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Who’s who in the NFL this year?

Max’s picks for everything, from league MVP to the Super Bowl

Football season is here, which means it’s time for predictions! The biggest move of this past offseason was the Jets trading for Aaron Rodgers, putting themselves into Super Bowl contention. Otherwise, most of the top teams are running it back and hoping that this is their year. Here are my 2023 NFL predictions. I’ll give my pre-season power rankings, then my division winners, award winners, and my way-too-early Super Bowl prediction.

Power rankings:


#32. Arizona Cardinals

#31. Los Angeles Rams

Bad teams with young quarterbacks:

#30. Houston Texans

#29. Indianapolis Colts

Exciting teams with a lot to prove:

#28. Chicago Bears

#27. Washington Commanders

The mid tier:

#26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#25. Las Vegas Raiders

#24. New Orleans Saints

Potential playoff contenders:

#23. Carolina Panthers

#22. Atlanta Falcons

#21. Green Bay Packers

#20. Denver Broncos

#19. Pittsburgh Steelers

#18. Tennessee Titans

#17. New England Patriots

Definite playoff contenders:

#16. Minnesota Vikings

#15. Detroit Lions

#14. Seattle Seahawks

#13. Cleveland Browns

#12. New York Giants

Super Bowl hopefuls:


#11. Miami Dolphins

#10. Jacksonville Jaguars

#9. Los Angeles Chargers

#8. Baltimore Ravens

#7. Buffalo Bills

#6. Dallas Cowboys

True Super Bowl contenders:

#5. San Francisco 49ers

#4. Philadelphia Eagles

#3. Cincinnati Bengals

#2. New York Jets

#1. Kansas City Chiefs

Division winners:

NFC North: I have the Vikings winning this division. The Bears are still rebuilding and trying to figure out if Justin Fields can be their franchise quarterback. The Packers are entering a new era with Jordan Love taking over for Aaron Rodgers under center. They have

 a talented roster, but poor defensive coaching and Love’s inexperience will probably hold them back from the playoffs this year. The Lions are the odds-on favorites to win this division, but I think their lackluster o

ffseason coupled with the suspension of wide receiver Jameson Williams for the first six games of the season is going to cause them problems. I expect them to be playing well by the end of the season, but they might have too big of a hole to climb out of after struggling early on. The Vikings are a prime regression candidate after going 8-1 in one-score games last season and losing some of their better veteran players, but the hiring of Brian Flores as defensive coordinator, coupled with an offense that should again be explosive, will give this team a path to more sustainable success this season.

NFC East: In perhaps my boldest prediction of the year, I have the New York Giants winning the NFC East. The Commanders are interesting, but quarterback Sam Howell is completely unproven and the roster as a whole is the least talented in this division. Surprisingly, I have the Eagles finishing in third place. I am obligated to rank them highly in my power rankings because they are the reigning NFC champions, but I think they are due for some regression in 2023. Philly was not able to retain all of their key free agents, losing players like Javon Hargrave and Chonsey Gardner-Johnson, and their offensive and defensive coordinators both left to take head coaching jobs elsewhere. Moreover, the Eagles had extremely good injury luck last year, and I think they are due for some regression to the mean in that area this year. The Cowboys just might have the most talented roster in the NFL, but quarterback Dak Prescott and the offensive coaching will hold them back from their potential yet again. The Giants have one of the best coaching staffs in the league, especially offensively. After last year’s Cinderella season and a great offseason, I believe they are ready to make another leap in 2023.

NFC South: Welcome to the worst division in football, where the highest ranked team is the Atlanta Falcons at #22 in my power rankings. I do predict Atlanta to come out on top after a great offseason, but this division is likely to be a cluster of mediocrity that any team could win. The Buccaneers were average with Tom Brady last year, and although they upgraded at offensive coordinator, they are still likely to be worse this year with Baker Mayfield under center. Over the offseason, the Saints lost and did little to replace three of their four starters on the defensive line, and I don’t trust new quarterback Derek Carr to elevate the offense to make up for a worse defense. The Panthers had a great offseason, hiring Frank Reich to be their head coach and drafting Bryce Young to be their franchise quarterback, but the offensive playmakers that Young has to work with are a bit lackluster. That leaves the Falcons, who should have an elite running game and a solid defense. As long as quarterback Desmond Ridder can just be okay, the Falcons should be able to win this division.

NFC West: This is another bad division. The Cardinals and Rams are both horrible, taking the bottom two spots in my pre-season power rankings. The Seahawks should be good, but major question marks on defense will probably hold them back from being great. The 49ers should have no problem running away with this division for the second year in a row.

AFC North: This division is among the most fascinating in the league. The Steelers, led by future Hall of Fame coach Mike Tomlin, are always at least respectable. They haven’t had a losing season since 2006,

Gene Gallin

and there’s no reason to expect that to change this year. The Browns have a very talented roster and coaching staff, and they could be dangerous if quarterback DeShaun Watson returns to his Texans form. The Ravens are again solid, but quarterback Lamar Jackson has yet to prove that he can win in the playoffs. The Bengals are the surest bet to win this division, as they have done so each of the last two years and have a dynamic offense and very good defense.

