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Saturday, April 20, 2024

12 daring predictions for the 2023 NFL season

Do you want scorching takes?! No, us both. Imagine it or not, we don’t suppose it’s very useful to throw out a single incendiary assertion like “Kirk Cousins is the worst quarterback within the NFL” to get hate clicks when you scream at us about why we’re unsuitable. We’ll depart that to blue checks on Twitter who’re craving for some Elon bucks.

As a substitute we’re calling this “Daring Predictions.” They’re the issues we really feel strongly about this NFL season and suppose will occur, believing we are able to again up our intestine emotions with logic. Let’s go.

The Raiders will study Derek Carr wasn’t the issue

Derek Carr shouldn’t be a world-beater quarterback who will crack a High 5 listing on the place, however he’s a rattling sight higher than the Raiders handled him. It’s not possible to see the transfer from Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo as something however a step down, and right here’s why.

Jimmy G thrived in San Francisco due to their protection. It was in-built such a manner as to take large strain off the quarterback to be unimaginable, as a result of they would typically give their offense nice discipline place. The 49ers have been second-best within the NFL in first downs allowed, recording 30 takeaways on the season, whereas solely permitting a league-best 16.3 pts per recreation.

This isn’t the case with the Raiders. Their protection is ok, however unremarkable. Las Vegas was final within the league in takeaways (13), they have been twenty seventh in first downs allowed, and gave up 24.6 factors per recreation. This put big strain on Carr to win shootouts, which is the place his worst traits shined.

Moreover, the offense in San Fran was constructed to assist the QB. They ran a West Coast offensive using YAC, which masked a few of Garoppolo’s inadequacies as a passer. Now he strikes to again to the Patriots’ Erhardt-Perkins system, which shares some DNA — however one which requires Garoppolo to work extra vertically to Davante Adams. I’m undecided the Raiders have the receivers wanted to run the system accurately,

I believe when the mud settles we’ll see the the explanation the Raiders couldn’t recover from the hump was way more wholistic than simply points at QB.

Brock Purdy will come again to earth

The hype behind Brock Purdy on the tail-end of 2022 was as feverish as we’ve ever seen. At any time when you’ve got a late spherical quarterback carry out nicely there’s a component of underdog enthusiasm combined with Tom Brady romanticism that makes them the discuss of the league. Now Purdy strikes from late-season curiosity to 17 recreation starter, and there’s one thing about this that makes me actually cautious.

Okay, I put my finger on it. Extrapolate of his season and let’s examine with a participant that for now we’ll name “Quarterback X.”

Brock Purdy: 67.1% CMP, 3,336 yards, 32 TD, 10 INT
Quarterback X: 67.6% CMP, 3,801 yards, 22 TD, 13 INT

Clearly Purdy threw extra touchdowns, and fewer yards — each of which could be attributed to the unimaginable discipline place supplied by the 49ers protection, however you’re basically very comparable gamers. Quarterback X is Mac Jones throughout his rookie season with the Patriots.

Jones got here again to earth in a really massive manner after being a rookie Professional Bowl phenom, largely as a result of defensive coaches had time to research the movie and discover methods to beat him. No, that doesn’t imply Purdy is destined for a similar destiny. That is extra of a “let’s pump the brakes slightly” on the subject of anointing him as the subsequent nice one.

I don’t suppose Purdy might be dangerous, nor do I believe he’ll be spectacular. I believe he might be merely regress to the imply and develop into an honest NFL starter, fairly than be the subsequent Tom Brady.

The Giants will shock everybody and win the NFC East

**geese a rock from an Eagles fan** Okay, hear me out: I truly actually just like the Giants this 12 months. I just like the Giants most likely greater than a non-Giants fan ought to moderately just like the Giants. A lot in order that I believe this crew has the chance to shock lots of people and win the division.

The most important purpose for this: Consistency. Once we discuss in regards to the class of the division (Dallas and Philly) each groups underwent some fairly vital modifications structurally this offseason. Brian Schottenheimer turns into offensive coordinator for the Cowboys, taking on for Kellen Moore — whereas the Eagles have needed to substitute two coordinators misplaced to move teaching jobs.

In the meantime the Giants confirmed final 12 months that Brian Daboll is the actual deal. Mike Kafka returns to steer the offense, as does Wink Martendale on D. There are not any main personnel shifts that significantly impacts this crew, they’re simply regular — whereas including properly in free company.

