Each and every year the NFL is filled with changes. These changes occur through teams drafting new players into the league, and also through free agency and trades during the offseason. The amount of player movement and new coaches and coaching staffs being put in place contribute to where a team is expected to finish once the season has ended. A lot of these changes play a part in where these teams finish in the standings, and the league is constantly seeing new teams make the playoffs every year.
NFL teams as a result of changes made in the offseason and their overall play throughout the course of the season are either going to impress while on the field or they are going to struggle. The teams that consistently make the playoffs every year are almost always impressive from a football fans perspective. Some of the teams that struggle throughout the course of a season have been struggling because of poor decisions made by the front office, but other struggling teams are a surprise. These surprises are teams that have been good as early as last season but just do not have a good year for reasons specific to how their team is aligned.
15 Impress: New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are bound to have an impressive season, and that is because it seems like they always do. Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the season and Jimmy Garoppolo will get a chance to prove he is worthy of someday being a starting quarterback in the NFL. Due to an easy schedule Garoppolo might play very good and lead the Patriots to two or three wins in Tom Brady’s absence. The Patriots still have great receivers in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and they have arguably the best tight end in the NFL in Rob Gronkowski.
14 Struggle: Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last season, but have the look of a team that could be offensively challenged next season. The Broncos thought they would have Brock Osweiler under center for them in 2016. When he spurned the Broncos for the Texans, the defending Super Bowl champs were left with Mark Sanchez as their best option at quarterback with rookie Paxton Lynch as a backup. Sanchez has been a backup the past few seasons. Throughout his career he has been known to make costly turnovers, and these mistakes often play a part in how his team fairs. The Broncos have also lost a couple of great players on defense including Malik Jackson.
13 Impress: Carolina Panthers
12 Struggle: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts had an underwhelming year last year, and that was due to the ineffectiveness of Andrew Luck to stay on the field. The team as a whole has a lot of glaring holes. Luck was injured due to the horrendous offensive line blocking for him, and Frank Gore is an aging running back whose best years are behind him. Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton are above average receivers who need Andrew Luck to stay on the field. The Colts defense is a glaring weakness, and it will be hard to win many games if they are giving up so many points to opposing teams.
11 Impress: Arizona Cardinals
10 Struggle: New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints have one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade on their team in Drew Brees, but this team does not have many other positive besides the play of Brees. Mark Ingram is a middle of the pack running back that can run and catch the ball effectively for this team. The receiving core is not very good outside of Brandin Cooks. The worst aspect of the Saints is their dreadful defense, which was single handedly responsible for most of the team's losses last year. Outside of adding Roman Harper to the secondary the Saints have not done much in the offseason to improve their lousy defense.
9 Impress: Cincinnati Bengals
8 Struggle: Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys seemed to be headed in the right direction after a successful 2014 campaign, but 2015 was a mere disappointment for America’s team. The team is looking to bounce back in 2016, and quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant are looking to get through the season with little to no health problems. Tony Romo in particular has not been very durable throughout the last couple of years. The Cowboys bolstered the running game by adding Alfred Morris and drafting Ezekiel Elliott, but the one weakness this team has is huge. The defense is not good at all.
7 Impress: Green Bay Packers
6 Struggle: Chicago Bears
5 Impress: Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings shocked the football world last season by winning the NFC North, a division that has been ruled by the Packers in the past couple years. The Vikings are not a secret anymore because teams now know just how good this team can be. The defense is this team’s strength, and players like Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph are constantly disrupting the running back and quarterback. The team also has a great line backing core led by youngsters Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
4 Struggle: Cleveland Browns
3 Impress: Oakland Raiders
2 Struggle: San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers had a dismal season in 2015, which led to a 5-11 record and the firing of first year head coach Jim Tomsula. Chip Kelly was named the new head coach after he was fired from the Philadelphia Eagles for his terrible player personnel moves and losing the team in the locker room. Many teams rely heavily on their quarterback to lead them to victory, and Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are two terrible options to have vying for the starting job. It also does not help that they lost their best wide receiver in the offseason in Anquan Boldin. Carlos Hyde did not produce much as the starting half back last year, and is hopeful that this new offense can help him jump start his career.
1 Impress: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars were actually in the hunt for the AFC South division crown for some time last year before finishing the season with a below .500 record. The Jaguar offense is no joke with quarterback Blake Bortles becoming very comfortable in the NFL, and a formidable two headed rushing attack. Bortles has two dynamic receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns who are very reliable to make plays on the field. In the backfield newly acquired running back Chris Ivory will compliment T.J. Yeldon, in what should be a dependable running back tandem. The defense was the biggest hole for the Jaguars last year, but they have added Super Bowl winners Prince Amukamara and Malik Jackson to bring some experience to this defense. The Jaguars were also able to draft Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack in the 2016 NFL draft.
These two were some of the best defensive players in the 2016 draft, and with Dante Fowler finally set to start his NFL career the Jags defense could be very good for years to come.
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