NFL 2023 Over/Under Wins Breakdown for All 32 Teams | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors (labcalindia)

NFL 2023 Over/Under Wins Breakdown for All 32 Teams

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    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesNorm Hall/Getty Images

    The 2023 NFL season kicks off this week, meaning it’s time to take one last look at the upcoming schedule and make a few wagers on how teams are expected to perform.

    When it comes to Super Bowl futures, not every team should be involved. The Houston Texans, for example, aren’t lifting the Lombardi Trophy a year going 3014. Fans looking to wager on Houston are better off looking at the over/under on regular-season wins.

    But which side is worth taking? That’s a tough question and one we’ll try to answer here for every single team. We’ll examine the latest Over/Under Win totals from DraftKings, and dive into factors like 2022 results, strength of schedule, overall roster strength, roster health, coaching, coaching preseason observations and any relevant recent buzz, and produce a verdict.

    And since there’s a big difference between a “gut feeling” and a “sure thing,” we’ll also provide a confidence rating for every pick.

Confidence Rating Scale

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    DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 19: The NFL logo is pictured on a Wilson brand football during the preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on August 19, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

    Nic Antaya/Getty Images

    We’ll rate every pick from our over/under predictions based on the following scale.

  • 1 = Strong Hunch
  • 2 = Feels Likely But Dependent on Team-Specific Factors
  • 3 = More Probable Than Not
  • 4 = Feeling Good About It
  • 5 = Looking like a Best Bet

Arizona Cardinals

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    Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon

    Cardinals head coach Jonathan GannonDavid Berding/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 3.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 4-13

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .519

    Tanking isn’t supposed to exist in the NFL, but it’s become all too obvious that the Arizona Cardinals are looking to “earn” a top 2024 quarterback prospect like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

    Arizona won’t have starting quarterback Kyler Murray early in the season, if at all, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. The Cardinals recently dumped their most experienced backup, Colt McCoy, and have also parted with veterans DeAndre Hopkins, Josh Jones and Isaiah Simmons since the draft.

    It’s quite possibly unfortunate for new head coach Jonathan Gannon, who could conceivably only last a season if not fully on board with the tanking process. With very little talent and a tough schedule, his squad is in for a very long season.

    On paper, the Cardinals are even worse than last year, and it’s hard to envision Arizona even reaching four wins again. Three or fewer wins is no lock, though, because the players on the field are never trying to lose.

    Arizona is trying to lose, but if there’s a franchise that can manage to screw up being bad, it’s the Cardinals.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 2

Atlanta Falcons

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    Falcons QB Desmond Ridder

    Falcons QB Desmond RidderTodd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 8.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .417

    The Atlanta Falcons were surprisingly competitive in 2022, despite having woefully inconsistent signal-caller Marcus Mariota under center for the bulk of the season.

    If second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder can provide a more steady presence than Mariota did, Atlanta has the talent to be a playoff contender.

    The Falcons reloaded their defense, hiring Ryan Nielsen away from the rival New Orleans Saints and adding the likes of David Onyemata, Bud Dupree, Kaden Elliss, Jeff Okudah, Calais Campbell and Jessie Bates III. They also added players like Jonnu Smith, Matthew Bergeron and Bijan Robinson to their offense.

    In Robinson, Smith, Drake London, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Kyle Pitts and Mack Hollins, the Falcons boast, on paper, one of the best offensive skill groups in the conference. They should have an improve defensed too, and will be relevant in the NFC South.

    With an extremely forgiving schedule, a two-win improvement is anything but far-fetched. Despite flashing promise as a rookie and looking competent in limited preseason action, though, Ridder remains a bit of an unknown. Until Ridder proves he can be great, Atlanta will remain a Cinderella team.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 3

Baltimore Ravens

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    Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

    Ravens QB Lamar JacksonKevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 10.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 10-7

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .484

    The Baltimore Ravens reached the 2022 postseason despite finishing the year with Lamar Jackson on the sideline. With Jackson healthy and under contract for 2023, it’s hard to believe that Baltimore will be significantly worse than a year ago.

    However, there’s a lot riding on Jackson’s ability to stay healthy, something he hasn’t done in each of his past two campaigns. Recent history suggests that the 26-year-old will miss a game or two this season.

    That’s potentially problematic, as is the fact that the Ravens will have an offensive adjustment period. Baltimore hired a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, and with new receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers in the fold, Jackson won’t be leading the same old grind-it-out offense.

