Let me preface this blog by saying that work has been in the way of consistent posting, with the semester starting up again I would like to quote the great Andy Reid in reference to my effort being put into you all reading my articles, “Times Yours.”
Ahead of the regular it is kind of mind numbing to be spoon fed previews of each NFL team. We as fans understand things change. The NFL is a revolving door, and it stands for “Not for long.” I had a hard time wrestling with the notion of trying to go through all 32 teams and tell you what to look forward to for each, and what looks promising as well as what needs to be worked on. What I have decided to do is save you the time. My amateur quasi-expert analysis is better left in my subconscious until I have acquired a little bit more juice in the op-ed blog game. With all of that sad I have decided to write something I like to call “dynasty talk.” Today is the NFL edition and in the near future I will inevitably do the NBA edition. I am going to attempt to break down the potential of 12 teams that I believe will make the playoffs and explain why I believe that team could reign supreme over the league for not only this year but the next few years to come. I welcome any and all criticism as I love meaningful sports dialogue.
- New Orleans Saints
- LA Rams
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Green Bay Packers
- Dallas Cowboys
- Chicago Bears
- New England Patriots
- LA Chargers
- Cleveland Browns
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Houston Texans
In the hunt: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers
“Wait What?” Teams: New York Giants, Oakland Raiders
Nope: Denver Broncos, San Fransisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints- This feels more obvious than anything. The Saints boast an elite quarterback in Drew Brees that is still in his “seasoned veteran” stage and has yet to enter his “everyone lying indiscriminately about his talents” or better referred to as his “E.L.I.” stage. Although they lost Mark Ingram Alvin Kamara seems to be on schedule in quest to continue his strides straight into his prime. That defense is young and has past the point of being sneaky good into just good. If not for a terrible missed call that hasn’t been talked about nearly enough, the Saints are (probably) in the super bowl, and they (probably) make it a bit more entertaining, but to be quite honest the only thing stopping the Saints from doing better than they did in 2019/2020 is their focus on what happened in 2018/2019.
Trajectory: Consistently dominant
Crucial Game(s): Cowboys 9/29
L.A. Rams- The Rams will not be sneaking up on anyone this season. Much to the chagrin of the Seahawks then Rams are now comfortably the best team in the NFC West. The West is one division in the NFL that figures to be the most surprising because for some reason people such as myself have jumped ship on Russel Wilson, and don’t believe Kyler Murray or Jimmy G can get it done. The Rams roll out an NBA style big three with Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Aaron Donald. They are solid at just about every position on the field however so the Rams could be an obvious playoff pick for years to come.
Trajectory: Slow Start, Hot Finish
Crucial Game(s): Seahawks games
Philadelphia Eagles- As I remain unbiased and objective I will say the Eagles are in a weird spot. 2017 created a lot of hype. That was two years ago, and for Carson Wentz that was two season ending injuries ago. The Eagles wreak of looming disappointment but the amount of talent they have on that roster would suggest otherwise. As an Eagles fan I am very cautiously excited for the 2019/2020 campaign and beyond. At quarterback the birds are young and talented, at running back with Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard they show promise, the wide receivers according to several outlets may be the best core in the NFL, and the offensive line has been consistently top 5. The defense is what it is, they show up and they have been bend don’t break as long as Philly has been relevant. The key for the Eagles is not getting complacent. If they play disrespected, pissed off, and with a chip like 2017 they’ll go 13-3, 12-4 for this year and beyond. My fear is between the new contract, clothing lines, and hip hop albums coming from that locker room the birds may find themselves distracted. Regardless this may be one of the most talented offenses in the NFL coupled with a good enough defense and that is enough for a top 6 spot most years.
Trajectory: Rollercoaster, wins where needed
Crucial Game(s): Cowboys games/ Seahawks 11/24
Green Bay Packers- Healthy Aaron Rodgers to healthy Devante Adams. If that doesn’t work then I am honestly not quite sure, however if it does that’s really all the pack need for a run. A-A- Ron is that good (when healthy)
Trajectory: Hot start, average finish
Crucial Game(s): Vikings games/ Bears Games/ Panthers 11/10
Dallas Cowboys- As I remain unbiased and objective I will say (screw Dallas) the Cowboys have a big three (maybe) again. Way back in the 90’s the Cowboys had a big three and we saw the results (well we read about them in old history text books). Cooper, Prescott, and Elliot are really all the boys need to carry them to the playoffs but for Dallas fans far and wide the good news is; fortunately that’s not all they have. The Cowboys have probably the best linebacking core in the NFL with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch (check that spelling) leading the way, and three things in life are promised; death, taxes, and a solid Cowboys front 5. If the distractions much like fog clear the path ahead for the Cowboys and Jason Garret gets out of his talented teams way, the insufferable team self proclaimed to America will be very hard to beat if Jerry closes his mouth and opens his wallet. Excuse me while I throw up.
