10. Cleveland Browns
The more you look at the Cleveland Browns roster, the more you see a top-10 team. At least, they have the potential to be exactly that. I don’t think people realize how good the defense in Cleveland is as currently constructed, at least on paper. They’ve obviously got Myles Garrett leading the charge but the Browns also have one of the best secondaries in the NFL which just added safety Juan Thornhill. Cornerbacks Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, and Greg Newsome give the Browns an elite trio at a crucial position.
The question mark for this team is obviously Deshaun Watson. Obviously, by ranking them this high, we’re banking on Watson figuring things out. He’s gotten upgrades at receiver, most notably from Elijah Moore and Cedric Tillman. He got one of his old buddies from Houston in tight end Jordan Akins. He has a running game to lean on. The Browns might actually be really good this year.
9. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings were the Cinderella story of the 2022 NFL season until the clock, unfortunately, struck midnight in the playoffs against the Giants. It just so happened to be at the Vikings’ home stadium, too.
The Vikings lost a home playoff game after winning 13 regular season games, including a perfect 11-0 record in the regular season in one-score games. That streak ended in the playoffs even as the Vikings’ offense did its part. The defense let the team down when it mattered most and that’s where GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spent a good amount of money in free agency.
The Vikings brought in Marcus Davenport from the Saints to rush the QB and Byron Murphy from the Cardinals to create more turnovers on the back end. Kirk Cousins was a big winner of the Netflix Quarterback series and certainly, the NFL world has a new level of respect for him after seeing what he endured last year. The Vikings should be good once again in 2023.