The Tremendous Bowl stoop is actual. It’s very tough to get a crew again on monitor after shedding the Tremendous Bowl, and even nice groups want a 12 months to get again on monitor. With the modifications in Philadelphia I may simply see this crew needing a 12 months to redevelop their chemistry, the Cowboys to transform underneath Schottenheimer, and the Giants to swoop in and steal all of it.

It’s going to be shut as hell, and all of the groups might be good — which makes this much more doable.

Kyler Murray doesn’t play this season

There may be one massive purpose why the Arizona Cardinals will wish to see Kyler Murray on the sector this season: He’s their clear most suitable choice on the quarterback place.

However there are round 67 million causes they could wish to preserve him sidelined for the 2023 marketing campaign.

$67 million, to be exact.

Murray, who’s coming off an ACL tear, will begin the season on the Bodily Unable to Carry out (PUP) listing. Because of this, he might want to miss at the very least the primary 4 video games of the 2023 season. Having suffered the damage again in December final 12 months, it was unclear through the offseason if he would be capable to return for the beginning of the schedule.

That grew to become clear together with his transfer to PUP.

Nevertheless, the Cardinals may not rush him again. Below the phrases of his contract Murray is due practically $67 million in damage ensures if he can’t move a bodily previous to March of 2024. Expectations should not precisely excessive across the Cardinals, and with the group making some strikes this offseason which have led to hypothesis a few roster refresh, they might wish to preserve their choices open as they enter the subsequent offseason.

Together with a possible commerce involving Murray.

Or, they may view this season as a reset and take their time with Murray, insuring that he’s absolutely healed for subsequent 12 months. As we outlined again in Might, the Cardinals are in place to regulate the beginning of the 2024 draft. Not solely are they projected to have an early choose of their very own, however they management the Houston Texans’ first-round choose subsequent 12 months.

Present projections maintain these as the highest two picks within the 2024 NFL Draft.

If that holds, the Cardinals will actually personal the keys to the draft subsequent season.

There may be precedent for a crew sitting down a quarterback because of damage assure considerations. Indianapolis did that with Matt Ryan, as did the Raiders with Derek Carr. Whereas doing it for a complete season is likely to be a brand new step, the Cardinals have numerous causes to go down that street.

Together with $67 million causes.

Trey Lance, nevertheless, does play this season

When the San Francisco 49ers traded Trey Lance to the Dallas Cowboys, it introduced the curtain down on a disappointing run within the NFC West for the previous third-overall choice. Lance began simply 4 video games in San Francisco, after the crew traded three first-round picks to maneuver up within the 2021 NFL Draft to pick him.

Whereas the Cowboys have Dak Prescott entrenched as their starter, one of many largest issues that Lance wants is reps.

Time working the scout crew and dealing with the backups in follow will assist, however nothing can duplicate in-game motion.

Whether or not it’s a small bundle of performs for him, or a begin late within the season when the Cowboys’ postseason plans are finalized, they’ll discover a method to get him a few of these reps through the 12 months.

Each crew within the AFC East finishes above .500

For the reason that NFL shifted to the four-division format forward of the 2002 season, there has by no means been a marketing campaign the place all 4 groups in a single division completed above .500.

On three events, the division had all 4 groups end at or above .500. In the course of the 2007, each the Houston Texans and the Philadelphia Eagles completed in fourth place of their respective divisions, every with an 8-8 document. A 12 months later, each Washington and New Orleans completed with 8-8 data, placing them final within the NFC East and the NFC South.

Final 12 months Washington did it once more, ending final within the NFC East with an 8-8-1 document.

In an NFL first, all 4 groups within the AFC East end above .500 this 12 months.

Clearly, this can be a wager on the New England Patriots. Whereas most imagine that the Jets, Payments, and Dolphins are contenders for the division, and maybe the AFC itself, prognosticators should not as excessive on New England. The majority of the questions they face are on the offensive aspect of the ball. But when Invoice O’Brien can maximize this New England offense — or at the very least information them to a giant step ahead from final 12 months — that mixed with what appears to be like to be an excellent protection may see them surpassing expectations. It may not be sufficient to get New England into the playoffs, however it may simply be sufficient to complete above .500.

Aaron Rodgers’ New York honeymoon ends by Week 6

Up to now, the New York Jets have loved all of the positives of getting Rodgers as their quarterback. Followers, media and gamers are speaking about how good the offense could be. There was speak about how a lot Rodgers has helped create heightened expectations and accountability.

