The 2023 NFL season is almost here! Two days from now, the Chiefs and the Lions will kickoff the new campaign in the regular season opener and on Sunday afternoon the Seahawks will be hosting the Rams in their first game of the year. Now is the time for analysts to step up and deliver their hottest takes. One of the best in the business is Sheil Kapadia at the Ringer, who has written a list of 10 bold(ish) predictions ahead of the 2023 NFL season.
At the top of the list, Kapadia shares a delightfully bold take by predicting Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence will win league MVP. Kapadia also has the Bengals winning the Super Bowl, the Panthers winning the NFC South and most importantly, the Seahawks winning the NFC West.
For one thing, he credits an improved offense and head coach Pete Carroll’s sustained success over the last decade-plus with three different QBs.
“Carroll’s Seahawks have had a winning record 10 times in the past 11 seasons. During his 13-year run in Seattle, Carroll has made the playoffs 10 times with three different quarterbacks. In the first season of the post–Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks went 9-8 and made the postseason as a wild-card team. Part of me has serious questions about whether Geno Smith can do it again. But I look at the roster, and I see an improved offense…”
As Kapadia admits later in his column, the real x-factor here is whether they are truly better than the 49ers. In their three matchups last season it was abundantly clear that San Francisco’s roster is superior right now – most of all Seattle has been completely overwhelmed by their defensive line. Nick Bosa’s ongoing holdout may eat into that, but the truth is this unit will have to suffer a rash of major injuries before that lethal pass rush really drops off.
The greatest concern for the Niners has to be their quarterback situation – as Niners Wire’s Kyle Madson mentioned in today’s potential fatal flaw for each team network article, their starting QB (Brock Purdy) was literally the last pick in the draft. Even worse, their top backup is now Sam Darnold after they traded Trey Lance to the Cowboys without giving him even so much as half of a fair shake.
If their QB situation blows up, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling brilliance can keep them competitive against a lot teams. However, if his pass rush also suffers a regression, it will be tough to beat the other heavyweights around the conference like Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit and Seattle.
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