The Touchdown NFL Team, 2023 Preseason Predictions

By Lee Wakefield

& The TD NFL team Contributors

The 2023 NFL kick-off is tonight, we made it.

The start of every season needs to begin with one thing; predictions.

Takes, opinions, slants, angles, schools of thought… however you wish to describe them, we need items that the internet will not forget.

This article is a continuation, an enlargement of the opening podcast I recorded with Willo earlier this week.

Thirteen of our NFL writers got together to answer the series of questions below. On the pod, Willo and I expanded on our takes and questioned some of those given by others. They weren’t there to defend themselves so it wasn’t quite a fair fight, but having thirteen people on a pod isn’t possible. We would still be recording now!

So here we go then.. Let’s dive in.

Oh and feel absolutely free to tweet us or comment on our YouTube streams if you disagree with any of what we said.

Division Winners

AFC North

Seven of our 13 writers plumped for Cincinnati here. Four going for the Ravens, with a single vote for the Browns (Joe Valenzuela) and for the Steelers (Stu Taylor).

The Bengals are our clear favourites for the AFC North according to our group, much to the delight of Rory-Joe Daniels, I am sure. They will feature heavily in later questions as well. The bottom line is that we expect the Bengals to have a pretty good in 2023.

AFC South

In the South, the Jaguars were voted as overwhelming favourites for the AFC South, with twelve of our thirteen guys going for Jacksonville for the title.

Only Brett Walker had different ideas, going for the Titans, and asking, “Do you all know something that I don’t?”

We will let you make your own mind up.

AFC East

After a late post-podcast addition from Chris Lawton the Bills and the Dolphins actually drew level with five votes apiece. The Jets took three votes, most notably from Tayyib, who appears to be super-high on Aaron Rodgers’ new team this year. 

Tayyib has been scarred by years of seeing Rodgers lash his previously lacklustre Lions, over and over. There’s a level of begrudging respect that has been left and whether through relief or otherwise he also dropped a vote for the former Packers QB as season MVP too.

AFC West

Well, this one was easy… The Chiefs garnered ten votes as divisional winners of the AFC West in our preseason predictions.

The Chargers, Broncos and most unbelievably, the Raiders took a vote each. Kieran, Conor and Peter gave each of those votes respectively. And best of all, Peter’s Raiders shout gets even better… But more of that later.

Those of you who watched the podcast will know that I am not getting ahead of myself in terms of the Chargers’ fortunes this year. However, if 10 wins are accumulated, as promised my tone will change.

NFC North

Once again, Chris’s late vote made a difference to the favourite. He went for Green Bay, which actually meant, quite remarkably, that the Jordan Love-led Packers are our winners of the NFC North, over the Lions.

The Vikings, who were incredibly lucky to go 13-4 last year, only took two votes this year. A surefire way to tell that we have very little faith in them to repeat what they did last year. The final remaining vote went for the Bears, once again with Peter going against the grain… Perhaps it’ll mean that Chicago finally has a 4,000-yard passer?

NFC South

Much to Willo’s discomfort, it appears that the Falcons are heavy favourites among the group, taking seven of the 13 votes. The Saints took 3.5 votes, with Brett splitting between the Panthers and Saints. The Panthers took my vote and Joe, once again, took a little bit of a contrarian line of thinking to vote for the Bucs.

The feeling that we had on the pod was that this is by far the weakest division and it’s almost the Falcons by default, maybe because they have the shiniest toys on offense. Including the newest and shiniest of all in Bijan Robinson.

NFC East

I found this one slightly confusing, not because the Eagles are the favourites to take the East in the NFC according to our preseason predictions. But because the Cowboys were only chosen by three of our writers. Admittedly, I predicted the Eagles as well, which is a little confusing given by confusion, but I did expect it to be a little closer.

Next time we get Kieran on the pod, I am going to ask him what his thoughts were on his shout for the Commanders when picking them as his divisional winner here.

NFC West

To round off our divisional winners, another heavy favourite. Eleven picks for the 49ers, with the remaining two going to Seattle.

San Francisco are another team, like Cincinnati who we collectively think will have a great season. They’ll be featuring heavily on another topic shortly…



By popular vote, the Bengals would win the Super Bowl if it were down to The Touchdown NFL team. Five votes for those Queen City Cats, with the next most popular nominee being the current champion Chiefs with just three.

Other votes went to the Bills (Tayyib), the 49ers (Joe), the Eagles (Stu), and the Dolphins (Conor). Finally, and here it is, the most ballsy of callsies, Peter Mann has the Las Vegas Raiders as Super Bowl champions.

