Early season predictions on the worst teams in the NFL

For a good portion of the decade, there has been lousy football coming from the same three teams. The Cleveland Browns (0-16) had their last win in the 2016 season with Johnny Manziel as their quarterback. That feels like a lifetime ago already. The Chicago Bears (5-11) have notoriously been a two or three win team ever since losing the NFC Championship in 2010. Then comes the San Francisco 49ers (6-10) who has had a roller coaster ride all decade. Ever since losing head coach Jim Harbaugh the 49ers’ wins have been lacking.

The Bears and 49ers have already reached out of bottom feeder status as of last season. It’s no coincidence that acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitch Trubisky have helped tremendously. All three of these teams are currently heading in the right direction. The biggest question mark lies on the Cleveland Browns, coming from zero wins last year. Cleveland possibly has the most impressive roster we’ve seen in a very long time. Even four wins from the Browns would be considered a successful season at this point. With these teams currently on the rise to success, there can only be three new teams to take their place. What new franchise will take the dishonor of being the new bottom feeder?

1. Cincinnati Bengals

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Only one thing prevented the Cincinnati Bengals from being the worst team in their division last year: the luxury of sharing the division with Cleveland. Last season definitely exposed some holes in Cincinnati’s arsenal. The Bengals missed every opportunity to pick up any top rated free agents to patch any of those holes. Most teams are becoming a running back by committee, and the Bengals have the same mentality. Between Jeremy Hill, Giovanni Bernard, and Joe Mixon they’re not sure which RB to use. The answer seems obvious: go with Mixon. There should be no doubt that Joe Mixon will eventually become a great running back. It will take longer to see results when he’s only allowed eight carries a game.

 

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tampa Bay has some pretty great weapons on their team. Mike Evans has always been a top wide receiver each year. Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander have been crucial pieces that can provide help on any team in the NFL. Jameis Winston has proven himself as a good franchise quarterback. He has the unfortunate circumstance of sharing the same division with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan. Winston is young and has plenty of time to hone in his talents. Despite all the pro-bowlers on the roster, the Bucs still have not been able to click into gear. Perhaps the blame should fall on the coaching staff. Tampa Bay is high on their first-round pick Vita Vey, a defensive tackle from Washington. Vey has high regards but still doesn’t fix their running back problem after releasing Doug Martin.

3. Miami Dolphins

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The Miami Dolphins have lingered on the border of bottom feeders for quite some time. Ryan Tannehill will be returning from his ACL injury this upcoming season. The Dolphins continue to believe in Tannehill being their starting QB, despite Adam Gase not achieving much success with him. Tannehill has fewer weapons to work with since Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry are no longer on the team. Minkah Fitzpatrick was a great first-round choice in the draft. Even the DB from Alabama won’t be able the save the problems Miami will face in the near future. Miami has a window of opportunity to build once Tom Brady retires from the Patriots. The competition will be severe as the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are doing the exact same thing. With the Dolphins allowing their best players to be traded, there is a high probability that they could be the worst team in the NFL this coming season.

Top 5 Teams To Look Out For in 2017

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.