There are lots of teams that fans and analysts are keeping an eye out for based on super bowl potential or for making the playoffs last year. Here I’ve made a list of top teams to look out for, even if they’re not necessarily playoff hopeful, it’s still teams with redeeming potential this year. Big changes can make bigger ripple affects among franchises, and some of those changes can be as little as one player. These are the most interesting teams to watch for the 2017 season:
#5 – Los Angeles Rams.
Jeff Fisher is gone, which means the 7-9 curse is finally lifted. Although they’re probably not playoff hopeful this year, they have a lot to look forward to. They currently rest in arguably the weakest division in the NFC, which could potentially help the Rams gain traction. Jared Goff is officially starting, and we will find out if he’s ready for the task. At least he’ll have some help with Sammy Watkins as a great target to throw to, and Todd Gurley is up in the air on whether he wants to be a booming sleeper or a troubling bust. Considering that defenses will have to focus on eligible receivers rather than stacking the box on Gurley every play, he definitely has potential this year. Not only will we see what the new and improved offense is capable of, but don’t forget about Aaron Donald this year, who was just voted #15 in NFL’s Top 100.
#4 – Miami Dolphins.
After getting a Wild Card slot in the playoffs last year, the Dolphins looked like they could coast under the Patriots once again. That is, until Tannehill tore his ACL and the team looked ready to crash and burn. People believe that’s still immanent by signing Jay Cutler, who hasn’t played a snap since November, but the logic seems sound on their decision. Adam Gase and Cutler have worked together before, and with Jarvis Landry to throw it to, a promising young running back in Jay Ajayi, and a defense that looks in tip top shape, this could be a good year for Miami. Fantasy football players have been eagerly waiting for DeVante Parker to break out, and for a guy who is a deep threat having a quarterback with the arm strength such as Cutler, this could be fate.
#3 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This one seems too easy on the list. Football analysts have been hyping the Bucs for months now, along with being the focus on HBO’s current season of Hard Knocks. With Jaemis Winston leading the charge in his third season, having a healthy Doug Martin back, sharing great chemistry with players such as Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander on an under rated defense, plus picking up DeSean Jackson to compliment Mike Evans on the other side of the field, then fans have every reason to be hype this season. What puts Tampa Bay a tad higher on this list is considering that they’re hungry for the playoffs this year. The Bucs haven’t been in the post season for ten consecutive seasons, and the NFC south has a strange curse where the team who was in first place the year before usually ends up in last place the following year. That’s not good news for the Atlanta Falcons.
#2 – Philadelphia Eagles.
This team might be a big sleeper lost behind the Cowboys and Giants in the NFC Beast. Carsen Wentz is coming into his second year, and looks more precise and confident than his rookie season. The Eagles dropped both the Matthews — Jordan and Ryan — and despite the losses almost look in better shape. This team is young, it’s talented, and it’s loaded on both sides of the field. Eagles acquired Ronald Darby from the Buffalo Bills in that triangle trade, and Darby’s first call to action was to pick off Tyrod Taylor in the preseason. Add Malcolm Jenkins and Derek Barnett to that mix and that’s a pretty deadly defense rising up this year. We’ll all be in anticipation on what Carsen Wentz can do with Alshon Jeffrey to throw it to.
#1 – Kansas City Chiefs.
This team shouldn’t be a surprise on why it’s good. They won their division last year, despite the AFC West being extremely tough and talented, but only because of Derek Carr going down on a key injury on the Raiders. Andy Reid knows it. He also knows that despite a very talented team, he’s not going to a super bowl any time soon with Alex Smith under center. Everyone’s eyes are now on Patrick Mahomes to see if and when he will take over. The Chiefs didn’t trade up in the 2017 draft just to let him sit on the bench for three years. Mahomes has been making some impressive plays during the preseason, and the audience in Arrowhead are waiting to see what he can do with some weapons such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. That’s not even mentioning their all-pro players on defense such as Eric Berry and Justin Houston.