    If the defense continues to be dominant, the new offense clicks early and Jackson can stay healthy, Baltimore can be a Super Bowl contender. However, I have a hunch that the brutal competition in the loaded AFC North is enough to keep the Ravens just short of reaching 11 wins.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 1

Buffalo Bills

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    Bills QB Josh Allen

    Bills QB Josh AllenQuinn Harris/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 10.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 13-3

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .542

    The Buffalo Bills should be one of the best teams in the AFC, but I have serious concerns about their ability to replicate last season’s regular-season success.

    Many of last year’s issues remain. Though Buffalo added Connor McGovern and rookie O’Cyrus Torrence, the offensive line is still a question mark. Though they drafted tight end Dalton Kincaid, the Bills still lack a reliable third wideout behind Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.

    The Bills won’t have star pass-rusher Von Miller early, as he’ll begin the season on the PUP list following last year’s torn ACL.

    Perhaps a bigger concern is the fact that the rest of the AFC East has seemingly gotten stronger, while Buffalo really hasn’t. With the Miami Dolphins set to be a playoff team again, and the Aaron Rodgers-led New York Jets set to surge, the Bills are no longer clear favorites in their division.

    A daunting schedule that also features road games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles could leave the Bills looking at a few fewer wins. As long as Josh Allen can stay healthy, it’s hard to bet too heavily against the Bills, but I’m taking the under here.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 1

Carolina Panthers

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    Panthers QB Bryce Young

    Panthers QB Bryce YoungJared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .453

    The Carolina Panthers have already named rookie quarterback Bryce Young as their Week 1 starter. In the big picture, that’s the right call, as getting Young experience will be critical for the future of the franchise.

    However, this doesn’t mean that Young is ready to lead Carolina to early success. I have serious concerns about the Panthers’ offensive line, which appeared shaky at best during the preseason.

    While Carolina did add proven talent in Miles Sanders, DJ Chark Jr., Hayden Hurst, Vonn Bell and Kamu Grugier-Hill, it doesn’t have one of the stronger rosters in the conference, or the sort of stellar skill group that can provide Young with an easy adjustment.

    On one hand, the league’s sixth-easiest schedule—in terms of 2022 winning percentage—could allow the Panthers to be playoff-relevant. On the other hand, new head coach Frank Reich shouldn’t be on the hot season and should be far more invested in Young’s development than wins and losses.

    Winning was very important for interim coach Steve Wilks down the stretch last season.

    I fully expect the Panthers to be a fun team to watch this season. I don’t expect them to be better.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 4

Chicago Bears

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    Bears QB Justin Fields

    Bears QB Justin FieldsRobin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 3-14

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .497

    The Chicago Bears will be better than they were in 2022. Quarterback Justin Fields established himself as an elite scrambler last season, and he now has the help of a quality supporting cast.

    Players like Robert Tonyan Jr., Nate Davis, Darnell Wright and, of course, D.J. Moore will make Fields a better quarterback.

    A defense that ranked dead last in points allowed last season should also be better, with veterans such as T.J. Edwards, Tremaine Edmunds, Andrew Billings and DeMarcus Walker entering the mix.

    However, there’s a big difference between “better” and “playoff-caliber,” and I don’t think Chicago has bridged the gap just yet. The NFC North is still good, and a middle-of-the-road schedule won’t provide many easy wins.

    I view the Bears similarly to the Detroit Lions of 2021. Chicago will be an improving, scrappy team that still needs to learn how to win consistently. Three or four more wins would make a significant improvement, but Chicago isn’t even an average team just yet.

    A shocking jump by Fields could change things in a hurry, but I think the Bears are still a year away from being playoff-relevant.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Bengals QB Joe Burrow

    Bengals QB Joe BurrowMichael Owens/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 10.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 12-4

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .510

    The tough test that is the AFC North could make it difficult for the Cincinnati Bengals to top last year’s 12-win record. However, it’s hard to envision the Bengals being significantly worse.

    It starts with star quarterback Joe Burrow, who has been dealing with a calf injury but recently returned to practice. Cincinnati hasn’t committed to having Burrow in Week 1, but it feels likely.

    “I think he’s in a good place and we got a good plan in place for him to get ready for Week 1,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said, per ESPN’s Ben Baby.

    Burrow has established himself as the league’s second-best signal-caller behind Patrick Mahomes, and Cincinnati has arguably the top overall roster in the AFC—and it might be stronger than last year.

    The addition of offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. could be huge for a team that allowed 44 sacks during the regular season in 2022. Rookie pass-rusher Myles Murphy should boost a defense that recorded only 30 sacks.

