2023 NFL season: Your quick guide to all 32 teams on the road to Super Bowl LVIII | NFL News



The new NFL season is here!

The 2023 NFL season has officially arrived, with the Kansas City Chiefs returning as defending champions after ousting the Philadelphia Eagles at LVII in Arizona. 

32 teams. Eight divisions. 18 weeks. 272 games. One prize. The road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas starts here.

To mark the beginning of the new campaign, here is a quick guide to each team across the league…

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills

Head Coach Sean McDermott
General Manager Brandon Beane
Owner(s) Terry Pegula, Kim Pegula
2022 season 13-3 – lost in Divisional Round
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 1993 season

The Bills have been knocking on the door, and resume their pursuit of a long-awaited Super Bowl crown on the back of three successive AFC East titles, two Divisional Round losses and defeat in the AFC Championship Game over the last three years.

MVP-contending quarterback Josh Allen and his bombs-away arm talent heads up one of the league’s most complete rosters, which includes a new weapon in the form of first-round rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid as a welcome supplement to a receiving core of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Second-year running back James Cook is primed to take on an expanded role out of the backfield as Ken Dorsey strives for greater balance on offense, while on defense the Bills have seen linebacker Tremaine Edmunds depart in free agency, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier step away from the team and star edge rusher Von Miller ruled out for the opening four games of the campaign as he continues his recovery from injury.

Their Super Bowl window remains open, though they now find themselves in one of the league’s most competitive divisions.

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September 12, 2023, 1:00am

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins

Head Coach Mike McDaniel
General Manager Chris Grier
Owner Stephen Ross
2022 season 9-8 – lost in Wild Card Round
Super Bowl titles 2
Last Super Bowl appearance 1984 season

Expect speed, expect fireworks, expect your regular dose of funky Mike McDaniel play-calling.

The Dolphins laid down contender credentials for chunks of last season behind a high-octane offense built on the sharp mind and arm of Tua Tagovailoa coupled with the explosiveness of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and the impact of offensive tackle addition Terron Armstead in an all bells-and-whistles scheme that sought to discombobulate defenses with one of the league’s highest rates of pre-snap motion.

Multiple concussion scares for Tagovailoa would mar the second half of the campaign as they lost five straight games before just about holding onto a playoff berth, where they were eventually beaten by the Bills while led by third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson.

The Dolphins enter 2023 armed with a new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his famed invite-the-run two-high safety system, having added David Long at linebacker along with rookie corner Cam Smith and veteran Jalen Ramsey, the latter albeit set to miss months through injury. Further leaps are expected from star safety Jevon Holland and gifted third-year pass rusher Jaelan Phillips, while Fangio is tasked with extracting the best from his old Denver edge rusher Bradley Chubb following his mid-season arrival from the Broncos. If Tua can stay healthy, Miami are a match for anyone.

Tua Tagovailoa says Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are special players that love to compete against each other and is excited for this season to get going.

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Tua Tagovailoa says Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are special players that love to compete against each other and is excited for this season to get going.

Tua Tagovailoa says Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are special players that love to compete against each other and is excited for this season to get going.

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Head Coach Bill Belichick
General Manager Bill Belichick
Owner Robert Kraft
2022 season 8-7
Super Bowl titles 6
Last Super Bowl appearance 2018 season

Bill Belichick’s storied Patriots may no longer be top dogs in a loaded AFC East, but you can bank on the greatest coach in NFL history licking his lips at the prospect of blunting the high-powered offenses surrounding him.

For all difficulties in moving the rock, Belichick’s team ranked third in EPA/play as well as fourth in sacks and seventh in pressure rate while blitzing at the fourth lowest rate behind a pass rush spearheaded by Matthew Judon’s 15.5 sacks and Josh Uche’s career-best 11.5. They bolstered the defense again this offseason, introducing silk smooth first-round cornerback Christian Gonzalez along with raw but frighteningly-athletic pass rusher Keion White and hybrid linebacker Marte Mapu.

Bill O’Brien returns as offensive coordinator to restore a scheme ideally-more tailored to quarterback Mac Jones following last year’s struggles under Matt Patricia, with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki arriving in free agency to join Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker as pass-catching options, while veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott enters as a backfield companion for star running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

New York Jets

New York Jets

Head Coach Robert Saleh
General Manager Joe Douglas
Owner(s) Woody Johnson, Christopher Johnson
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 1
Last Super Bowl appearance 1968 season

Need we guide you through the story of the season for the Jets? With the addition of four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers they are all in on their pursuit of a first Super Bowl ring since the Joe Namath-led team of 1963.

Rodgers wants a second title to his name, and deemed the Jets a ready-made opportunity to make that happen. He pilots an offense starring second-year wide receiver Garrett Wilson, while being reunited with former Packers teammates Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb and old Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

The signing of veteran running back Dalvin Cook and introduction of rookie Israel Abanikanda meanwhile eases the pressure on the eventual return of Breece Hall, who had been in Rookie of the Year contention before suffering a season-ending knee injury last year. Among the convincers for Rodgers was the strength of Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich’s defense, fronted by the Defensive Rookie of the Year in cornerback Sauce Gardner and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

They addressed that convincer again by drafting dynamic edge rusher Will McDonald IV in the first round, with him coming that trademark spin move. There aren’t too many excuses now. This is Rodgers’ chance, and Saleh’s chance. Albeit in a talent-heavy AFC.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh says the signing of Aaron Rodgers gives the Jets 'hope'.

