I did an article called “Why Your Favorite Team Will Struggle This Year” where I basically trashed all 32 teams, some a little more harshly than others, and I inadvertently hurt my friend’s feelings, so now I’m gonna flip the script and do the opposite. It’s finally July. Fireworks, beach towels, and 32 optimistic fanbases. Every single NFL team has signed, traded for, or drafted players they believe will make the franchise better. Whatever held them back from winning in 2018 is finally gone, and now they’re primed to make a run at a Super Bowl.
And while there will ultimately be 31 losers, one franchise will end this season hoisting the Lombardi. At this point last year, nobody was high on the Indianapolis Colts, and they ended up being one of the better teams in the NFL. You never know what small off-season change can transform the future of a franchise. Here’s why you’re right to be excited about your favorite team this year.
Why Your Favorite Team Will Succeed This Year (2019 Edition)
A lot has been made about the departures on defense, but I really don’t think fans of the Baltimore Ravens have anything to worry about when it comes to their defense. Just look at the history of this franchise, as far as departing free agents and their success elsewhere. Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Jarret Johnson, Timmy Jernigan, Adalius Thomas, Haloti Ngata, and, I hate to say it, but even Ed Reed played so well for Baltimore that the team couldn’t afford them anymore and then flopped on their next squad.
The Ravens might’ve lost Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and C.J. Mosley this off-season, but I don’t think their absence will be as felt as you might believe. Not only does a healthy Earl Thomas give the Ravens arguably the best secondary in the NFL, but I bet that front seven will put up better numbers than you think.
As for the offense, there are reasonable doubts about Lamar Jackson’s ability to become a passing quarterback, but if we’re being honest? The Baltimore Ravens have been around for about twenty years, and they have almost twice as many playoff wins (15) as losing seasons (seven), and they’ve never sniffed a Hall of Fame quarterback so they’ll be fine either way.
Have you ever worked a brutal shift at your job? We’re talking a twelve hour shift that was supposed to be an eight hour shift and then someone didn’t show up so you didn’t even get a lunch break? That’s been the last 16 years of Cincinnati Bengals football. Here in 2019, the inevitable finally happened and the Bengals moved on from Marvin Lewis.
Lewis was never a really bad coach, but he was never a good coach either. And nobody should be allowed to coach a team for nearly twenty years without winning a single playoff game. Some coaches get fired for not winning a championship over a span much smaller than that.
Zac Taylor is but the latest in a new trend of former back-up quarterbacks becoming head coaches, and if he’s anywhere near as good as the other ones, the Bengals have a lot to be excited about.
Do you really need me to hype you up? The Browns are going to be a blast to watch this year, even if there are difficulties. Let me just run off some names, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Myles Garrett, and Denzel Ward. All of those players are on your favorite team AT THE SAME TIME! Just as the rest of your division has taken a step back this off-season, you went out and loaded up. This is easily the most exciting time to be a Browns fan since Otto Graham was under center.
It’s easy to be negative about the black and yellow right now, and a lot of people are taking every opportunity to do so. But I think it’s a little premature. Since the turn of the millennium, the Steelers have more Super Bowl appearances (three) than losing seasons (one), and haven’t been worse than .500 since 2003. Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 125-66-1, giving him a win percentage of .654%, the 15th best in NFL history, and easily the best of any Steelers head coach.
Sure, they lost Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but if we’re being honest, they didn’t have Bell last season anyway and James Conner played well, plus the Steelers have JuJu Smith-Schuster. It’s not often that a team loses two All-Pro players and already has Pro Bowl caliber players on the roster.
The Steelers will be just fine, folks, there’s a reason the Rooney family has never fired a head coach.
This team might have some general managerial issues right now, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer amount of talent on the roster. I’m sold on Deshaun Watson behind even the most mediocre of functional offensive lines, let alone Deshaun Watson throwing to DeAndre Hopkins. This team didn’t accidentally win the AFC South last year, and they’ll be even better in 2019. Not to mention, that J.J. Watt guy isn’t half-bad.
Last season, the Colts started off 1-5 and ended up winning nine of their last ten before wiping the floor with the Houston Texans in the wildcard round, winning 21-7. And then they had a really strong off-season where without destroying their salary cap, rounded out the roster while adding good pieces in the draft like Parris Campbell and Rock-Ya Sin. The Colts might just be the best team in the entire AFC.
People forget this, but the Jacksonville Jaguars were still contenders in the AFC a quarter of the 2018 season. They beat the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots 31-20 and were high on many, many power rankings. Really terrible quarterback play buried this team and now they have Nick Foles, who is at the very least, better than Blake Bortles.
The Tennessee Titans finally have a back-up that can actually help support the team if Marcus Mariota gets hurt during the season in Ryan Tannehill, and it might be enough to get them over the 9-7 purgatory where they’ve been stuck for the last three seasons. Not to mention, Derrick Henry averaged over 150 yards and two rushing touchdowns a game over the final quarter of last season, which can only bode well for the future of the franchise.
For what it’s worth, I really like Sean McDermott as a head coach. I think he really gets it, and his issue has been a lackluster roster. Adding Ed Oliver to an impressive defense was a stroke of genius and Bills fans are going to love watching him ruin quarterbacks up the middle. As for Josh Allen, up is the only option and the Bills did go out and give him a couple weapons to work with, like John Brown and Cole Beasley.
Nobody really knows what Josh Rosen is going to turn into in the NFL, but I don’t think he’s as bad as what we saw in Arizona last year. The Cardinals were the worst team in the NFL, dealing with injuries on a roster that was already lacking talent and frankly, was poorly coached. Nobody could’ve succeeded there. Now he gets a fresh start and the Dolphins may have gotten a franchise quarterback at a bargain.
New England Patriots
Do you really need someone to explain to you why your team will be good this year? Fine, here’s a link to a list of New England Patriots seasons, just scroll down to 2001.
New York Jets
This is probably the best New York Jets team we’ve seen in quite some time. Sam Darnold is back in year two with an improved offensive line and Le’Veon Bell, meanwhile the defense features Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley, Trumaine Johnson, and Jamal Adams. Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger, and there has to be a changing of the guard in the AFC East eventually.
If Case Keenum had the slightest concept of how to play quarterback, the Broncos would’ve been a much better team than they ended up being in 2018. Phillip Lindsay emerged as a star tailback, Emmanuel Sanders has still got it, and the tandem of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb made quarterbacks miserable.
The additions of head coach Vic Fangio and quarterback Joe Flacco instantly raise Denver’s floor from AFC basement dwellers to potential playoff team, and if things don’t work out, they grabbed Drew Lock, a first round talent, with a second round pick. I’d be surprised if this team wasn’t considerably better in 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs
There’s a lot to be excited about regarding Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes is back (albeit as the Madden cover boy), it looks like Tyreek Hill won’t face a serious suspension, if he’s suspended at all, and Travis Kelce finally has a shot at being the NFL’s best tight end. Not to mention, the Chiefs fired Bob Sutton and traded for Frank Clark to help Chris Jones rush opposing passers. If they’re half as good on offense as they were last year, and even remotely better on defense, the Chiefs will be a force to be reckoned with.
Los Angeles Chargers
For once, we’re halfway through July and the Chargers don’t have any devastating injuries. There are rumors surrounding a potential Melvin Gordon hold-out, but that’s nothing a contract can’t fix. Philip Rivers is still doing his thing, Gordon is a monster, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are both healthy, and beyond the likes of Joey Bosa wreaking havoc, quarterbacks everywhere should fear the safety tandem of Nasir Adderly and Derwin James.
While I still have doubts about Oakland’s success this year, there’s no question the team has made dramatic improvements across the board. All three of the team’s first round picks are reliable, high-character guys that should make an immediate impact, plus Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow are rookies that could help early, and they picked up some really good pieces in free agency. Tyrell Williams gives Derek Carr the big, fast weapon that Martavis Bryant was supposed to be, Trent Brown is a dramatic improvement over Brandon Parker, and that Antonio Brown guy is gonna be a blast to watch. This off-season was about giving Derek Carr help and the team did a pretty good job of that.
Khalil Mack is going to win defensive player of the year this season. How do I know that? Because A. he’s one of the best players in the league (peep the 99 overall Madden rating), and B. he gets to play against his former team in London this season. The Raiders never play well in London, and Mack will likely end up against a Tom Cable coached Kolton Miller, so he’s going to shatter Derrick Thomas’ sack record by killing his 2014 draftmate. Huh, passing Derrick by sacking Derek, how funny.
I think T.J. Hockenson might end up being one of the best players from this draft class. The Rob Gronkowski comparisons weren’t jokes, this guy can ball. Matthew Stafford played a chunk of last season with a broken back, and now that he’s healthy, the Lions are primed to make their biggest run at the post-season since Calvin Johnson retired.
