The NFL season is in full swing, and there are plenty of exciting games and storylines to look forward to in the upcoming months. Whether you are a fan of the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, or a supporter of one of the underdogs, there is something for everyone in the NFL. Here are some of the highlights and things to watch out for in the NFL 2023:
The race for the playoff
The NFL has expanded the playoff format this season, adding one more team per conference to the postseason. This means that 14 teams out of 32 will make the playoffs, with only the top seed in each conference getting a bye week. The rest of the teams will have to play in the wild card round, which will feature six games instead of four.
The playoff picture is still very fluid, as many teams are fighting for a spot in the postseason. Some of the teams that are currently leading their divisions or holding a wild card spot are:
- AFC: Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, Titans, Raiders, Browns, Colts
- NFC: Packers, Saints, Seahawks, Eagles, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams
However, there are also some teams that are close behind and could make a push for the playoffs, such as:
- AFC: Dolphins, Patriots, Broncos, Chargers
- NFC: Bears, Vikings, Lions, 49ers
The final weeks of the regular season will be crucial for these teams, as they will have to win their games and hope for some favorable results from their rivals. The NFL schedule 2023 1 has some intriguing matchups that could have a big impact on the playoff race, such as:
- Week 11: Chiefs vs. Raiders, Colts vs. Bills, Titans vs. Ravens, Packers vs. Colts, Rams vs. Buccaneers
- Week 12: Ravens vs. Steelers, Chiefs vs. Buccaneers, Titans vs. Colts, Bears vs. Packers, Seahawks vs. Eagles
- Week 13: Browns vs. Titans, Rams vs. Cardinals, Patriots vs. Chargers, Eagles vs. Packers, Broncos vs. Chiefs
- Week 14: Steelers vs. Bills, Chiefs vs. Dolphins, Vikings vs. Buccaneers, Saints vs. Eagles, Ravens vs. Browns
- Week 15: Chiefs vs. Saints, Seahawks vs. Washington, Patriots vs. Dolphins, Eagles vs. Cardinals, Browns vs. Giants
- Week 16: Titans vs. Packers, Colts vs. Steelers, Dolphins vs. Raiders, Rams vs. Seahawks, Eagles vs. Cowboys
- Week 17: Dolphins vs. Bills, Ravens vs. Bengals, Packers vs. Bears, Saints vs. Panthers, Cardinals vs. Rams
The MVP race
The MVP award is the most prestigious individual honor in the NFL, and it is usually given to the best quarterback in the league. However, this season, there are some other players who are making a strong case for the MVP, such as running backs, wide receivers, and defensive stars. Some of the candidates for the MVP award are:
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs: The reigning Super Bowl MVP and 2021 NFL MVP is having another stellar season, leading the league in passing yards (3,035), touchdowns (25), and passer rating (115.9). He has also thrown only one interception in nine games, and has led the Chiefs to an 8-1 record, the best in the AFC. Mahomes is the favorite to win his second MVP award, as he continues to dazzle with his arm talent, mobility, and clutch plays.
- Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: The two-time NFL MVP is having a bounce-back season, after a disappointing 2022 campaign. He is second in the league in passing yards (2,578), touchdowns (24), and passer rating (115.8). He has also thrown only two interceptions in nine games, and has led the Packers to a 7-2 record, the best in the NFC. Rodgers is showing that he is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he is making the most of his weapons, such as Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Robert Tonyan.
- Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: The 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year is having a career year, leading the league in touchdown passes (28) and yards per attempt (8.4). He is also third in the league in passing yards (2,789) and passer rating (110.5). He has thrown 10 interceptions in nine games, but he has also led the Seahawks to a 6-3 record, tied for the best in the NFC West. Wilson is the heart and soul of the Seahawks, and he is carrying the team with his arm and legs, as he has also rushed for 325 yards and one touchdown.
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings: The 2022 Pro Bowler is having a breakout season, leading the league in rushing yards (954), rushing touchdowns (12), and yards from scrimmage (1,143). He is also fourth in the league in yards per carry (5.5) and fifth in the league in receptions (29) among running backs. He has missed one game due to injury, but he has been dominant in the other eight games, especially in the last two weeks, when he rushed for 369 yards and five touchdowns. Cook is the focal point of the Vikings offense, and he is making a case for being the best running back in the league.
- Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints: The 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year is having a versatile season, ranking second in the league in rushing yards (714), rushing touchdowns (8), and yards from scrimmage (1,134). He is also first in the league in receptions (67) and receiving yards (648) among running backs, and he has four receiving touchdowns. He has played in all nine games, and he has been a reliable weapon for the Saints, who have dealt with injuries to Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders. Kamara is the most dynamic running back in the league, and he is a nightmare for defenses to stop.
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals: The four-time Pro Bowler is having a sensational season, leading the league in receptions (67) and receiving yards (861). He is also tied for fourth in the league in receiving touchdowns (4) among wide receivers. He has played in all nine games, and he has been a perfect fit for the Cardinals, who traded for him in the offseason. Hopkins is the best wide receiver in the league, and he is making spectacular catches, such as the game-winning Hail Mary grab against the Bills in Week 10.
- Aaron Donald, DT, Rams: The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is having another dominant season, leading the league in sacks (9) and tackles for loss (14). He is also tied for second in the league in forced fumbles (3) among defensive linemen. He has played in all nine games, and he has been a disruptive force for the Rams, who have the best defense in the league in terms of yards and points allowed. Donald is the best defensive player in the league, and he is a game-changer for the Rams.
The rookie sensations
The NFL is always full of young talent, and this season is no exception. There are some rookies who are making an immediate impact for their teams, and who are showing great potential for the future. Some of the rookies who are shining in the NFL are:
- Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers: The sixth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is having a remarkable season, ranking fourth in the league in passing yards (2,699), fifth in the league in touchdown passes (22), and sixth in the league in passer rating (102.8). He has also thrown only six interceptions in nine games, and he has rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns. He has played in nine games, starting in eight of them, and he has been a bright spot for the Chargers, who have a 2-7 record, but have lost six games by one score or less. Herbert is the favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, as he is breaking rookie records and showing great poise and confidence.
- Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals: The first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is having a solid season, ranking sixth in the league in passing yards (2,485), tied for ninth in the league in touchdown passes (16), and 13th in the league in passer rating (95.3). He has also thrown five interceptions in nine games, and he has rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns. He has played in all nine games, starting in all of them, and he has been a leader for the Bengals, who have a 3-5-1 record, but have been competitive in most of their games. Burrow is a strong contender for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, as he is showing great toughness and accuracy.
- Chase Young, DE, Washington: The second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is having a productive season, ranking second among rookies in sacks (3.5) and tied for first among rookies in forced fumbles (2). He is also tied for third among rookies in tackles for loss (6) and has one fumble recovery. He has played in eight games, starting in all of them, and he has been a force for Washington, who have the second-best defense in the league in terms of yards allowed. Young is the favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, as he is showing great speed and power.
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- Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Buccaneers: The 45th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is having a stellar season, ranking first among rookies in tackles (64), tied for first among rookies in forced fumbles (2), and tied for second among rookies in interceptions (2). He is also tied for fourth among rookies in passes defended (4) and has one sack. He has played in all nine games, starting in all of them, and he has been a playmaker for the Buccaneers, who have a 7-3 record, and are second in the NFC South. Winfield Jr. is a strong contender for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, as he is showing great instincts and versatility.
- Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings: The 22nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft is having a phenomenal season, ranking second among rookies in receptions (42), first among rookies in receiving yards (762), and tied for first among rookies in receiving touchdowns (5). He is also fourth in the league in yards per reception (18.1) and has two 100-yard games. He has played in nine games, starting in six of them, and he has been a star for the Vikings, who have a 4-5 record, but have won three of their last four games. Jefferson is a dark horse for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, as he is showing great route running and hands.
- These are some of the things to watch out for in the NFL 2023, but there are many more. The NFL is full of surprises, drama, and excitement, and you can catch all the action on nflukfans.co.uk, the best website for NFL fans in the UK. Stay tuned for more updates, analysis, and opinions on the NFL 2023.