We are getting closer and closer to the 2018 NFL season and the excitement is mounting for fans, especially those with high hopes for championship contention this year. With free agency in the books and the draft far behind us, all that awaits us now is training camp and the preseason before we finally get back to the pastime of modern american sports.
Excited as fans are for their respective teams, we all know that a majority of these NFL fanbases are going to be disappointed with what they get out of their teams this year. That said, it doesn't mean this season won't be interesting to watch, especially so we can see who out of the 32 teams in the league will make it through and get to the postseason and potentially bring a championship to their hometown fans.
Now I'm not exactly one for being a downer, but we all know that at the end of the day there can only be one champion, and it will be interesting to see who we get at the end. Now there is a good reason to believe why a handful of team can win it all, but it always takes a little bit of luck to get to the top, and there is always something that can stand in the way of a team taking home the Lombardi trophy. In this article we are looking at all NFL team and discussing why each team may not close this season as the new world champs.
32 Arizona Cardinals: Rookie QB
Last season was just another throw away year for the Arizona Cardinals. They had been a deteriorating team for the better part of the last 3 years. Last season was the last straw and it was time for a change. They hired Steve Wilks, who coached what was a dominant Carolina defense in past years.
That was good; the QB substitutes for Carson Palmer, not so much.
The 10th overall pick in the draft, Josh Rosen, looks promising, but Sam Bradford is... well, Sam Bradford, so expect him to get injured, which will lead the way for Rosen to start. There's even a chance Rosen will start week 1, but even if he plays all year, rookie QBs aren't exactly known to instantly make a Super Bowl champion out of their teams. At least not that quickly.
31 Atlanta Falcons: Ghosts Of Postseasons Past
If you are a Falcons fan like yours truly, I feel your pain. Still recovering from what was one of the most devastating loses in Super Bowl history, the Dirty Birds have a lot cut out in their favor. Most of their core remains intact and they should be able to remain in contention this year. It just seems like they have a knack of falling just short in the postseason, and I don't know if they'll be able to shed that streak this season.
30 Baltimore Ravens: Not Enough Offensive Talent
Personally, I like this Ravens team. They have a strong defensive core, a dependable head coach with a Super Bowl victory on his resume, and a stable organization. The only issue I have with this team is their lack of offensive talent. Joe Flacco was always good, not great, the receiving core is anemic and they only now seem to have a solution at running back. They'll need more if they want to get to the big game again.
29 Buffalo Bills: Another Rookie QB
I'll be honest, I am very upset with this team. Your first playoff appearance in nearly two decades and one of the first things you do is trade away your starting quarterback. Why? Why could you not buy into Tyrod Taylor, a man known to be able to move the ball in numerous ways, stay healthy and not turn over the football? I get that he isn't the premier QB in the league, nor is he a face-of-the-franchise, prototypical QB, but you were going somewhere. Now with Josh Allen at the helm, you are going to be forced to waste more of LeSean McCoy and the defensive core while he develops into the player you hope he could be.
28 Carolina Panthers: Offensive Struggles
Here's the thing: I really like this roster in Carolina. The defensive core remains on of the league's very best. They have a head coach who seems to have control of the locker room and trust from his players, and of course they have one of the most talented players in the league in Cam Newton at QB.
They have all that going for them, but the offense is a question mark for multiple reasons.
We don't really know what we are going to get out of any of the pieces from their receiving corps, or running backs. If they're good, Carolina should be favorites this year; if not, this could get ugly fast.
27 Chicago Bears: Too Soon
For the first time in about 8 years, I can finally say that the Chicago Bears are going somewhere. Through several years of underachievement led by QB Jay Cutler, they finally find themselves in a position to actually compete with Green Bay and Minnesota and the rest of the NFC for a spot in the Super Bowl for years to come. I really like their talent, their most recent draftees, and their new head coach. I actually have them winning their division next year but their youth and inexperience in the postseason will probably be their downfall in the long run.
26 Cincinnati Bengals: 3rd Best Team In Division
I am being nice to the Bengals right now. There is literally no reason to believe they will win more than 7 games this year. This team has continued to bang its head on the wall by coming back with the same roster makeup, identity, and coaching staff year after year, and they find ways to come up short time and again.
