Bold Predictions for the 2023 NFL Season
Lou shares his three boldest early predictions for the upcoming NFL season.
The New York Jets Win the AFC East
Even with all the upgrades the Jets have made to their roster over the past couple of seasons, especially this offseason, they still play in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. The Dolphins keep adding big-time talent, the Bills have been dominant during the Josh Allen era, and the Patriots play competitive football year in and year out. The Jets surprised a lot of people last year with their competitive season, arriving a year or two early, despite having terrible QB play and their RB1 suffering a season-ending injury. They have an elite defense that can keep them in a game against any opponent, and now they have added a four-time MVP QB in Aaron Rodgers, they get Breece Hall back from injury, and they added some more weapons at the WR position for Rodgers. Although Rodgers doesn’t have a Davante Adams or Jordy Nelson type on this roster, he arguably has the most complete team around him that he has had since he led the Packers to a 2011 Super Bowl victory. This Jets team has all the makings of a championship-caliber squad now, even though they have an uphill battle just in their own division.
Tony Pollard Leads the NFL in Rushing
Over the past couple of seasons, Tony Pollard has established himself as one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL. His per-carry average ranks among the league's best, and after playing second fiddle to Ezekiel Elliott in 2021 despite being as the more productive player, Pollard finally took over as the lead back in Dallas in the 2022 season. Zeke still received a lot of touches and got most of the red zone work, but it was Pollard who did most of the damage coming out of the Cowboys' backfield. Now that Zeke is gone, there is no competition for Pollard, he is the clear top back in the Cowboys' offense, and everyone else will simply be expected to play a complementary role. Although there are questions as to how Pollard will hold up with close to a full workload, there is no denying that when given opportunities he has shined and exceeded all expectations. He will be a true lead back for the first time in his NFL career this season, and he will grab this opportunity by the horns.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Reach the Super Bowl
I know this one seems pretty crazy, considering the Bengals and Chiefs look to be playing in the AFC championship game every year for the next five or more seasons. Of course, there’s also the Bills, and now maybe the Jets or Ravens, who could all push to be in the final four overall and final two in the AFC. The thing is, the Jaguars are very well-coached, and they came on strong a year ago to win their division and even a playoff game with a historic comeback. They then played toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the divisional round before losing a heartbreaker. The Jags now have that year of experience under their belt, and the biggest reason for their rise to success is the elite play of QB Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence doesn’t have the playoff success of Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes, but he has the skill set to beat them or anyone else. Lawrence has a lot of things going for him, he has a good supporting cast, an excellent Super Bowl-winning coach and one of the most winnable divisions in the NFL. Lawrence and the Jags are ready to take that next step.