Teams to watch heading into the 2023 NFL Season

By Mason Mesbah

Following yet another crazy and wild NFL offseason, there is plenty of hope and excitement surrounding some teams that have not had a chance to be excited in some time. Outside of the usual contenders, there are a few teams on the come up following the offseason to keep an eye on.

Houston Texans

The Texans made a splash on draft night, drafting their quarterback of the future in CJ Stroud, then trading back to the third pick to select edge rusher Will Anderson, but these are only a small part of their very productive off season. Houston added Dalton Schultz and Robert Woods to be the veteran stars in a talented young receiving corps of Nico Collins, John Metchie, and highly viewed speed threat in rookie Tank Dell. They also added running back Devin Singletary to form a talented 1-2 punch with star Dameon Pierce coming off of a great rookie year on the ground and finished up the offensive line by trading for Shaq Mason and re-signing Laremy Tunsil. There is still a lot to be desired, but the Texans made major strides this off season and could be a team to look out for that could make some noise this year.

Baltimore Ravens

After a hectic few months going back and forth with contract negotiations with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens not only agreed to a contract, but also did a great job in finding him some help. Highlighted by Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers, Baltimore made their intentions of building around Jackson clear and finding ways of keeping him healthy so he could perform successfully. Zay Flowers was a do-it-all receiver for Boston College that led him to be the Ravens first round pick. He is a smaller slot receiver type, but with major speed and ability to go up and make contested catches. Next to him will be Odell Beckham Jr, returning to action after missing last year recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in Super Bowl LVI. Assuming he still has his great talent, a receiving corps consisting of him, Flowers, Rashod Batemon and Mark Andrews will give Jackson the best offense he has ever had. Along with the always great Baltimore defense led by last season’s acquisition Roquan Smith, could lead to another contending season for the Ravens.

Cleveland Browns

Everything is lining up for this to be the Browns year. There will be no more distractions, and Deshaun Watson will be able to just play ball and get back to his Top 5 QB self. Cleveland added electric playmaker Elijah Moore and star pass rusher Za’Darius Smith to be on the other side of Myles Garrett, with Dalvin Tomlinson in the middle. The Browns
have had a solid team for some time now, but with injuries, distractions, and other hurdles, their success has been put on hold. Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, David Njoku, and a consistent O-line will be enough for Watson to operate. Their defense has steadily improved as well and is only getting better with the development of players like Grant Delpit, Greg Newsome, and other young pieces. Cleveland is being overshadowed by a crowded AFC but can definitely make some noise.

Atlanta Falcons

The NFC South is lining up to be as unpredictable as can be. All four teams are going to have new starting QBs, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top. The
Falcons made a big time move (and risk) drafting Bijan Robinson at the 7th overall pick. For a team that was a top five rushing attack last year with a 5th round rookie, the pick was surprising, but could end up paying off big time. Behind a great O-line and now a superstar in the backfield, Desmond Ridder will have all the support he could ask for, especially with Kyle Pits entering his third year, and Drake London coming off of a very good rookie year. They spent a lot of money in free agency, grabbing Jessie Bates and Mack Hollins, and trading for former Top 5 pick Jeff Okudah. They filled holes on both sides of the ball and have a chance to have a very exciting and potentially top offense in the league next year. And with this division in the air, Atlanta is in a position to not only win some games, but maybe come away with the division and earn a playoff spot.

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