    Cincinnati faces a difficult schedule. If there’s one thing the Bengals have shown over the last two years, though, it’s an ability to meet challenges head-on. Barring significant injury issues, the Bengals will reach 11 wins.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 4

Cleveland Browns

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    Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski

    Browns head coach Kevin StefanskiAndy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .460

    The Cleveland Browns and head coach Kevin Stefanski are facing a make-or-break season. It’ll be the first full year with Deshaun Watson at quarterback, and Cleveland made significant improvements during the offseason.

    The changes started with the hiring of new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone. The Browns then bolstered their receiver depth by adding Elijah Moore, Marquise Goodwin and Cedric Tillman.

    Defensively, Cleveland added the likes of Za’Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Juan Thornhill. It even improved its third unit by ousting kicker Cade York and trading for Dustin Hopkins.

    Playmakers like Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, Denzel Ward and David Njoku are still on the roster too.

    On paper, the Browns look like legitimate title contenders. They also face the seventh-easiest schedule in the league. Anything other than a significant improvement and a playoff spot will be seen as a failure and could cost Stefanski his job.

    Of course, we’re talking about arguably the most snake-bitten franchise in the history of pro sports. While I do expect Cleveland to reach 10 wins, I don’t have a ton of faith in the Browns’ ability to meet expectations.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 1

Dallas Cowboys

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    Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb

    Cowboys WR CeeDee LambBrandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 10.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 12-5

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .549

    Sorry, Dallas Cowboys fans. While I see Dallas being a wild-card team again in 2023, I don’t see the Cowboys reaching 11 wins.

    There are a few reasons for this. It starts with some big offensive changes in the offseason. Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz are gone, as is offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. That unit is poised to experience a few growing pains—and that’s assuming quarterback Dak Prescott stays healthy.

    Dallas also didn’t do enough to bolster a run defense that ranked 22nd in yards allowed last season. In a conference that features the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and Eagles, that’s a problem.

    Lastly, I think the potential for distraction looms large. Prescott is entering the final two years of his contract, and the arrival of Trey Lance suddenly hangs a cloud over Prescott’s future. It also raises questions about the relationship between head coach Mike McCarthy and franchise owner Jerry Jones.

    “You’re going to go out there, and you’re going to make a trade for a guy without talking to anybody else in your organization,” Mark Schlereth said on his Stinkin’ Truth podcast (h/t Chantz Martin of Fox Sports).

    Add in the league’s third-toughest schedule (tied), and Dallas appears ready to take a step back.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 5

Denver Broncos

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    Broncos head coach Sean Payron

    Broncos head coach Sean PayronDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 8.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 5-12

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .517

    For the Denver Broncos, everything in 2023 hinges on new head coach Sean Payton and his ability to get the most out of quarterback Russell Wilson.

    I’m not so sure it’ll be enough for Denver to get back above .500.

    During the preseason, Wilson played more efficiently than he did under Nathaniel Hackett in 2022. However, he also appeared more hesitant than he did in Seattle and seemed to lack confidence in his long ball.

    While the 34-year-old may not have reached the proverbial cliff, I have serious doubts about his ability to regain Pro Bowl form.

    That’s a big part of the equation. While the Broncos took steps to strengthen their offensive line, their receiving corps remains questionable at best. Jerry Jeudy is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Denver has lost Tim Patrick to another season-ending injury.

    On paper, Denver has the third-best roster in the AFC West, an extremely difficult division. The Broncos also face the league’s 12th-hardest schedule and can’t shake that lingering uncertainty surrounding Wilson.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

Detroit Lions

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    Lions Edge Aidan Hutchinson

    Lions Edge Aidan HutchinsonGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-8

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .495

    The Detroit Lions nearly reached the playoffs in 2022, falling just short with a 9-8 record. They made the run based on the strength of their offense and despite a defense that ranked dead-last in yards allowed.

    Detroit made some big defensive improvements this offseason. Players like Jack Campbell, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton and Brian Branch should help give the Lions a much more balanced roster.

    The offense, which added explosive running back Jahmyr Gibbs to the mix, should again be among the league’s most potent.

    The Lions are ready to take the proverbial next step and make a playoff run, and they’ll be aided by a forgiving home schedule. Detroit will only host two 2022 playoff teams, though their road schedule is a bit more daunting.

    Detroit will face the Chiefs, Chargers, Cowboys and Ravens on the road.

    Still, the big question is whether the Lions can handle the pressure of increased expectations. With a determined head coach in Dan Campbell leading the charge, I’m very confident that Detroit is up to the challenge.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 4

Green Bay Packers

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    Packers QB Jordan Love

    Packers QB Jordan LovePatrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 8-9

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .476

    The Jordan Love era has officially begun for the Green Bay Packers. After watching Love efficiently operate the offense during the preseason, I feel better than I did in the spring about the Packers’ chances of topping .500.

