As 2022 draws to a close, it’s time to look ahead to 2023. The sports calendar features plenty of exciting events, ranging from Super Bowl LVII to the World Baseball Classic and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sportsnaut will cover all of it during an exciting year, but we must begin with our 2023 predictions for the sports world.
So many things happened in 2022 that no one saw coming. New York Yankees star Aaron Judge set the single-season American League home run record, the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium and Morocco won fourth place in the FIFA World Cup 2022.
We also saw plenty of all-time greats leave the grand stage. Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Albert Pujols, Shaun White, Sue Bird and Mike Krzyzewski walked away from sports this year. Meanwhile, Tom Brady‘s retirement was shorter than this sentence. As we look to 2023, you can count on more sports legends walking away from the game and leaving fans with unforgettable memories.
Related: NFL games today
Let’s dive into our 2023 predictions for the major sports, with forecasts from Sportsnaut’s editorial staff covering everything that could happen.
Philadelphia Eagles win Super Bowl LVII
The Super Bowl odds highlight how wide open the race for the Lombardi Trophy is. There are strong arguments to make for the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals. Ultimately, our sports predictions will lead off with the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LVII.
It starts with a defense that boasts one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, something that is integral for playoff success. The Eagles boast defensive advantages over the Cowboys, Chiefs and Bengals and they have a better offense than the Bills. Putting them over the top of San Francisco is Jalen Hurts being superior to Brock Purdy. Throw in home-field advantage in the playoffs and the Eagles’ fan base’s willingness to travel anywhere and Philadelphia will hold a Super Bowl parade in mid-February. It will be followed by both their offensive and defensive coordinators becoming NFL head coaches next season. — Matt Johnson
Tom Brady signs with Las Vegas Raiders in 2023
Tom Brady isn’t returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023. So, the future Hall of Fame inductee must choose between finding a new team in free agency or retiring. After how things went down this season, we’d bet on him making one last run. Playing for the 49ers seems appealing, but reuniting with Josh McDaniels and so many of his former Patriots’ coaches makes the most sense.
The Las Vegas Raiders give him a No. 1 receiver, complementary weapons and a chance to experience the best parts of the New England Patriots culture without having to reunite with Bill Belichick. However, don’t expect a 46-year-old Brady to lead the Raiders past anything further than the AFC Divisional Round. — Matt Johnson
Brooklyn Nets win the 2023 NBA Finals
The Brooklyn Nets have faced an incredible amount of drama and controversy to start the 2022-’23 season, ranging from questions about Ben Simmons to Kyrie Irving’s suspension. However, the team has bounced back to become a legitimate contender. In these predictions, we think Brooklyn will finally jump over the hump and claim an NBA Finals victory.
Looking around the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks started the season on a high note but it has come back to earth. Meanwhile, the Nets have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who will be hard to bet against in any playoff series. The Western Conference is wide open with young, inexperienced teams leading the way. The veteran experience and talent of the Nets will lead them to their first NBA Finals victory in franchise history. — Austin Konenski
Atlanta Hawks send Trae Young to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster trade
It has become quite common in the NBA for superstar players to request trades every year. In this case, the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls have been the topic of conversation as their players could be looking for a way out. We think the Hawks will end up trading Trae Young to the New York Knicks in an ironic twist that no one saw coming.
The Knicks have young players with great potential and many draft picks to make it happen, whether that is before the trade deadline or during the offseason. Young has previously thrived in the New York environment and this could finally be the move that sends the Knicks to contention status. The Knicks will end up sending a cap-filler, several young players, and several first-round picks for Young’s services. — Austin Konenski
Shohei Ohtani signs $550 million contract with Los Angeles Dodgers
If baseball fans thought the free-agency frenzy surrounding Aaron Judge was intense, it will seem like a drop in the hate compared to the bidding war surrounding Shohei Ohtani. The Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom is becoming the face of MLB, someone who dozens of clubs would sign for both his on-field impact and his influence on revenue and interest.
The starting points of negotiations will be a $500 million contract, approximately a $25 million AAV for Ohtani’s MVP-caliber bat and then another $25 million AAV for his pitching. Now factor in the marketing dollars he generates and the price can climb. Because he wants to sign with a World Series contender, signing with the Dodgers and remaining in a city with one of the highest Asian American populations in the United States could make it the perfect match. Put a 12-year, $550 million contract projection for Ohtani into our time capsule for 2023 predictions. — Matt Johnson
New York Yankees win World Series 2023
The New York Yankees haven’t won the World Series since 2009, a 13-season stretch without even an AL pennant to brag about. It’s part of the reason why New York made Judge one of the highest-paid MLB players in 2023. We think the franchise’s historic stretch of futility, by its high standards, comes to an end next October.
Related: Best baseball players of all time
Looking around the American League, the Houston Astros are a formidable threat but they just lost Justin Verlander. With the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays likely a year away, winning the AL seems likely for New York. At that point, we’ll bet on a playoff rotation featuring Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas in tandem with that lineup to finally add another World Series title to the Yankees’ trophy chase. — Matt Johnson
Caleb Williams makes Heisman Trophy history
Archie Griffin is the only player to win the Heisman Trophy in consecutive years (1974-’75) and the only one to win it twice. Caleb Williams put himself in consideration for the award in 2021 then won it in his first season with the USC Trojans. Returning in 2023 with head coach Lincoln Riley, we believe Williams makes history.