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New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh says the signing of Aaron Rodgers gives the Jets ‘hope’.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh says the signing of Aaron Rodgers gives the Jets ‘hope’.

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September 8, 2023, 1:10am

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AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

Head Coach John Harbaugh
General Manager Eric DeCosta
Owner(s) Steve Bisciotti
2022 season 10-7 – lost in Wild Card Round
Super Bowl titles 2
Last Super Bowl appearance 2012 season

Lamar Jackson is back. Following an offseason standoff over contract negotiations, he and the Ravens finally agreed on a new five-year $260m extension to kick off the start of what feels a new chapter for the former MVP quarterback.

Jackson returns to action having missed the back end of last season through injury, notably including the playoff defeat to the Bengals that might well have ended differently had he been on the field. He is joined by a newly-appointed offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, who traded in life with the back-to-back College National champion Georgia to succeed Greg Roman. He promises to install the most diverse Ravens offense yet, designed to showcase not only the ground threat of Jackson but also his passing expertise in a more spread-friendly offense.

Plans to do so have been enhanced by the drafting of first-round wide receiver Zay Flowers, not to mention the signing of Odell Beckham Jr to line up across from trusted tight end Mark Andrews and an injury-hit Rashod Bateman from whom the best is yet to come. Scottish edge rush David Ojabo is primed to line up beside Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen and Odafe Oweh for his first full season after missing much of his rookie year through injury, while Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams resume their spot as one of the most versatile and athletically-gifted safety tandems in the NFL.

Contenders. Make no mistake.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals

Head Coach Zac Taylor
General Manager Mike Brown
Owner(s) Paul Brown
2022 season 12-4 – lost in AFC Championship Game
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 2021 season

The Bengals were a game away from returning to a second straight Super Bowl last season, only to be thwarted by Patrick Mahomes and the eventual champion Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

Third time lucky? With Joe Burrow at the helm under center, the Bengals remain among the favourites to make it out of the AFC and all the way to Las Vegas.

In Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd they boast one of the league’s leading receiver trios, while Irv Smith Jr poses as a fresh option at tight end following his move to Cincinnati in the offseason. The big question surrounding the Bengals is whether they can protect their prized asset at quarterback, Burrow having been sacked a sixth-most 41 times in 2022 and a second-most 124 times since entering the league in 2020.

Offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr was signed in a bid to address that this season, while a better version of La’el Collins is expected upon his return from injury. Defensive coordinator mastermind Lou Anarumo retained his linebacker core of Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, both of whom are crucial to his subterfuge system, while welcoming first-round rookie pass rusher Myles Murphy to assist Trey Hendrickson.

Odell Beckham Jr says he is 'feeling free for the first time in a while' as he looks ahead to beginning the new NFL season as a Baltimore Raven.

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Odell Beckham Jr says he is ‘feeling free for the first time in a while’ as he looks ahead to beginning the new NFL season as a Baltimore Raven.

Odell Beckham Jr says he is ‘feeling free for the first time in a while’ as he looks ahead to beginning the new NFL season as a Baltimore Raven.

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski
General Manager Andrew Berry
Owner(s) Jimmy and Dee Haslam
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance Never been to Super Bowl

The pressure is on for Kevin Stefanski and his Cleveland Browns as they count on Deshaun Watson to rediscover his top form after handing the quarterback a fully-guaranteed five-year $230m contract in March last year.

Watson is set for his first full season as starter in Cleveland having been banned for 11 games in 2022 following allegations of sexual harassment. He was a long way off the pace upon returning down the stretch last season.

Fortunately for him, running back Nick Chubb remains the heartbeat of the Browns offense after posting a career-high 1,525 rushing yards for a tied-career-best 12 touchdowns last season. Amari Cooper stands to be Watson’s main target through the air as he is joined by Elijah Moore following his trade from the Jets, while David Njoku, Harrison Bryant and Jordan Akins are poised for prominent roles under a head coach in Stefanski known for his multiple tight end sets.

Elsewhere, Jim Schwartz comes in as the team’s new defensive coordinator to replace Joe Woods and take charge of a unit led by star quarterback hunter Myles Garrett, who is boosted by a new pass rush colleague in Za’Darius Smith. Nor Stefanski or the Browns can afford to find themselves buried at the bottom of the pile in what could prove a seriously competitive division.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach Mike Tomlin
General Manager Omar Khan
Owner(s) The Rooney Family
2022 season 9-8
Super Bowl titles 6
Last Super Bowl appearance 2010 season

Quarterback questions reign supreme across the NFL in 2023, Pittsburgh included. Kenny Pickett was the only quarterback drafted in the first-round last year in a jury-out year for play-callers, but showed flashes of turning some people around with encouraging signs down the stretch.

His effort to lay down a long-term convincer ought to be helped by a receiving group including George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin, along with a monster tight end pairing of Pat Freiermuth and rookie Darnell Washington and running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

The potentially-defining factor comes in the form of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who has struggled to convince in recent seasons. As ever, Pittsburgh are primed to wreck shop on defense behind TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Alex Highsmith.

