The 104th season of the National Football League (NFL) kicked off on September 7, 2023.
As the defending Super Bowl LVII champions, the Kansas City Chiefs were handed a surprising defeat by Detroit in the NFL Kickoff Game.
As the season progresses, set to conclude on January 7, 2024, the buzz of anticipation grows louder.
Each year brings its share of unexpected twists – teams that make remarkable comebacks and others that don’t live up to expectations. So, which squad is poised for the most dramatic resurgence in the 2023 season?
The Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos had a dismal season in 2022, finishing with a 5-12 record and missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year.
The Broncos struggled on both sides of the ball, ranking 28th in scoring offense and 25th in scoring defense.
Their quarterback situation was a mess, as they started four players at the position, none of whom impressed.
Their star pass rusher, Von Miller, missed most of the season with an ankle injury, and their secondary was exposed by opposing quarterbacks.
However, the Broncos have made some significant changes in the offseason that could turn their fortunes around in 2023.
They hired a new head coach, Eric Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and one of the most sought-after candidates in the league.
Bieniemy is known for his innovative and explosive offense, which could unleash the potential of the Broncos’ young weapons, such as Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, and Javonte Williams.
The Broncos also traded for Aaron Rodgers, the reigning MVP and one of the best quarterbacks of all time, who was unhappy with the Green Bay Packers and demanded a trade.
Rodgers instantly elevates the Broncos’ offense to a new level and gives them a chance to compete with the Chiefs in the AFC West.
The Broncos also bolstered their defense, signing free agents Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and Kareem Jackson to shore up their secondary and drafting Patrick Surtain II, the top cornerback in the draft, with the ninth overall pick.
The Denver Broncos have +7000 odds to win the Super Bowl, 18th-ranked in the league as of September 20. Their odds of making the postseason are +450.
With a healthy Miller and Bradley Chubb leading the pass rush, the Broncos defense could be one of the best in the league.
The Broncos have a favorable schedule in 2023, as they face the NFC East and the AFC North, two of the weakest divisions in the league.
They also have four home games in the first six weeks, which could give them a fast start.
The Broncos have the talent, the coaching, and the motivation to bounce back in 2023 and challenge for a playoff spot, if not a division title.
The New York Giants
The New York Giants were one of the surprise teams in 2022, as they won the NFC East with a 9-7-1 record despite having a negative point differential and a below-average offense.
The Giants relied on their defense, which ranked ninth in scoring and fourth in takeaways, and their running game, which featured the return of Saquon Barkley, who missed most of 2021 with a torn ACL.
The Giants also benefited from a weak division, as none of their rivals had a winning record.
The New York Giants currently have the 24th-ranked odds in the NFL to win the Super Bowl at +7500. Sportsbooks have the Giants at +370 in terms of just making the playoffs.
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However, the Giants have made some significant improvements in the offseason that could make them a legitimate contender in 2023.
They hired a new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, who was the architect of the LSU offense that won the national championship in 2020 and the Carolina Panthers offense that featured a breakout season from Robby Anderson in 2021.
Brady is known for his creative and aggressive play-calling, which could unlock the potential of the Giants’ young quarterback, Daniel Jones, who has shown flashes of brilliance but also inconsistency and turnovers.
The Giants also added some weapons for Jones, signing free agents Kenny Golladay, John Ross, and Kyle Rudolph and drafting Kadarius Toney, the explosive receiver from Florida, with the 20th overall pick.
The Giants also improved their offensive line, signing Nate Solder, who opted out of 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns, and drafting Alijah Vera-Tucker, the versatile lineman from USC, with the 11th overall pick.
The Giants’ offense could be one of the most improved in the league, complementing their already solid defense, which added Adoree’ Jackson, a former first-round pick, to their secondary.
The Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers had a promising season in 2022, finishing with a 10-7 record and making the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
The Chargers were led by their rookie quarterback, Justin Herbert, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and broke several records, including the most passing touchdowns (31) and the most completions (396) by a rookie in NFL history.
The Chargers also had a potent offense, ranking sixth in scoring and fourth in yards, with Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Hunter Henry as Herbert’s main targets.
The Chargers’ defense, however, was a liability, ranking 29th in scoring and 23rd in yards and allowing the most points in the league’s fourth quarter (153).
However, the Chargers have made significant changes in the offseason that could make them a dominant force in 2023.
They hired a new head coach, Brandon Staley, the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams and one of the most respected defensive minds in the league.
Staley is known for his innovative and adaptable defense, which ranked first in scoring and yards in 2021 and second in both categories in 2022.
The Los Angeles Chargers have +3000 odds to win the Super Bowl, 12th-ranked in the NFL as of September 20. They have +140 odds to qualify for the playoffs.
Staley could transform the Chargers’ defense with talented players like Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Kenneth Murray.
The Chargers also improved their offensive line, signing Corey Linsley, the All-Pro center from the Green Bay Packers, and drafting Rashawn Slater, the elite tackle from Northwestern, with the 13th overall pick.
The Chargers’ offensive line could be one of the best in the league, protect Herbert from pressure, and create lanes for Ekeler.
The Chargers have a tough schedule in 2023, as they face the NFC East and the AFC North, two of the strongest divisions in the league.
They must also contend with the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions and the favorites to win the AFC West.
However, the Chargers have the talent, the coaching, and the momentum to challenge the Chiefs in 2023 and make a deep playoff run.
Three teams stand out as potential comeback stories. After a lackluster 2022 performance, the Denver Broncos orchestrated a transformative off-season, securing the services of renowned coach Eric Bieniemy and quarterback maestro Aaron Rodgers.
The Broncos are poised to reclaim their competitive edge with a bolstered defense and a favorable schedule.
The New York Giants, despite their surprising NFC East win in 2022, have made strategic moves, bringing in offensive wizard Joe Brady and fortifying their ranks with dynamic playmakers.
The Giants aim to emerge as genuine contenders with an improved offense complementing their robust defense.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers, led by the prodigious Justin Herbert, have embraced change by appointing defensive maestro Brandon Staley.
Strengthening both sides of the line, the Chargers aspire to build on their 2022 playoff berth and mount a formidable challenge in the AFC.