The NFL has wrapped up it’s 2023 Preseason, and we’re all waiting for what the 53-man rosters will look like for our favorite teams. While we’re waiting, let’s look at three big preseason “winners” and three big preseason “losers” before the season officially commences. Which teams look to break OUT in 2023, and which teams look like they’re going to break DOWN?
In no particular order (but if there was an order, I’m sure this team would be the biggest disappointment), the LA Rams, who finished 0-3. The Rams defense looks absolutely terrible. They gave up a whopping 109 points in three games and none of these games were even close. To put it into perspective, the team that gave up the second most points this preseason was the Cleveland Browns with 84 points allowed. The Rams were outscored by 75 points. OUCH! No more CB Jalen Ramsey, LB Bobby Wagner, OLB Leonard Floyd, NT Greg Gaines, S Nick Scott, S Taylor Rapp… and it shows. I predicted the Rams to go 9-7 this season and barely make the playoffs, but it’s not looking even that good.
For whatever reason, everyone has the Panthers winning the NFC South, or at least making it to the playoffs as a Wild Card. After looking at their offense, and Bryce Young, I’m going to say there’s not a snowballs chance in Carolina. The Panthers finished the preseason 0-3, and I predicted that Carolina would go 6-11 this year. I’ll stick with that, because the offense looks very raw. They were only able to score 36 points in three games which was third worse behind the Falcons (32) and…the Rams (34). Geez, Rams…seriously. There’s a lot of hype in Carolina, and a lot of hope…but I don’t see a lot of wins for this team in 2023.
I have been very critical of the Vikings this offseason, and rightly so. Minnesota finished the preseason 0-3, and GM, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is slowly killing Minnesota’s future with back-to-back bad drafts in 2022 and 2023. They are losing Cap Space by kicking Cousins’ salary down the road, paying him in 2024 and 2025 when he likely won’t even be part of the team. They have failed to address who is going to be QB after Cousins, the O-Line is mediocre at best, and their defense is decaying. If they didn’t have Justin Jefferson, they would finish last in the NFC North this season. I predicted Minnesota at 7-10 this year, and that looks like the best that they will finish.
Do these guys look good, or what!? I’m not sure why everyone is so down the Jags this year. They should be the hands-down favorite to win the AFC South, and I predicted them to go 14-3 this year and get the #1 Seed in the playoffs. They scored 84 points this preseason, which was tied for third most in the league, and they only gave up 48 points which was 6th best. Jacksonville is young, confident, and they have an easy schedule in 2023. DUUUVAL!
The Steelers look “sneaky” good this preseason. They gave up the least number of points with 32 and had the largest point differential at 46. Kenny Pickett had a perfect QB Rating of 158.3, going 13 of 15 for 199 yards, two TDs and no INTs. I am cautiously optimistic about this after seeing him throw seven TDs and nine INTs in 13 games for a QBR of 51.5 last season. Did Pickett REALLY get that much better in the span of one year? If he did, the rest of the AFC North will be put on notice very soon. I’m going to stick with my prediction of 9-7 for this season only because the Steelers have a tough schedule, and their Bye is in Week 5, which will make for a very long end-of-the-year.
Washington went 3-0 this preseason, but I’m going to look at them the same way that I looked at Chicago after the Bears went 3-0 last preseason. I have the Commanders finishing 4-13 in 2023, and with Sam Howell under center, I have no reason to think they will do any better. They just aren’t that good, people! Yes, they beat the Ravens and ended their preseason win streak, but who cares? The Ravens haven’t so much as sniffed a Super Bowl appearance in the last eight years after going undefeated in the preseason, and that’s where the Commanders will end too. While this is a “feel-good” moral victory for Washington, they literally outscored their opponents, 67 to 62, and played their starters most of the time. The W on their helmets is for WEAK! Thanks for the “read”!