Monday, June 24, 2024

2023 NFL Season Preview: Chiefs & Bills Among Super Bowl Favorites, Saints A Dark Horse

It’s been nearly five months now since the 2022 NFL season culminated with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57.

The 2023 preseason is just around the corner The Cleveland Browns and New York Jets are slated to kick off preseason play in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

The first week of preseason play will run from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13. Week 2 will commence on Aug. 17 and run through Aug. 21, with the teams wrapping up preseason play between Aug. 24-27 in Week 3. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will open the regular season in the annual Kickoff Game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 7.

Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs and Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills are among the premier betting favorites to win it all next season. Regarding dark horses, don’t sleep on the New Orleans Saints — who bolstered their offense by signing ex-Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year, $150 million deal in free agency.

sportsbooks betting scouts see the Saints’ great potential this season, but it all hinges on Carr’s ability to communicate effectively with his tight ends and wide receivers. However, it would be ideal to talk briefly about Chiefs and Bills projections for the season

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The Favorites

The Chiefs, Bills, Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers are widely viewed as the top five Super Bowl favorites for next season, and rightfully so.

KC has played in five straight AFC Championship Games, all at Arrowhead. As long as they have Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City will always be in the running to win the Super Bowl.

Buffalo entered last season as the odds-on Super Bowl favorites, but Joe Burrow’s Bengals made easy work of them in the Divisional Round. The Bills and Bengals each bolster an elite QB, plenty of skill position weapons and top-level defenses.

On paper, the Bills, Chiefs and Bengals all look practically evenly matched. But as always, there’s only room for one AFC Champion next season.

The Eagles and 49ers met in last year’s NFC Championship Game. It simply wasn’t a contest because San Fran lost quarterbacks Brock Purdy (torn UCL) and Josh Johnson (concussion) early in the game.

Both the Eagles and 49ers each bolstered top-10 scoring offenses and defenses last year, so it’s no wonder they’re considered the two main teams to beat in the NFC.

The Eagles are loaded, namely Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Jason Kelce, Darius Slay, Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick and James Bradberry. The 49ers are led by Purdy, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Charvarius Ward, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey.

Those two clubs overwhelmed teams with their superior roster depth and star power. Don’t be surprised if it’s the case again in 2023.

Why Saints Are A Dark Horse Contender

Why Saints Are A Dark Horse Contender

The Saints were hit hard by the injury bug last season. Jameis Winston started the first three games before a back injury sidelined him indefinitely, and head coach Dennis Allen opted to use Andy Dalton the rest of the way.

Star running back Alvin Kamara missed two games, and free agent pickup and Pro Bowl wideout Jarvis Landry missed eight. Star cornerback Marshon Lattimore only appeared in seven games, too. Michael Thomas had three touchdowns in his first three games before missing the final 14 games of the year

Despite the rash of injuries and bad luck — they lost six one-score games in 2022 — the Saints finished 7-10 and only one game out of first in the NFC South. Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly won the division with a record of 8-9.

With Brady retired, the Saints are in great position to win football’s weakest division. Carr is the best quarterback in the NFC South, and the Saints are loaded with offensive playmakers for their new franchise QB.

In the ground game, Carr has Kamara and 2022 rushing yards leader Jamaal Williams (signed in free agency) to lead the ground game. At receiver, he has the oft-injured albeit prolific Thomas, 2022 rookie standout Chris Olave as well as 2023 breakout candidate in tight end Juwan Johnson (seven touchdowns last year).

Carr will play behind one of football’s best o-lines anchored by Ryan Ramcyzk. He’ll also be supported by a top-level defense that has finished top-10 in scoring in each of the last three years.

Throw in one of football’s easiest schedules in 2023, and the Saints have the pieces in place to surprise everybody and go on a deep playoff run.

Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey, a curious soul from NY, is a technical, business writer, and journalist. Her passion lies in crafting well-researched, data-driven content that delivers authentic information to global audiences, fostering curiosity and inspiration.

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