2023 NFL Coach of the Year predictions, odds & best bets: Arthur Smith gets Falcons off the ground


Pretty much every successful NFL team starts with a good coach. It should come as no surprise that Bill Belichick has won about a million Super Bowls (6 as a head coach, to be exact), Andy Reid has won 2 of the last 4 and Bruce Arians secured his first in February of 2021.

Interestingly, Reid has earned NFL Coach of the Year honors only once – and none in the last 20 years. However, he has been named the best coach by the Sporting News on 3 occasions. The last 5 AP Coach of the Year winners are Matt Nagy (2018, when Reid was tapped by the Sporting News), John Harbaugh, Kevin Stefanski, Mike Vrabel and Brian Daboll.

Keep in mind that this particular market especially is not easy to nail. You never know how the voters are going to make their selections. Case in point: in our 2022 Coach of the Year predictions we had Nick Sirianni at +2000 and Andy Reid at +4000. Sirianni took Philadelphia to the Super Bowl and Reid won the Super Bowl with Kansas City despite losing his top wide receiver from the previous season…and only one of them was even nominated!

Alas, here are the odds and my best bets for 2023 NFL Coach of the Year – and also check out my picks for Defensive Player of the Year.

NFL Coach of the Year odds

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions +850
Sean Payton, Denver Broncos +900
Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears +1100
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers +1500
Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons +1600
Robert Saleh, New York Jets +1600
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins +1800
Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars +2200
Demeco Ryans, Houston Texans +2500
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers +2500
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints +2500
Shane Steichen, Indianapolis Colts +2500
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns +2500
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks +2500
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers +2500
Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers +2500
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots +2500

NFL Coach of the Year best bet: Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons (+1600)

As mentioned above, it’s not easy to predict who is going to win this thing. But the recipe for at least being considered is obvious: be the coach of a team that isn’t expected to be very good and ends up being very good. I’m not sure if the Falcons will be very good, but they should be good – good enough to win what appears on paper to be a wretched NFC South. Atlanta has slumped through 5 losing seasons in a row, but its 7-10 mark last year was better than anticipated given the hopelessness of the roster. Well, the franchise finally got out of salary-cap hell and went on a spending spree in this offseason. The fact that the Falcons are thought of as one of the NFL’s worst teams given their recent history but should make the playoffs in 2023 puts Smith in a prime situation.

NFL Coach of the Year longshot play: Demeco Ryans, Houston Texans (+2500)

Unlike the Falcons, I don’t think the Texas can make the playoffs. However, they also don’t necessarily have to in order for Ryans to be considered. After all, this franchise’s 3 most recent seasons have resulted in records of 4-12, 4-13 and 3-13-1. If Houston can simply be mediocre this year, Ryans will get – and deserve – plenty of praise. The Texans were undoubtedly one of the winners of the NFL Draft, getting their hands on C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson within the first 3 selections. Will those picks pay off in the future? Almost certainly. Will they pay off right now? It’s not out of the question. Ryan got rave reviews for his time on the defensive side of the ball in San Francisco and I can see him turning Houston around sooner rather than later.

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