Even the crew’s begrudging time with Onerous Knocks has offered the caring, jovial aspect of the notoriously enigmatic quarterback.

The honeymoon part has been enjoyable for everybody across the Jets regardless of considerations in regards to the offensive line and the general unproven nature of the crew’s roster. With the Buffalo Payments, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on the schedule throughout the first six weeks, the honeymoon might be over for Rodgers.

It might not take till the sixth week, the Payments move rush may result in Rodgers complaining about his offensive line and/or his younger receivers not adjusting their routes by the sixth play of the season. Rodgers has spent the final 10-plus seasons being a sure manner and that manner has principally led to success. “Kumbaya Rodgers” isn’t right here to remain.

One of many AFC’s “massive three” will break down

There’s been a reasonably clear pecking order within the AFC for 2 years now, and that ends in 2023. The Chiefs, Payments and Bengals have been the category of the convention with everybody selecting them to run all the best way to the tip, however that ends this 12 months.

The Chiefs proved final 12 months that Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have been sufficient to hold the offense with no star on the surface, however this 12 months they’ve the weakest receiving corps since Mahomes entered the league, Orlando Brown is gone, Kelce’s damage is a factor to look at, and barring a breakthrough Chris Jones wont play for half the 12 months.

The Payments are unimaginable, however preserve struggling to recover from the hump. At this level it appears slightly like Sean McDermott and the entrance workplace are working out of concepts, which has led to frustration creeping in. There’s an opportunity they may falter too.

Cincinnati added an enormous piece in Orlando Brown, and the offense ought to cook dinner — however the Bengals’ secondary was looted in free company, placing numerous new faces in a unit that isn’t wholly convincing.

That is the 12 months one in every of these three groups drifts out of the playoffs and wishes to transform their roster.

The Cardinals received’t simply be dangerous, however traditionally dangerous

Two groups have gone 0-16 in NFL historical past. The Cardinals may very well be the primary to go 0-17. The 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns are two of essentially the most disgusting, fetid groups of all time — and it’s shaping up that manner in Arizona as nicely.

This can be a crew clearly tanking and constructing for the longer term, which they’ve the property to do nicely, but when Kyler Murray is shut down for the 12 months it’s not possible to see this crew profitable greater than two video games, at greatest. Arizona has a brutal impartial schedule due to the NFC West, and aside from the Texans it’s robust to see who they’ll beat.

Oh, and as one in every of my coworkers mentioned: “I wouldn’t observe Jonathan Gannon right into a Burger King, not to mention a soccer discipline.” Yeah, just about.

The Lions let everybody down

I do know, I do know. You like the Lions, I like the Lions — all of us love this Onerous Knocks-fueled underdog story being realized. This 12 months they disappoint us once more.

Expectations have by no means been increased for Dan Campbell’s crew, however they received’t attain the 9-8 document of a 12 months in the past. It’s not simply the playing suspensions that damage the crew’s depth, however the array of teaching employees departures attributable to Frank Reich poaching a number of key place coaches to deliver with him to the Panthers.

This crew smells like one that can lose numerous shut, unlucky video games and never attain the potential so many had for them this 12 months.

A RB wins Offensive Participant of the 12 months

One of many largest eventualities of the offseason was the plight of the working again. Backs aren’t getting paid what they really feel like they deserve, and all the ‘RBs don’t matter’ dialogue hit a crescendo. Nevertheless, through the season, what’ll play out is the notion that groups might be working extra hole scheme ideas and the groups that may create explosives on the bottom would be the ones that succeed.

RBs who imply quite a bit to their singular groups might be getting much more run. Gamers just like the 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey, who will greater than doubtless be excellent as soon as once more in his first full season with the Niners. Saquon Barkley is again with the Giants, and relying on the general well being of that offense he may see an entire lot of touches. We may even get into some sleepers, corresponding to if the Titans have been to win the division and Derrick Henry regains full power. Both manner it goes, working the ball is likely to be en vogue once more, and a RB profitable OPOY after this offseason can be kinda surprising.

Jonathan Gannon doesn’t end the season as Cardinals HC

Look man, the Cardinals are dangerous dangerous. Kyler Murray might be gone for at the very least the primary half of the season, and the promoting of elements has already begun. Gannon appears in over his head and nothing about that franchise is thrilling or attention-grabbing proper now. The recipe for catastrophe may hit Arizona actual shortly, and if issues get traditionally dangerous, Gannon may not be the one to see it via to the highest total choose.

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