Battle for top spot between Eagles and 49ers at Nationals

eastern division

1. Philadelphia Eagles, 12-5*

Looking at the Eagles roster from top to bottom, it’s hard to see any weaknesses. The team relies on star quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts, talented receivers, a stellar offensive line and a defense that was one of the best last season. Coach Nick Siriani is doing a great job with this club, and barring Hurts’ injury, Philadelphia has everything it needs to return to the Super Bowl and hope for a different finish there.

2. Dallas Cowboys, 10-7*

The biggest loss for the Cowboys in recent months has been their offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who now works for the Los Angeles Chargers. His departure has now allowed head coach Mike McCarthy to declare the game offensive, which isn’t necessarily the best news. Quarterback Dak Prescott, who will have young Trey Lance at his feet, will certainly want to do better after a season where he had 15 interceptions in only 12 games. The defense continues to be strong, led by star Micah Parsons (linebacker).

3. New York Giants, 8-9

It wasn’t sexy, but the Giants managed to surprise many fans last year by reaching the playoffs and even winning a game against the Minnesota Vikings. For 2023, New York has a questionable set of receivers and linebackers. That said, quarterback Daniel Jones has shown some interesting progress while running back Saquon Barkley remains an NFL force. Head coach Brian Dabol must keep his men in the game through the final weeks of the season.

4. Washington Commanders, 6-11

Renowned Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy has accepted the commanders’ challenge in the same role. The problem is that Bienemy will move from Patrick Mahomes to Sam Howell or even Jacoby Brissett in the quarterback role. Without taking anything away from them, Howell and Brissett are far from Mahomes. Thus, the potential for this attack is quite limited, despite the good game makers in Commanders. It’s a shame, because Washington’s defense, where Quebec cornerback Benjamin Saint-Juste lines up, is far from ugly (ranked 7th in 2022 for points allowed).

north division

1. Detroit Lions, 11-6*

The new hottie of the NFL is this team from Detroit. After years of misery, the Lions finally look set to seize the throne in the Northern Division of the Nationals. They rely on an effective offensive line and a ground game that promises to be explosive. In addition, Jared Goff hasn’t been ugly behind center since arriving at Michigan, making this offense diverse. If Detroit wins its division’s honor, it will be its first time since 1993!

2. Minnesota Vikings, 9-8*

Some wonder whether the Vikings didn’t suffer from impostor syndrome. Minnesota went 13–4 in 2022, winning many of its games by a margin of one possession or less. He also gave away more runs than he scored, which is never a good sign. The Vikings also parted ways with career veterans Dalvin Cook, receiver Adam Thilen, and linebackers Eric Kendricks and Za’Darius Smith. Despite the solid work of quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​and the immense talent of receiver Justin Jefferson, a regression can be expected.

3. Green Bay Packers, 8-9

Simply put, a new era is finally beginning for the Packers. After decades of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, it’s Jordan Love’s turn to take charge of the Green Bay offense. The 24-year-old, the 26th pick in 2020, has all the pressure on his shoulders. The Packers don’t have a bad club, but if Love struggles as a starter, which is entirely possible, they will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.

For the first time in decades, the Packers would not bet on a future Hall of Fame quarterback.  There's a lot of pressure on Jordan Love's shoulders.

4. Chicago Bears, 7-10

After finishing last in the overall standings, the Bears could only make progress. Young quarterback Justin Fields demonstrated his athletic talent by rushing for 1,143 yards and setting some passing records. The interesting thing about Fields is that he doesn’t seem completely airborne yet. He is better at it and with a better staff of receivers, he will be able to showcase it.

Fields has the potential to become the first player to throw for 4,000 passing yards and over 1,000 rushing yards. Chicago’s defense has some great features, which should keep the Bears headed in the right direction.

west division

1. San Francisco 49ers, 12-5*

In the NFL, the 49ers roster is unquestionably one of the most powerful. His defense, best in 2022 with an average of 16.3 points a game, should be equally intimidating this year. The offense is brilliantly balanced with Christian McCaffrey as the carrier and receivers like Deebo Samuel, Brandon Ayuk and George Kittel.

The only question in San Francisco concerns Brock Purdy. This modest 7th round pick in 2022 has been errorless in the nine games he has played so far. With his elbow operated upon after suffering an injury in the national finals, will Purdy be able to repeat his exploits when everyone is waiting for him? They are well monitored, having the privilege of relying on one of the NFL’s greatest offensive talents in Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers are betting big on 2023 with a very talented roster, but they will rely on a still-inexperienced quarterback in Brock Purdy.

2. Seattle Seahawks, 10-7*

When Russell Wilson left for the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks forfeiture was announced. Then, out of nowhere, Geno Smith took over that attack and he had a stellar season to take Seattle to the playoffs, surprising everyone. It should also be said that the scouting staff has contributed a lot to this great season with many outstanding selections in 2022. Seattle has improved in recent months on defense and attack, with other intelligent additions. If Smith can replicate his skills, coach Pete Carroll’s men will have a fine campaign.

3. Los Angeles Rams, 6-11

The Rams put it all on the line to win Super Bowl LVI. His bet worked, but now he will have to pay the price. Their roster is in complete disarray due to aging players and numerous violations on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is now 35 and in poor health. He’s also hobbled badly on offense while the only receiver Cooper Kupp is threatening. After a 5-12 season, it’s hard to imagine the Rams could do better.

4. Arizona Cardinals, 4-13

The campaign took a dramatic turn for the worse when star quarterback Kyler Murray tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the end of the 2022 season. For now, Murray is not expected for at least the first four weeks and his absence should extend beyond that. So that should leave poor Josh Dobbs behind center. Starting wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and veteran defensive end JJ Watt, this recipe is perfect to see Arizona in the race for the 2024 first pick.

south division

1. New Orleans Saints, 9-8

Since the retirement of the venerable Drew Brees, the Saints have experienced several difficulties at quarterback. Now relying on Derek Carr to guide their attack, the team has certainly improved its position. Without being a member of the elite, Carr has the ability to present a good aerial threat. He will also be supported by a good ground game. Defensively, the Saints are still betting on a perfectly approachable unit that allows them to gain an edge to propel themselves out on top of the weakest division in the NFL.

2. Carolina Panthers, 7-10

This marks the start of Bryce Young’s reign with the Panthers this year. Carolina paid a small fortune to secure this promising quarterback and will do everything in their power to allow him to shine. With new head coach Frank Reich, the Panthers aren’t a bad team on paper, but they are far from a force to be reckoned with. However, if Young plays well from the start and the defense holds its own, this club might just be able to turn around this unpredictable southern division. Everything will depend on what Young can do.

Bryce Young was selected, along with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, with the first overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

3. Atlanta Falcons, 6-11

The ground game will once again dominate in Georgia this year. The Falcons have a solid offensive line that will likely develop Victorialouise Matthew Bergeron, and have invested a very high draft pick in selecting promising running back Bijon Robinson. Quarterback Desmond Ridder is also a fine athlete who moves well on the court. That said, Ridder has little experience and needs to develop his skills as a passer. The defense, ranked 27th in points allowed in 2022, has improved, but remains fragile. Arthur Smith’s team will look to control the dial and they will be in for close matches.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-12

The Buccaneers are moving from the legendary Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield this year. Sure, Brady lost a few feathers, but betting on Mayfield as quarterback is a far cry from an improvement. The No. 1 pick in 2018 will be his fourth team in only two years and he has yet to prove that he is an established starter. He can rely on excellent receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but the rest of the offense is somewhat lacking. Tampa Bay’s defense remains respectable, but the club, which finished 8-9 last year, is clearly no better.

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