Well folks, the 2015 NFL season is upon us and the action is underway. Over the summer every NFL team attempted to make strides towards the ultimate goal; reaching the Super Bowl and winning it. Unfortunately, not every NFL team was able to improve this offseason and will inevitably be watching the big game on a TV.
There were a lot of changes this offseason starting with the NFL Draft and ending with a long Free Agency period in which teams were able to sign players for the roster. Preseason is over and final rosters are set for the season. But just like every year in the NFL, there are always teams that did not improve and will not be near the playoffs let alone a Super Bowl in 2016.
Right now, there are still 13 teams in the NFL that have never won a Super Bowl. However, not all of those teams will be in this top 10, as teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills seem to be making some strides and aren’t as far off as some of these teams.
This article is dedicated to the teams on the outside looking in with a long way to go for a return to success in the NFL. These are teams that lost key pieces, do not have a franchise quarterback, have a rookie (franchise) quarterback, rebuilding teams, etc. Not all of them are bad teams, but they are still not ready for prime time.
10. St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford out, Nick Foles in. This reminds me of a trade with the Eagles for Kevin Kolb who was productive in his few seasons with the Eagles, but was terrible once traded to the Cardinals. Could the same thing happen with the Rams?
Hopefully not because Foles is more proven than Kolb was and has shown that he can be a good starter in the NFL. They have a solid team and their defense will fight to be top three in the league this year. That was never the question though. It is the offense that is full of issues even after the Rams tried to address them this off-season by trading injury riddled and overpaid Bradford for Foles and drafting Todd Gurley.
It will be interesting to watch how the Rams progress this season, but they will not be able to make the playoffs in the toughest division in football and definitely will not win the Super Bowl.
Out of all the teams on the list of top 10 NFL teams furthest away from a Super Bowl, the Rams should be the best team and had a productive off-season. Time will tell if the offense can improve enough to close out games, but we know their defense will win a few games for them this season.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Despite one of the worst offseasons I have seen from the 49ers they are still probably better than a lot of teams. They still have a decent quarterback with Colin Kaepernick and have an okay receiving core with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith.
However, the losses they sustained this offseason are way too much to overcome and the 49ers more than likely will not make the playoffs or get anywhere close to the Super Bowl. Their defense is worse, their offense is worse and their coaching staff is worse, which is going to make it very difficult for them to succeed in the competitive NFC West. Did the window they had the last three seasons under Jim Harbaugh already slam on them?
8. Chicago Bears
Last season was rough for the Bears and a lot of positive changes have been made in the offseason to help improve the team. They brought in a new head coach John Fox who has proven he can lead a team and added a few solid pieces.
However, they lost receiver Brandon Marshall who really helped open things up for Alshon Jeffrey and Matt Forte. With a new coaching staff comes a new offensive scheme that may take some time to comfortably learn. Also, how many chances can one possibly give Jay Cutler, who is playing on a crippling contract for Chicago (seven years, $126.7 million). The Bears can’t cut him until 2017, when his dead cap money drops down to $2 million and nobody wants Cutler for that money. It’s hard to see the Bears progressing in the next couple of years.
Chicago also has Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to deal with, as well as an improving Vikings team and a Lions team that has a lot more figured out than the Bears do.
The Bears have some talent, but too many obstacles in their quest to a Lombardi trophy.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I will start by saying that Tampa Bay has a few solid pieces and did a decent job in the draft this offseason drafting quarterback Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick. Some experts even say the Buccaneers may go 8-8 this season with a rookie quarterback and an overall unproven team.
The receiving core or Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson will definitely help new quarterback Winston to improve quicker than most rookies, but I do not see them going over .500 this season. I am excited for the future of the Buccaneers and can’t wait to watch their season unfold. Still, when you look at the elite teams of the NFC, it’s hard to see the Bucs really being a powerhouse for quite a while.
6. Oakland Raiders
I am definitely intrigued by the Raiders after the offseason moves and the play of their starters during the preseason. Khalil Mack is going to be a complete beast this season and will more than likely get double digit sacks. The defense looks pretty good.
They added some talented receivers as well in Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper which is going to make life a bit easier for young quarterback Derek Carr.
With that said, the Raiders are still the Raiders and more than likely will not make the playoffs this year and definitely not win the Super Bowl. The future is looking better for them though. It’s just hard to see them getting past teams like the Broncos, Patriots or Ravens.
5. New York Jets
Where do I start?
Before the crazy end to the offseason I was really excited about the Jets with new head coach Todd Bowles and the additions they made to their defense. Adding Cromartie and Revis makes the Jets secondary one of the best in the league.
Unfortunately, they did not improve their offense (minus Brandon Marshall) and to make things worse their starting quarterback Geno Smith was punched in the mouth by now ex-teammate IK Enemkpali, which resulted in a broken jaw for Smith and a 6-10 week recovery period.
Ridiculous… Plus with the Patriots still in their way, as well as improved Buffalo and Miami teams, there is no way this team gets near a Super Bowl any time soon.
4. Tennessee Titans
They could have potentially swapped places with the Buccaneers because both teams are in similar situations this season. Like the Bucs, the Titans have a rookie starting quarterback, a few solid pieces and an overall unproven team.
The biggest intrigue going into this season for the Titans is definitely their rookie quarterback, Marcus Mariota. He is the prototype mobile QB, but who thinks pass first, which is what most teams prefer in the NFL these days and had an excellent career in college. Even if he has a great rookie season, the Titans are nowhere near a Super Bowl. They still lack the elite players at key positions and they have a mountain named Andrew Luck standing in their way in the division. If they get around that mountain, there’s a beast named J.J. Watt waiting for them.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars should be more fun to watch this season than they have been in years. Quarterback Blake Bortles seems to have improved and is growing comfortable with the offense, especially Allen Robinson. The addition of Julius Thomas will be helpful, but not until later in the season because of his injury.
They have a few solid pieces and improved a tiny bit this offseason, but are still very much unproven and inexperienced. At this point they are in pretty much the same boat they were last year since Thomas is injured and they will certainly not make the playoffs this season.
2. Washington Redskins
What an annoying offseason for the Redskins. So many changes, so many steps backwards. This franchise keeps running in circles hoping they will soon wake up from their bad dream and they will be in the playoffs playing Seattle again that faithful day when RG3’s began to take a nosedive, which he’s still trying to stop.
Two and a half years later, here we are discussing the same issues and drama with the Redskins organization. The owner seems to be fairly clueless and the coaching staff is enabled to make poor emotional decisions that are not football decisions.
I do not see anything good from the Redskins this season except maybe some good fantasy numbers from Alfred Morris.
1. Cleveland Browns
This spot could have very easily gone to the Redskins with all the ridiculous drama they have been promoting the last couple of years, but the Browns have more issues going on than drama.
Yes they have a good maybe great defense with a solid secondary, veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby and a stout defensive line. However, the offense has many of the same issues it had last year and many years before that. No real quarterback, young inexperienced running backs, a decent offensive line and no stars on the offense. Who knows if Josh Gordon will ever suit up for them again.
Did I mention their starting quarterback this season could potentially be Johnny Manziel?
The Browns have been notoriously unstable since their return to the NFL, seemingly going through new coaches and starting QBs every year. Unstable means the Super Bowl is nowhere on the horizon. Until the Browns can prove they can keep a coach after a few years, build a quarterback up and stay consistent, they should not be in any discussion involving a Super Bowl.
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