As 2023 kicks off, everyone is preparing a list of New Year’s Resolutions that will eventually fade by the end of January. However, NFL teams are heading into the new year with certain goals and expectations. Some teams have more work cut out for them than others. Hopefully these teams can find what they are looking for to make some noise in 2023. Here is every NFC team’s New Year’s Resolution:
Sell the team. Owner Daniel Snyder has far too long left a notorious and disgusting imprint on the Washington organization. His behind-the-scenes actions and motives have become a distraction that can no longer be ignored. Especially for a team that can compete for a playoff spot in the years to come, there needs to be a breath of fresh air at the top. There are countless examples of Snyder being reckless and insensitive, and he should be forced to sell the team. Similarly to the situation between Robert Sarver and the Phoenix Suns, the same process should be applied here. Let’s focus on the play on the field for a change. This should be one of their top New Year’s Resolutions in 2023.
Win the Super Bowl. This is too obvious. It has been 26 years since the Cowboys won a Super Bowl. They’ve made the playoffs countless times since but have been bounced quickly. They do not have a stronghold on the division. There has not been a repeat division champion since 2004. Dallas has a Super Bowl/playoff caliber roster, but they seem to consistently fall short. Is Mike McCarthy the answer? Perhaps not. This team needs to make progress fast, showing that they are one of the best and not apart of the rest.
New York Giants
Improve the roster. The Giants have overachieved this season, making the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record (as of Week 17). New head coach Brian Daboll deserves all the credit. Outside of Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Kayvon Thibodeaux, they do not have many other franchise pieces. This roster is thin in multiple areas, especially wide receiver. The Giants have plenty of work to do in the offseason. Acquiring talent overall and filling out the rest of the roster is their main goal. New York has been a nice story to follow this season, and there is certainly merit to success. Their offseason will really tell the story of how serious they want to be come next season.
Make the Super Bowl. The Eagles started the 2022 season as one of the best teams in the league. They have now lost two games in a row without QB Jalen Hurts, who will likely be back for the postseason. Philadelphia is not nearly as healthy now as other NFC contenders, which does not bode well for them. However, the impressive position they are in right now is a testament to head coach Nick Sirianni and the improvement and development of Hurts. This isn’t a fluke year for them. The Eagles can maintain this type of success. Despite the ongoing doubt in Hurts being a franchise QB, making the Super Bowl and hopefully winning it would surely but that debate to rest.
Draft Will Anderson Jr.. Chicago will likely finish the season with the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. A quarterback is essentially locked in to go first overall, leaving the Bears with an obvious choice. Although the Bears need to protect Justin Fields up front and provide him better skill players, Anderson is a franchise cornerstone piece on defense. Especially since Chicago traded both Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith months apart, they are looking for their next difference maker. The Bears can figure out the rest later, but drafting Anderson is a no-brainer move for them to make in 2023.
Green Bay Packers
Stomach another year of Aaron Rodgers/Capitalize on Jordan Love’s value. Green Bay is in a tough spot. They need to see what they have in 2020 first-round QB Jordan Love. Whether to keep him or to trade him. However, veteran Aaron Rodgers has been holding the team hostage, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The Packers owe Rodgers close to $60 million next season. Rodgers has clearly declined since his back-t0-back MVP-winning seasons. Either way, Green Bay cannot do much besides stomach Rodgers until he leaves and/or retires. They have ran the table and may actually clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, but I can’t imagine them having anymore sustainable success in the near future. Just hold on for the ride.
Own the NFC North. 2022 was a passing of the torch (or rather stealing the torch) between Green Bay and Minnesota. The Vikings do not own the division yet, but they have the opportunity to stack division titles in consecutive seasons. The North is not as competitive as it has been. The Vikings, who have been proven fraudulent at times this season, are still NFC contenders. Minnesota can absolutely “own” this division if they wanted. They took the division this season, and now they need to run away with it.
Win the NFC North. The Lions have proved they can hang with division champion Minnesota Vikings. Detroit could have arguably gone 4-0 against the Vikings in the past two seasons, each game coming down to the final minute/possession. Detroit is still fighting for a Wild Card spot this season. However, the expectation is to win the division in 2023. This is reasonable. With another strong draft, including two more first round picks by Brad Holmes, and actually spending in free agency, this team will be scary to face next season. The league is already on notice, but 2023 will be a true breakout season for the Lions.
