2023 NFL 3rd Quarter Polls
Who will make the playoffs? Who will get the first pick? And who will lift the Lombardi Trophy??? Check out our 3rd Quarter Polls! Circuit Artwork What the heck is going on with the quarterbacks right now? It’s like we’re watching the NFL’s version of Space Jam playing out in real time! But before we dive into awards and playoff predictions (my preseason Super Bowl picks are combined 14-3 right now, just saying), let’s take a look at what I got right and what I got wrong! Three Things I got Right… Getty Images Myles Garrett Would be a Difference Maker... I’ll keep ringing this bell until the cows come home to roost (that’s the saying, right?). From preseason to postseason, only a shoulder pop could get me off this take. Please God let his shoulder be fine. I need this. The Ravens Would be Better… I was high on the Ravens all offseason. Then I listened to the “experts” on their podcasts and they spooked me a touch, so I picked the Browns to win the AFC North over them. And maybe they would have if Watson didn’t go down. But I liked the Ravens to be much improved on offense, and it seems I was right in that line of thinking. The NFC South Would be Wide Open… I picked the Falcons, but if you told me the Buccaneers or Saints would win the division, I wouldn’t have been surprised. These 3 teams are all varying degrees of meh, but someone has to win it! The Falcons are missing a quarterback, the Saints are missing a coach, and the Buccaneers are missing a defense. There’s no reason to come off my Falcons pick now, but as a big Baker fan I gotta say, kinda rooting for Tampa Bay! Now For the Fun Part! Three Things I Got Wrong… Getty Images Ron Rivera Would be the First Coach Fired… Now this is in now way me arguing he’s a good coach; quite the opposite. But they have been better than I expected. I give almost all of the credit to Eric Bienemy, but still. Rivera wasn’t the first or the second coach fired, so I was wrong. The Seahawks Would Take the Leap… It really felt like Seattle was about to take the next step, didn’t it? They had an extremely young team last year that got into the playoffs and got blasted. So this year, the expectations were to maybe win a playoff game. Not unreasonable? But Geno has regressed, the line is a mess, and the schedule is not doing them any favors. At this point, making the playoffs would be a miracle. Houston Would be Bad… Maybe I should just stop hating on the Texans? Two years ago I picked them to go 0-17, last year I again picked them to be the worst team in the NFL. This year I was a bit more optimistic, thinking they would be somewhere in the range of 2nd-5th worst teams. Every year they proved me wrong, and this year they seem destined for the playoffs! I tip my cap to thee, Houston Texans. Now let’s take our final predictions at who will be bringing home some hardware in awards season: MVP: Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins) Getty Images The quarterbacks stink this year! So why not give it to the guy that’s about to smash the all-time receiving record (on pace to do it in 16 games, mind you). If Lamar or Hurts had better numbers, they would be the clear frontrunners here. But they don’t, so they aren’t. Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns) Getty Images From the preseason to the 3rd Quarter Polls, my pick here hasn’t changed! Hopefully his shoulder doesn’t keep him out long so he can win this award that he truly deserves. He’s by far the most disruptive player in the league on that side of the ball, and the Browns D has been great. Coach of the Year: DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans) Getty Images A switch! Sorry Man Campbell, your Turkey Day Massacre was enough to take the award from you and give it to the guy that has the team that I thought could be the worst in the NFL to a likely playoff spot. Ryans has the Texans believing, and I am too! Offensive Rookie of the Year: CJ Stroud (Houston Texans) Getty Images Stroud has impressed me greatly. He’s laser-accurate and he has that “it” factor about him. The future is bright in Houston! Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jalen Carter (Philadelphia Eagles) Getty Images BABY RHINO!!! I would not care to admit how many times I shout that per Eagles game. This guy is a future DPoY Candidate and is MOVING grown men as a rookie. In a less-than-stellar defensive class, Carter is the clear standout (sorry Gonzalez. If you hadn’t gotten hurt, this could have been a fun race). Nat Hackett Worst Coaching Award: Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers) Getty Images You have to be a special kind of bad coach to not even make it to December of your first year. Admittedly I don’t think this is all his fault (they clearly took the wrong QB at #1), but to get fired this soon into your tenure, you clearly lost the locker room a while ago. Kirk Cousins You Like That!? Award: Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos) Getty Images Everyone thought Wilson was cooked a year ago, but Chef Russ has reappeared! I still don’t think he’s as good as he was in 2013-16, but he’s certainly back to an above-average starter, and is asking everyone if they like that!? Tim Tebow Playoff Push Award: Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos) Getty Images The rare double-winner! Not only has Russ turned it around, but the Broncos writ large have as well. After getting 70 hung on em, the Broncos have been one of the hottest teams in the league, and are in prime position to ride that momentum wave into the playoffs. Mark Sanchez Butt Fumble Award: Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers) Getty Images Herbert has the talent to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But at some point, don’t you have to win? It would be one thing if he was trapped in Chicago or Arizona, and just didn’t stand a chance at really winning big. But he’s in Los Angeles! He’s had an elite receiving corps his entire career! He’s got All-Pro’s everywhere on defense. He had a 27-0 lead in the first half of a playoff game last year. There are no excuses; he needs to elevate his team and he simply hasn’t. Face, meet anus. Randy Moss Transaction Award: Calvin Ridley (Jacksonville Jaguars) Getty Images Ridley has shown sparks here and there, but there’s no question he has helped Trevor Lawrence and that Jaguars offense. Even if his numbers aren’t eye-popping, he is a legit #1 wideout that is taking attention from the defense and opening things up for Etienne and the rest of the offense. Now let’s make some revised playoff predictions! AFC Wildcard Round: Getty Images 1 Kansas City Chiefs 2 Jacksonville Jaguars def 7 Houston Texans 3 Baltimore Ravens def 6 Cleveland Browns 4 Miami Dolphins def 5 Pittsburgh Steelers Houston is a really fun story, but I just can’t see them actually winning a playoff game this early on in the process. There are steps to take, and them getting past Jacksonville would be skipping a few. Give me the Jags, but the future is bright in Houston! This game could be ugly to watch. Lord knows who will be “throwing” for the Browns, and the way the Ravens drop like flies during the regular season year after year, who knows who will be playing for them either. But assuming relative health, the Ravens should be able to squeak past the NFL’s best defense. One team is like a Ferrari; fast, loves to open it up on the freeway when it’s sunny, and impresses the ladies. The other team is like a tractor; not very appealing, can be pretty loud and obnoxious, but gets the dirty work done. If the game was in Pittsburgh I might feel differently, but give me the Dolphins! NFC Wildcard Round: Getty Images 1 Philadelphia Eagles 2 Detroit Lions def 7 Los Angeles Rams 3 San Francisco 49ers def 6 Green Bay Packers 5 Dallas Cowboys def 4 Atlanta Falcons Can Puka Nacua lead the Rams to another Super Bowl? Probably not. This game will provide great theater, with Goff going against the team that (justifiably) traded him away. He’ll get his revenge and the Lions will roll the Rams in Detroit for their first playoff win since, I don’t know, Dorothy followed the yellow brick road? Please. Like the Dolphins, the Falcons are like a ferrari… with a bad steering wheel. “Oh man, she can go to 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds! Only problem is the steering wheel doesn’t work so you never really know where the car is going to go. But other than that it’s awesome!” Until they get a real quarterback, I can’t take them seriously (did Kirk Cousins just enter the chat? I think so!). Give me dem ‘Boys. AFC Divisional Round: Getty Images 1 Kansas City Chiefs def 4 Miami Dolphins 3 Baltimore Ravens def 2 Jacksonville Jaguars Sorry Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have found your replacement, and her name is Taylor Effing Swift. Give me the Chiefs in the Tyreek Hill Super Bowl. Noooooooooo. My AFC champion pick goes down early! Hey, these are my honest predictions as of right now! Don’t worry, I still take the L if the Jags don’t get to the Super Bowl. I still think they can do it, but at this point Lamar has simply outplayed Trevor, and the Ravens defense has a case for the best in the league. NFC Divisional Round: Getty Images 1 Philadelphia Eagles def 5 Dallas Cowboys 3 San Francisco 49ers def 2 Detroit Lions Dealers choice! You want a Mike McCarthy meltdown? Or do you fancy a Dak brain fart? Or maybe the kicker misses FOUR EXTRA POINTS. Whatever your preference, I can promise you this, the Cowboys will lose in stupid, excruciating fashion. It’s hard to take the Lions seriously after getting their turkeys stuffed by the Packers at home on Thanksgiving. The 49ers are as close to a perfect team as you can get, give me San Francisco on the road. AFC Championship Game: Getty Images 3 Baltimore Ravens def 1 Kansas City Chiefs Whoa! I said it before the season and I’ll say it again; I can’t pick the Chiefs every year! I’ve accepted they have at least 2 more Super Bowls in them, but that wouldn’t be any fun if I just picked KC every single season. So here it goes: Lamar will prove me and the other doubters wrong, that he can win in the playoffs and lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl. NFC Championship Game: Getty Images 1 Philadelphia Eagles def 3 San Francisco 49ers Fly Eagles Fly! Jalen Hurts is HIM and these Eagles are looking like the 2014 San Antonio Spurs right now. Super Bowl: Getty Images 1 Philadelphia Eagles def 3 Baltimore Ravens (Super Bowl MVP: Jalen Hurts ) Thos Spurs did win the title, after all! Our pass rush will haunt Lamar for years to come, and look for Smith to bust one for a BIG touchdown. I’ll be celebrating the second Super Bowl title of my NFL fandom life, and my Giants fans friends will be left wondering what the hell happened (and wishing they never met me!). There you have it! All of my 3rd quarter poll observations from the 2023 NFL season. Make sure to check back in the middle of January for my Awards & Playoff predictions!