AFC East: In my opinion, this is the strongest division in football. Every team is in playoff contention. The Patriots are clearly the worst of the four, but they still have Bill Belichick coaching and one of the best defenses in the league. New England just lacks star talent on offense, although they should be improved this year after replacing Matt Patricia with Bill O’Brien at offensive coordinator. The Dolphins have a very explosive offense on paper with wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and should have an improved defense with the addition of former Broncos head coach Vick Fangio at coordinator, but Miami’s entire season hinges on th

e health and consistency of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tua was incredible early last season, but two major concussions de-railed his season. If he can stay healthy, the Dolphins will be a top 10 team. The Bills are honestly getting a little boring to me. Sure, Josh Allen is an elite quarterback and that puts them in the Super Bowl conversation by default, but the rest of the team is just okay, and the same goes for the coaching staff. The Bills were unceremoniously knocked out of the playoffs by the Bengals in the divisional round last year, and I don’t expect them to make it any further this year. The Jets on the other hand are extremely intriguing to me. They already had an elite defense last year and nearly made the playoffs with Zach Wilson and Mike White playing quarterback. Now, with the addition of Aaron Rodgers, this team has vaulted itself to the top of this division and right into the thick of the Super Bowl discussion. This team is extremely reminiscent of the 2020 Buccaneers, when Tom Brady joined the team and led them to a Super Bowl victory. The only difference is that I believe this Jets team is better, both in roster talent and coaching.

AFC South: This division is pretty straight forward. The Texans and Colts are at the bottom, as they both have rookie quarterbacks and head coaches. The Colts are slightly more talented, so I’ll pick them to finish just ahead of Houston. The Titans are a scrappy team that will probably hover around .500 all season. The Jaguars are the clear favorites to repeat as AFC South champions. Trevor Lawrence should continue to develop, and he even has a new top wide receiver in Calvin Ridley this season.

AFC West: This is the Chiefs division to lose until Patrick Mahomes retires. The Chargers will push for the playoffs again, but they are not on Kansas City’s level. The Broncos should be improved this season with Sean Payton taking over as head coach, but their success will largely hinge on whether Russell Wilson has a rebound season or not. The Raiders are the obvious pick to finish in last place. They are simply the least talented of these four teams.

Award predictions:

MVP: The 2023 NFL MVP award will go to … Patrick Mahomes. I gave Aaron Rodgers serious consideration for this award as I expect him and the Jets to have an outstanding season, but Mahomes is by far the best quarterback in football and will put up incredible numbers as long as he stays healthy.

Offensive Player of the Year: The 2023 NFL OPOY will go to … Nick Chubb. In my opinion, Chubb is the best pure 

running back in the league, and I expect him to be at or near the top of the rushing leaderboard by season’s end. Moreover, he should also be more productive in the receiving game with Kareem Hunt out of the picture in Cleveland.

Defensive Player of the Year: The 2023 NFL DPOY award will go to … Micah Parsons. Parsons was the front runner for this award for most of last season, but his production tapered off towards the end of the year. He is an elite, do-it-all pass rusher and linebacker, and I think he will cement himself as the best defensive player in football this season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: The 2023 NFL OROY will go to … Bijan Robinson. The Falcons selected Robinson with the eighth overall pick in the draft, and I expect him to take the league by storm right away. Robinson is by far the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley, and there’s a good chance he’s even better. I even think Robinson could be a dark horse contender for OPOY as a rookie.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: The 2023 NFL DROY goes to … Devon Witherspoon. The Seahawks selected cornerback Witherspoon with the fifth pick in the draft, and I expect him to be a steady presence on the back end of the Seahawks defense all season. Pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. is the consensus favorite to win this award, but I don’t think there is other talent on the Texans defensive line that will take the attention of opposing offensive lines away from Anderson, creating a more difficult path to production.

Super Bowl LVIII prediction:

The Chiefs and Bengals will enter the playoffs as the favorites to win the AFC, but Aaron Rodgers and the Jets will shock the world by beating both of them on the road on their way to the Super Bowl. The NFC is a complete wildcard. While I predicted the Giants to have a surprising season and win their division, I don’t think quarterback Daniel Jones is quite good enough to make a deep playoff run. The Eagles and Cowboys will probably be in the mix, but factors like injuries and poor coaching will be their demise, leaving the 49ers as the last team standing. This would set up an iconic Super Bowl matchup on paper between two blue-blood franchises, but the game will unfortunately not live up to the hype. Aaron Rodgers will be motivated to break the hearts of his childhood team, and Jets head coach Robert Saleh, a defensive guru who served as 49ers defensive coordinator before being hired in New York, will know how to slow down Kyle Shanahan’s 49er offense. The Jets will win Super Bowl LVIII in relatively convincing fashion.


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About the Contributor
Max Teply, Staff Writer
This is Max's third year on staff. He enjoys writing, and he spends plenty of time keeping up with the NFL.
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    Chris FacasSep 7, 2023 at 8:08 am

    One of the best summaries of the NFL upcoming season that I’ve read. Very thoughtful and insightful. I would love to see a Mahomes-Rodgers AFC Championship game. I must admit, I’m hoping this is the Cowboys year. Great job Max!