    Green Bay still has a talented roster and a stellar head coach in Matt LaFleur. The defense should be solid, and Green Bay has an intriguing cache of young receiving options.

    Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs flashed talent as rookies in 2022. They’ll be joined by the likes of Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks.

    Running backs AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones still form one of the best backfield duos in football.

    Love, of course, remains the x-factor. While he doesn’t have to immediately leap into the MVP conversation, he must be better than Aaron Rodgers was last year if the Packers are going to improve their win total.

    A lot will depend on his ability to quickly form a rapport with his youthful skill group. I like the over here, but if Love stumbles at all, things could quickly go awry for the Packers.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

Houston Texans

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    Texans QB C.J. Stroud

    Texans QB C.J. StroudLogan Riely/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 3-13-1

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .431

    I like the direction in which the Houston Texans are heading. Head coach DeMeco Ryans was a strong hire, and he’ll help install a winning culture in Houston. Additions like Dalton Schultz, Robert Woods, Sheldon Rankins, Jimmie Ward and Shaq Mason bring both experience and talent to the roster.

    Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and rookie pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr. are both potential long-term building blocks for the Texans’ future.

    What I like far less is Houston’s ability to string together wins right away. Stroud, who was only recently named the Week 1 starter, played as you’d expect a rookie to play during the preseason. He should be fine in time, but he’s not likely to immediately shine the way QBs like Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow recently have.

    A questionable offensive line and a lackluster overall skill group will do Stroud few favors.

    While Houston’s roster is better, that doesn’t mean it’s good. The Texans had perhaps the league’s least-talented group a year ago.

    The NFL’s third-easiest schedule and an eight-game road slate that features only three 2022 playoff teams could allow Houston to make me look foolish, but I’m still taking the under here.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

Indianapolis Colts

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    Colts QB Anthony Richardson

    Colts QB Anthony RichardsonJohn Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 4-12-1

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .434

    Like the Texans, the Indianapolis Colts will roll with a rookie quarterback to start the season. In Indy’s case, it’ll be dual-threat Florida product Anthony Richardson.

    The optimist’s view is that Richardson can be the next Josh Allen—a physically gifted signal-caller who takes a few years to become a finished product. The Colts, who have been mired in quarterback mediocrity ever since Andrew Luck retired, will take that.

    However, Richardson isn’t likely to put it all together immediately. Allen, now viewed as an elite quarterback, finished his rookie campaign with a passer rating of just 67.9. Buffalo went 6-10 in Allen’s rookie year, and the Colts don’t have the overall talent that the Bills did then.

    Indy won’t have star running back Jonathan Taylor to open the season either, as he’ll start on the PUP list. The timeline for his return—and the chances of a return to Pro Bowl form—remain unclear.

    If Richardson evolves faster than Allen did, the Colts could be surprisingly competitive in 2023. However, I think his growth, and improved results, will come later in the season, after the Colts are all but out of the playoff mix.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 2

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence

    Jaguars QB Trevor LawrenceRich Storry/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-8

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .477

    This is a tricky one, as another 9-8 campaign and AFC South title feels like a reasonable outcome for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2023.

    Led by rising quarterback Trevor Lawrence and an experienced head coach in Doug Pederson, Jacksonville should be the team to beat in their division. A relatively easy schedule also helps the cause.

    However, there are a few variables that are concerning. We don’t yet know if 2022 trade acquisition Calvin Ridley can be Jacksonville’s true No. 1 receiver following a year-plus away from football.

    There’s also no guarantee that Jacksonville’s defense will be as opportunistic as it was a year ago. On paper, the unit isn’t great, and the Jags ranked 24th in yards allowed. However, Jacksonville benefited greatly from finishing plus-five in turnover differential.

    Lawrence looked as good as ever in limited preseason action, and there’s little reason to believe that he or the Jaguars will suddenly fall off this season. However, it’s also hard to say that the Jags are markedly better than they were a year ago.

    Any improvements by the rest of the AFC South could have Jacksonville falling short of the 10-win mark. This is an over/under I’d actively avoid.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 1

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

    Chiefs QB Patrick MahomesScott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 11.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 14-3

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .512

    The Chiefs enter the 2023 season with a few concerns. Their new-look offensive line didn’t appear truly settled in the preseason, and the offense still lacks a clear No. 1 receiver on the perimeter.