Mike Tomlin sought to strengthen again, drafting rangy cornerback Joey Porter Jr, vicious nose tackle Keeanu Benton and Wisconsin edge rusher Nick Herbig, whose brother Nate also signed at center in free agency.

The Steelers have only missed the playoffs six times in Tomlin’s 16 seasons in charge. They tend to find a way.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett outlines his development since his rookie season as he prepares to begin year two in the NFL.

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett outlines his development since his rookie season as he prepares to begin year two in the NFL.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett outlines his development since his rookie season as he prepares to begin year two in the NFL.

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September 10, 2023, 4:30pm

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AFC South

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

Head Coach DeMeco Ryans
General Manager Nick Caserio
Owner(s) Janice McNair
2022 season 3-13-1
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance Never been to Super Bowl

There is new direction in Houston. The Texans hired one of the NFL’s most highly-regarded young coaches in San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to be their new head coach, drafted Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and his beautiful passing prowess with the second overall pick as their new poster boy at quarterback and traded up to draft Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr as their next potential stalwart pass rusher.

Stroud is greeted by one of the NFL’s premier left tackles in Laremy Tunsil, last year’s surprise breakout rookie running back Dameon Pierce, a new pass-catching option in free agent tight end Dalton Schultz and rookie wide receiver Tank Dell, who joins a receiver group boosted by the comeback of John Metchie after his missed his rookie season having been diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. They may not leave their mark this year, but things are looking up.

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts

Head Coach Shane Steichen
General Manager Chris Ballard
Owner(s) Jim Irsay
2022 season 4-12-1
Super Bowl titles 2
Last Super Bowl appearance 2009 season

Have the Colts finally found their man? The search for an Andrew Luck successor has been a long, obstacle-field, arduous task to the sight of little reward; Philip Rivers couldn’t lift them into contention, nor could Matt Ryan, nor could Carson Wentz.

This offseason Indianapolis went out and drafted the most athletically-gifted quarterback to ever test at the position in Anthony Richardson, who arrives to form what looks a perfect marriage alongside newly-appointed head coach Shane Steichen if his Jalen Hurts-led Eagles offense is anything to judge by.

While things were looking rosy, the Colts would stumble into another setback as star running back Jonathan Taylor declared he wanted out, with the two sides still seeking a resolution. In the meantime, Zack Moss, Deon Jackson and rookie Evan Hull will share time in the backfield. Elsewhere Michael Pittman Jr and Alec Pierce serve as Richardson’s key weapons on the outside, while the rookie quarterback will be protected by one of the league’s leading guards should Quenton Nelson rediscover his best form.

The Colts defense will be boosted by the return of linebacker Shaq Leonard, while hoping for a leap from second-year defensive end Kwity Paye and an immediate impact from fourth-round defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore.

One would be wise to reserve judgement on the Colts’ prospects until a solution is reached over the future of Taylor, who has neutrals fascinated by the image of him playing alongside Richardson. It might yet happen.

Check out the best moments from Anthony Richardson's 2023 NFL Scouting Combine workout.

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Check out the best moments from Anthony Richardson’s 2023 NFL Scouting Combine workout.

Check out the best moments from Anthony Richardson’s 2023 NFL Scouting Combine workout.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

Head Coach Doug Pederson
General Manager Trent Baalke
Owner(s) Shahid Khan
2022 season 9-8
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance Never been to Super Bowl

After something of a null and void rookie season under Urban Meyer, Trevor Lawrence’s NFL story finally got underway last year as the most highly-regarded college quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck lifted the Jags to their first playoff berth since the 2017 campaign. The introduction of Doug Pederson would prove instrumental in allowing Lawrence the true transition he had lacked in 2021, a highlight coming during Wild Card weekend when he led the Jags to victory over the Chargers having trailed 27-7 at half-time.

Lawrence will join forces with a new No 1-target in waiting in former Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who resumes his career after missing the entire 2022 season through injury. Ridley will line up in the same offense as tight end Evan Engram, coming off a career year, along with 1,000-yard receiver Christian Kirk and dual-threat running back Travis Etienne.

Last year’s No 1 overall Draft pick Travon Walker will meanwhile be expected to step up his production as the face of Mike Caldwell’s pass rush, which will also feature veteran edge Josh Allen beside second-year Devin Lloyd.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson was full of praise for Trevor Lawrence and labelled him as ‘the real deal’. Pederson believes there is much more to expect from the quarterback ahead of the new NFL season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson was full of praise for Trevor Lawrence and labelled him as ‘the real deal’. Pederson believes there is much more to expect from the quarterback ahead of the new NFL season.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson was full of praise for Trevor Lawrence and labelled him as ‘the real deal’. Pederson believes there is much more to expect from the quarterback ahead of the new NFL season.

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

Head Coach Mike Vrabel
General Manager Ran Carthon
Owner(s) Amy Adams Strunk
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 1999 season

The Titans are coming off their first losing season in five years under the leadership of head coach Mike Vrabel, who has taken his team to the playoff on three occasions. Vrabel’s side slipped to a 7-10 finish to undo their strong start to the season last year following a seven-game losing streak, raising some question marks over the future of Ryan Tannehill at quarterback.