This season is no different. I am being nice by saying they will still be better than the Browns, but honestly we can't even be sure of that, because at least Cleveland has moved pieces around when necessary. We have been waiting for Cincinnati to do something for like the past 3 years now.
25 Cleveland Browns: Despite Positive Changes, Still So Many Reasons...
Uncertainty at QB, uncertainty at head coach, newly-built roster, inexperience, they were 0-16 last year, it's Cleveland - pick your poison.
If there is any team that we can all agree will not be in the Super Bowl this year, it's definitely the Cleveland Browns.
They've been so bad in recent years that we would all be impressed if they won over 6 games. Talk about the Super Bowl? This team is still trying to figure out how to win a game - forget the championship, conference or even division. One step at a time, people.
24 Dallas Cowboys: Rebuilding The Offense
The Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be Super Bowl favorites this year. One suspension here, a sophomore slump there, a couple of injuries to the defense, add in a tough schedule, and a near complete drop off at the receiving corps, and you finish with a 7-9 record. With the disappointing season that came their way, changes had to be made. Even with Zeke coming back for a full 16 games, it's hard for me to see a team that loses its top 2 weapons in the passing game make a run to the Super Bowl without replacing them with players just as capable as they were, which Dallas didn't do.
23 Denver Broncos: Limited At QB
Am I the only one who is completely confused with the Denver Broncos right now? Their defense looks like it'll be great, but I just don't know what to think about their offense, especially when you look at the QB situation. Don't get me wrong, I really like Case Keenum and all, it's just that I doubt that he will be able to replicate what he did in Minnesota in Denver. Maybe I'm wrong about that but if not, Denver doesn't stand a chance.
22 Detroit Lions: Can't Get Over The Hump
The Detroit Lions are one of the most consistently disappointing teams in the NFL right now. They have literally had the same problem for 14 years. The worst part about it is that with their current core, this is the one issue that is keeping them out of championship contention.
The team hasn't been able to run the football.
This coming season could be different though, because they have brought in LeGarrette Blount, a 2x defending Super Bowl champion known to take over games and power his way into the end zone. With that hole seemingly filled, the only thing that should hold them back from getting to the big game is that hump they have struggled to get over against teams like Green Bay and others.
21 Green Bay Packers: It's Rodgers Or Nothing
The Green Bay Packers frustrate me. This team has the best QB in football right now and fail on a regular basis to surround him with the requisite pieces to help him get this team to the Super Bowl. Their failure was put on full display just last season.
After going down to a broken clavicle in the second quarter of the season, the Packers basically turned into a slightly better version of the Cleveland Browns.
Everyone deteriorated to the point where we questioned how good Mike McCarthy is as a coach, and it gave fans an idea of how Green Bay's front office has taken advantage of this man. Even if Rodgers gets them back to the playoffs, do you really see Green Bay winning it all with what they have? It really can't be that hard to put a stable team around A-Rod… can it?
20 Houston Texans: Health Is A Concern
Let's be clear: everyone proclaiming Houston's superior chances at making the Super Bowl this season is being very optimistic (and a bit bias). Aside from potential, there is very little reason to believe this team can produce a Super Bowl victory. There is the potential of the defense being dominant again with the return of J.J. Watt and other key defensive pieces, and the potential of DeShaun Watson picking up where he left off last season that people are using to proclaim the possibility that the Texans can win it all this year. I would love for that to be the case but they all need to stay healthy first, then we'll see.
19 Indianapolis Colts: Still Rebuilding
They have a new head coach, a QB returning from a full year absence, a recalibrating defensive core and an offensive line that is slowly being constructed. The Indianapolis Colts have a ways to go before they can once again be considered Super Bowl contenders. I like what they have been doing this offseason, and I even like their chances of winning their division this upcoming season, but Super Bowl contestants... not there yet, but keep going Indy, you're getting closer than most are probably thinking right now.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars: Can Blake Bortles Be Trusted?
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the most surprising breakthroughs in all of sports last season. They were so good that they found themselves a few stops away from advancing to the Super Bowl, over New England. That is something no one would have predicted beforehand. With all the progress they have made, they could very well make a similar run to the Super Bowl this year. The only questions I have are attached to their starting QB Blake Bortles. He's the on and off type of player, and I'm just not sure if I can trust him to take the Jags where they want to be.