    Kansas City also faces a schedule that won’t deliver a of ton easy wins.

    Here’s the thing though. The Chiefs have remained among the league’s best and most consistent teams ever since Patrick Mahomes became the full-time starter. Kansas City has reached the AFC title game in each of the past five seasons and has won no fewer than 12 games in any of those campaigns.

    While they’re going to get every team’s best shot, the Chiefs are also accustomed to playing the role of the hunted.

    As long as Mahomes remains healthy and Andy Reid is stalking the sidelines, the Chiefs will remain one of the safest bets in the NFL. If they fail to reach 12 wins in 2023, it’ll almost certainly be due to significant injury issues.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 5

Las Vegas Raiders

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    Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

    Raiders RB Josh JacobsChris Unger/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 6-11

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .524

    The Las Vegas Raiders represent another tricky team to pick, and for a variety of reasons.

    For starters, I’m still not 100 percent convinced that winning will be the primary focus in 2023. Jimmy Garoppolo is only a temporary fix at quarterback, and if Las Vegas doesn’t get off to a fast start, the prospect of playing for a top 2024 draft pick—and one of those enticing QB prospects—will become enticing.

    I’m also not convinced that Garoppolo will play a full season for only the second time in his career. His injury history suggests that rookie Aidan O’Connell will start at least a game or two. While O’Connell looked great in the preseason, exhibition performances must be taken with a grain (or six) of salt.

    An intimidating schedule also looms large.

    That said, the Raiders feel much more likely to hit the over than they did a few weeks ago. Star running back Josh Jacobs is back in the fold, and Las Vegas was one of the most impressive teams we saw in the preseason.

    Things weren’t perfect, of course, but the Raiders played an energized, efficient and opportunistic brand of football that they simply didn’t a year ago. Seven or eight wins feels more than realistic.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Chargers QB Justin Herbert

    Chargers QB Justin HerbertKevin Sabitus/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 10-7

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .517

    If the over/under was just a tick higher, I’d have some concerns with the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Los Angeles has an extremely talented roster, led by one of the league’s up-and-comers in quarterback Justin Herbert. However, this is a franchise that consistently finds new ways to disappoint.

    No, last year’s blown 27-0 lead over Jacksonville in the playoffs will not be soon forgotten.

    Exactly no one will be shocked if L.A. is a missed field goal or muffed punt away from equaling last season’s 10-win total. I still like the over, though, for a couple of reasons.

    For one, the hiring of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator should help iron out some of the coaching issues. Moore is used to running a balanced Dallas offense, and a similar approach should help reduce the risk of blown leads.

    Secondly, the Chargers should have a healthy Herbert after he battled fractured rib cartilage in 2022. If players like Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa can also stay healthy, L.A. should be a little better than it was a year ago.

    With a schedule that’s just slightly easier than last year’s (.519), I’d expect the Chargers to reach 10 wins again.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 3

Los Angeles Rams

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    Rams head coach Sean McVay

    Rams head coach Sean McVayTyler Schank/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 5-12

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .533

    Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay had a blunt reaction to his team’s 41-0 loss in its preseason finale.

    “That was a humbling night,” McVay said, per Arnie Melendrez Stapleton of the Associated Press. “That’s not a night you ever want to go through no matter what your approach is.”

    McVay, and Rams fans, should brace themselves for more humbling results.

    Yes, the Rams rested most of their starters during the preseason. However, this is still a team that lacks proven talent outside of a few key veterans. Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford may still be individually good, but the roster isn’t.

    And Kupp’s ongoing hamstring issues are a major concern.

    After dumping veterans like Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, Bobby Wagner, Taylor Rapp, Nick Scott and cornerback David Long Jr., the defense might be legitimately bad.

    While there are a few nice pieces offensively, An offensive line that allowed 59 sacks in 2022 is problematic.

    The league’s ninth-toughest schedule won’t help, unless the general manager Les Snead is secretly eyeing one of those 2024 quarterbacks. Seven wins would represent an overachievement in Los Angeles, and I have a feeling that Snead and Co. would rather underachieve—and possibly set up a QB succession plan—than be average this season.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

Miami Dolphins

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    Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel

    Dolphins head coach Mike McDanielDon Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-8

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .554

    The Miami Dolphins should be better than they were in 2022. The expectation is that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will stay healthy after missing games following a series of concussions last season.

    The Dolphins were hot early but lost five of their final six, due in part, to Tagovailoa’s unavailability.

    I have doubts that Miami will actually see an improvement in win total this season, however. The Dolphins didn’t significantly upgrade their roster in the offseason, and injuries are already a concern heading into the season.

