3 NFC Teams (Not Named the Vikings) That Could Take a Slight Step Back in 2023
The NFC looks like a conference that could be wide open once again in 2023.
Throughout the offseason, many pundits have predicted that the Minnesota Vikings could be a team that takes a step back this year, thus opening the door to other teams making the playoffs.
It makes sense considering Minnesota’s youth on defense as well as their extraordinary luck in one-score games last year. However, the Vikings are not alone amongst NFC teams that could take a step backward in 2023. Here is a look at three others within the conference that could take a slight step back this year.
3 NFC Teams in Danger of Stepping Backward This Season
Last year, the Seahawks benefited from a last-place schedule in the NFC West and played just six games against eventual playoff teams. This season, they are slated to take on the AFC North and NFC East, two of the tougher divisions in the league. They also have extra games against the up-and-coming Lions and Panthers.
On top of the difficult schedule, Seattle will travel more miles than any other team this season, and they have three games over a 12-day stretch in the month of November.
The Seahawks have a promising roster that may have gotten better with selections of CB Devon Witherspoon, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and RB Zach Charbonnet, but this is a brutal slate for a team hoping to close the gap with the San Francisco 49ers.
New York Giants
Last year, just about everything went right for Brian Daboll and the New York Giants. They made a Cinderella run to the Divisional round of the playoffs before the Eagles eliminated them. As a result, they handed Daniel Jones a truly massive four-year/$160 million contract.
Deonte Banks is the exact type of cornerback that they needed in their secondary, but outside of him and Adoree Jackson, the group feels rather thin in the back-end of their defense.
Their pass-rush should be fantastic, but it all truly comes down to how Jones leads the offense in 2023. With a tough schedule that includes the AFC East and a road game against the 49ers, New York could be a team that narrowly misses out on the playoffs.
Don’t get it twisted; the Philadelphia Eagles still boast a very talented roster. There is even an argument to be made that it got even better following draft selections of Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, Sydney Brown, and Kelee Ringo.
However, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Eagles limp a little bit out of the gates. They still lost Javon Hargrave on the defensive front, who signed with the 49ers. Additionally, they had to replace both coordinator positions this offseason with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon taking head coaching jobs.
It would be very surprising to see Philadelphia fall all the way out of the playoffs this year, but perhaps they win 11 or 12 games rather than cruising to 14. If this happens, it could open the door to Dallas winning their division or someone else claiming the top seed in the NFC.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.