New York Jets

New York Jets

New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Aaron Rodgers #8 of the New York Jets scrambles against the New York Giants during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 26, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The 2023 NFL season is finally upon us! After a long off-season chuck full of headlines — mostly dominated by Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets (apologies Giants fans), fans are ready to see how this 2023 season will play out.

Will the Kansas City Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl Champions? The NFL hasn’t had a repeat Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots won back-to-back championships in 2003 and 2004.

Will Rodgers be the real deal in New York? The Jets have been the talk of the town for months, now we get to see if the proof is indeed in the pudding. The Jets are talented, but do they have enough to compete in the stacked AFC is the question.

Can the Giants get back to the playoffs? The Giants did their best to address their issues at wide receiver with the drafting of Jalin Hyatt, and signing of tight end Darren Waller. Now those pieces need to come together and take a load off Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.

Are the Eagles destined to win the Super Bowl? They came pretty close last year.

How about the 49ers and Brock Purdy? Will the Steelers return to the playoffs after missing out last year? Are the Detroit Lions for real? All these questions and more abound. Here at Fox Sports New Jersey, let’s make some picks.

  • AFC EAST: 2023 Champion: BUFFALO

    Buffalo Bills

    ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 09: Dawson Knox #88 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

    1) BUFFALO BILLS 11 – 6: Josh Allen still delivers the goods for a Bills team that is still very good, but flawed. Missing Von Miller and Micha Hyde on defense to start the year hurts. Still Buffalo’s the champ until proven otherwise.

    2) NY JETS 10 – 7: Thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ presence, the Jets have high expectations with many in the media making the Jets Super Bowl contenders. It won’t be that easy with a difficult early schedule, and some kinks to work out on offense. The Jets defense is a monster, and will carry the team while Rodgers gets hot in the second half of the year.

    3) NEW ENGLAND 8-9: Never doubt Bill Belichick, even in a down year, to find a way to contend for a wild card.

    4) MIAMI 6 -11: The Dolphins seem to be a trendy pick for people, but Tua Tagovailoa’s health will always be a question mark. Plus Miami stars the year with three of four on the road against tough opponents. Plus defensive coordinator Vic Fangio didn’t sound optimistic about this team’s depth on defense. It could be a rough year for second year coach Mike McDaniel.

  • AFC NORTH 2023 Champion: CINCINNATI

    Joe Burrow Bengals

    CINCINNATI, OHIO – JULY 26: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals participates in a drill during training camp at Kettering Health Practice Fields on July 26, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

    1) Cincinnati Bengals 12-5: Joe Burrow says he’s ready to go after missing a month with a lower leg injury. If  Burrow can stay healthy, the Bengals will once again be a threat to make another deep playoff run.

    2) Baltimore Ravens 10-7: The Ravens spent a lot of money and time in the off-season on the offense, including extending quarterback Lamar Jackson, signing ex-Giant Odell Beckham Jr. and bringing in a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monkin. Will it be enough? Enough to get back to the playoffs.

    3) Pittsburgh Steelers 9-8: After an impressive finish to 2022, many expect the Steelers to be a contender in 2023 with second year quarterback Kenny Pickett upping his game. It remains to be seen if that can play out. One thing is certain the Steelers can run the ball with Najee Harris. Plus, like Bill Belichick, never doubt Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.

    4) Cleveland Browns 7 – 10: Someone’s gotta be in last in this division, and that is once again the Browns.

  • AFC SOUTH: 2023 Champion: JACKSONVILLE

    jaguars Trevor Lawrence

    JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – AUGUST 26: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field on August 26, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

    1) Jaguars 10-7: Welcome to the AFC South, where being good enough is, well, enough. Winners of the South last year thanks to Trevor Lawrence’s maturation, and good coaching by Doug Pederson propelled the Jags past the sinking Titans. This year, the Jags have the bullseye on their back. Can they keep building and become a power?

    2) Tennessee Titans 8-9: Would hate to doubt this team. Derrick Henry is still a beast when healthy, and adding DeAndre Hopkins at receiver helps. There will be pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill to deliver or we could see Malik Willis or Will Levis push for the job.

    3) Indianapolis Colts 4-13: Rebuilds are never fun.

    4) Houston Texas 4-13: See Indianapolis Colts.

  • AFC West: 2023 Champion: KANSAS CITY

    Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles

    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 12: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 to win Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    1) Chiefs 13 – 4: The champions have taken some hits coming into the year. Travis Kelce is hurt. Chris Jones is holding out. Patrick Mahomes stirs the drink here as we know, and that should be enough to keep the Chiefs in competition for the top seed.

    2) Denver Broncos 9-8: With Sean Payton in town as head coach, things should improve, as he will hold guys accountable. This is a huge year for quarterback Russell Wilson, who now has a head coach with a proven track record. If Wilson struggles, it’s on him this time.

    3) Los Angeles Chargers 8-9: Just a bad feeling about Brandon Staley’s team. The Chargers are talented. Josh Herbert is a good young quarterback. They are a playoff contending team, but in a stacked AFC, the Bolts could get lost in the shuffle this year.

    4) Las Vegas Raiders 5-12: All bets are off on the Raiders. Josh McDaniels’ history of rubbing people the wrong way is already leading to rumors of DeVonte Adams trade proposals. Jimmy G is under center .. at least for now … until a certain new part time owner named Tom Brady decides to … oh, you know.

  • AFC Playoff Picture

    1) Kansas City Chiefs 13-4

    2) Cincinnati Bengals 12-5

    3) Buffalo Bills 11-6

    4) Jacksonville Jaguars 10-7

    5) NY Jets 10-7

    6) Baltimore Ravens 10-7

    7) Denver Broncos 9-8

  • NFC East: 2023 Champion: PHILADELPHIA

    Jalen Hurts

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 29: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

    1) Philadelphia Eagles 13-4:  Everyone talks about Super Bowl hangovers for the losing team, but barring catastrophic injuries, the Eagles will be back in the mix. Mostly the same crew returns for another shot at the Lombardi Trophy that they came oh, so close to winning in February.

    2) Dallas Cowboys 10-7: Cowboys fans by November: “Why do I keep falling for Dak Prescott and Jerry Jones and company every single year?”

    3) NY Giants 9-8: last year the G-men snuck up on people, they won’t this year. This is not to say the Giants won’t be good. They will be. Daniel Jones and the offense need to open things up offensively. Jury still out on Brian Daboll.

    4) Washington 7-10: The Commanders have new ownership, but the same old results. No franchise QB, no shot.

  • NFC North 2023 Champion: Detroit

    Lions Vikings

    DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 11: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Jeff Okudah #1 and DeShon Elliott #5 of the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

    1) Detroit Lions 10-7: If Thursday night’s effort vs. Kansas City can’t convince you, I don’t know what will. The Lions are the real deal. David Montgomery was a beast vs. KC’s D which was missing Chris Jones. They could get off to a fast start, before having to hold off Minnesota late in the year.

    2) Minnesota Vikings 9-8: The Vikings were 13-4 last year, and were an astounding 11-0 in one score games. Their luck runs out this year. Dalvin Cook being on the Jets hurts this Vikings team. The Vikes are still good enough to win a weak NFC North, unless you are sold on Detroit.

    3) Green Bay Packers 6-11: No Aaron Rodgers. No Allan Lazard or Randle Cobb. It’s rebuild time in Green Bay.

    4) Chicago Bears 5-12: The Bears are a boom or bust kinda team. If Justin Fields can be a better pocket passer and the young pieces around him develop well enough, the Bears could be this year’s surprise team in this division. If it’s more of the same, well, it’s another subpar year.

  • NFC South 2023 Champion: New Orleans

    Derek Carr Saints

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 13: Derek Carr #4 of the New Orleans Saints looks on during a preseason game at Caesars Superdome on August 13, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    1) New Orleans Saints 12 – 5: By virtue of the fact that Tom Brady is no longer with Tampa Bay, and the fact that Carolina and Atlanta are in prolonged rebuilds. Someone has to win this thing, and it might as well be the Saints whose big addition of quarterback Derek Carr pays dividends.

    2) Carolina Panthers 7-10: Eventually Bryce Young and the rebuilding Panthers will figure it out. They got the right coach to lead them in Frank Reich.

    3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-11: The Bucs can’t be that bad, can they? While Tampa still has plenty of faces from their Super Bowl run, the good ‘ole days are over. Baker Mayfield is just keeping the seat warm at quarterback. Mike Evans is likely on his way out by midseason. No fun for head coach Todd Bowles.

    4) Atlanta Falcons 5-12: The Falcons are just not that good.

  • NFC West 2023 Champion: San Francisco

    Nick Bosa 49ers

    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 29: Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

    1) San Francisco 49ers 12-5: The 49ers are a unique team. They are a Super Bowl team that will be carried by its defense in an era predicated on quarterback play. With Nick Bosa coming off his shiny new contract, the Niners D will be even more disruptive. Is quarterback Brock Purdy the real deal? If not, are the Niners ready to give the reigns to Sam Darnold offensively?

    2) LA Rams 10 – 7: Sam Bradford is getting up there, as is defensive end Aaron Donald, but the Rams still have plenty of experience. They are two years removed from winning it all, and I don’t see Sean McVay going with another bad season.

    3) Seattle Seahawks 7-10:  The Seahawks were last year’s surprise team with the stunning turnaround of Geno Smith. The clock has struck midnight in 2023.

    4) Arizona Cardinals 1-16: With the first pick in the 2024 draft …

  • NFC Playoff teams

    1) Philadelphia Eagles 13-4

    2) San Francisco 49ers 12-5

    3) New Orleans Saints 12-5

    4) Detroit Lions 10-7

    5) LA Rams 10-7

    6) Dallas Cowboys 10-7

    7) NY Giants 9-8

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