Tannehill will open the year as starter come Week One, but finds himself with second-round rookie Will Levis and 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis waiting to jump at an opportunity to step in. Derrick Henry can still pound the rock as ferociously as any back in the league, but there will forever be caution over the longevity of the running back position, which he has seemingly defied in recent years with his consistency in production.

Outside of Treylon Burks they are lacking obvious receiving threats, though have optimism Chigoziem Okonkwo can emerge as a surprise asset at tight end. The Titans looked to the future by using the 11th overall pick on offensive tackle Peter Skoronski, while on defense Harold Landry III, Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry can still combine to form one of the league’s fiercest fronts.

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos

Head Coach Sean Payton
General Manager George Paton
Owner(s) Rob Walton
2022 season 5-12
Super Bowl titles 3
Last Super Bowl appearance 2015 season

Can Sean Payton rediscover the best, or at least something close to the best, of Russell Wilson?

It is the big elephant in the room in Denver, where Wilson endured a miserable 2022 season following his blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks. Payton ignited the glittering career of Drew Brees in New Orleans, and now the hope is he can revive that of his new man under center.

The tough-running Javonte Williams is poised for a prominent role out of the backfield having managed just four games through injury last season, while Wilson’s aerial attack will be guided by Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and rookie Marvin Mims. For all their woes on offense, the Broncos defense starred in 2022 under now-Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who has since been replaced by Vance Joseph. Baron Browning looked like a star in the making at outside linebacker, though will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from injury. He will combine with Randy Gregory, Nik Bonitto and offseason additions Frank Clark and Zach Allen in carrying the Broncos pass rush, which lost Bradley Chubb midway through last season.

How much has Wilson got left in the tank? He is where the season is won or lost for Denver and Coach Payton.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs

Head Coach Andy Reid
General Manager Brett Veach
Owner(s) The Hunt Family
2022 season 14-3 – won the Super Bowl
Super Bowl titles 3
Last Super Bowl appearance 2022 season

The champions, the gate-keepers, the team to beat in 2023. Patrick Mahomes is riding the wave of a sparkling MVP and Super Bowl-winning campaign in his unfolding story as one of the NFL’s all-time greats.

Little needs to be said of the league’s best team: in Mahomes they boast the league’s best quarterback, in Travis Kelce they boast the No 1 tight end in the nation and Mahomes’ chief partner in crime, while in head coach Andy Reid they boast one of football’s great offensive masterminds, whose free and funky playbook has made for year-on-year entertainment.

To top off their offensive supremacy, the Chiefs run game even teased signs of taking flight as Isiah Pacheco flourished down the stretch last season. The Chiefs lost offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr in free agency, but went out and signed Donovan Smith as well as drafting Wanya Morris to reinforce their pass protection. And while JuJu Smitch-Schuster moved on to the Patriots, Kansas City added rookie Rashee Rice to a versatile receiving group including Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Huge question marks, though, linger over the future of Chris Jones amid his contract holdout, the defensive tackle serving as the heartbeat of a defense in which defensive end George Karlaftis, linebacker Nick Bolton and cornerback Trent McDuffie return as integral pieces. There is also concern over the health of Kelce after he hyperextended his knee in the team’s final practice before the opening game. Both major components to this Chiefs team.

Highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

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Highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders

Head Coach Josh McDaniels
General Manager Dave Ziegler
Owner(s) The Davis Family
2022 season 6-11
Super Bowl titles 3
Last Super Bowl appearance 2002 season

The Super Bowl is heading to Las Vegas, but the hosts are unlikely to be home. Josh McDaniels might already be blowing evasively at the heat following him as he seeks to prove himself as a head coach. He begins year two having brought in Jimmy Garoppolo to replace Derek Carr at quarterback, the former Patriots colleagues plotting an offense capable of hanging around with their divisional rivals courtesy of a still-elite Davante Adams, the NFL’s 2022 rushing champion Josh Jacobs and a supporting cast of Hunter Renfrow, Jakobi Meyers, Austin Hooper and rookie tight end Michael Mayer.

The Raiders recorded the joint-fewest interceptions and the third fewest sacks in the league last year, Maxx Crosby accounting for 12.5 of their 27 takedowns. Crosby has asserted himself as the face of the Raiders franchise as a menace off the edge, but has lacked meaningful support from those around him. Chandler Jones is back after managing just 4.5 sacks in 2022, while in rookie first-round pick Tyree Wilson they have a mountain of a human-being with all the raw talent and athletic traits to become a chief protagonist in Sin City.

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers

Head Coach Brandon Staley
General Manager Tom Telesco
Owner(s) Dean Spanos
2022 season 10-7 – lost in Wild Card Round
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 1994 season

A potentially-defining year awaits for Brandon Staley in his tenure as Chargers head coach. He has divided opinion since arriving, with expectations soaring for a team possessing one of the league’s most devastating arms in quarterback Justin Herbert. Staley was famed for his Los Angeles Rams defense, but so far his Chargers have fallen concerningly short of looking like a Championship calibre defense. Pass rusher Joey Bosa reclaims his place as their talisman up front after featuring in just five games last year, his chief support coming via Khalil Mack, Sebastian Joseph-Day and now second-round rookie edge Tuli Tuipulotu.

