The 2023 NFL Draft commenced last month and rookie minicamps across the NFL have concluded. OTAs have started today and the NFL schedule has come out as well. Needless to say, it has been a very fun and exhausting few weeks for NFL coaches, front office personnel, and rookies. Fans across the NFL are the most intrigued with the 2023 schedule and how things could pan out for their teams and how it could impact standings. There is definitely a lot attention that needs to be placed on the NFC North in 2023. This division has by far had the most storylines of the offseason with Aaron Rodgers’ departure, a new and improved Detroit Lions, and whether Chicago is ready to contend. Will we see the same finishes as last season, or will there be a new team ready to take the crown as “King Of The North”? Let’s take a look at four predictions we will in 2023:
The Detroit Lions Win The NFC North
The Detroit Lions ended the 2022 season as arguably one of the hottest teams in the NFL. After starting out the season at 1-6, the Lions rattled off eight wins in their last ten to finish the season at 9-8. The biggest loss this offseason was the departure of Jamaal Williams and Deandre Swift, but were replaced with David Montgomery and Jahymr Gibbs. Although Detroit is a rival of the Packers, I think this team is going to be very fun watch this season and have the most complete team in the division. They have built on their success from last season and found a coach in Dan Campbell who is truly a player’s coach. What makes this team churn is that they do not have star players like Justin Jefferson or Aaron Jones. They have the right system and right coaches in place who coach to their player’s strengths. This team is headed in the right direction and will do something that has not been done in almost 30 seasons: win the NFC North.
Justin Jefferson Wins Offensive Player Of The Year
There is absolutely no doubt that Justin Jefferson is the best player in the entire NFC North. The argument can also be made that he is the best wide receiver in all of football. Jefferson has also put up the most amount of receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history. He has been a pain in every team’s side and will continue to do so again this season. Not only is Jefferson one of the best at his position, but the argument can be made that he is the best overall player in the entire division. A player of Justin Jefferson’s caliber can only be slowed down and not completely shut down. The only cornerback that can play straight man coverage on Jefferson just so happens to be his divisional rival, Jaire Alexander. I am expecting another big year from the fourth year wide receiver from LSU and a repeat as offensive player of the year.
The Green Bay Packers Win Less Than Eight Games
This prediction hurts to write, but I think there is truth and validity behind it. The fact of the matter here is that Green Bay is moving forward with a quarterback who has only one full game as a starter under his belt. The offense is going heavily reliant on two second year wide receivers who missed significant time last season due to injury. In this case, the offense can go run-heavy, but that is only effective for so long. There is just not enough experience on this offense to get things going and to be a force in 2023. The other fact is that this team is going to have to be dependent on their defense, which did not live up to any sort of expectation in 2022. As long as Joe Barry is in Green Bay, I am not convinced that we will see a change in the defensive scheme and overall production. This is by no means a reload year for the Green Bay Packers. This is a rebuild that could potentially take several years to figure out if things cannot be improved by seasons end.
Justin Fields Leads The Division In Rushing Yards
Justin Fields has not lived up to the hype as Chicago’s starting quarterback. Needless to say, a player of his caliber in college is expected to perform at all times in the NFL. One thing that we do know that Fields excels at is his ability to escape the pocket and keep plays alive. The third year quarterback from Ohio State surpassed the 1,000 yard marker last season, which is something you do not see out of NFL quarterbacks today. The questions remains whether or not this could be Justin Fields greatest asset. I personally do not think that assumption is out of the question. While taking a look at the other running backs in the division, there is a legitmate chance that Justin Fields could be the leading rusher in 2023. Dalvin Cook may or may not be in Minnesota by the time the season starts. Detroit will more than likely run a platoon with Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. And, Aaron Jones my be used more in the passing game if Green Bay’ receiver group cannot stay healthy. Running quarterbacks are not sustainable in the NFL, but quite honestly, this might be Chicago’s best chance at winning games in 2023.
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