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2023 NFL Schedule Winners & Losers: Love Jordan takes center stage; Ponies are closed at peak time

2023 NFL Schedule Winners & Losers: Love Jordan takes center stage;  Ponies are closed at peak time

It’s been about four months since every NFL team became aware of its 17 draft contenders for the 2023 season, but the final for each order was revealed Thursday.

As with unbalanced tables, not all are created equal. That’s why there are winners and losers in every reveal table.

This does not necessarily mean that the “winners” are destined for the playoffs and the “losers” should step up their scouting efforts on quarterback Caleb Williams. But there are certainly some perfect quirks and disadvantages that have occurred with each team’s roster.

Let’s run through some of the most obvious of these situations.

winners

Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars will play in prime time at least three times in 2023. (AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Trevor Lawrence and Jaguars

The Jaguars are one of the hottest young teams in the league, and will take the spotlight more often than usual (three games in prime time), and that should do wonders for Lawrence’s marketability as the number one quarterback on the rise. They also have back-to-back games in London (Weeks 4-5 against the Falcons and Bills), and that will provide a unique opportunity for the team to bond early in the most anticipated season in years.

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hawk

The Falcons knew in January that they would have the easiest schedule based on their opponents’ .417 collegiate winning percentage in 2022. After a busy season, there’s reason for optimism about a franchise that hasn’t had a winning record or playoff appearance since 2017.

Patriots

They have a tough slate, but the Patriots have a chance to make a playoff push in 2023. If they can hover around .500 during Week 8, they’ll enter a midseason stretch with home games against the Leaders and Colts before Week 11, and a chance to show their worth against tough teams like the Giants and Chargers The Steelers before the home stretch. If the Patriots are an improved team, they will be setting themselves up for an interesting extended run.

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Texas

Will the Texans return to the playoffs in 2023? Mostly not. But they should be an improved team, and not have back-to-back road games until Weeks 14-15 (preceded by three straight home games). This is a positive rebound for a team that could use one.

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NFL 2023 schedule: Team opponents, release time and what you need to know

Brown

There’s a lot of hype about the splits on major roads after the timeline’s release, which is understandable because it’s the only thing written in stone. (Nobody knows, really, who they will meet or not live up to expectations.) But the Browns, who have quarterback Deshaun Watson in their first full season, have only one road trip — to faraway Pittsburgh — in their first six weeks. They’re hosting the Bengals, Titans, Ravens, and 49ers along with their bye week that span, so there’s a chance for Cleveland to establish some early momentum ahead of a winnable slate late in the season.

49ers

They’ve had an odd opening period with road games against the Steelers and Rams, and that’s going to be trickier until they get more clarity about quarterback Brock Purdy’s elbow. But based on recent trends, the 49ers are a team in the second half, closing out the season against the Seahawks, Cardinals, Ravens, Commanders, and Rams. If the 49ers are as solid as they have been in recent years, they could once again be one of the most exciting teams to start the postseason.

Jordan love

For better or worse, quarterback Jordan Love has a great opportunity to show why the Packers are ready to move on from Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have five primetime games—the fifth most in the NFL—and Love could win many if he plays well under the spotlight.

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losers

The Giants’ Brian Dabul is having a difficult start to the season that includes seven of their first 11 games on the road. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

giants

This year’s leading coach, Brian Dabul, already knew his sophomore campaign would come with its own set of challenges, but he couldn’t have foreseen this scenario. Seven of the Giants’ first 11 games are on the road against the Cardinals, 49ers, Dolphins, Bills, Raiders, Cowboys, and Commanders. And three of their home games in that opening phase are against the Cowboys and Seahawks (two playoff teams from 2022), as well as the Jets Rodgers. If the Giants can walk through the water, they’ll have a chance to run in the second half, but that would be a great job.

the Eagles

While the defending NFC champions should be fine this season, they have the toughest schedule — which they’ve already known, as their opponents had a collegiate winning percentage of 0.566 in 2022 — and they’ll hit a supercharged Gillette court when Tom Brady is honored at the first week.

Planes

Six of the Jets’ first eight games are against reigning playoff teams, the exceptions being the Patriots and Broncos, each of whom has a reason to be better in 2023. Sure, there’s a lot of hype due with the Jets because they carry a talented defense, Rodgers added. But if there are any offensive difficulties with the new system, the Jets will have plenty of catching up to do in the second half against a loaded AFC.

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dolphins

There is optimism in Miami, too. But there are also understandable question marks with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and the Dolphins open on the road against the Chargers and Patriots. This is a tough start for an unproven team. Another tough nugget: The Dolphins don’t host an AFC East team until the Patriots on Oct. 29, so they don’t have much home advantage in a divisional game in that sweltering heat in South Florida.

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Raiders

The Raiders are under pressure in head coach Josh McDaniels’ second season, opening with road trips to Denver and Buffalo followed by a home opener against the Steelers and another road trip to the Chargers. The Raiders also don’t have a bye until week 13. And then they come out of that bye against the Vikings, Chargers, and Chiefs. Lots of stressful moments.

Vikings

The reigning NFC North champions have no choice but to finish strong if they want to get back into the playoffs. They will come off a Week 13 bye weekend with back-to-back road games against the Raiders and Bengals before hosting the Lions and Packers and visiting Lions. If the Vikings were good enough, that wouldn’t be a problem. if not? It will be a tighter teams race than in 2022.

leopards

The Panthers have a lot going for them after a great season. They’ve been tougher than expected in late 2022, hired a Dynamite coaching staff led by Frank Reich, traded quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick and should be on the rise. But if they’re in contention over Thanksgiving, they’ll have to work to stay there, starting in Week 11 against the Cowboys, at the Titans, Bucks and Saints, against the Falcons and Packers, at the Jaguars and against the Bucs. This is a tough way to wrap up the season.

Prime time ya fers

The Texans, Falcons, Cardinals and Colts don’t have a single game in prime time. And while this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise — Texas and the Falcons notwithstanding the inclusion in the “Winners” section — it’s never a good idea to be left out of the spotlight. That could completely change later in the year with flexible scheduling if CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Kyler Murray make their teams funnier than expected or if the Falcons jump into the winnable NFC South.

(Top photo of Eric Roe in Miami and Green Bay’s Jordan Love: Kevin Sabitus / Getty Images)