As always, the NFL offseason has been filled with trades, big free agent signings, the drafting of talented players, etc. For the 2017 season, here are some teams that may be on the rise or fall for the upcoming campaign.
Teams with best chance to improve:
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are still not done rebuilding, but they looked to have a promising season in 2016. Quarterback Carson Wentz looks to have a lot of potential, and the franchise even acquired free agent superstars in both Alshon Jeffrey and LeGarrete Blount this past summer. While both could play a huge role in the offense this upcoming season, Wetnz now has the ability to utilize more favorable weapons to his advantage. This is a team that finished 7-9 last year, but I’m predicting for them to move up to 9-7 in the upcoming campaign.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns had a horrendous 2016, only winning one game through the entire regular season. On the other hand, when you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can go is up, right? With young players such as Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, and Corey Coleman still on the roster, the Brown do have a handful of offensive weapons in order to put points on the board. I would expect for the Browns to win a few more games than last year, which will more than likely be around a total of three.
Arizona Cardinals: This team was projected to become a Super Bowl contender in 2016, but their whole team essentially fell off a cliff. Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer became prone to giving up turnovers, and wide receiver Michael Floyd ended up getting in trouble with the law, which later on resulted in his release. However, the Cardinals should have an improved year with all the talent they have on their roster. The pieces are in place for this franchise to succeed, as I have them finishing the season with a record of 10-6.
Teams who are most likely to decline:
New York Giants: The Giants had a solid season last year, finishing the regular season with a record of 11-5. On top of that, the franchise even won two games against their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. However, teams within the NFC East have been inconsistent throughout the years, and while I still think they have the potential to make playoffs, their defense may let some fans down. I still have the Giants finishing with a winning record, but I wouldn’t call them contenders quite yet.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins had a pretty solid season last year, finishing with a record of 10-6, despite starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill being sidelined with an injury to end the season. In recent news, Tannehill went down with another serious knee injury, and is confirmed to sit out for the upcoming season. The Dolphins went ahead and replaced him with recently-retired quarterback Jay Cutler, who has the reputation to be wildly inconsistent, and is known for bringing a negative culture to the locker room. While I’m a fan of the pieces the Dolphins contain on both sides of the ball, I don’t see them finishing above 8-8.
Buffalo Bills: While the Bills do contain above-average weapons such as LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor, the franchise did go out and trade away star receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams. While they received a few key pieces in return, the Bills are appearing to enter a rebuild stage at this time. It has become unclear on whether Buffalo is going to tank the upcoming season, but if so, they shouldn’t finish with a record above 6-10.
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