an above-average offense, a winning record is achievable. It might only be good enough to win one division, but Carolina is in the perfect division for where it’s at right now.
The New Orleans Saints love kicking the proverbial can down the road. A time is going to come when New Orleans has to rebuild its foundation and accept the financial consequences of pushing cap hits back for years. For now, they’re taking another run at it with a team that finally has a stabilizer at quarterback. Derek Carr can run this offense, especially with Chris Olave and Michael Thomas at wide receiver. We are anticipating some defensive regression and Alvin Kamara likely misses time with a suspension, but New Orleans boasts more than enough talent to fight Carolina until the very end.
After escaping salary cap hell, the Atlanta Falcons finally had the freedom to spend and they used the money effectively to reshape this roster. The veterans added to the defense should mean fans don’t have to see one of the worst defensive units of their generation. On offense, a skill group featuring Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts is one of the best trios in the NFL. If Desmond Ridder can be Alex Smith-lite, the Falcons can win the NFC South. Until he proves he can play at that level, though, our NFL projections aren’t optimistic for Atlanta.
NFL teams should know by now that the Baker Mayfield experience doesn’t work. Of course, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to bet on him with Kyle Trask failing to win the organization over. Defensively, Tampa Bay should fair reasonably well with good health. On the other side of the ball, though, a bad offensive line and one of the worst quarterback situations in the league should make the Buccaneers unwatchable in 2023.
The Detroit Lions last made the playoffs in 2016 and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. One of the longest championship droughts in sports won’t end this season, but Detroit can absolutely win the NFC North. The Lions have one of the best rosters in the NFC and their defense could deliver a significant turnaround in the fall. If the Lions win the NFC North, Detroit will be hosting a playoff game for the first time since Jan. 8, 1994.
Regression is coming for the Minnesota Vikings. While they won 13 games in the regular season last year, it came with a -3 point differential that ranked 15th and a historic record in one-score games (11 wins) kept them higher in the standings. Offensively, Kevin O’Connell will keep this group humming all year. We also like the hire of defensive coordinator Brian Flores, but Minnesota simply doesn’t have the bodies, experience or talent in the secondary to have a top-15 defense. Because of that, 11 wins is Minnesota’s ceiling this fall.
The Green Bay Packers are rolling with a starting quarterback in Week 1 not named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers for the first time since 1991. Similar to the Falcons, Green Bay has a well-constructed roster with a strong offensive line, a quality skill group and a good coaching staff. On defense, the talent is there for Green Bay to have a top-12 unit if defensive coordinator Joe Barry can take advantage of it. It all comes down to quarterback Jordan Love. If the Packers somehow struck gold again, they could win the NFC North. With that said, it seems far more likely the Packers miss the playoffs and Love is still a question mark entering 2024.
It’s going to be another rough season for the Chicago Bears. They improved the offensive line and more continuity for Justin Fields with the offense bodes well for this team being more explosive. However, Chicago’s defense remains a significant problem and this coaching staff is still unproven. Unless Fields has a Jalen Hurts-like season, Chicago will finish at the bottom of the NFC North.
San Francisco 49ers
It almost doesn’t matter who the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback is anymore. Any signal-caller who executes Kyle Shanahan’s offense, taking advantage of the most talented roster in the NFL, can win games. Life gets even easier when Steve Wilks is your defensive coordinator and he has an arsenal of defensive weapons that includes the Defensive Player of the Year. The 49ers are arguably the best team in the NFC and they’d be the overwhelming Super Bowl favorite if they ever have a star quarterback.
Geno Smith’s breakout 2022 season is no fluke, he was a top-10 quarterback and he can maintain that level of play once again. The Seattle Seahawks have the best receiving corps in the NFL, a phenomenal duo at running back and they addressed some glaring holes defensively. Seattle’s home-field advantage will be as strong as ever and we might even see the Seahawks win the NFC West, but that’s a lofty projection.
Every team that takes the all-in approach eventually has to pay the bill and it’s collection time for the Los Angeles Rams. Credit to the front office for recognizing now is the time to hit the reset button, eating bad contracts and trading whatever they can for draft picks. If everything goes perfectly in Los Angeles, Sean McVay will be coaching Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in 2024 and the Rams will have more than $40 million in cap space.
The Arizona Cardinals are tanking. They used the offseason to strip down the roster, launching what amounts to a complete rebuild. Frankly, it’s clear the organization’s goal is to secure one of the top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft and that means Kyler Murray is likely spending his last season in Arizona. The NFL projections for the Cardinals are simple, don’t watch this team.
New York Jets
The New York Jets went 7-10 last season with the worst quarterback situation in the NFL and running back Breece Hall missing 10 games. Even if Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing at an MVP-caliber level, he elevates the entire offense and takes the pressure off one of the best defenses in the league. If Rodgers is simply a top-10 quarterback and New York avoids any significant injuries, this team can challenge the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC title.
After posting a combined 46-66 record from 2010-’16, the Buffalo Bills have delivered four double-digit win seasons and a 47-18 mark in the last four years with Sean McDermott. Josh Allen regressed late in the year – 18-10 TD-INT, 87.5 QB rating in final 10 games – but that can be attributed to a UCL injury. The question with Buffalo comes down to its rushing attack and the health of its defense. If Von Miller returns without limitations and the James Cook-Damien Harris combo lifts the consistency of the run game, the Bills can go as far as anyone.