There was change on offense for the Chargers this offseason as they parted with Joe Lombardi and nabbed Kellen Moore from the Cowboys as their chosen offensive coordinator to lead Herbert moving forward. What’s more, they drafted TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston in the first round to add to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, as well as bringing back all-action running back Austin Ekeler after a contract dispute and greeting Rashawn Slater’s return with open arms following the left tackle’s season-ending injury in Week Three last year. The depth of the AFC may be frightening, but the Chargers cannot afford to fall behind the pack.

Some of the best plays from Chargers' quarterback Justin Herbert's 2022 NFL season

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Some of the best plays from Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert’s 2022 NFL season

Some of the best plays from Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert’s 2022 NFL season

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

Head Coach Mike McCarthy
General Manager Jerry Jones
Owner(s) Jerry Jones
2022 season 12-5 – lost in the Divisional Round
Super Bowl titles 5
Last Super Bowl appearance 1995 season

The wait goes on for America’s Team. Having blitzed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round, they collapsed to defeat against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs amid their bid to reach a first Super Bowl since the 1995 season. Head coach Mike McCarthy returns to play-calling duties on offense this year after the departure of Kellen Moore, with quarterback Dak Prescott fronting a unit that will elevate Tony Pollard as the lead dual-threat running back following Ezekiel Elliott’s exit while partnering CeeDee Lamb with offseason addition Brandin Cooks.

Dan Quinn’s Dallas defense will nestle itself among the league’s most disruptive once more as a cocktail of pass-rushing and coverage-disguising dominance. The incredible Micah Parsons leads the way as an immediate Defensive Player of the Year contender after his 13.5 sacks across from DeMarcus Lawrence, while a former Defensive Player of the Year in Stephon Gilmore pitches up in Dallas to accompany Trevon Diggs in the secondary. Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith represented the team’s marquee recruit as a first-round pick at the Draft, while tight end Luke Schoonmaker was selected in the second-round as support for Jake Ferguson in light of Dalton Schultz’s departure. The pressure is on for Dallas, as it has been for so long.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle looks back on last season's disappointing playoff exit and explains why the team is ready to mount another Super Bowl charge.

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San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle looks back on last season’s disappointing playoff exit and explains why the team is ready to mount another Super Bowl charge.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle looks back on last season’s disappointing playoff exit and explains why the team is ready to mount another Super Bowl charge.

New York Giants

New York Giants

Head Coach Brian Daboll
General Manager Joe Schoen
Owner(s) John Mara and Steve Tisch
2022 season 9-7-1 – lost in the Divisional Round
Super Bowl titles 4
Last Super Bowl appearance 2011 season

Brian Daboll has inspired a resurgence in East Rutherford, where the Giants believe there are in the midst of a new and prosperous era after reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and recording their first postseason victory since the Super Bowl-winning 2011 campaign.

The organisation has put all its eggs in the Daniel Jones basket, handing the fifth-year quarterback a new four-year $160m extension this offseason in reward for a career-best campaign in which he threw for 3,205 yards and 15 touchdowns alongside 708 rushing yards for two scores. His receiving options increased with the marquee trade for mismatch tight end Darren Waller, who could quickly become Jones’ No 1 target. The Giants also injected deep-threat speed through third-round rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt, while Saquon Barkley resumes his post as the heartbeat of Daboll’s offense after a contract stand-off. Star left tackle Andrew Tackle returns after a breakout year, one of which right tackle Evan Neal is seeking after some rookie teething issues.

Last year’s success was partially built on the ferocity and success of Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy defense, in which Dexter Lawrence asserted himself as one of the league’s premium tackles and in which Kayvon Thibodeaux is expected to make a leap after teasing flashes of his star potential as a rookie. They will be joined by free agency addition A’Shawn Robinson, with Bobby Okereke filling a major void at inside linebacker after his exit from the Colts and rookie first-rounder Deonte Banks slotting in at starting cornerback across from Adoree’ Jackson. They were a surprise package for many last year; now the expectations have heightened.

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Head Coach Nick Sirianni
General Manager Howie Roseman
Owner(s) Jeffrey Lurie
2022 season 14-3 – lost in the Super Bowl
Super Bowl titles 1
Last Super Bowl appearance 2022 season

Can they go one better? Jalen Hurts exploded into life during the 2022 season to defy doubts over his long-term starting credentials at quarterback and inspire the Eagles to a spot in the Super Bowl, where they were eventually downed by the brilliance of Mahomes and the Chiefs. Hurts starred in the multi-layered RPO offense that shredded defenses both through the air and on the ground from behind a dominant offensive line, one of the architects to which departed in the offseason as offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was appointed Indianapolis Colts head coach.

Hurts retains his MVP-contender status heading into the new season, armed with a receiving duo of AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith along with dynamic tight end Dallas Goedert. The Eagles bid farewell to running back Miles Sanders during free agency, while also seeing guard Isaac Seumalo, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson move on to pastures new.

Sean Desai replaces Jonathan Gannon as defensive coordinator, while the Eagles spent first-round picks on powerhouse defensive tackle Jalen Carter and his Georgia team-mate Nolan Smith, the latter of whom will pair up with last season’s team leader in sacks Haason Reddick to fuel a defense that recorded a league-high 70 sacks on the year. Expect one of the league’s most complete rosters to be in the mix again.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts describes his mental approach to football and how he handles the ups and downs of life in the NFL.

