2. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts went 9-8 this year and could have made clinched the AFC South title this year. Indy was a shockingly good team in 2023 with rookie head coach Shane Steichen. They also drafted Anthony Richardson this year, but a shoulder injury knocked him out for the year very early on. With the amount of success that Steichen's team had in 2023, I'd bet on them being a near-juggernaut in 2024.
Adding some more talent on offense and getting Anthony Richardson in the lineup is going to be huge for this team. Even in the crowded AFC, the Colts are going to make some noise.
1. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings were 7-6 at one point after losing Kirk Cousins halfway through the season with a torn Achilles. The fact that Kevin O'Connell and his staff managed to have this team in the playoff mix despite starting three different backups was miraculous. And lets not forget that they went 13-4 last year in the regular season.
While I don't think the Vikings re-sign Cousins, I think they could easily deploy a QB room with a rookie draft pick + a high-quality stopgap QB in 2024. At some point, O'Connell and his staff need to swing on their own passer, and while Cousins was very good in his limited 2023 action, I think this is when they should say goodbye.
It's clear that the coaching staff knows what they're doing, as they've collectively gone 20-14 over their first two years. There's reason to believe that they can get some substantive long-term clarity at the position this coming offseason, and I tend to think the NFC is a weaker conference, so I'd trust the Vikings to get themselves back into the postseason in 2024.