Green Bay Packers
Regardless of who was right or wrong in the saga of Aaron Rodgers vs. Mike McCarthy, a change in coaching staff can only mean good things for the Green Bay Packers. A broken locker room will hinder a team’s chances and now in 2019, Aaron Rodgers has a chance to return to the best quarterback in football conversation.
I honestly don’t understand how the Minnesota Vikings can be bad. This roster is so stacked from top to bottom, and when everyone’s healthy? They’ll be a dangerous unit. People forget that the Vikings were close to the post-season last year before they had to face the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on the road in back-to-back weeks.
Last year, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones put up monster numbers, but it didn’t matter because seemingly all of Atlanta’s defense ended up on IR. Now they’re healthy, and not only that, their back-ups have real-game experience. Don’t be surprised if the Falcons make a serious run at the division title.
Have y’all seen that picture of how jacked rightful offensive player of the year candidate Christian McCaffrey has gotten? If he’s put on that kind of size without sacrificing any of his elite quickness, he could be the best player in fantasy football and real life, especially if Cam Newton’s injuries stick around longer than anticipated.
New Orleans Saints
C’mon, I shouldn’t have to tell you why your team is going to be great this year, it should be obvious. In back-to-back seasons, your season was ended by fluke nonsense. They should’ve beaten the Vikings two years ago and they should’ve beaten the Rams last season. Surely this is the year that Drew Brees gets a shot at his second Lombardi.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians’ arrival in Tampa Bay can only mean good things. Jameis Winston isn’t as bad as people think he is, and with a quarterback guru like Arians holding the clipboard, things can only get better. Not to mention, Devin White is a machine and he’s going to make life impossible for opposing tailbacks.
The Dallas Cowboys have arguably their most talented team in recent memory heading into 2019 with a suitable quarterback in Dak Prescott, an elite runningback in Ezekiel Elliott, a reliable target in Amari Cooper, a returning Jason Witten, and the NFL’s best front seven on defense. If the Cowboys aren’t favorites to take home the division, they should be.
New York Giants
Saquon Barkley is really, really, really good. The only reason I hesitate to call him the best tailback in the NFL is because he’s only played one year. Also Daniel Jones can’t be worse than JaMarcus Russell was.
I know that a lot of Eagles fans were sad to see Nick Foles go this off-season, but I don’t think they understand the scope of Carson Wentz’s injuries. He never really got healthy before last season started and then he was just stumbling through the year. He still played pretty well, but it was obvious his injuries were holding him back. He’s healthy now, just got paid the big bucks, and has a big play weapon in a familiar face for Philly fanatics, DeSean Jackson.
I really loved Washington’s off-season. They drafted a good quarterback prospect in Dwayne Haskins, found a cheap stopgap in Case Keenum, and then added pieces like Montez Sweat and Landon Collins on defense. This team was actually competitive in the NFC East last season before Alex Smith’s unfortunate injury. I don’t know if they’ll win the division but I think they’ll be better than people expect them to be.
I think that at the very least, the Arizona Cardinals will be a trendy pick on Madden this year. The athletically gifted Kyler Murray with more receivers than he could conceivably use at once will be a blast on the digital gridiron, and if Kliff Kingsbury has anything to say about it, in real life as well.
Los Angeles Rams
One bad Super Bowl performance doesn’t mark the death of a franchise. Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos were humiliated by the Seattle Seahawks but that wasn’t the end of their journey. Jared Goff will only get better, hopefully Todd Gurley is healthy, and Aaron Donald is trying to become the first player in NFL history to win defensive player of the year in three consecutive years.
San Francisco 49ers
This is the season that the 49er faithful have been waiting for all this time. Finally, Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, the squad has some pieces, and assuming he can stay healthy, they have the favorite for defensive rookie of the year on the roster in Nick Bosa. The 49ers were able to compete with much better teams last year despite being riddled with injuries, so we’ll finally get to see what a healthy Gameday Garoppolo will do.
Honestly the best thing about the Seattle Seahawks is that they’re unpredictable. The hype machine hasn’t been running very hot for the beasts of the NFC West for several years, and they always seem to start slow, but then as the fall turns to winter, the team just gets hot. Praise coaching or talent or whatever you’d like, but the Hawks have had a winning season every year since 2011, and I bet D.K. Metcalf ends up being a big-play machine for Russell Wilson.