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts describes his mental approach to football and how he handles the ups and downs of life in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts describes his mental approach to football and how he handles the ups and downs of life in the NFL.

Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders

Head Coach Ron Rivera
General Manager Martin Mayhew
Owner(s) Josh Harris
2022 season 8-8-1
Super Bowl titles 3
Last Super Bowl appearance 1991 season

There is new ownership in town in Washington, with ambitions of a bright new future for the franchise. The Commanders started the 2022 campaign slowly with four defeats in their first five, before winning six of their next seven. They are a team that can creep up on you in the latter stages of the season, and may feel they are being unfairly overlooked in the NFC East standings; they may also like being overlooked.

They believe they have something in second-year quarterback Sam Howell, who takes over as starter under a newly-appointed offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy looking to prove something himself having moved across from the Chiefs after being passed on for head coaching opportunities in recent years. Brian Robinson Jr will carry the workload out of the backfield, while Howell has Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel to spread the ball between.

Chase Young returns on the edge across from Montez Sweat after missing most of last season through injury, while Kamren Curl features as one of Washington’s stars on defense at safety. The Commanders defense always gives them a chance, ranking fifth in EPA/play and 10th in pressure rate last year.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears

Head Coach Matt Eberflus
General Manager Ryan Poles
Owner(s) Virginia Halas McCaskey
2022 season 3-14
Super Bowl titles 1
Last Super Bowl appearance 2006 season

Justin Fields ran for his life at times last season, torching certain teams in the process while also underlining a question of sustainability. The Bears quarterback rushed for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns while throwing for just 2,242 yards and 17 scores to 11 interceptions, being sacked a league-high 55 times along the way. To watch him skip away from defenders was joyous, but the Bears came out of the season needing to be more diverse, more rounded. And so they went out and traded for a new No 1 receiver in DJ Moore, as well as drafting offensive tackle Darnell Wright in the first round.

Moore fronts a healthier-looking offense next to Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and a tight end duo of the newly-paid Cole Kmet and offseason pickup Robert Tonyan, with rookie wideout Tyler Scott also entering the picture.

On defense the Bears feel they have found some building blocks in safety Jaquan Brisker, cornerback Kyler Gordon and rookie second-round corner Tyrique Stevenson. The league’s worst scoring unit also signed former Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and former Eagles linebacker TJ Edwards, while recruiting veteran defensive end Demarcus Walker.

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions

Head Coach Dan Campbell
General Manager Brad Holmes
Owner(s) Sheila Ford Hamp
2022 season 9-8
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance Never been to Super Bowl

Everybody’s favourite surprise package playoff contender this year. The Lions won eight of their final 10 games last season to raise the curtain on what is perceived as a new era for a franchise that has never won the Super Bowl and been to the playoffs just three times since the 1999 season.

Head coach Dan Campbell has ignited fresh hope in Detroit, while offensive coordinator whiz Ben Johnson – likely to be in head coaching contention next offseason – has revived the career of quarterback Jared Goff within one of the NFL’s most creative schemes. Amon-Ra St Brown is looking to build on his first 1,000-yard season as a rising star at wide receiver, yards-after-catch flyer Jameson Williams will eventually be back around mid-season after he serves his suspension for gambling violations and there is a new weapon in town in the form of electric first-round running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who offers a threat in both the running and passing game.

Their pass rush is led by 2022 second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who recorded 9.5 sacks as a rookie, while Jack Campbell slots in at inside linebacker as the team’s first-round pick out of Iowa. There is a lot of noise around Detroit and their potential in 2023.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
General Manager Brian Gutenkunst
Owner(s) Packers fans
2022 season 8-9
Super Bowl titles 4
Last Super Bowl appearance 2010 season

The keys to have been handed to Jordan Love at Lambeau Field. The 2020 first-round pick gets his chance having sat and learned behind Aaron Rodgers, who begins life with the Jets. Love’s introduction is set to see a return of Matt LaFleur’s more favoured play-action, pre-snap-motion offense, with second-year receiver Christian Watson eyed as Green Bay’s splash play threat alongside the playmaking ability of Romeo Doubs and a one-two running back punch of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

Having lost Robert Tonyan and Allen Lazard in free agency, the Packers drafted tight end Luke Musgrave and wide receiver Jayden Reed in the second round. A healthy David Bakhtiari meanwhile makes a world of difference at left tackle alongside Elgton Jenkins.

Rookie defensive end Lukas Van Ness bolsters the Packers’ pass rush options, which will see the return of Rashan Gary from injury to line up beside speedy linebackers Quay Walker and De’Vondre Campbell. And Jaire Alexander takes his place as a potential X-Factor at cornerback after managing five interceptions and 14 pass breakups last year.

The Packers have a surprise package look about them.

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

Head Coach Kevin O’Connell
General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
Owner(s) Zygi, Leonard and Mark Wilf
2022 season 13-4
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 1976 season

In a division which seems wide open, with the Aaron Rodgers-era in Green Bay over and therefore the Packers’ near two-decade long dominance of the division done, can the Vikings be the ones to truly emerge given that the Detroit Lions, as up-and-coming as they might appear, have failed to win a playoff game since the 1991 season and the Chicago Bears are still in the early stages of a rebuild?

