Updated: Aug 27
With the pre-season winding down across the NFL, just two weeks remain until the Detroit Lions square off against the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs on opening night. Set to put one of the most memorable offseasons of late in the rearview mirror, many players across the NFL found new homes. This includes longtime Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was traded to the New York Jets for multiple draft picks. Derek Carr landed with the New Orleans Saints. The Las Vegas Raiders chose to part ways with the former second-round pick and pivot to longtime San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo. Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield inked a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are five over-under-win predictions to target in 2023.
Dallas Cowboys (O/U 9.5)
Home to one of the best rosters in football, the Cowboys won 12 games for the second consecutive season a year ago. The franchise did this despite a hand injury to Dak Prescott that caused him to miss five games. Along with this, they navigated one of the most competitive divisions in the league, the NFC East, which sent three teams to the postseason. While Dallas chose to move on from longtime running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Dalton Schultz in the offseason, general manager Jerry Jones made multiple key additions by acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans. Furthermore, he also traded for former Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Denver Broncos (O/U 8.5)
Denver is looking to put its disastrous 2022 season in the rearview mirror. The Broncos won just five games, leading to a last-place finish in the AFC West. Choosing to part ways with Nathaniel Hackett in the offseason, the franchise brought in longtime New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, hoping to revive star quarterback Russell Wilson in his second year in the mile-high city. Home to an exciting young group of pass catchers, the team will also get back third-year running back Javonte Williams after the North Carolina product missed 13 games a year ago with a torn ACL. Moreover, after quietly upgrading their offensive line in free agency with the singings of offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers, expect Denver to bounce back significantly.
New England Patriots (O/U 7.5)
Aiming to build off a ten-win campaign in 2021, the Patriots struggled mightily last season. The team posted an 8-9 record, leading to a last-place finish in the AFC East. Additionally, after completing over 67 percent of his passes for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns as a rookie, Mac Jones could not get a grip of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge's offense. Trying to help out their young signal caller in the offseason, New England added playmakers by signing wide receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster. Along with this, they also inked Elliott to a one-year deal. Still home to one of the league's elite defenses, Bill Belichicks's group ranked 10th in the NFL in points allowed in 2022 while finishing second in turnovers forced. However, with one of the most demanding schedules in the league on tap in 2023, the Patriots will open the season with games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys.
Seattle Seahawks (O/U 8.5)
Back in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons a year ago, Seattle bounced back after a 7-10 season in 2021, mainly due to the play of Geno Smith, the journeyman quarterback who put together his finest campaign as a pro after taking over for the departed Russell Wilson. He completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 4,282 yards while tossing 30 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. This led the former first-round pick to earn Comeback Player of the Year honours. While it will be hard for the 32-year-old to replicate his 2022 performance, expect the Seahawk's offense to be potent once again after adding both wide receiver Jaxon Smith Njigba and running back Zach Charbonnet in the draft. Furthermore, with the team continuing to make additions on the defensive side of the ball, 8.5 wins is a low number for a group that can compete for the division crown.
Las Vegas Raiders (O/U 7.5)
Las Vegas chose to reunite Garropolo with his former offensive coordinator, Josh Mcdaniels. The team signed the 31-year-old to a three-year $67.5 million contract. Nonetheless, the former second-round pick still has significant question marks surrounding both his production and inability to stay healthy. He played in ten or more regular season games in just three of his six years as the starter for the 49ers. Furthermore, while they still possess one of the best offensive tandems in running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Davante Adams, the offensive line is a major concern, with holes at both center and right guard. While Patrick Graham's defense should be better after ranking 30th a year ago, it is hard to see the Raiders not being one of the worst teams in the league in 2023.