Related: Heisman Watch 2023
While USC loses Jordan Addison, he gains five-star wide receivers Zachariah Branch and Makai Lemon. The Trojans’ offense also added Arizona wideout Dorian Singer – 1,105 yards in 2022 – to address its receiving corps. We believe Williams wins the Heisman Trophy 2023, becoming the second player to do so and the first to reach the CFB Playoffs. — Matt Johnson
Jimbo Fisher fired, Nick Saban retires
The Texas A&M Aggies pulled Jimbo Fisher out of Florida State, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the country with the hope he’d turn the program around. After a 9-1 season and an Orange Bowl victory, the outlook seemed bright. However, it all came apart in 2022. with a 5-7 record and many key players from the No. 1 recruiting class bailed. Fisher will get another shot in 2023, but the Aggies’ immediate future remains bleak. Facing a difficult schedule, six wins will seal Fisher’s fate as Texas A&M boosters begrudgingly cover his massive buyout to get him out.
Getting bold with our 2023 predictions, Fisher’s dismissal won’t be the biggest news in college football. Nick Saban set a historic standard with the Alabama Crimson Tide, winning six national titles at Alabama. However, Saban’s program isn’t the powerhouse it used to be. A 10-2 season without a playoff appearance created speculation regarding his future. When the Crimson Tide fails to reach the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive year, rather than putting Alabama in an uncomfortable spot with its fan base and boosters, Saban retires. — Matt Johnson
Kyle Larson becomes a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion in 2023
Kyle Larson won the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship with an outstanding 10 victories, including the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. The 2022 season represented sort of a “down year” with only three wins; however, Larson will bounce back as one of the best drivers in 2023 and claim a second Cup Series championship.
The landscape for the second season of the NextGen car is interesting to see as driver talent has become more of a situation than in previous years. Drivers such as Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick will win multiple times throughout the 2023 season but Larson will put on a display that cements himself as one of the best drivers of this generation. The driver of the No. 5 car will win up to eight races with shades of 2021. — Austin Konenski
NASCAR announces new TV deal that sees the sport return to ESPN
NASCAR will be working on its new TV deal that begins at the 2025 Busch Light Clash with rumors flying around ahead of the 2023 season. FOX and NBC seem to be in a good spot to renew their deals but there could be some other additions to the mix. Making its return to the sport, we believe ESPN will be a part of the TV deal announced during the 2023 season.
ESPN ended its second tenure with NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2014 season and has been out of the sport since that point in time. Despite its previous experience within the sport, the coverage of NASCAR on the network during its shows has significantly downgraded. Along with Peacock, the network will make a massive return that sees it take over the summer months of the 2025 season and beyond. — Austin Konenski
Jon Jones finally faces Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight title
Jon Jones has not stepped inside the Octagon since February 2020. His transition to the heavyweight division was always expected to take some time, but nowhere near this long. However, that finally comes to an end in 2023. The UFC GOAT and fight fans will finally get the matchup they have long wanted.
Jones will faceoff with reigning heavyweight king Francis Ngannou in an easy-to-promote clash of the “best ever” against “the baddest man on the planet.” It is the biggest fight the promotion can make outside of whoever faces Conor McGregor in his highly-anticipated return.
Khamzat Chimaev because UFC welterweight champion
Love him or hate him, Khamzat Chimaev is a force of nature the sport hasn’t seen since Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Chechen wrestling machine is one of the brashest talents on the roster and has been able to back it up at every turn. The biggest challenge in his short career has probably been the scale as there are still looming doubts he can consistently make welterweight.
Nevertheless, “Borz” seems like an unstoppable train headed to a title fight in the new year. With dominant champion Kamaru Usman finally looking human after a shock loss in 2022, it seems like the signs are there for a major change of guard at 170 pounds. Chimaev is that change.
The Bloodline fall during a two-night masterpiece of storytelling at Wrestlemania
The ongoing Roman Reigns/Bloodline storyline is arguably one of the best the professional wrestling industry has seen since the NWO. The addition of the ultra-talented Sami Zayn, and elite prospect Solo Sikoa has given it the type of legs and appeal that few expected. However, all good things come to an end. And in this case, it will be in the best interest of WWE in 2023.
In our 2023 predictions, we see WWE setting up a masterpiece of storytelling at Wrestlemania as the second “Roman Empire” comes tumbling down when Reigns drops his titles to Drew McIntyre (night one) and Cody Rhodes (night two) in consecutive evenings at the two-night Wrestlemania card in April.
Boston Bruins win Stanley Cup
Our 2023 predictions certainly won’t make many in Boston happy with the Yankees winning the World Series and Brooklyn defeating the Celtics in the NBA Playoffs. Fortunately, all is not lost for a city crazy about sports. The Boston Bruins are a big surprise during the 2022 NHL season, surging to the top of the NHL standings.
Related: NHL games today
We’re predicting the Bruins win the Stanley Cup for a few key reasons. First, Boston’s electric home-ice advantage has resulted in one of the best home records in recent history. Furthermore, the Bruins’ goaltending is outstanding and they’ve got plenty of experience. Things like that matter in the NHL playoffs and we think it will put the Bruins over the top.