It’s possible. They unquestionably have the most talented player in the division, possibly even the whole league, in star wide receiver Justin Jefferson, fresh from an 1,809-yard season last year which saw him named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. But the big concerns surrounding this team centre around the quarterback and the defense.

Yes, Kirk Cousins’ play is better than many give him credit for, consistently putting up good numbers year on year. But the problem is Cousins is the anti-‘prime time’, with the QB regularly shrinking when the stage and audience is at its biggest. As for the defense, it gave up the second-most yards per game in the league last year (388.7), along with the joint-third most points (25.1). That can’t happen again if Minnesota are to compete in 2023.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson explains why he loves to put a show on for the fans and how high expectations come as added motivation.

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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson explains why he loves to put a show on for the fans and how high expectations come as added motivation.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson explains why he loves to put a show on for the fans and how high expectations come as added motivation.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons

Head Coach Arthur Smith
General Manager Terry Fontenot
Owner(s) Arthur Blank
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 2016 season

Arthur Smith is ready to shove the running game down the threat of opposition. This season will be about learning whether second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder can be the man to guide Atlanta forward, having only been given a mere cameo towards the back end of last year after taking over from Marcus Mariota. His job is helped by the presence of a three-pronged ground attack made up of 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson and all-action rookie marvel Bijan Robinson, who was drafted at eighth overall in April and is favourite to collect Rookie of the Year. Through the air Ridder will have Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts at his disposal, the latter of whom will be seeking a more prominent role after being limited to just 356 receiving yards last year following his 1,026 as a rookie.

Veteran defensive ends Calais Campbell and David Onyemata arrived as much-needed experience in free agency, while the Falcons also drafted Ohio State’s Zach Harrison in the third round and signed outside linebacker Bud Dupree as a means of extra pass rush support. Among their marquee additions in the secondary was former Bengals safety Jessie Bates III along with former Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah and fourth-round corner Clark Phillips III.

Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson's first preseason carry is a chain-moving 12-yard burst.

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Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson’s first preseason carry is a chain-moving 12-yard burst.

Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson’s first preseason carry is a chain-moving 12-yard burst.

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

Head Coach Frank Reich
General Manager Scott Fitterer
Owner(s) David Tepper
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 2015 season

A new era begins for the Carolina Panthers under newly-appointed head coach Frank Reich and rookie quarterback Bryce Young, who arrived this offseason as the No 1 overall pick at the NFL Draft in April. Young has the slick processing and defense-splitting accuracy to dice teams up from the pocket, but also the improvisation and athleticism to thrive off-structure outside the pocket.

The Panthers effort to trade up to the No 1 pick to nab Young came at the price of losing DJ Moore to the Bears, though they did go out and sign veteran Adam Thielen to add experience to a pass-catching group also including DJ Chark, rookie receiver Jonathan Mingo, third-year wideout Terrace Marshall and tight end Hayden Hurst. Ickey Ekwonu, their first-round pick in 2022, and Taylor Moton meanwhile serve as bookends on a strong offensive line. Miles Sanders also arrived in free agency after leading the Eagles with 1,269 rushing yards last season.

Ejiro Evero comes across as defensive coordinator having crafted one of the league’s leading units last season, and is equipped with new veteran safety Vonn Bell along with star edge rusher Brian Burns, fourth-year defensive end Derrick Brown and standout corner Jaycee Horn.

There were tears, boos and fireworks on the opening day of the 2023 NFL Draft, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young the first overall pick.

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There were tears, boos and fireworks on the opening day of the 2023 NFL Draft, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young the first overall pick.

There were tears, boos and fireworks on the opening day of the 2023 NFL Draft, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young the first overall pick.

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints

Head Coach Dennis Allen
General Manager Mickey Loomis
Owner(s) Gayle Benson
2022 season 7-10
Super Bowl titles 1
Last Super Bowl appearance 2009 season

Don’t write Dennis Allen’s Saints off so soon. Let’s start with the good, the encouraging, the promise. That being their defense, which continues to rival the league’s best behind Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, Marshon Lattimore, Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye. They added more pieces at the Draft, bringing in first-round defensive tackle Bryan Bresee and second-round pass rusher Isaiah Foskey. A leap in production from third-round edge Payton Turner would do no harm, either.

The most notable move of their offseason business came at quarterback, where Derek Carr took the reins after bidding farewell to the Raiders. While question marks loom over Michael Thomas such has been his bad luck with injuries, second-year Chris Olave looks every bit the real deal as a receiving threat to take this team forward. Alvin Kamara also remains a difference-maker out of the backfield once he returns from suspension later this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach Todd Bowles
General Manager Jason Licht
Owner(s) The Glazer Family
2022 season 8-9
Super Bowl titles 2
Last Super Bowl appearance 2020 season

The post-Tom Brady era is officially underway. The seven-time Super Bowl champion has retired, and Baker Mayfield has entered the building. After a not-so-enthralling training camp battle with Kyle Trask, Mayfield gets another chance to make his name as a starting quarterback, this time in the presence of two receivers capable of 1,000-yard seasons in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and with Tristan Wirfs, who moves across to left tackle this year, on hand to protect his blind-side.