17 Kansas City Chiefs: Yet Another Rookie QB (Well, Sort Of)
If the Chiefs were to find a way to finally break through and get to the Super Bowl, it certainly wouldn't be the first time a young QB led his team there, but it isn't something I would count on if I were a Chiefs fan. Patrick Mahomes looked pretty good in the time he spent on the field this season, but I think he will need just a little bit more time before he'll be ready to take the Chiefs to new heights. Maybe next season, KC.
16 Los Angeles Chargers: Never Beat New England
The Los Angeles Chargers (sigh) have one of the most talented and promising rosters in the NFL today. even with the injury to Hunter Henry they still have an elite offensive core with a great QB, great receivers, and a highly capable running back. On defense, they have continued to grow better and better with each passing year. There really is no reason as to why they shouldn't be able to compete for the Super Bowl this season. Just one small problem, New England is in the same conference, and not only are they the current leaders in the AFC, but for as long as I can remember the Chargers have never been able to beat them. Win a game over the Pats, then we can talk.
15 Los Angeles Rams: Offseason Champions Are Overrated
The Los Angeles Rams have been a busy team this offseason. After an impressive 2017 season they were ousted in the wild card round. This was nothing to be ashamed of. It was a promising season for a young and growing team and it looked as if this was the beginning of a long run of championship contention for LA.
That being the case, many didn't expect the Rams to do that much to improve their team, but they did anyway. The thing is… remember last year when we were all hyping up the Buccaneers and their season was a wash? Remember the dream team Philadelphia Eagles that were supposed to win the Super Bowl but failed to make the playoffs? Yeah, it's something about offseason champions that just seem to go wrong. Let's hope that isn't the case for LA.
14 Miami Dolphins: Not Enough Talent
This cannot be stated enough times. The Miami Dolphins are shaping out to be a really bad team next season. Now I know they have a deep receiving corps, and some talented defensive players, but with the lack of stability at the QB position, along with the inexperience of several players on the roster, I can't see Miami making much (if any) noise this season. I don't even know if this team has an identity. How can I expect them to be a Super Bowl contender?
13 Minnesota Vikings: Tough Schedule, New System
After a shocking breakthrough last year by the Vikings led by their star studded defense and prevalent offense, Minnesota found themselves in a near perfect situation where they could have made a run to the Super Bowl last season. That sadly didn't happen and things changed in the offseason. Case Keenum, their midseason hero from last year was let go and signed to Denver, and the team lost it's offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Now with QB Kirk Cousins and a new OC taking the reins in Minnesota's offense, we're going to see a different Vikings next year, and I'm just not sure if it's going to be a championship caliber Vikings team. In a new offensive system it will be hard to get to the same level they were at last season.
12 New England Patriots: Brady Falls Off
The Patriots have been the model organization in the NFL for just about two decades now. It has had its ups and downs but through all the triumphs one man has been at the forefront of the success: Tom Brady (okay, technically you can say Bill Belichick, but he wouldn't have accomplished that much without a great QB like Tom Brady). aWith Tommy Terrific still playing at an elite level the Pats should be heavy favorites to headline another Super Bowl. If Tom begins to decline, however, It'll be a whole new ballgame for the rest of the AFC.
11 New Orleans Saints: Brees Struggles
Let's be honest with ourselves here: as great as the "Minnesota Miracle" play was, it should have never happened. The New Orleans Saints should have found themselves in the NFC championship game against Philadelphia. Would they have won that game? Maybe, maybe not, but the fact remains that they should have and were good enough to have possibly made it to the Super Bowl last season. That being said, they are bringing back a majority of the team that far exceeded expectations last year and will be favored to come out of the conference. The only way I see them failing to do so, would be if their star QB Drew Brees came of age and began to struggle in his play.
10 New York Giants: Eli Manning’s Last Legs
Eli Manning has led the New York Giants to two unexpected world championship victories. Because of this he will go down as an all time great QB even with all the poor seasons that were in between the championship years. Last year in particular was arguably the worst of his career. Getting stomped on a weekly basis led to him being benched for the first time in his career. It was the biggest sign above all others that time is ticking on the future hall of famer’s career. Now they could surprise us and make another run to the championship (it's kind of what they do), but it is possible that it'll be just too much on Eli to take them there again.
