With 10 weeks in the books, now is a safe time to start drawing conclusions about how teams have performed this season. That includes identifying teams as either overachievers or underachievers based on preseason expectations. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the biggest overachievers and underachievers in the NFL in 2023.
To be fair, the Giants were never going to be Super Bowl contenders this season. But coming off a season in which they won a playoff game and Brian Daboll was given Coach of the Year honors, expectations were a little higher than what the G-Men have delivered. They couldn’t even beat the Jets and have endured multiple lopsided losses this season. In fairness, the Giants have lost both Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor, forcing them to rely on undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito at quarterback. But New York’s season was spiraling out of control before DeVito made his first career start. Right now, they are among the worst teams in the NFL rather than a playoff contender.
It’s been a long few seasons for the Texans. Heading into 2023, they endured three straight seasons with at least 12 losses. The Texans also had four different head coaches across those three seasons. But the tables have turned quickly for Houston behind rookie head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Texans already have their highest win total since 2019. They haven’t won fluky games either; Houston has road wins over the Jaguars and Bengals, two teams that won playoff games last season. Stroud is starting to run away with Offensive Rookie of the Year honors while Ryans has the Texans in contention for the AFC South title and a playoff spot, two things that seemed impossible at the start of the season.
Nobody was expecting the Patriots to be world-beaters in 2023 or even to make the playoffs. However, Bill Belichick is still coaching New England, and yet, the Pats have easily been the worst team in the AFC. Outside of the Giants and Cardinals, they have the worst point differential in the league. There’s no question that the dynasty ended when Tom Brady left after the 2019 season. However, the Patriots have turned into a laughing stock. New England was at least able to remain competitive throughout the 2022 season, finishing 8-9. However, the Pats have fallen laughably short of the standards Belichick has set for the organization.
While some argue that the Steelers are winning games through unconventional means, it’s undeniable that they hold a 6-3 record after ten weeks, just half a game behind the AFC North leaders. Despite allowing more points than they’ve scored, the Steelers, led by Mike Tomlin, have defied expectations and are poised to be a significant force in the playoff race. The Pittsburgh offense, notably struggling behind Kenny Pickett, has not hindered their success. Tomlin deserves commendation for guiding the team to a better position than anticipated at this point in the season. Considering their performance, the idea of the Steelers making a playoff push is not as far-fetched as initially thought. For sportsbook reviews and information on legal betting options, visit www.usalegalbetting.com.
For the record, nobody should have been expecting any miracles in Carolina with a rookie quarterback. However, Bryce Young was the first overall pick in the draft and a former Heisman Trophy winner. Also, Frank Reich isn’t exactly a rookie head coach. He twice led the Colts to the playoffs and had a winning career record at the start of the season. Keep in mind that Reich took over a team that was a respectable 7-10 last year, only to go 1-8 start this season. While the Panthers haven’t played an easy schedule, they’ve still been worse than expected.
For the record, the Vikings aren’t overachievers based on going 13-4 last season. They were never going to be able to replicate that success. Instead, Minnesota is an overachiever after starting the season 0-3. The Vikings have turned things around, winning five straight games to reach 6-4. They’ve won all of those games without Justin Jefferson and continued to win after losing Kirk Cousins to a season-ending injury. They have a legitimate chance to join the shortlist of teams in NFL history that have made the playoffs after starting 0-3. The fact that Minnesota is even relevant in the playoff hunt is shocking, which is why it’s worth mentioning the Vikings as an overachiever in 2023.