We are creeping ever closer to the start of the 2023 NFL Season and as we do, we will be previewing each division and giving out our best bets for each divisional winner and over/under for each team’s win totals.
We strongly encourage our readers to not follow these futures blindly, nor follow each one of them. So many things happen during just the preseason, let alone the entire season that would totally change the direction of a team and derail a future ticket.
So, without further ado, let us dive into what was the weakest division in the league last season. Only 1 game separated 1st and last place and every team finished under .500. We do not believe this will be the case this season, but it is likely the division will still be near the bottom of the league.
Latest Odds from FanDuel SportsBook
|New Orleans Saints||+135|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+700|
It was a down year last season for the Falcons. They finished 3 games under .500 but did win back-to-back games over Arizona and Tampa Bay to end their season.
While the offense finished near the middle of the pack in the league, the run game was at the top and finished #2 in yards per game at 159.9. They were also disciplined on offense and finished 1st in the league penalty yardage per game.
Desmond Ridder is going to be tasked with running the offense from the start here in his 2nd year. However, this year, he will have more weapons.
Drake London was his main man last season and is back but Kyle Pitts at tight end returns and Bijan Robinson, running back from Texas, was drafted in the 1st round. They made a big move in free agency with signing Jessie Bates who will help sure up their secondary.
While the Falcons may not end up looking like a true division winner, like the Bucs last season, they will have the advantage of the easiest strength of schedule this season. Robinson being added to an offense that already had one of the top rushing offenses in the league last season should help alleviate the pressure on Ridder.
The pick: Falcons Over 8.5 & Division Winner +215
Prior to the tail end of the season, the Saints had mustered only 4 wins to go with 9 losses. They did pick up 3 straight wins over Tampa, Atlanta, and Philly prior to losing their season finale against Carolina.
The Saints finished 2nd to last in the league in turnover differential which did not help an offense that sputtered all season long. Chris Olave was probably the best weapon they had on offense but had an aging Andy Dalton with a subpar arm trying to get the ball out to him.
The defense ended up being the strong side of the ball for the Saints last season. They finished in the top 10 in points allowed per game (20.3ppg).
Over the offseason, they were able to pick up former Vegas QB Derek Carr. He should have an immediate impact on this offense that struggled. However, there are still questions that he will be dealing with.
Kamara could be facing a suspension and Michael Thomas has yet to have a healthy season over the course of the last couple years. While Olave is likely to benefit from the addition to Carr, the Saints will need to be more productive on offense. The defense will be strong again and have the best secondary in the division.
The pick: Saints Under 9.5 Wins
In what seems to be Tom Brady’s last season, he and the Bucs went out in a mediocre fashion. Now, they did win the division but if they were in any other division in football they would have finished near the bottom.
The 3-5 start to the season was thought of as just a bump in the road for Tampa who many liked as a dark horse to win the Super Bowl. However, injuries hit them, and the inconsistent play continued.
They finished 25th in the league and score just 18.2ppg. They played from behind most games and ended up throwing on almost 68% of the time which was the highest percentage in the league.
Brady is now retired, and Baker Mayfield has been brought in to battle Kyle Trask for the starting spot. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Russell Gage; when healthy, provide a strong set of weapons for whoever wins the starting spot.
The defense is likely to be around the league average as it was last season. However, Mayfield is likely not going to help this team.
If they end up passing close to the same amount this season, Mayfield is likely to throw more interceptions than Brady did last year. That will put the defense in tougher situations and lead to rough 2023-2024 season.
The pick: Bucs Under 6.5 Wins
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Panthers went into full selling mode. The biggest move was sending Christian McCaffery to San Francisco. It shocked many and told the public the Panthers were already giving up on the season.
However, they were able to go 6-5 the rest of the way. D’Onta Foreman took over in the backfield and finished just shy of 1,000 yards. At QB, the name changed a bunch and led to more mediocrity.
So, in the draft, Carolina drafted Bryce Young to be their future at QB at #1. They also brought in DJ Chark and Adam Thielen to give him some veteran talent on the outside.
This season is the 1st step in rebuilding and while Young may end up being a serviceable QB in the league, we don’t believe he will find success right out the gate with this offense. It will be tough for him to not force throws and try to make things happen which could backfire.
Their defense will be average once again and while that isn’t going to get them in the playoffs, it will keep them in the majority of divisional games.
The pick: Panthers Under 7.5 Wins