❧ For the most part, the only thing that is predictable about the NFL is that it is unpredictable. With so many surprises each year in pro football, there is plenty to look forward to in the second half of the 2023 season. Below are some possible outcomes in the NFL, which will shape what we talk about in the league for the rest of 2023 and beyond.
Kyler Murray Returns, Arizona Still Struggles
Regarding NFL predictions, expecting the Arizona Cardinals to lose has become a reliable bet during the 2023 season. The Cardinals have won just one game this season, with their first year under head coach Jonathan Gannon not resulting in much of a turnaround for the franchise. While it is our prediction that starting quarterback Kyler Murray will come back sooner rather than later, that return is unlikely to change the fortunes of the Cardinals in any meaningful way.
Going into Week 8 of the NFL season, Murray was deemed healthy by the Cardinals’ organization but did not face the Baltimore Ravens. Murray will likely be activated at some point this season by a Cardinals team that will need to evaluate how he can perform after suffering a knee injury a season ago. Whether or not that return to action will help the Cardinals win games is another story.
Murray struggled last season for Arizona, averaging just 6.1 yards per pass attempt before going down with his season-ending injury. That average put him in the bottom half of the league, which was a massive disappointment given that the Cardinals used a number-one overall draft pick to acquire him in 2019. Combine that with Joshua Dobbs being a surprisingly effective quarterback for the Cardinals this season, and there is no guarantee that Murray will be an upgrade in 2023.
Miami Wins AFC East Race
One of the most competitive divisions in the NFL is the AFC East, where two elite teams are at the top of the list of contenders to finish in first place. Those two teams are the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, both of whom have Super Bowl aspirations. Only one team can win this division in 2023, though, and we predict that the Miami Dolphins will be that team at the end of the regular season.
Miami’s season has been marked by an elite offense that has done just enough to outscore opponents this season despite being porous. However, that defense could improve dramatically in the coming weeks, as Jalen Ramsey has returned to the field for Miami. If Ramsey can help the Dolphins improve in pass defense moving forward, they could become a real threat to win the Super Bowl in 2023 and beyond.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills’ defense could struggle against some of the better teams in the NFL for the rest of the season. Buffalo has lost a couple of key defenders to injury this year, as linebacker Matt Milano and cornerback Tre’Davious White will likely miss the rest of this season. Without them, the Bills are unlikely to live up to their full potential on defense, which could cost them the AFC East title.
Chiefs Take Home Second Straight Super Bowl
Our final NFL prediction for the rest of the 2023 season is the most important — which team will win Super Bowl LVIII? Our pick is the Kansas City Chiefs, who are off to another great start in the regular season. They should be the top seed in the AFC in the playoffs once again, which will give them the home-field advantage they need.
Also providing the Chiefs with an advantage for the rest of this season is the return of Mecole Hardman to the Kansas City roster. Hardman left the Chiefs before the 2023 season to join the New York Jets but was re-acquired by the Chiefs during this season. His impact has been massive for the team already, primarily on special teams, which has made the Chiefs a more well-rounded team.
The most important thing for the title hopes of the Chiefs this season, though, is the health of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has dealt with injuries in the postseason each of the last two years, but the reigning NFL MVP has remained healthy this year. Barring any changes in that department, the Chiefs will be the deserved favorites to win the AFC, and we predict that they will win both the AFC championship and Super Bowl once again.
The final leg of the 2023 NFL season should be a thrilling one, with several elite offensive teams set to battle it out for a championship. But when the dust settles, the Chiefs should be the last team standing for the third time during the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes era. The best part of the NFL, though, is that even the most well-thought-out predictions can be shattered by just a couple of surprising results on the field.