9 New York Jets: QB Uncertainty
The New York Jets for the first time in a long time have found themselves in a good situation at QB. With all the turmoil they have been through in the past years they now have three potential starters on their team. This season I expect them to begin by figuring out how good each player is between Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold and just use this year to stabalize the situation and move forward from there for the seasons beyond.
P.S Go with Darnold. Don't screw this up.
8 Oakland Raiders: Poor Defense
I could have gone with the Raiders having their new (old) head coach Jon Gruden potentially getting in the way, but the thing that has gotten in the way of this team enjoying a long stretch of success is their defense. The Oakland Raiders defense for the past few years can been summarized as such: Khalil Mack... that's it. Unless that changes this year, Oakland has absolutely no chance of getting to the Super Bowl, let alone winning the whole thing.
7 Philadelphia Eagles: Repeating Is Hard
The defending world champions have a lot of work cut out for them, they did a pretty good job in trying to maintain their depth with the key acquisition of Michael Bennett this offseason. Moreover, they will be having Darren Sproles back for the beginning of next season and hopefully have starting QB Carson Wentz by no later than the midseason. If they were to repeat as champions, it would be the first repeat champion since the Patriots did it near the beginning of the century between 2003-04. Philly definitely has the talent to get it done again, but the load they'll have to carry as defending champions may be too much to overcome in the end.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers: No Discipline
If you take a look back at the last two seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one thing has gotten in the way of them getting to the Super Bowl: themselves. If it's not their players mouthing off, it's their players underperforming on the field, and the coaches simply making the wrong calls. This is a team that plays unfocused on defense, and makes head-scratching mistakes on offense at times despite having a loaded roster. So long as that continues to be the case, they won't win anything.
5 San Francisco 49ers: Getting Close, But Pieces Are Still Missing
Last year was supposedly the first year of a 5 year rebuild for the San Francisco 49ers. Under the management of GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, the Niners were looking to start anew and bring the team back to relevance and back into championship contention. This ultimate goal wasn't set to be reached for another few years, but after the acquisition of QB Jimmy Garoppolo from New England and the promise he showed in the time he spent on the field, things look to be speeding up. I would just caution them and their fans not to expect a 12 win season straight away. They're good, but not that good… not yet, anyway.
4 Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson Can't Do Everything
So let's summarize here. All the injuries to the defense coupled with a severely lacking offensive line that deteriorated the run game significantly ultimately causes a failing season at a record of 7-9. You respond with a bevy of incomprehensible actions that solve exactly 0% percent of the issues you had, and possibly made things worse. Now you are going into the 2018 season with no dependable running game, a blown up defensive core, a horrid offensive line, a head coach likely on the brink of dismissal, and a QB who will probably be completely gassed by week 9 from carrying the offense to viability all year long.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Offensive Line
Last year was a let down on a large scale for the Bucs. Most had them projected into the playoffs and instead we got a team the struggled moving the football down the field all year long. One thing really stands in their way right now, and that is their atrocious O-line. Yes, they are in a very competitive division, but with all the talent they had on board last year and will have going into this year, a good offensive line would instantly make them a real contender for the Super Bowl.
2 Tennessee Titans: New Coach
Tennessee has a very talented roster and could very well make a return to the postseason this year and be a surprising contender for the Super Bowl. If anything were to get in the way of that though, it would be the fact that they have a new head coach. Not everyone can come in and do what Jim Harbaugh did with the 49ers, or Steve Kerr with the Warriors in the NBA. This year might be relegated to a tune up year for the Titans, just for them to get everything in motion for the years to come.
1 Washington Redskins: A Mediocre Team That Stayed Mediocre
The Redskins seem like a team that don't exactly know what they're doing. I love Alex Smith and all, but I'm not feeling too good about him in Washington given how the team basically gave up on Kirk Cousins despite having his best year in a season where the top running back was lost to injury, both top receivers left in free agency, the top tight end on the team was on and off the field, and the offensive line was damaged all year.
With that, Alex Smith can't be trusted.
Moreover, the team is talented but not as much as the rest of their division with the exception of maybe New York. Add that to the fact that they're in a really deep NFC, Washington would be lucky to crack the postseason, let alone the Super Bowl.