5 NFL teams that will disappoint in 2023, including the New England Patriots


NFL teams enter every season with high expectations, most of which will never be met. Heading into the 2023 season, several teams stand out as potential clubs that could fall well short of expectations this year.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of this in recent years. In 2022, the Cleveland Browns (7-10), Denver Broncos (5-12), Las Vegas Raiders (6-11) and Los Angeles Rams (5-12) failed to live up to expectations. While the causes of disappointment for NFL teams vary, there are a few clubs we’re keeping an eye on this fall.

Let’s examine five NFL teams that could fall short of expectations in 2023.

Tennessee Titans

Syndication: The Tennessean
Mark Zaleski / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a strange offseason for the Tennessee Titans. After hiring general manager Ran Carthon, early moves made it seem like a rebuild was imminent. Tennessee cut ties with several veterans, including multiple starters, then put quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry on the trade block.

Only after the Titans seemingly couldn’t find any takers for Henry and Tannehill did things change. Tennessee signed veteran wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, bringing him in as their No. 1 pass-catcher. The move should pay off nicely, taking more defenders out of the box for Henry and freeing up space for Treylon Burks.

However, we remain extremely skeptical of the Titans even competing for the division. The Titans have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. It’s going to have a negative influence on this passing game and Tannehill (49.1 ESPN QBR in 2022, 24th in NFL) has not been an extremely effective quarterback in recent starts. With the secondary also a major question mark, Tennessee looks even more flawed. Ultimately, those holes could result in 8-10 losses this season.

New York Giants

NFL: New York Giants Training Camp
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The New York Giants had the season for the ages in 2022. Brian Daboll found a system that mitigated Daniel Jones’ weaknesses and featured his strengths. The best version of Jones made life much easier for a healthy Saquon Barkley and they became the best QB-RB running duo in the league. However, there are concerns on both sides of the ball in 2023.

Offensively, the Giants have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL and the overreliance on slot receivers is troubling. New York lacks complementary pass-catchers, which is something they could’ve addressed at any point in the offseason but didn’t. The best pass-catcher on the team, Darren Waller, has proven to be injury prone if his durability issues persist or the interior of the offensive line implodes, New York’s offense is in significant trouble.

Defensively, this still isn’t a group we feel good about. New York will be able to generate pressure like the best of them, but its run defense and secondary look like two glaring weaknesses. To make matters worse, the Giants have four total games against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles along with matchups against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Those are eight games where the Giants should be underdogs and more losses are possible.

Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
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The Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record in 2022 with an 11-0 record in one-score games. As good in critical situations as Kirk Cousins can be, the history of pro football proves there’s always negative regression a year after teams overwhelmingly win one-score games.

On offense, we don’t have any real concerns with this group. Jordan Addison is an upgrade over what Adam Thielen had become and Minnesota now has a full season of T.J. Hockenson. The Vikings’ passing game will be very productive and consistent, while the ground game shouldn’t lose its efficiency with the switch from Dalvin Cook to Alexander Mattison.

However, Minnesota’s defense projects to be one of the worst in the league this year. Linebacker is a bit of a weakness, but the lack of proven talent at cornerback is alarming. While defensive coordinator Brian Flores is outstanding, this is an example of a play-caller not having the players to make their system work. Regression is coming for the Vikings in 2023, which might mean not making the playoffs.

New England Patriots

NFL: New England Patriots Training Camp
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The New England Patriots wasted the 2022 season. While Bill Belichick had a top-10 defense and a strong rushing attack, qualities found in playoff teams, the play-calling from Matt Patricia sunk New England’s hopes of doing anything great last year. It’s hard to see things being a lot better for the Patriots in 2023.

There’s a reason NFL executives are skeptical of the Patriots’ offense. Bill O’Brien is a proven play-caller and his presence should help Mac Jones be a better quarterback. Unfortunately for New England, it has arguably the worst receiving corps in the AFC and its offensive line is far worse than many realize. As for Jones, he’s the type of quarterback who plays to the talent around him rather than significantly improving those on the field with him. Our expectations for the Patriots’ offense this fall are bleak and that has a direct result on a belief New England will be one of the most disappointing NFL teams in 2023.

Denver Broncos

NFL: Preseason-Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals
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Sean Payton will have all the time he needs to fix the Denver Broncos. When a new ownership group trades a first-round pick for a head coach, pays him nearly $20 million per season and gives him as much input on the roster as the general manager, it speaks to his power. Payton is controlling everything, but it’s going to take some time to fix Denver’s issues.

The Broncos’ offense is being built the right way. Denver invested heavily in the offensive line this spring and that’s a step in the right direction. In addition, Payton has put together a quality coaching staff and his eye for talent has left to Denver having significantly more depth this year than it did in 2022.

Russell Wilson is the problem. The reports from Broncos’ training camp haven’t been positive and this might just be the same quarterback who posted an 80.6 passer rating with a 59.9 percent completion rate from Weeks 2-16 last year. If Denver’s offensive line isn’t elite and either Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy doesn’t emerge as a bonafide No. 1 receiver, the Broncos’ offense will disappoint everyone in 2023.

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