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What will the standings look like for the 2023 NFL season?

How will the Rams rebound from a dreadful 5-12 campaign?

Rams training camp Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Excitement is in the air with preseason games starting this weekend, beginning with the Hall of Fame game on Thursday night. The Los Angeles Rams don’t play their first preseason match until Saturday August 12th against the Chargers.

The NFL has plunged further into chaos after another busy offseason. LA isn’t entering the season as the defending champs but they offer plenty of intrigue heading into the 2023 campaign.

Before the Rams can begin rebounding from their 5-12 showing, let’s dive into the state of the NFL to see what they’ll be up against.

AFC East

Dolphins (12-5)

Bills (10-7)

Jets (10-7)

Patriots (7-10)

Could Tyreek Hill become the first receiver to amass 2,000 yards in a season? He could if Tua Tagovailoa can avoid additional troubling head injuries. Despite losing Jalen Ramsey for extended time, Vic Fangio’s coaching will improve the defense. Miami will be a Super Bowl favorite if things go their way because at full strength, that offense is unstoppable. Something about the Bills just feels off. We all saw it when they were obliterated by the Bengals at home in the Divisional Round. With all the Stefon Diggs drama, Buffalo is vulnerable. Josh Allen may be great but this is an aging roster and they’re perhaps no better than a wild card team. The Jets were the offseason darlings thanks to their trade for that grizzled ayahuasca-taking Swiftie, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers might be enjoying the New York life now but just wait until the Jets lose a couple early on and soon he’ll revert to his old form. Regardless, New York will win several games they couldn’t the year prior, thanks to an elite defense and a signal caller who makes very few mistakes, except in the games that matter. I never thought I’d live to see the day when the Patriots would be a last-place team and yet here we are. Their defense will be a strength but they’ll continue being irrelevant in a conference passing them by. New England will be as mediocre as Bill Belichick’s record without Tom Brady.

AFC North

Bengals (12-5)

Ravens (11-6)

Steelers (9-8)

Browns (8-9)

Joe Burrow was recently named the unluckiest QB in the league since 2016.

Argue if you will but there’s zero debate that Burrow is one of the faces of the sport. He has drastically altered the course of Bengals history and I personally want to see him win a ring (as long as it doesn’t come at the Rams’ expense). While the conference belongs to KC, Cincy is the squad most likely to put a dent in their reign of terror. Should Lamar Jackson stay healthy, Baltimore will be a formidable foe for Cincinnati. The addition of OBJ and OC Todd Monken will strengthen the Ravens’ lackluster passing attack. Pittsburgh is led by a coach seemingly allergic to losing records. I don’t expect them to make it into the playoffs but you should never count out a Mike Tomlin team.

Cleveland should be eternally damned with last-place finishes thanks to selling their souls for Deshaun Watson. Thankfully this is the Browns we’re talking about so they were already doing that on their own. While the Browns have plenty of talent and should be a contender, they don’t have the heart of one which doesn’t bide well for their chances in a loaded AFC.

AFC South

Jaguars (11-6)

Texans (7-10)

Titans (6-11)

Colts (4-13)

This is clearly the Jaguars’ division to lose. With three rebuilding teams to torment, Jacksonville has a chance to be even more successful in Doug Pederson’s second season. Trevor Lawrence seems to believe in his own hype so why shouldn’t we?

With Calvin Ridley in the fold, Lawrence can up his game even more. Very fun to see the league’s future in good hands. Houston still has a problem but they’ll be remarkably competitive under DeMeco Ryans. Expect the Texans to be quite pesky and hang around in several games they shouldn’t. Tennessee has been trending in the wrong direction ever since they were by some miracle of God, the top seed in 2021. Derrick Henry remains a marvel. DeAndre Hopkins was a necessary, albeit strange signing for a team that doesn’t really have a prayer. They’ll be fairly competitive but learn quickly that routinely tossing rookie QBs into the fire won’t solve their woes. Lord save the Colts and Anthony Richardson. With the ongoing Jonathan Taylor saga and Jim Irsay passing Dan Snyder as the league’s worst owner, no signal caller could possibly thrive in this environment. It’s going to be a LOOOONG year in Indy. The Andrew Luck curse goes on another year.

