We have officially hit the dog days of summer. A period of time where baseball dominates the live sports schedule with a sprinkle of golf, UFC, soccer, motorsports, and WNBA mixed in. While the summer months should be a time where we spend it outside amongst family and friends, some people can’t help but yearn for the return of football. Especially when the news cycle is dominated by wild NFL predictions and takes, filling in the gaps that are caused by a lack of sports coverage.
Five Bold 2023 NFL Predictions
The wild NFL takes are at a point where it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Creeping behind every corner of the internet, waiting to throw a wrench into your thought process and making you question your own sanity. Especially with the continuous rise of social media, providing everyone a platform to let those opinions fly. While there are certainly eye-opening predictions that I listed down below, we can at least put ourselves in a position to cash on them by making them actionable.
Bengals Do Not Win Their Division, Go Under Their RS Win Total, but Make it to the Super Bowl
We start our list with a bit of a head scratcher. No, this is not a knock on the Cincinnati Bengals whom I believe are one of the best teams in the league and are more than capable of making another deep run in the playoffs.
This is more of a fade spot for the duration of the regular season as they have a brutal schedule and some glaring holes that need to be addressed. A young and inexperienced secondary will be their burden early on, as well as a lackluster pass rush. This will most likely put them in shootout type games, welcoming in the chance for a high variance of poor endgame results.
A wild card spot is more than doable for a team that is -285 to make the playoffs. It won’t be easy to make it to the big game should that be the case as they would need to win on the road against a tough AFC conference in a single elimination format, but today’s game is won on offense and that is exactly what Burrow and company are able to do.
Pick: Bengals u11.5 RSW
Pick: Bengals to win the Super Bowl
San Francisco 49ers Miss the Playoffs
The universal second heaviest favorite to win the NFC conference per sportsbooks to not make the playoffs? You betcha.
Arguably one of the most talented rosters on both sides of the ball yet lacking at the most pivotal position with question marks needing to be answered at quarterback. Brock Purdy still has no timetable for return from injury, Trey Lance has underwhelmed while racking up injuries, and Sam Darnold is middling at best.
This is also the weakest their offensive line has been in quite some time with Trent Williams getting older and their starting guard ranking well below their average in PFF production. This weakness will allow mayhem in the middle, forcing the turnover prone Darnold into high pressure situations. Should the Seahawks nab the division title, this forces the 49ers in a battle for the remaining three wild card spots.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers to miss the playoffs
Falcons Go From Worst to First
One of the more viral betting trends that has made its way into the mainstream news, a team that finished last in their division has gone on to win it in the following year in 18 of the past 20 seasons. The Jacksonville Jaguars were the last to pull it off as Trevor Lawrence made a drastic improvement under center that elevated the rest of the offense.
While I’m skeptical that Desmond Ridder can do the same for the Falcons, I do believe he can do just enough to lift the Falcons to first in a very weak NFC South division. With intriguing talent all over with the draft selection of star running back Bijan Robinson, as well as the severely underutilized Kyle Pitts at tight end, and the Falcons offense suddenly has various ways to beat you. Couple that with an improved defense and the Falcons will look to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Speaking of a weak division, the Bucs are in a transition spot with Baker Mayfield subbing in for the retired Tom Brady, the Saints are trying to find gold with the failed Derek Carr, and the Panthers are throwing Bryce Young into the gauntlet with practically zero receivers.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons NFC South Winner
Detroit Lions Win Their First Playoff Game Since 1991
The Detroit Lions future looks bright after they found success in the back half of the 2022-23 season. Their defense went from near dead last in Def DVOA to top-10 in their last eight games, while their offense ran as one of the most efficient in the league.
Sadly, was a tale of too little too late as their rough start to the year resulted in them just missing out of the playoffs. Expectations have now been elevated as their win total was set at 9.5 while also opening as the favorite to win their division.
The Lions can stamp their ticket against a weak NFC North, putting themselves in position to host a home playoff game against a middling NFC team. The Bears have glaring holes all over, the Vikings will regress back to the mean with their weak defense, and the Packers said goodbye to Aaron Rodgers.
Pick: Detroit Lions to make the playoffs
Lamar Jackson Wins the MVP
Will Todd Monken unlock the Ravens offense? I certainly think so. Especially after years of abusing a prehistoric run-heavy approach under Greg Roman, now finally opening the playbook to fit Lamar’s all world abilities.
“I wanna throw for like 6000 yards next season with the weapons we have. I just want to do that because no one’s ever done it.”
— Pro Football Wire (@officialpfw) May 5, 2023
They have done a phenomenal job with giving Lamar weapons on the outside to play with, signing Odell Beckham Jr and drafting the speedy slot threat Zay Flowers with their first-round pick.
Monken will mix in a blend of conservative screens and crosses through the middle, eventually setting up the opportunity to burn secondaries with the deep ball or a designed Lamar run when the linebackers are caught sleeping. This puts Lamar in a position to put up video game type numbers, drawing the attention of MVP voters.
Pick: Lamar Jackson to win the MVP