Josh Frey’s 2023 NFL Standings Predictions

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) leaves the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL regular season officially gets underway this week with the first game being played on Thursday, September 7th between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs.

As kickoff has inched closer, I’ve been going division-by-division predicting how each team will finish their season. Today, we’ve compiled every division to form the full 2023 NFL standings predictions for this upcoming season.

AFC East

2023 NFL Standings
Nov 6, 2022; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) pre game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Buffalo Bills (13-4)
  2. New York Jets (11-6)
  3. Miami Dolphins (10-7)
  4. New England Patriots (6-11)

Arguably the most competitive division in the league, I think I had the toughest time deciding where I landed with these four teams.

Buffalo’s flaws exist on the offensive line and in the running game, but with a fully healthy Josh Allen it is hard to pick against the Bills. Meanwhile, as long as Aaron Rodgers is 70-80% of his usual MVP self, that should give the Jets a massive upgrade to their offense at the QB position.

Ultimately, I have the Miami Dolphins narrowly missing out on a playoff berth this season. It is hard to bank on Tua Tagovailoa being healthy throughout the entire season, and Jalen Ramsey is out until at least December. Miami’s offense will be rolling at home, but they need to show that they can perform on the road this season.

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) adjusts wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) on the line before a play in the second quarter of the NFL Week 14 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. The Bengals led 13-3 at halftime. Cleveland Browns At Cincinnati Bengals Week 14 Syndication The Enquirer
  1. Cincinnati Bengals (12-5)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (11-6)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7)
  4. Cleveland Browns (8-9)

The AFC North will beat up on one another throughout the year, but Cincinnati once again comes out on top in this group. After an injury scare in training camp, it seems that QB Joe Burrow is ready to roll once again, and the addition of Myles Murphy in the draft gives them a great pass-rushing option.

All three of Baltimore, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh should be competitive this year, but someone is going to lose more games than they win in this division. It’s easiest to bet against the Browns at this point for a variety of reasons, including QB Deshaun Watson. The Bengals and Ravens make the playoffs out of this group while Pittsburgh (like Miami) narrowly misses out.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) takes to the field before the game of an NFL football regular season matchup AFC South division title game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jaguars held off the Tennessee Titans 20-16. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
  1. Jackonville Jaguars (14-3)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (6-11)
  3. Houston Texans (4-13)
  4. Tennessee Titans (4-13)

The more I look at the Jaguars schedule this year, the more I think that they can be extremely successful. They get to beat up on what could be a floundering AFC South, and they get to play all three of Baltimore, Kansas City, and Cincinnati at home while going against Buffalo in London rather than playing a true road game.

It will be interesting to see how back-to-back London games impacts them, but with Trevor Lawrence emerging at QB along with the addition of Calvin Ridley to the offense, it should be a fun season in Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, the other three teams could be trying to install rookie QBs throughout the season, and despite promise amongst the entire group, it’s tough to say that any of them will be great during their rookie seasons. If there is a surprise team from this group, Indianapolis is the team to keep an eye on.

AFC West

Jan 30, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of the AFC Championship game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)
  2. Denver Broncos (12-5)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (6-11)
  4. Las Vegas Raiders (3-14)

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are coming off their third Super Bowl appearance in the past four years. They may have some question marks at the receiver position, but those existed last year, and despite being hobbled throughout the playoffs, Mahomes still found a way to capture his second Lombardi Trophy. Until they actually take a step back, I am going to continue to trust in this team.

I’m also banking on the Sean Payton hire to fix at least some of the problems that were present in 2022. I refuse to believe that Russell Wilson simply fell off a cliff last season and cannot get back to his usual production.

Meanwhile, it feels like trouble might be brewing in Los Angeles. While Austin Ekeler’s contract situation was semi-resolved, the veteran RB can’t feel great about not getting a long-term commitment from his team. It’s tough to bank on both Keenan Allen and Mike Wallace staying healthy throughout the entire season as well.

NFC East

Questions Answered: Jalen Hurts' Injury
Aug 12, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts . Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.
  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-4)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
  3. New York Giants (8-9)
  4. Washington Commanders (5-12)

The Eagles remain the cream of the crop in the NFC heading into this new season. However, there is a chance that they stumble a bit out of the gates, considering they had to replace both coordinators this offseason. If that happens, perhaps Dallas can sneak into the top position in the NFC East.

Regardless, these two teams are the clear leaders right now in my mind. The Giants could take a step back with a tougher schedule in 2023, and the Commanders are in rebuild mode as they turn their offense over to Sam Howell.

NFC North

Justin Jefferson Can Break All Sorts of Records in 2023
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Detroit Lions (11-6)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-7)
  3. Chicago Bears (7-10)
  4. Green Bay Packers (6-11)

I won’t be making friends with too many Vikings fans for this prediction. Unfortunately, I bought into the Detroit Lions hype this offseason. With their strong draft along with free agent acquisitions like David Montgomery and Cam Sutton, this group feels poised to build off their strong finish in 2022.

However, the Vikings should still compete for a playoff spot in the NFC. Their defense is very young, but under Brian Flores’ tutelage, it should look very different from the group that they ran out in 2022. If they can just sneak out of the basement of the NFL, Minnesota should be poised to be a tougher playoff out with their offensive firepower and defensive competence.

I also have Chicago taking a big leap forward in Justin Fields’ third NFL season. He finally has a few quality wide receivers to throw to, and their offensive line looks a touch stronger than last year. Meanwhile, Green Bay struggles a bit as Jordan Love finally gets his feet wet at the NFL level.

NFC South

Aug 12, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) shakes hands with quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Carolina Panthers (10-7)
  2. New Orleans Saints (10-7)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-11)

This division had zero teams with winning records in 2022, and it doesn’t look like a very strong one once again. As a result, I have faith in the Panthers to come out on top. They had one of the worst QB situations in the league last year, but that was fixed with the selection of Bryce Young.

Carolina gets to claim the division because of a tiebreaker with the Saints, who I also see making slight improvements with Derek Carr at QB. However, the absence of Alvin Kamara for the first three games could make things more difficult. It’s impossible to know exactly how many games that Michael Thomas will be available for either. If any team becomes a major disappointment in this division, it might be New Orleans.

NFC West

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) lines up before a snap against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
  1. San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (8-9)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (3-14)
  4. Los Angeles Rams (2-15)

I have just about every team in the NFC West taking a step back this year. San Francisco is running the Brock Purdy experiment once again after trading Trey Lance to the Cowboys, and I remain unconvinced that he is a franchise QB. However, with all the weapons on both sides of the ball, it may not matter that much in the end.

Seattle, on the other hand, may have a better roster than they fielded in 2022, but a tougher schedule and a stretch of a three games in 12 days causes them to finish one game worse. There is very little to be said about either Arizona or Los Angeles as both look to be in heavy rebuilds.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.