    Tagovailoa is healthy, but prized trade addition Jalen Ramsey is on injured reserve with a torn meniscus, and rookie running back De’Von Achane is dealing with an AC joint injury.

    Achane and Cam Smith make up Miami’s rookie draft class now that Elijah Higgins and Ryan Hayes have been claimed off waivers.

    If Tagovailoa stays healthy and improves on last year’s play, Miami could take the proverbial next step. However, the league’s second-hardest schedule could be enough to keep the Dolphins around the nine-win mark for a second straight year.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 1

Minnesota Vikings

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    Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

    Vikings WR Justin JeffersonGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 8.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 13-4

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .497

    There are plenty of reasons to believe that the Minnesota Vikings will take a significant step back in 2023.

    The Vikings overachieved last season, notching 13 wins despite having a complete liability of a defense and actually posting a negative scoring differential. Minnesota also purged the roster of veteran talent this offseason, moving on from the likes of Dalvin Cook, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Za’Darius Smith, Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks.

    Minnesota is more likely to be an average team than a contender for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

    That said, Kevin O’Connell showed that he can get his team to overachieve. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores will help produce a functional defense, and the Vikings still have Justin Jefferson leading their offense.

    The Vikings face a tough AFC West this season, but their overall schedule is relatively forgiving. Expect them to stay in contention for most of the season with a vicious final month—at Bengals, vs. Lions, vs. Packers and at Lions—determining whether Minnesota makes the postseason.

    The prediction here is that the Vikings finish above .500 by the narrowest of margins.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

New England Patriots

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    Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

    Patriots head coach Bill BelichickFred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 8-9

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .549

    The New England Patriots will likely be looking up at the Jets, Dolphins and Bills in the AFC East when the 2023 season comes to a close. However, this doesn’t mean that New England is barrelling toward a five- or six-win season.

    The Patriots should expect a return to Pro Bowl form—or at least something close to it—from quarterback Mac Jones this season. They added Mike Gesicki and JuJu Smith-Schuster in the offseason along with an experienced play-caller in Bill O’Brien.

    New England’s offense might not be elite, but it won’t be the mess it was with Matt Patricia calling the shots in 2022.

    The Patriots also feature a borderline elite defense, one that ranked eighth in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed last season—despite getting next to no help from the offense.

    There’s also the Bill Belichick factor. New England’s longtime head coach tends to get good results out of mediocre rosters and great results out of good ones. The last time the Patriots won fewer than seven games was in 2000, Belichick’s first year on the job.

    The league’s third-toughest schedule (tied) will be tough to overcome, but I’d expect The Sleeveless One to coax just a little bit more than six wins out of what is a fairly solid roster.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 3

New Orleans Saints

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    Saints QB Derek Carr

    Saints QB Derek CarrAP Photo/Tyler Kaufman

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .427

    I’m backing the New Orleans Saints to reach 10 wins this season for a couple of reasons.

    For one, they won seven games in 2022 despite underwhelming quarterback play from Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston. The addition of Derek Carr should help tremendously, and New Orleans’ offense appeared potent for most of the preseason.

    Secondly, New Orleans returns the bulk of a defense that ranked fifth overall and ninth in points allowed.

    Lastly, the Saints play in a winnable division and face the league’s second-easiest schedule. New Orleans doesn’t have to be markedly better than it was a year ago to see a jump in wins.

    I still have questions, though, and wouldn’t recommend racing out to make a wager here. I won’t be sold on Dennis Allen as the head coach until he proves he can win with more consistency. I’m also in the believe-it-when-I-see-it camp when it comes to Michael Thomas, who last had a 1,000-yard season in 2019.

    I also believe that the Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be better than many expect and that the NFC South might be more challenging than anticipated. The Saints are rightfully considered the divisional favorites, though, and if all goes right, they’ll reach double-digit wins.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

New York Giants

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    Giants RB Saquon Barkley

    Giants RB Saquon BarkleyTim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-7-1

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .549

    The New York Giants were one of the league’s biggest surprises in 2022, snapping a five-year playoff drought with a nine-win season and a trip to the divisional round.

    Don’t expect New York to shock the league for a second straight year. There are simply too many variables in play to consider the Giants locks to approach .500.

    Brian Daboll looked like the real deal as a rookie head coach, but we’ve seen coaches flounder in their second seasons before—Kevin Stefanski being a great recent example. Daniel Jones finally looked like a legitimate starting quarterback, but consistency has always been his biggest issue.