New Orleans Saints
Trade Sean Payton. I really don’t know what else the Saints can do. They are going to be stuck in perpetual averageness. Dennis Allen may not be that good of a coach. Andy Dalton/Jameis Winston do not seem like long-term options. They are not doing great with the salary cap. At least trading Payton will recoup you at least a first-round pick and some. This trade would help New Orleans get back on their feet. The NFC South was really bad this season, so maybe with a quick turnaround, the Saints can make it back to the playoffs. As good as that sounds, there is not much to be exited for besides the prospect of capitalizing on Payton wanting to return to coaching. This should be one of their top New Year’s Resolutions heading in 2023.
Draft a franchise QB. Marcus Mariota was never in the cards for them long-term. Although the Falcons are getting a small sample size of rookie Desmond Ridder, they cannot overlook the better QB talent available in this upcoming draft. Ohio State’s CJ Stroud will likely not be available by the time the Falcons select, but they should absolutely try to trade up if possible. Stroud to the Falcons would be a cool fit and would help elevate the offense. Similarly with New Orleans, it may not take much improvement to win the division next season. Having the best QB in the division would go a long way, despite it being a rookie. The Falcons have other needs, but getting that franchise QB is what they initially intended.
Hire an offensive-minded head coach. Steve Wilks has done a solid job as interim head coach, but Carolina would be making a mistake hiring him as the next head coach. We have seen this movie before, and I think the Panthers would be settling with Wilks. Carolina needs a fresh, offensive-minded guy. The new head coach would have to decide the fate of Sam Darnold, who has been playing well to end the 2022 season. The Panthers will likely have a top-10 draft pick, so they could address quarterback there. I just get a bad feeling that Wilks as head coach next season would not work out. The team does not need to hit the reset button, but a new head coach can help this team more than Wilks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Find Tom Brady’s replacement. It is evident that this season may be Brady’s last, especially with the turmoil and changes in his personal life. This season felt different for Brady and his fans, even on the field. The Bucs were luckily able to win the division last week, giving them consecutive division titles. Can the Bucs repeat their success with a new QB and potentially a new head coach? It depends. Jimmy Garoppolo would make a good fit in Tampa, or potentially Derek Carr. Those two options could still take the Bucs to the playoffs. They could draft a QB, but they will unlikely get a top 4-5 QB. The Bucs need to make sure this transition is as seamless as possible, but it will still be drastic nonetheless.
Draft CJ Stroud. Seattle cannot look a gift horse in the mouth. Geno Smith was a nice comeback story this season, but if they manage to secure the third overall pick in the draft, they need to draft Stroud. Seattle has two first-rounders, meaning they can address another need with a highly-talented draft pick. Smith is 32 years old and tailed off towards the end of the season. Stroud would make for a great QB in Seattle, and the Seahawks need to seriously consider taking him. They have already won the Russell Wilson trade, why not capitalize even more by taking a franchise QB. Seattle was a fringe playoff team this season, but Stroud could help them make a quick turnaround into division contenders again.
Los Angeles Rams
Don’t self-implode. There have been plenty of reasons to fade the Rams in the future: Matthew Stafford head and neck injuries, no first round draft picks, the potential retirements of Aaron Donald and Sean McVay, etc. The first being the most serious. Even though Stafford does not have plans to retire, another similar injury may retire him. The Rams are facing the after effects of what it cost them to win a Super Bowl. It has been an unprecedented season for a Super Bowl champion, as they have lost the most games in the following season (11). Can the Rams build it back? That is waiting to be seen. The front office knows their way around the salary cap and trading for veteran players. The task in front of them may be their toughest yet.
San Francisco 49ers
Pick their franchise QB. The Niners heavily invested into selecting Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, he is still raw, relatively unknown, and currently injured. In the meantime, Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, has made the team his own as the understudy’s understudy. Since Purdy has taken the reigns, he has thrown for nearly 4,000 passing yards, 34 TDs to 10 INTs, 67% completion percentage, and a 4-0 record. Purdy is making a strong case to be the team’s QB next season, but the decision is truly up in the air right now. San Fran will need to choose between him and Lance, which is a good problem to have. This team will have Super Bowl aspirations either way, and it’ll be interesting to see which direction they go in.
Fire Kliff Kingsbury. He is clearly not the answer for the Cardinals. After being given multiple years to redeem himself, Kliff has yet to deliver. His teams have notoriously self-destructed in the second half of every season. Kyler Murray has not reached the upper echelon of QBs in the NFL, but he deserves better in terms of coaching and talent around him. It is hard to imagine Kingsbury making it though to 2023 when he has not shown any signs of progress. He has left the same doubts in his coaching ability since when he was originally hired. Bringing in a new head coach is the best move for the Cardinals.
Photo Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports