The curtain is set to rise on the 2023 NFL season on Thursday night, when the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs raise their latest championship banner against the Detroit Lions, who believe they have the culture and the pieces to make a run at winning the next one. Before the season kicks off, this is the perfect time to get a sense for how those truly involved with how the season plays out expect the 2023 campaign to unfold.
To culminate FanBuzz's preseason NFL coverage, we surveyed over a dozen current NFL players, front office executives, and scouts to get their final predictions for the regular season. Those participants were granted anonymity to speak freely about teams other than their own, and to get their insights on who they believe will hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Super Sunday, which team rises from the ranks of mediocrity to surprise, and who is the MVP candidate that not enough people are talking about.
The Lions, who the nation will get the chance to see up close and personal in the crucible of Arrowhead Stadium on opening night, were the most popular pick as the team that will shock the world in 2023. However, they weren't the only candidate from the NFC North that people inside the league believe is flying too far under the radar.
"The Vikings may have moved on from Dalvin Cook," an NFC offensive lineman told FanBuzz. "But, they retain an offense that's capable of scoring a lot of points, and they also added Brian Flores as defensive coordinator with some very, very good defensive players."
As far as who emerges with the Lombardi Trophy aloft, at least one coach believes the confetti will be green.
"It comes down to the teams with the two best quarterbacks," the coach told FanBuzz. "And right now, that's the Eagles and Jets."
Here's a breakdown of the predictions for the 2023 NFL season from current players, coaches, executives, and scouts:
The NFL team that surprises and exceeds expectations in 2023
"I feel like Washington is better than people realize, at least from a personnel standpoint. They have a lot of good players ... I'm talking about several players that every team in the league would take if they were available." - NFC North Scouting Director
1. Detroit Lions (3 votes)
2. New Orleans Saints (2 votes)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (2 votes)
4. Washington Commanders (1 vote)
4. Los Angeles Chargers (1 vote)
4. Cleveland Browns (1 vote)
4. Minnesota Vikings (1 vote)
4. Seattle Seahawks (1 vote)
Super Bowl Prediction
"I really think this is the year the 49ers break through, and beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Christian McCaffrey is about to have a record-setting season, in my opinion. He's now into that system fully, and has two fully healthy seasons behind him." - NFL Tight End
1. Kansas City Chiefs (5 votes)
2. Cincinnati Bengals (3 votes)
2. Philadelphia Eagles (3 votes)
4. New York Jets (2 votes)
5. Baltimore Ravens (1 vote)
5. San Francisco 49ers (1 vote)
5. New York Giants (1 vote)
5. Miami Dolphins (1 vote)
Sleeper MVP Candidate
"It has to be Joe Burrow. I know he might not be 'under the radar' by any means, but I think he doesn't wind up at the forefront of enough MVP conversations." - NFL offensive Coordinator
1. Micah Parsons, EDGE, Dallas Cowboys (3 vote)
1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (2 vote)
2. Trevor Lawrence, QB Jacksonville Jaguars (2 votes)
3. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (1 vote)
3. Dak Prescott, QB Dallas Cowboys (1 vote)
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