Four Sleeper Teams That Could Be Legit Contenders

Every season there are a few sleeper teams that unexpectedly put the league on notice. Last season it was the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and New York Giants. A lot of teams are receiving tons of hype but who will it be this year? Let’s take a look at the four teams that could be this year’s sleepers.

The Sleeper Teams That Could Win A Super Bowl

Baltimore Ravens

Despite all of last year’s hardships, they still managed to make the playoffs. In 2023, the Baltimore Ravens offense will look different after the departure of Greg Roman. Lamar Jackson is healthy and they addressed their weakness, the wide receiver position. According to PFF, before the 2022 season the Ravens wide receiver group ranked 29th in the league, and that halted the success of this team.

Their wideout group didn’t have a wide receiver with over 500 yards receiving. This group was restructured with the additions of Odell Beckham Jr and Zay Flowers. These two will add big play ability and spread the field along with Rashod Bateman while taking pressure off of Mark Andrews.

The defense will once again look to hold their weight. They finished with the third-lowest points scored against them (315). With the additions of Rock Ya-Sin and Trayvon Mullen in the secondary, the Ravens get much-needed depth in the secondary. David Ojabo is expected to play a huge role up front for the defensive line and they added Jadeveon Clowney to add depth in the trenches.

In a division where you have to face Joe Burrow twice a year and now Deshaun Watson who’s said to look like the Houston version of himself, they need enough talent on both sides of the ball to compete. It’s too early to say they can dethrone the Cincinnati Bengals in the division, but they can be good enough to make the Bengals sweat a little.

New York Jets

There’s a bad man suiting up in Gotham green which instantly makes them Super Bowl contenders. Aaron Rodgers brought hope to New York and they’re trending in the right direction. In Rodgers’ favor, this may be the best offense he’s ever played on. Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, and Mecole Hardman are a group that could be one of the best in the league. They added Dalvin Cook who can be lethal on the ground and receiving out of the backfield to pair nicely with Breece Hall who burst on the scene last season.

The New York Jets look to win the AFC East for the first time in 20 years. On paper, they may be the best team in the AFC but still have to prove it against the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and Kansas City Chiefs. If these three are solidified as the top three in the conference, the Jets have more than enough to be the giant slayer.

Detroit Lions

With Rodgers out of the division, it’s time for the Detroit Lions to strike. The hype around the Lions is very much deserved and the NFL agrees. They have four primetime games and five nationally televised games for a reason. They finished the season winning eight of their last ten and were on the brink of a playoff berth.

Their units were polar opposites, which held them back from a playoff appearance. The offense was one of the best in the league, finishing in the top half in total points scored, yards per game, and PPG. The defense was the worst in total yards allowed, yards per game, and points allowed.

Going into 2023 they loaded up with talent on both sides of the ball. Offensively they added David Montgomery and Marvin Jones Jr in free agency and drafted Jahmyr Gibbs. On the defensive side, they improved drastically. They added Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who was tied for first in interceptions last season (six). Expect this unit to perform a lot better than what last year’s group showed.

The Lions open up against the Chiefs and have tough road matchups with the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys but the rest of their schedule isn’t too gut-punching. A healthy and consistent Lions team has a ceiling of 12-13 wins and a great chance to win the NFC North.

New Orleans Saints

It’s been a tough road for the New Orleans Saints after the retirement of Drew Brees but Derek Carr may be the missing piece. Playing in a very favorable division, the veteran experience of Carr can be what raises the bar for this team. Last season Chris Olave showed he’s one of the best young playmakers in the NFL. Michael Thomas looks to be healthy and the rookie wide receiver, A.T. Perry, could have a huge impact. They will start the season without Alvin Kamara, but they added last year’s rushing touchdown leader, Jamaal Williams who will be a nice counterpart when Kamara returns.

The defense is returning nine starters and is capable of championship-caliber football, which they showed in the second half of the season. In their last 10 games, they’ve only allowed 14.5 points per game. Led by Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore, there’s elite potential for this unit. The success of the season won’t rely solely on defense, but they will need defensive dominance in a conference loaded with offensive firepower.

There are three teams in the NFC that most feel are the teams to beat. Then it’s fair game for anyone else to fill in the four playoff spots. If the Saints get the best version of Carr the only thing standing in their way is themselves.

Main Image: Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

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