3. Las Vegas Raiders
How does a team get shut out against the Minnesota Vikings (by a score of 3-0 on top of it) and then score 60-plus points a few days later?
The Las Vegas Raiders were an enigma in 2023, but for a wide range of reasons.
This team somehow managed to stay in the mix even amidst the decision to fire head coach Josh McDaniels, one of the more disastrous head coach hires in recent memory. The Raiders showed great judgment, however, when they promoted Antonio Pierce into the head coach's chair.
Pierce earned his way to head coach consideration going forward, and Thomas Graham's defense picked up the pace considerably in the second half of the season. As a matter of fact, that unit finished 9th overall in the NFL in points allowed and the Raiders forced 17 of their 22 turnovers from October 30 on.
What really would have made this Raiders team fascinating in the playoffs is their offense. There was something about the chemistry rookie Aidan O'Connell had developed with Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. The duo of Josh Jacobs and Zamir White could have carried the Raiders' ground game.
You've got a closer like Maxx Crosby off the edge and a defensive play-caller who was in his bag at the time the season ended.
I think the Raiders are a team that could have had any number of AFC teams on upset alert if they had found a way to make the playoffs.