    Saquon Barkley was healthy in 2022, but history suggests that he won’t stay at 100 percent for a second consecutive season. New York added a promising rookie corner in Deonte Banks but didn’t do enough to address a run defense that ranked 31st in yards allowed per carry last season.

    Add in the league’s third-toughest schedule (tied), and it certainly feels like a little regression is in order for Big Blue. That doesn’t mean that the Giants don’t have a bright future, but a return trip to the playoffs is probably another year away.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

New York Jets

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    Jets QB Aaron Rodgers

    Jets QB Aaron RodgersMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .545

    The addition of quarterback Aaron Rodgers has everyone aboard the New York Jets hype train—even the Vegas Oddsmakers.

    The over/under sits at 9.5 wins, which is a lofty benchmark for a team that won only seven games a year ago and didn’t really improve other parts of the roster. The Jets have new players in Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman Jr., but new doesn’t always mean better.

    New should mean better at quarterback, however. If Rodgers is even marginally better than he was in Green Bay last year, it’ll be an improvement for New York. Jets quarterbacks had a collective 75.0 passer rating a year ago.

    A better offense paired with a defense that ranked fourth in yards and points allowed last season is a recipe for playoff success. Picking the Jets to win 10 games is no slam dunk, though.

    New York still faces the sixth-toughest schedule in the NFL, and there could be a war of attrition in the AFC East. I like the over here, but it hinges entirely on a 39-year-old Rodgers remaining healthy, confident and capable throughout the season.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

    Eagles QB Jalen HurtsMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 11.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 14-3

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .566

    The Eagles will remain one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC this season. General manager Howie Roseman has done a masterful job of ensuring that one of the league’s most complete rosters stays in the upper echelon.

    While Philadelphia lost key contributors Miles Sanders, Javon Hargrave, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, T.J. Edwards, Isaac Seumalo, Kyzir White and Marcus Epps, it retained James Bradberry, Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox and Boston Scott.

    Rookie additions like Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, Tyler Steen and Sydney Brown will help with the backfill process.

    However, 12 wins is a loft expectation for any franchise, let alone one saddled with the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. Fans should expect a few more road bumps than Philly saw a year ago, especially with changes at both offensive and defensive coordinator.

    There will be an adjustment period on both sides of the ball, and no team faces a tougher schedule than the Eagles.

    Make no mistake, Philadelphia is very much a title contender, but a few fewer wins feel more likely than not.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 3

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

    Steelers head coach Mike TomlinRich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 8.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-8

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .470

    You know the drill here. The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t finished below .500 since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach in 2007. You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but facts are facts, and there’s a reason why it’s worth bringing up.

    Under Tomlin, the Steelers have remained one of the most well-coached, disciplined and, often, overachieving teams in the NFL. Despite having an inexperienced rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett, not having T.J. Watt for nearly half the season and possessing an inconsistent secondary (25th in yards per attempt allowed), the Steelers won nine games a year ago.

    Should Pittsburgh fail to reach that mark again, it’ll likely be due to injuries or the sheer rock face that is the AFC North.

    On paper, Pittsburgh is significantly better than it was a year ago. Additions like Patrick Peterson, Isaac Seumalo, Joe Porter Jr. and Elandon Roberts will have an early and sustained impact.

    The Steelers also have the league’s eighth-easiest schedule, and, the last time I checked, Tomlin on the sideline.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 5

San Francisco 49ers

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    49ers RB Christian McCaffrey

    49ers RB Christian McCaffreyBrandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over/Under: 10.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 13-4

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .514

    It’s hard to say that the 49ers are a lock to reach 11 wins because there are a few questions entering Week 1.

    Can Brock Purdy stay healthy following his postseason elbow injury? Will the second-year quarterback replicate his shocking rookie success? Will star pass-rusher Nick Bosa really continue holding out for a new contract into the regular season?

    “I can imagine anything,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Bosa’s situation, per’s Grant Gordon.

    It’s not that hard to envision San Francisco getting to 13 wins, though. This is a team that reached the NFC title game despite losing two different starting quarterbacks during the regular season. It seems to have found its QB in Purdy, and it has one of the deepest and most complete rosters in the entire NFL.

    Yes, San Francisco played poorly in the preseason, but that’s sort of been the trend under Shanahan. The 49ers have been to three NFC Championship Games in four years.

    Shanahan and the 49ers have become accustomed to overcoming obstacles. Injury risks and the Bosa situation aside, there aren’t many of those looming. San Francisco will have a few tough games but face only the 15th-hardest schedule in the league. For a team that came oh-so-close to claiming a No. 1 seed, that’s a pretty forgiving slate.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 4

Seattle Seahawks

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    Seahawks QB Geno Smith

    Seahawks QB Geno SmithEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 9.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 9-8

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .517

    Last year, Seahawks QB Geno Smith was a surprise Pro Bowler who helped lead a surging Seattle offense into the postseason.

