To help pass the time between now and the start of training camp, I thought it would be fun to do a regular season and playoff simulation of the 2023-2024 NFL Season until a Super Bowl winner is crowned. I divided the teams into their respective divisions and I will be posting a new article each day for each division, plus each round of the playoffs. That amounts to 12 articles that I can milk out of one idea in the dead of the offseason, which makes my job so much easier. I’ll be sure to link my previous predictions below.
So without further ado, here are my predictions for every division. Continuing with...
The NFC South
The Saints had the biggest signing of the offseason, agreeing to terms with QB Derek Carr on a 4 year, $150 million deal. That alone makes them the frontrunners to win the NFC South. New Orleans also boasts a very good defense and Michael Thomas is expected to be healthy but we’ll see if he can play a full season. One major unknown with this team is what happens with Alvin Kamara. Kamara pled not guilty on alleged battery and assault charges in March 2023, and he awaits a trial date scheduled for July 31st. Depending on how that shakes out, Kamara may or may not be suspended at some point this season. Overall, the Saints are still a safe bet to win the NFC South, regardless of Kamara’s availability.
The Carolina Panthers also found their franchise quarterback. They traded the 9th overall pick, a 2023 2nd rounder, a 2024 1st round pick, a 2025 2nd round pick and D.J. Moore to Chicago Bears to acquire Alabama QB Bryce Young with the #1 overall pick. They also signed D.J. Chark, Adam Thielen, Miles Sanders, and Hayden Hurst in free agency, which should help bolster their offense. In the meantime, Andy Dalton is penciled in as the starter, but I can’t image that’ll last very long. In a weakened NFC South, the Panthers have a decent chance to win the division for the first time since 2015 when Cam Newton won MVP and OPOY.
The Atlanta Falcons made some good moves this offseason. They’re investing in what was a porous defense by signing S Jessie Bates, DT David Onyemata, OLB Kaden Ellis, and DE Calais Campbell in free agency. The Falcons also drafted a generational running back prospect in Bijan Robinson. Still, Desmond Ridder has a lot to prove if he wants to be the Falcons franchise quarterback, and I don’t have much faith in him to be anything more than a game manager. Overall, this is a team that is still a few years away from being a legitimate playoff contender.
In Tampa, Todd Bowles’ coaching was questionable last year, and now the Bucs are left to pick up the pieces in the post-Tom Brady era. The Buccaneers still have a talented, albeit aging roster. If Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask play above expectations, then maybe the Bucs could push for a wild card spot, but that’s their ceiling. I find it much more likely that the team ends up tanking for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
The Projected Standings
1. Saints: 11-5-1
2. Panthers: 10-7
3. Falcons: 3-14
4. Buccaneers: 1-16
Next up: AFC North