2023-2024 NFL Season: Four Non-Playoff Teams From Last Year to Keep an Eye On

  • The Green Bay Packers have turned the offensive reins over to Jordan Love
  • Aaron Rodgers is expected to lead the New York Jets to Super Bowl contention
  • Can a new head coach and a healthy roster turn the Denver Broncos around?
  • The Detroit Lions hope to ride passion and a strong offense to a division title
Jordan Love
The Packers, Jets, Broncos, and Lions missed the NFL playoffs last season, but they are four teams worth watching in 2023-2024. [Image: Facebook.com / Green Bay Packers]

The 2023-2024 NFL season is fast approaching as teams wrap up their preseason schedule this week. Most fanbases have optimism about the upcoming season, as, after all, everybody is undefeated right now. Anything can happen!

There are always teams that didn’t make the playoffs one season that are intriguing the following year. Some might jump up and claim a playoff spot, some might not, but let’s take a look at four non-playoff teams from 2022-2023 that should be interesting to watch in the coming months.

All NFL futures odds provided by DraftKings.

Green Bay Packers (+180 to make the playoffs, +400 to win the division, +3,000 to win the NFC, +6,500 to win the Super Bowl)

The Aaron Rodgers era is over and after nearly two decades, the presumptive opening day starting quarterback for the Packers will be someone other than the future first ballot Hall of Famer. It is Jordan Love’s team now and that is the reason why this will be an interesting team, even though they are expected to be one of the worst squads in the NFL. Time for head coach Matt LaFleur to really prove he has the stuff.

enjoy watching Love develop along with an insanely young group of pass catchers

Without the expectations of a championship, Packers fans could be able to relax and enjoy watching Love develop along with an insanely young group of pass catchers. Their two best wide receivers – Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs – are in their second year and their probable #3, Jayden Reed, is a rookie. Their top two tight ends are probably also going to be rookies. If Love looks solid, even if he isn’t about to be GB’s third straight HOF signal caller, and the receivers blossom even a little bit, there could be a little excitement in Title Town, regardless of whether or not they make the playoffs.

The defense is also stacked with first rounders, but they didn’t hit their stride last season until late. We’ll see if another year with defensive coordinator Joe Barry helps them take a step forward.

New York Jets (-130 playoffs, +270 division, +1,000 AFC, +1,600 Super Bowl)

The yin to the Packers’ yang is the New York Jets, for obvious reasons. Aaron Rodgers forced his way out of Green Bay and into a different shade of green, sending expectations for Jets’ fans sky high. Gary Dell’Abate, executive producer of The Howard Stern Show, recently said that anything less than an AFC Championship Game appearance will be a huge disappointment.

Aaron Rodgers is all smiles with the New York Jets. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The Jets had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last year and are now expected to have, at the very least, a solid one. Some prognosticators think their offense will be among the best. Aaron Rodgers, always one to hold grudges and have something to prove, will be out to show that he can carry a team other than the Packers. They have last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, who looks like a star. Rodgers brought over buddies Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, who aren’t going to be Pro Bowlers, but are good players and have a tight bond with their QB. Breece Hall might have been Offensive Rookie of the Year if he didn’t get hurt, but he’s back and the Jets added Dalvin Cook at running back, as well.

The Jets also hired Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, someone with whom Rodgers had success Green Bay.

The Jets had one of the best defenses in the league last year and should be fantastic points-preventers again. Expectations are high for the Jets, but regardless of where the team finishes, the Aaron Rodgers story is the reason they will probably be the first or second topic of conversation on ESPN every Monday.

Denver Broncos (+180 playoffs, +550 division, +3,000 AFC, +4,500 Super Bowl)

The Broncos traded the house to Seattle for star quarterback Russell Wilson before last season and boy, did that not work out. The Broncos’ offense was absolutely trash, to the point where people were wondering what alien had inhabited Wilson’s body. First-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett looked completely out of his depth, but he has since moved to the Jets to be Aaron Rodgers’ offensive coordinator (you may notice a throughline to this article).

the most injured team in the NFL

Denver, though, was also very unlucky last season. They were the most injured team in the NFL; only two players started every game. They also lost a lot of close games. A couple came down to missed last-second field goals. They lost three overtime games. They lost four fourth-quarter leads. As embarrassing of the Broncos’ offense was, they were probably better than their 5-12 record.

For most of the season, Denver’s defense was among the best in the league, but wore down late and was one of the worst in the last few weeks. With better injury luck and an offense that can stay on the field at least a reasonable amount of time, the defense should hold up better.

And the Broncos brought in (TRADED for) head coach Sean Payton, whose New Orleans Saints with Drew Brees put up gaudy offensive stats year in and year out. It would be unusual if he was an instant miracle worker, but even a semi-competent coach would have been better than Hackett last year, so Payton should help.

Bottom line: the Broncos will likely miss the playoffs in a stacked AFC, but it will interesting to see if Russell Wilson can get back to being Russell Wilson and if Sean Payton can turn things around.

Detroit Lions (-165 playoffs, +140 division, +1,100 NFC, +2,200 Super Bowl)

The Lions were the darlings of the NFL last season. The perennial doormats looked the part once more in the first half the season, getting off to a miserable 1-6 start. But then they rattled off wins in six of their next seven games to get to .500 and make a push for the playoffs. They fell just short, but ended up with a winning record for the first time since 2017-2018 and at least beat the Packers in the final game of the season to dash their rivals’ playoff hopes.

Detroit was a team of passion. Their coach, Dan Campbell, wears his heart on his sleeve and shows his love for his players, something that endeared him to fans and media alike. Their players were just as passionate, having fun and never giving up, despite the terrible start. They look to build on the second-half success and keep that spirit going.

Jared Goff hopes to lead a high-powered offense to an NFC North title. [Image: Flickr.com / All Pro Reels]

The Lions are expected to have one of the better offenses in the league. Quarterback Jared Goff looked rejuvenated and his top pass catcher, Amon-Ra St. Brown has quickly emerged as one of the best in the NFL. The receiver corps behind him is nothing spectacular, but the Lions’ offensive line is tremendous, so Goff should have tons of time to find receivers downfield.

Detroit’s issue last year was its defense, but it improved greatly in the second half of the season. The NFC North is weak, as is the rest of the conference, and oddsmakers have actually installed the Lions as the favorite to win their first division title since 1993, when it was the NFC Central.

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