5 Hot Takes for the 2023 NFL Season

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) and offensive tackle Blake Brandel (64) and teammates react during the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Hall of Fame Game took place last week, meaning the 2023 NFL preseason is officially underway.

While meaningful football is still about a month away, this is an exciting time in the NFL calendar. As the Vikings first preseason game approaches, here are 5 hot takes for the 2023 NFL season.

1. The Jaguars Snag a Top-2 Seed in the AFC

Hot Takes
Jan 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts as he leaves the field after the win against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Look around the AFC for a minute and think about how each division stacks up. The Buffalo Bills should be the favorites in the AFC East, but the Jets and Dolphins have just as much of a case for the title if their offenses live up to the hype. Meanwhile, out West, we should expect the Broncos to make things a bit tougher on Kansas City this season (more on that in a bit). And as usual, the AFC North will just beat up on each other all year long.

Then, there’s the AFC South. Houston and Indianapolis will be trying to get their rookie QBs up to speed, and it wouldn’t be surprising for Tennessee to end up with a top-five pick at the end of the year if they don’t get their own QB situation sorted out. That leaves the Jacksonville Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence to cruise through the division, stacking up wins against their inferior rivals. If they can pull it off, they have a real chance at homefield advantage through at least the divisional round of the playoffs.

2. Sean Payton Wins Coach of the Year

Broncos HC Sean Payton
Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines during Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Denver Broncos during the 2022 season. They seemed completely discombobulated on offense, a shocking occurence considering they traded to acquire Russell Wilson during the offseason.

This year, things go differently under head coach Sean Payton. After Denver mustered just five wins a year ago, I expect them to be fully in contention for a playoff spot throughout 2023. Given the fact that they have a last-place schedule this year, double-digit wins should be the expectation and much of the credit will go to an overhaul in scheme from their head coach.

3. David Montgomery Leads the League in Rushing

Vikings Were in the Mix to Land Former Bears RB
Sep 11, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs the ball in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Keep in mind, the Lions duo of D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams totaled over 1600 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs last season. David Montgomery has lived behind a Bears offensive line that has offered him very little help over the past few seasons, and yet, he has managed to surpass 1000 yards from scrimmage in each year of his career.

Now, the 26-year-old running back goes to the Lions, who arguably have the best offensive line in the entire league. With Jameson Williams sidelined for six games due to suspension, Detroit will opt to continue leaning on their rushing attack, particularly early in the season. Montgomery will thrive.

4. The Panthers Win the NFC South

Aug 2, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) makes a throw during Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While folks raved about Derek Carr going to the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers made some major additions to their offense as well, including QB Bryce Young, RB Miles Sanders, WR Adam Thielen, TE Hayden Hurst, and a slew of veteran defenders.

Most importantly, though, even if their first overall pick QB struggles to keep up early on at the NFL level, they also quietly brought in Andy Dalton to be his backup. The quarterback kept the Saints offense afloat last season, and he is certainly a better option than what Carolina threw out there at QB last year. With Tampa Bay set to take a step back while Atlanta and New Orleans largely stand pat, 2023 is the Panthers’ year to get back into the playoffs.

5. Tua Tagovailoa Leads the League in Passing Yards

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens
Sep 18, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drop[s back to pass as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Justin Houston (50) rushes during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions last season, limiting his 2022 season to just 13 games. However, he comes back this season with the same dynamic receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. In addition, the speedy RB Devon Achane will be catching plenty of passes out of the backfield for Miami. This will be a high-flying offense for the Dolphins, and as long as the QB can stay healthy, they should rack up yards through the air.

NOTE: This article originally appeared on our sister-site, PurplePTSD.com

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.