Todd Bowles’ job of convincing the Bucs he can be the long-term successor to Bruce Arians will be aided by a defense still capable of blunting its divisional rivals: interior blockade Vita Vea finds himself adjacent to the Aaron Donald-compared rookie Calijah Kancey, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka is shouldering high expectations across from Shaq Barrett off the edge and the secondary quartet of Jamel Dean, Ryan Neal, Antoine Winfield Jr and Carlton Davis III provides encouragement. The division is wide-open, the Bowles’ Bucs want to be in the mix.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals

Head Coach Jonathan Gannon
General Manager Monti Ossenfort
Owner(s) Michael Bidwill
2022 season 4-13
Super Bowl titles 0
Last Super Bowl appearance 2008 season

The Cardinals enter the 2023 campaign in rebuild mode as they begin life under first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, who left his post as Eagles defensive coordinator to head to Arizona. The return date of quarterback Kyler Murray remains unknown as he continues his recovery from a serious ACL tear that ended his 2022 campaign, and Arizona have no need to rush him back.

Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was release, JJ Watt retired at the end of last season and new general manager Monti Ossenfort is tasked with deciding how this team should move forward. Among the positives, the Cardinals drafted a potential cornerstone at offensive tackle in Paris Johnson Jr at sixth overall, as well as selecting LSU defensive end BJ Ojulari in the second round.

Joshua Dobbs is expected to start the season at quarterback, his pass-catching options including the elusive Rondale Moore, deep-threat Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and a tight end duo of Zach Ertz and second-year player Trey McBride.

Will Arizona find themselves in a position to target USC quarterback Caleb Williams at next year’s Draft?

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams

Head Coach Sean McVay
General Manager Les Snead
Owner(s) Stan Kroenke
2022 season 5-12
Super Bowl titles 2
Last Super Bowl appearance 2021 season

How quickly the outlook and attitudes have shifted when it comes to the Rams. This is a team, remember, that less than 18 short months ago was winning the Super Bowl, riding a roster littered with talent accumulated via a trade-over-Draft mentality.

The only problem with that mantra is, the Rams’ big spending and lack of developing talent coming through has seen this team very swiftly slip from their perch and to the back of the pack in the NFC.

Sure, there are some play-makers still there in Los Angeles, most-notably Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp but, with the exception of Kupp they’re getting older and their influence is waning. Plus, as it relates to Kupp, there are concerns about how the Super Bowl MVP from that year and 2021 Offensive Player of the Year pulls up after suffering a high ankle sprain last season that required surgery. Oh, and also, their offensive line is one of the worst in the league – not exactly a recipe for success.

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
General Manager John Lynch
Owner(s) John York and Denise DeBartolo York
2022 season 13-4 – list in NFC Championship Game
Super Bowl titles 5
Last Super Bowl appearance 2019 season

Quarterback looms as the biggest and most familiar question mark in the Bay Area, where John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have constructed a roster ready to win a Championship. Having traded three first-round picks to draft Trey Lance at No 3 overall in 2021, the 49ers traded the young quarterback to the Cowboys this offseason after his progress was hampered by injury last season.

Brock Purdy was among the stories of the campaign, the final pick of the 2022 Draft stepping up to replace Lance and an injured Jimmy Garoppolo before going 5-0 to close out the regular season and guide the Niners to the playoffs. The starting job is his, cushioned by a star-studded armoury of Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk within Kyle Shanahan’s famed offense.

The Niners suffered a setback in losing defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, now head coach of the Texans, however still carry the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Nick Bosa and star linebacker Fred Warner in a defense that led the league in EPA. They have lost two straight NFC Championship Games having reached and lost the Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 season; they are in their window to win.

Ahead of the new NFL season, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy says it is an honour and that he is 'very thankful' for the opportunity he has been given in San Francisco.

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Ahead of the new NFL season, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy says it is an honour and that he is ‘very thankful’ for the opportunity he has been given in San Francisco.

Ahead of the new NFL season, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy says it is an honour and that he is ‘very thankful’ for the opportunity he has been given in San Francisco.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach Pete Carroll
General Manager John Schneider
Owner(s) The Paul Allen Trust
2022 season 9-8 – lost in Wild Card Round
Super Bowl titles 1
Last Super Bowl appearance 2014 season

Geno Smith emerged as one of the stories of the 2022 campaign as he reignited his career as a starting quarterback to win Comeback Player of the Year in a Seahawks team that flourished as arguable winners of the Russell Wilson trade. Whether he is able to replicate the form that pitted him statistically among the league’s most gifted quarterbacks remains the defining question heading into the new season, which sees him lead an offense strengthened by the addition of rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to accompany Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Kenneth Walker returns to action as one of the league’s most talented young running backs behind an offense line anchored by offensive tackle cornerstone contenders in Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, while an impressive draft haul sees star Pro Bowl corner Tariq Woolen partnered with electric first-round rookie Devon Wetherspoon.

Derick Hall enters the pass rush fold as a second-round pick out of Auburn as support for second-year Boye Mafe and Uchenna Nwosu, the latter of whom enjoyed a career year in 2022. Something is brewing in Seattle.

Don’t miss a second of the 2023 NFL season with Sky Sports NFL – watch the Kansas City Chiefs being their Super Bowl title defence against the Detroit Lions in the early hours of Friday September 8 live on Sky.





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