Runner Up

In terms of the runners-up, the 49ers pretty much ran away with this taking five votes. Other votes went to the Eagles (3), Cowboys, Bills, Chiefs, Vikings… and the Bears. Yes, you read that right, the Chicago Bears, who all had one apiece. 

I will let you guess who said the Bears.

Season Player and Coach Awards

Season MVP

Four shouts for Joe Burrow. Kind of follows up our love for Cincy this year. Kieran, in peak Kieran style wrote Joe Burreaux (Go Tigahs).

Elsewhere there were three votes for Mahomes. Seems low, but okay. With single votes for Trevor Lawrence (Simon), Aaron Rodgers (Tayyib), Jalen Hurts (Stu), Justin Herbert (Conor) and Josh Jacobs (Peter).

At this point, we’re admiring Peter’s propensity to reject all group-think, aren’t we?

Offensive Player of the Year

Quite interestingly, Tyreek Hill was the most popular vote gainer here, with three votes and Christian McCaffrey came second with a pair of votes. This was quite the, spread with QBs and receivers all over the place.

Perhaps the most out-there vote came from Rory-Joe, who cast his ballot for Bijan. Which would be quite something, wouldn’t it?

Defensive Player of the Year

Similarly to the offensive award, the defensive award also had a range of candidates put forward, the most popular being Micah Parsons of the Cowboys with three.

Fred Warner, which came from Conor, would be classed as the most controversial, maybe, but only because he’s a linebacker. He is an outrageous player though.

Comeback Player of the Year

Almost unanimously Demar Hamlin. Kind of obvious, isn’t it? The only other players to get a vote were Breece Hall (Rory-Joe) and Baker Mayfield (Joe).

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Bijan gathered six of the 13 votes here. Yeah, we’re fans. Bryce Young (3) and Anthony Richardson (2), were the best of the rest here.

Nailed on, Willo said. Sort of.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Will Anderson and Jalen Carter gained four votes apiece to split the group. Christian Gonzalez (2), Brian Branch, Lukas Van Ness and Devon Weatherspoon (1 each) gained other votes.

Coach of the Year

A real spread for Coach of the Year. Doug Pederson with 3 took it from Dan Campbell (2), by the most narrow of margins. A whole spread of other votes, which included Peter really putting his money where his mouth is and throwing Josh McDaniels in there. I mean, he’d be nailed on if they won a playoff game, never mind the Super Bowl.

Other Predictions

First Overall Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

To finish our awards, we pretty much nailed on Arizona to have the first pick in the draft next Spring.

Eleven of us picked the Cardinals with the only alternatives being the Titans (Rory-Joe) and the Rams (from Stu). Perhaps Rory and Brett could have a discussion about the Titans’ chances this year.

To finish off we asked all of our participants for a bold take for the season… We’ll sign off by putting them here so that you can keep all the receipts but also by listing them, I will say a sincere “thank you” to everyone who was brave enough to step forward and contribute.

Bold Takes for the Season

Lee Wakefield

Bill Belichick is moved on from being Head Coach of the Patriots. Bill won’t be “fired” but he won’t be Head Coach in 2024.

Thomas Willoughby 

Sean McVay resigns before the season ends.

Simon Carroll

The Commanders make the playoffs.

Tayyib Abu

The Giants have a losing season.

Rory-Joe Daniels

The Texans and Panthers both have winning records.

Kieran Horne

The Browns have a losing record.

Joe Valenzuela

Myles Garrett breaks the sack record.

Brett Walker

Building on Lee’s prediction, Mike Vrabel will leave the Titans at the season’s end to become the new Patriots Head Coach.

Owain Jones

Jonathan Gannon is one and done in Arizona.

Stu Taylor

The Bengals fail to make the playoffs.

Conor O’Connell

Gardner Minshew will be starting for the Colts by the end of the season.

Peter Mann

The Chiefs have a losing season.

Chris Lawton

Bill Groman’s 63-year-old record for most yards receiving in a rookie season (1,473 yards in 1960) gets broken. 

Link to the Full Predictions Spreadsheet

Feature Image Credit:

Lee Wakefield

NFL, CFB & NFL Draft

Lee Wakefield IS A defensive line enthusiast, Chargers Sufferer, and LONG-TIME writer and podcaster with a number of publications. Find his Chargers content over at Bolt Beat. @Wakefield90 on twitter