Trajectory: Slow start, strong finish
Crucial Game(s): Eagles games/ Rams 12/15
Chicago Bears- We do not know just yet what to make of the Bears offense. Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are promising tempting players that can go either way. Tarik Cohen is a human joystick with Darren Sproles energy, and David Montgomery went viral in training camp and we have not stopped talking about him since. The O-line is pretty solid, but not a household discussion like the Cowboys, Eagles, or Rams, and the guy under-center makes for a great water cooler debate. Is Mitch Trubisky good, bad, or average. Personally I think he’s good, with potential to be, really good, but I do see the bad sometimes which sets him at a perfect average. The offense is young and promising and next to an elite defense that can be the best thing to have. The reason there is such a debate around Trubisky is because he has never really had to take a game into his own hands. His defense can do that for him. Which for a team to win is just fine by any staff or fan base. The Bears will be really good for the next few years as long as they do not take themselves too seriously or get out of character like the Eagles did in 2018 (9-7). Be that team that everyone is fine over looking before you wake up on championship Sunday and their playing the team everyone knew would be there.
Trajectory: Average throughout
Crucial Game(s): Vikings/Packers games
New England Patriots- You all pretty much get it I wont waste time. All I will say is having Josh Gordon, N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, and Demaryius Thomas gives me 2007 vibes. I do not like 2007 vibes. Funny thing is the Pats have been good since before 2007 which was 12 years ago. 12 years ago I was preparing for middle school, now I have a day job and anxiety, and the Patriots are still good.
Crucial Game(s): Chiefs 12/8
L.A. Chargers- Football is all the way back in L.A. and outside of the Eagles winning it all I would not mind seeing an all L.A. Super Bowl. The Chargers have always been that team that is good, but for some reason (probably lack of talent around Daddy Rivers) was never that good. Well now, here they are. Keenan Allen is healthy and elite, forget underrated he’s top 8 if people do not see it then football isn’t their thing. They have dawgs behind him like Mike Williams. If the bolts figure out Melvin Gordon that offense is pretty much up there with the top 5. The defense is going to go from sneaky good to solid this year. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram might be the best opposite rushers in the NFL, and outside of the Derwin James loss every where else is either serviceable or solid.
Trajectory: Solid season throughout
Crucial Game(s): Chiefs Games
Cleveland Browns- The Browns give me Golden State Warriors vibes (hear me out). They are that team we love, before they get too good and we hate them. At the same time they give me *Vince Young voice* “Dream Team” vibes where their team is pretty much like throwing Travis Scott, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, and Beyonce on the same song and expecting it to be good, but alas it is not. However the Browns intrigue me not because of their offense’s boisterous core. The Browns intrigue me because of the loquacious skill players making headlines, people have forgotten about a very, very solid defense. Top to bottom that defense has studs, and their additions weren’t small either, all of those things headlined by Myles Garret could end up being the real reason this team competes for playoff spots in the future. I can see the Sunday NFL Countdown feature story now revealing them as the real reason the Browns are on an 8 game win streak.
Trajectory: Slow start, Hot finish
Crucial Game(s): Every game, no room for error.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Let’s be honest, this spot was reserved for the Colts, then for the Texans, but now by default goes to the Jags. If that defense can do more than last year, and half of what 2017 was they’ll be good enough to piggy back off of an average offense. Truth is the winner of the AFC South will probably be 9-7 and with the Texans losing their running game, and the Colts losing their pride and joy, that leaves the Jags who have a capable running back and also have the only Super Bowl MVP from the 2012 Draft class and playoff wizard Nick Foles. Do I believe that the Jags will compete for years to come? No, No I do not, but if the Colts squalor in mediocracy with Jacoby Brissett and miss out on the Herberts, Tuas, or even Trevor Lawrences of the world, and the Texans remain on par with their under-achieve, then make up for it, then lose in the playoffs routine, the new kings of the division could end up being the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trajectory: Average throughout
Crucial Game(s): Houston Texans games
Kansas City Chiefs- Losing Kareem Hunt was a tough blow, and another back burner reason the browns are going to be pretty good. For the chiefs it’s chance to make a testament to their offensive system and depth at the position. They have the best quarterback in the NFL in Pat Mahomes, and their defense with the addition of Frank Clark has improved enough to perhaps at the very least stay onside before you make a game winning interception to send you to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs will be the Chiefs for years to come. Coach: Elite Offense: Elite Defense: Good enough. That 5 seed is just because I think the Chargers will hit a run and win the division this year.
Trajectory: Shaky start, Solid finish
Crucial Game(s): Patriots 12/8
Houston Texans- The Texans may not win the AFC South but there are enough self deprecating teams in the AFC to at least get them into the playoffs. Should the Clowney deal be resolved, and the defense play like it usually does the Texans could end up in the playoffs just by the grace of being in the right place at the right time. They have the best Wide out in the league which, OBJ will tell you only means something when the whole team is good, and they have a solid young quarterback. Personally I believe the loss of Lamar Miller creates a huge hole that could be the difference in the division, so they should look to add a guy to help out Duke Johnson, but if they do not do that I can see the Texans backing into the playoffs anyway. It really all depends on the Ravens and Jets.
Trajectory: slow start, race to the finish
Crucial Game(s): Jags games/Colts games
Why they’re In the hunt:
Baltimore Ravens- That offense is going to be must see tv, and they added studs to the already #1 ranked defensive unit. Did I make a mistake? We’ll see the Ravens are always right there, but this year I do believe they might get some bad breaks in the turnover department since Lamar Jackson is officially #OnFilm
Indianapolis Colts- They #RanOutOfLuck in the QB department, but they still have a really good young core, if Jacoby Brissett could be the QB Tom Brady ran out of town they could sneak into the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings- The NFC North is the most competitive division in the NFC when everyones healthy, the Lions don’t count, but the Bears Packers Vikings race is going to be one for the ages, I think they’ll actually make the playoffs, but for click bait purposes I talked about the bears more in depth. If it isn’t the eagles then the Vikings have the best WR core in the NFL, and Dalvin cook got these boys #ShookDaddy in the preseason which is scary, they’ll probably end up between 10-6 and 12-4 if Kirk doesn’t stink it up too much, but for now they’re in the hunt.
Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton and Run CMC can carry this team to the playoffs if the Bears, Cowboys, Packers, or Eagles decide to #ChokeItUp.
New York Jets- Sam Darnold is either going to #JumpOrSlump if he jumps it may be wraps for other wild card teams.
Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons are the epitome of #TheyShouldBeBetterRight? based off that premise alone, solid linebacker, DE and DB play, and the second best if not best WR in the NFL, a good running back and semi elite-we aren’t really sure honestly- quarterback the Falcons should compete, but for some reason ever since the Patriots emasculated that coaching staff on the worlds biggest stage the Falcons have lost their juice.
Seattle Seahawks- Same as the Falcons with a sprinkle of Russel Wilson. Bobby Wagner is the most underrated 99 rating in Madden probably ever, and the Seahawks are the most #Disrespected team in the NFL, but also I get it. They will probably have to rely on a choke job from other teams in order to get in.
Pittsburgh Steelers- If you ask a non Jaguar fan they’ll tell you Big Ben is still good. Which, I think he is. If not, Ju-Ju and James Conner will bail him out. I do not think thats enough Mike Tomlin might get exposed, everyone says not to count the Steelers out so I won’t, but behind closed doors, their going in the book as #Done for me.
“Wait What?” Teams, No Seriously Hear Me Out:
New York Giants- They play in the most unpredictable division in the NFL, have the best (yeah I said it) running back in the league, and ALL they need to do is win the division. The same divison that has not had a back to back champion since the birds in ’03 and ’04. The champ changes hands every year, and the Redskins are not it, the Cowboys might not have their best player, and the Eagles are more wishy washy than your girlfriend trying to decide where to eat. All I’m saying is what if Gettlemen was right and the locker room was fractured thus causing poor play. What if it genuinely just needs to be Eli’s world. W H A T I F.
Oakland Raiders- Wouldn’t it be hilariously poetic for the Raiders to come out of no where and end up good. They have the talent, if you look at it closely; improved O-line, added AB who will wear a helmet, drafted Josh Jacobs along with 2 other first rounders on defense, and have Derek Carr that to me screams N I N E A N D S E V E N.
Nope: Denver Broncos, San Fransisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals