Welcome to the new year, everyone. The 2023 NFL season may be ongoing, but the 2023 calendar year is in the books. That's right. We're officially into 2024, which means there's never been a better time to look ahead at the juiciest stories on the NFL docket.

Which headlines are destined to dominate the NFL landscape in the coming days, weeks and months? Here are our top five:

Can top contenders get over the hump?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Cowboys USATSI

There are a slew of big-market or high-octane contenders this year, all of them with seriously checkered resumes in terms of recent postseason success. The Bills can score on anyone with Josh Allen, but they've advanced past the divisional round just once under Sean McDermott. The Cowboys always field an all-star lineup, but they're seeking their first NFC title-game appearance since 1995. The 49ers are perceived world-beaters, but Kyle Shanahan is still hunting a Lombardi. And the Ravens under Lamar Jackson may be the NFL's most complete team, yet Jackson himself is just 1-3 as a playoff quarterback in his MVP-winning career.

How far can the Joe Flacco redemption tour go?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
Joe Flacco USATSI

If you want evidence the NFL is annually unpredictable, how about Flacco, at age 38, coming off the street to become the fourth different starting QB for the Browns in 2023, slinging it with more authority than ... any QB in the game? Cleveland's defense is another big reason Kevin Stefanski's squad is hanging near the top of the AFC playoff picture. But what if Flacco actually guides a playoff win or two? What if, like Nick Foles for the Eagles back in 2017, or himself for the Ravens back in 2012, he goes on an unexpected postseason tear to contend for an actual title? Imagine the hysteria in Cleveland.

What do the Bears do at QB?

Justin Fields USATSI

Justin Fields has been splashy enough to make this a conversation in the first place, just not reliable enough -- albeit amid makeshift supporting casts -- to ensure Chicago won't use its top pick in the 2024 draft on his successor. The Bears locked up the No. 1 overall selection, making them candidates to add a heralded prospect like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. And yet Fields is still just 24, proving to possess game-changing athleticism. What if Chicago wanted to use its draft ammo to finally, truly support him? If they opt for a reset, another club could be in for a treat, acquiring Fields' upside under center.

What's next for Russell Wilson?

Russell Wilson Getty Images

Just two years ago, the Broncos shook up the QB landscape by sending a mega package to the Seahawks for Seattle's longtime face of the franchise. Two ugly, controversy-ridden seasons later, Wilson is getting the Derek Carr treatment from Sean Payton and Co., all but stripped of his present and future job in anticipation of an offseason release. Has the former MVP candidate been great on the field? Not necessarily. But he remains a proven and capable starter in today's NFL, which goes a long way, and assuming he's outright cut, just about any QB-needy team could reasonably be in the market for his services.

Will Bill Belichick finally walk?

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Bill Belichick Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh is almost equally as intriguing in the expected 2024 coaching cycle; the Michigan man is reportedly weighing a lucrative offer to stay in college rather than lean deeper into NFL flirtations. But Belichick is quite literally one of the most accomplished coaches of all time, and all signs point to New England starting fresh after four mostly underwhelming -- sometimes disastrous -- years since Tom Brady's 2020 exit. Belichick is an NFL lifer, so it's hard to imagine he'll stay sidelined for long. The question is, if the Patriots actually let him go, which franchise might bend over backward to land him?