    I’m not 100 percent confident that Smith will be as good as he was a year ago. I do believe that the Seahawks will be much better as a team. Additions like Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet will help take pressure off of Smith, and the defense is going to surprise a few people.

    Seattle ranked 25th in yards allowed last season. However, it’s worth noting that defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt brought a sizeable shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense, and Seattle was ill-equipped to handle it.

    With newcomers like Devin Bush, Dre’Month Jones, Jarran Reed, Bobby Wagner and Devon Witherspoon now in the fold, the defense should be much more efficient.

    The problem I foresee is a brutal road schedule that involves the Cowboys, Giants, Bengals, Ravens, Lions and those familiar NFC West foes. There’s a good chance that Seattle is an improve team with an identical 9-8 record.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Buccaneers LB Lavonte David

    Buccaneers LB Lavonte DavidNick Cammett/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 8-9

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .483

    Most expect the Buccaneers to take a significant step back following the retirement of Tom Brady. Many would be unwise to jump to that conclusion.

    The Buccaneers have named Baker Mayfield as the Week 1 starter at quarterback, and we’ve seen the 2018 first overall pick play at a high level in the past. He isn’t Brady, but he can steer what is still a very talented Buccaneers roster.

    Mayfield looked sharp in new offensive coordinator Dave Canales’ offense during the preseason. With Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in the lineup, the passing attack could be quite good.

    My concerns with Tampa rest more with the offensive line, the running game and center Ryan Jensen’s trip to season-ending injured reserve. The ground game and line were issues that the experienced and decisive Brady was often able to mask.

    Defensively, the Bucs should be solid once again, and they face the league’s 11th-easiest schedule. I don’t view Tampa as a bona fide “bad” team, and if we see the return of Good Mayfield, the Buccaneers might even make a push in the NFC South.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 2

Tennessee Titans

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    Titans RB Derrick Henry

    Titans RB Derrick HenryCourtney Culbreath/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 7.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 7-10

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .448

    Like the rest of the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans face one of the easier schedules in the NFL this season.

    If the Titans return to the playoffs and/or finish above .500, it will likely be due to their quality of opponents. On paper, Tennessee appears poised for another mediocre campaign ahead of a transitional 2024 offseason.

    Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry are among key veterans set to become free agents in 2024. There’s at least a chance that they’re out of the starting lineup by midseason.

    Defensively, the Titans are lopsided. They ranked first in run defense last season but ranked dead-last in passing yards allowed. Tennessee also did shockingly little to upgrade its defense in the offseason.

    Instead, the Titans added players like DeAndre Hopkins and Peter Skoronski to their offense. Overall, Tennessee’s roster just doesn’t scream “top playoff contender.”

    If the Titans get off to a slow start, Tannehill could be pulled for rookie Will Levis or second-year QB Malik Willis. Henry could become deadline trade bait, and new general manager Ran Carthon might start positioning for a top 2024 draft pick.

    Verdict: Under

    Confidence Rating: 2

Washington Commanders

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    Commanders QB Sam Howell

    Commanders QB Sam HowellMichael Owens/Getty Images

    Over/Under: 6.5 Wins

    2022 Record: 8-8-1

    2023 Strength of Schedule: .535

    In many ways, the Washington Commanders’ over/under is a reflection of how folks view second-year quarterback Sam Howell. Washington was a .500 team in 2022 despite getting underwhelming play from quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Carson Wentz.

    Howell is largely unproven, but the Commanders do believe in him.

    “If I would have known this, I would have played him sooner,” head coach Ron Rivera said of Howell after the rookie’s lone 2022 start, per Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer.

    Howell played fantastically in the preseason, and while exhibition games don’t count, his performance backs up Washington’s belief in him. Howell is taking over an otherwise talented team.

    Offensively, the Commanders feature legit playmakers like Jahan Dotson, Terry McLaurin, Brian Robinson and Curtis Samuel. Defensively, few teams are as loaded as the Commanders.

    Washington ranked third in yards allowed, seventh in points allowed, eighth in defensive red-zone touchdown rate (51.9 percent) and first in defensive third-down conversion rate (31.9 percent) last season—according to Pro Football Reference.

    While the Commanders do face a difficult schedule, even marginal improvement at quarterback could make them a playoff team.

    Verdict: Over

    Confidence Rating: 4

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