AFC West

Chiefs (13-4)

Broncos (10-7)

Chargers (10-7)

Raiders (6-11)

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. As long as those two remain in Kansas City, the Chiefs will always be a title contender. The AFC goes through them. Denver no longer has one of the “worst head coaches in NFL history”. With competent coaching from Sean Payton, the Broncos will be a playoff team. No matter how ugly things got, I never believed Russell Wilson was washed and he’s going to prove me right as he rebounds in a big way. Let’s ride! That other LA team has Justin Herbert but have severely underachieved under Brandon Staley. The Chargers will probably get more of the same this season and waste away another year of Herbert’s prime. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right? We’ll see if Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs stay in LV long-term. At least they have Jimmy G until he inevitably gets injured midseason. For some reason Josh McDaniels kept his job after ruining a playoff roster. He must have some serious dirt on Mark Davis’ barber or something.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

NFC East

Eagles (13-4)

Cowboys (12-5)

Giants (10-7)

Commanders (5-12)

Coming off a Super Bowl loss, Philly remains the class of the NFC. Jalen Hurts is a top-5 quarterback and with this core, anything is possible. The Eagles might not be as strong as they were last season but they’re still good enough to make those Whiners in San Fran cry. Dallas will only go as far as Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy go. Both annually string together quality regular season performances only to falter when the lights shine brightest. Love the Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore additions but they won’t be enough to put an end to the Cowboys’ Divisional Round curse. New York shocked the league in Brian Daboll’s first year at the helm. Daniel Jones looked like an NFL starter under him while Saquon Barkley was unleashed. In a down NFC, the Giants should make a second-straight playoff run. Washington got a new owner so they automatically win the offseason. Maybe new ownership can change that dumbass name. The Commies don’t know what they’re getting out of Sam Howell but I can tell you: another lackluster campaign in the nation’s capital.

NFC North

Lions (11-6)

Bears (8-9)

Packers (7-10)

Vikings (7-10)

It’s a shame the NFL didn’t allow Dan Campbell to have a real lion on the sidelines. No Fun League for sure. Either way, Detroit will build off their 8-2 finish to 2022 and be one of the top teams in the conference. They may be a year away from Super Bowl contention but this is a young and exciting team that’ll be a bully for years to come. Chicago and Green Bay are in fascinating spots because of their youth. I can realistically see both teams winning anywhere from seven-to-nine games. It’ll all depend on whether their quarterbacks can take the next step. Justin Fields has to show drastic improvement in the passing game. Jordan Love has to prove he was the right QB to be Aaron Rodgers’ successor. Assuming he goes down the path of Favre and Rodgers, he’ll be talking about retirement until being traded to the Jets before we know it! The Vikings may have been a 13-win team last year but 11 of those wins came in one-score games. They were historically elite in that category.

Fact is, that record isn’t sustainable. Justin Jefferson can only do so much for a Minnesota team on the decline.

NFC South

Saints (9-8)

Falcons (8-9)

Panthers (7-10)

Buccaneers (6-11)

The mantle for the weakest division in the NFC has been passed down to the South. Congrats I guess. I can see any of these teams competing for a division title. That’s how wide open I expect it to be. Every team is plagued with uncertainty, especially at the quarterback position. However, I have faith in New Orleans and Derek Carr helping the Saints return to the postseason. He has second-year stud Chris Olave at the helm and a solid running game with Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams in the backfield. Is Desmond Ridder the answer for Atlanta? Guess we’ll soon find out. Rookie running back Bijan Robinson and tight end Kyle Pitts can be elite weapons if utilized properly. Arthur Smith has his work cut out for him. It’s a big campaign for him and the Falcons.

Carolina has veteran Head Coach Frank Reich and top overall pick Bryce Young. I think the Panthers will make some noise in a weak division similar to what they did under Steve Wilks a year ago. It won’t be enough to make the playoffs but the future is indeed bright for this franchise.

Tampa Bay is moving on from Tom Brady unless he decides to unretire once more and suit up after the bye week. The Bucs have weapons and a good enough defense. Good enough isn’t going to cut it even in the NFC South. Luckily the creamsicle helmets are making a long-awaited comeback so that’s something to look forward to.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

NFC West

Seahawks (12-5)

49ers (11-6)

Rams (7-10)

Cardinals (3-14)

Boy, did we all get Seattle wrong or what last season? The Seahawks won’t come out of nowhere this time around but that’ll bide well for their chances in ‘23. With one of the league’s best coaches and a solid core to work with, Pete Carroll’s squad will win their first division title since 2020. You read it here first Geno, I’m not writing you off! San Francisco has one of the deepest rosters in the sport but question marks at the most important position could hold them back. How will Brock Purdy handle defenses who had an entire offseason to figure him out? Will Trey Lance prove to haters that he isn’t a bust? Sam on an NFL roster? Say what? That might not end up mattering much in the end as the 49ers are a top-3 team in the NFC on paper. Assuming they settle their QB carousel without getting too nauseous, they’ll instead win the West with ease. Sorry Hawks. LA, similar to the Bears and Packers, need to have a lot of things go right to reach their 9-8 ceiling. They have to stay relatively healthy and their rookies/second-year players must show growth as the season progresses. The Rams will be better than most people think and should be in contention around Thanksgiving, assuming their opening slate hasn’t killed them by then. Arizona will be the worst team in the NFL. New coach plus Kyler Murray likely out for the season won’t do the Cardinals any favors.