The Miami Dolphins roster is good enough for this team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Defensively, Vic Fangio can lift this unit to the levels we saw under Brian Flores when Miami had one of the best defenses in the AFC. Offensively, a skill group of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and a dynamic rushing attack with Mike McDaniel calling plays can go point-for-point with anyone. How far Miami goes all comes down to Tua Tagovailoa, who has never completed 14 games in a full season.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick essentially burned the 2022 season by using Matt Patricia as his offensive coordinator. Now that the Patriots offense will be coordinated by a smart football mind and look NFL-caliber for the first time in two years, New England has an opportunity to be average offensively. That’s all the Patriots need to contend for a Wild Card spot, but we do have doubts because the pass-catching group remains a question mark and Mac Jones only looked like a fringe above-average quarterback in his best moments as a rookie.
Getting rid of Urban Meyer fixes a lot of problems. Things didn’t look promising for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season after a 3-7 start took them into the bye week. Thanks to Doug Pederson, everything changed after that. Trevor Lawrence posted a 103.4 QB rating with a 1202 TD-INT ratio in his final seven games and Jacksonville ranked ninth in Total DVOA (14.7%) over that stretch. With Calvin Ridley now added to the mix and the offensive line potentially improved, the Jaguars are overwhelming favorites to win the AFC South.
The best thing the Indianapolis Colts can do in 2023 is start Anthony Richardson immediately. While the rookie quarterback will experience plenty of struggles, the experiences will help him grow. With Richardson, Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. on the field, the Colts’ offense should be exciting. Of course, the defense and inconsistency from a young team will prevent Indianapolis from competing for a playoff spot.
Mike Vvrabel is one of the best coaches in the NFL, but the Tennessee Titans are clearly a team in transition. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are both losing the battle to Father Time and it’s only amplified behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Unless Tennessee has a top-10 defense and its offense far outplay expectations, this team will be battling for a top-10 pick.
The Houston Texans finally have two cornerstones (C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr.) to build a franchise around and DeMeco Ryans was the best coaching candidate available in 2023. However, the Texans still have one of the worst rosters in the NFL and there’s a lot of inexperience on this team. Houston will likely finish with its highest win total in four years, but that’s a low bar.
Joe Burrow is right, the Cincinnati Bengals’ championship window is open as long as he’s their starting quarterback. While there are long-term questions about how Cincinnati keeps its core together, the offense in 2023 could be even better than we’ve seen before. There are some concerns defensively following the departure of Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates, but a top-five offense with Lou Anarumo taking care of the defense is all that the Bengals need to challenge for the AFC title and go nose-to-nose with the Chiefs.
We’re going to see a version of Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens offense that no one has experienced before. Greg Roman is gone, with Baltimore hiring Todd Monken to run a modern NFL offense with a high-end cast of offensive weapons around Jackson. Defensively, the Ravens should at least have a top-12 unit even with some uncertainty regarding the pass rush. If Jackson avoids another injury-plagued season, this could be the best Ravens team in years.
The 2023 Cleveland Browns season will be determined by Deshaun Watson. If he returns to the version of the quarterback who led the NFL in passing yards and posted a 112.4 QB rating in 2020, the well-rounded Browns’ roster could go all the way to the Super Bowl. Anything short of that, head coach Kevin Stefanski is on the hot seat and Watson’s fully-guaranteed contract looks like an even bigger disaster.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin avoided a losing season in 2022 despite T.J. Watt missing seven games, starting a rookie quarterback and playing in the toughest conference in the NFL. Kenny Pickett now has more experience, the offensive line improved and Pittsburgh shored up its weaknesses on defense. Unfortunately for the Steelers, the AFC North is loaded and that in combination with the conference’s strength pushed Pittsburgh’s record down.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are the best team in football and should be the favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. While the Chiefs lost some key veterans this offseason, they also hoisted the Lombardi Trophy despite having one of the youngest defenses in the NFL. Growth from those young defenders and the emergence of an offensive weapon could make Kansas City an even better team than we saw win the Super Bowl.
Los Angeles Chargers
Injuries and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Those are the two things that stood in the way of the Los Angeles Chargers reaching their ceiling in 2022. Now, Kellen Moore takes over as play-caller and he’s the perfect coach to help Justin Herbert become an MVP quarterback. Plus, a more consistent Chargers’ offense allows Brandon Staley to focus on making the final tweaks necessary for Los Angeles to have a great defense. Even if all of that goes right, no one is betting on the Chargers to have good injury luck.
The Denver Broncos made it through arguably one of the worst coaching stints in NFL history. Even if Russell Wilson is a fraction of the quarterback he used to be, Sean Payton generated a top-five offense when Drew Brees’ arm strength evaporated. Wilson is better than Brees was at the end of his career and Denver has enough blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball to be a lot more competitive in 2023.
The Las Vegas Raiders replaced Derek Carr with an injury-prone Jimmy Garoppolo and essentially didn’t do anything to address one of the worst defenses in football last season. Garoppolo will execute the offense how Josh McDaniels wants, but he also puts a low ceiling on this team. The best-case scenario for the Raiders is seven wins and Garoppolo’s history of injuries suggests even that likely won’t be reached.