Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)
Guys, before you get mad, make sure you read my optimism article from yesterday. I do not hate your team. But, every season there is bound to be a dissapointing result or two. Whether it’s injuries, youth, poor coaching, or black magic wizardry, teams sometimes find a way to underachieve. If your team does underachieve in 2018, these could be the reasons why.
Arizona Cardinals – Mike Glennon Could Be Starting By Week 5
Josh Rosen was a brittle player in college; that was my only issue with him as a prospect. Sam Bradford… well… do I even need to say it? I just can’t see Mike Glennon leading a team to the playoffs, and there’s a decent chance he sees significant playing time this season.
Seattle Seahawks – Somehow, They Still Have A Garbage O-Line
How long can Russell Wilson run around for dear life before this team implodes?
San Francisco 49ers – Maybe Last Year Was A Fluke?
Now that coaches have more tape on Jimmy, will he regress? Will they struggle to beat teams with more established veterans? It’s certainly possible.
Los Angeles Rams – So Many Egos In The Locker Room
Sometimes, super teams in the NFL end up fizzling out. Could the egos in the locker room overwhelm the young head coach?
Chicago Bears – Is Mitch Trubisky Any Good?
I think Trubisky is the next Alex Smith, which is a compliment. But maybe he’s not. Maybe he really is just not talented enough to win big games in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers – The Defense Could Be A Mess
I like this young secondary a lot, but the key word there is YOUNG. If these guys have trouble adjusting early, quarterbacks could shred this secondary on a weekly basis. But then again, that guy throwing for the Packers isn’t half bad.
Detroit Lions – They’re The Lions…
Seriously. I like this roster. I like Matt Stafford. I think Matt Patricia is brilliant. But… the Lions are still the Lions. Maybe it’ll be injuries. Maybe it’ll be a bunch of ridiculous 3 point losses. They could find a way to crush their fans.
Minnesota Vikings – A Brutal Schedule Could Leave Them On The Outside Looking In
They have 6 tough division games. Eagles on the road. Saints at home. Patriots on the road. Rams on the road. 49ers at home. Heck, the Jets on the road could be a tough one. This schedule is no fun.
Philadelphia Eagles – Will They Suffer A Super Bowl Hangover?
Probably not, this team has a backup front 7 that would outplay most team’s starters…
Dallas Cowboys – Have You Seen Their Receiving Corps?
It’s not very good. I don’t think that’ll be a huge issue, but if the Cowboys are down early, they’ll need to depend on these guys.
New York Giants – The Offensive Line Is Still Pretty Bad
And Eli Manning isn’t exactly a mobile quarterback. Did I mention that the NFC East is loaded with pass rushers?
Washington Redskins – This Team Just Feels Vanilla
I like the roster. But they just don’t feel as deep as the Eagles or the Cowboys. The Giants have more starpower as well. The Redskins are a good football team, maybe we’re all sleeping on them?
New Orleans Saints – A Couple Of Injuries Could Derail Them
Marshon Lattimore could be the best cornerback in the league next season. He could also end up missing time, history would suggest it’s possible. This team has an awesome starting lineup, but depth is a concern. If Michael Thomas goes down, Alvin Kamara ends up being their top receiving threat. The offensive line is an injury or two away from being disastrous again. I have faith in Drew Brees, but if luck goes against them, this could be a rough division.
Atlanta Falcons – Their Division Is Really Tough
The Panthers and Saints are both loaded. Though I doubt it, it’s somewhat possible that Atlanta goes 0-4 against them. Add that to an already tough schedule that includes the NFC East, and the Falcons could end up being a “shoulda” team instead of an actual contender.
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton Is Too Inconsistent
Sorry Panthers fans, but it’s true. In general, the organization has done a solid job of providing Cam with talent, especially on the offensive line. The defense has been pretty loaded. Yet the results continue to fluctuate. 7-8-1 one year, 15-1 the next. 6-10 the following year, 11-5 the next. Yes, Cam missed a few games, but he’s been healthy overall. Are the Panthers due for one of their 6-7 win seasons?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – This Roster is Full Of Question Marks
Is Jameis Winston actually a franchise QB? Or is it a case of “Talented, but he can’t figure it out”. The offensive line has a lot of youth, which could be problematic. The defense was atrocious last season, and while they’ve made some additions, there’s no reason to think it’ll suddenly skyrocket into the top 10.
Los Angeles Chargers – They’re The Chargers
Read the title. This is a team that once lead the league in offense and defense, and then they still missed the playoffs. Will it be injuries? Will it be kicking woes? How will the Chargers find a way to tear out their fans hearts this season? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Denver Broncos – Case Keenum Is Still Case Keenum
Did you see him in the NFC Championship game? He looked shook. He doesn’t perform well under pressure it appears. Do the Broncos have enough on offense to alleviate the pressure? I don’t know if their as talented as Minnesota was. I do know that they aren’t as well coached.
Oakland Raiders – Jon Gruden Could Run This Team Into The Ground
He could be great. But it’s been 10 years since he coached, and he appears to be in a mindset of “my way or the highway”. The old school mentality sounds good, but will this team end up falling behind?
Kansas City Chiefs – Maybe… Just Maybe I’m Too High On Mahomes
I can’t believe I admitted it, but it’s true. He could end up making too many mistakes, especially against a very tough schedule.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Their Division Is Actually Good Now
The Browns actually have a roster of football players now. They could easily steal one from Pittsburgh. Baltimore is poised to be better on offense, especially if Joe Flacco is motivated by Lamar Jackson. Cincinnati has an abundance of young talent on defense, and the offense has a solid arsenal of skill position players. Pittsburgh is still king, but there will be fewer easy wins in the AFC North.
Cleveland Browns – Do I Even Need To Say Anything?
They’ve gone 1-31 over the past two seasons. I like this roster a LOT, but we know they’re capable of having a let down year.
Baltimore Ravens – The Offense Is Full Of Question Marks
How will Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead fit in this new system? Is the offensive line any good? Is Alex Collins legit? Will Joe Flacco actually get his act together? The answer to all of those questions could be yes. They could also all be a resounding no. It will definitely be interesting.
Cincinnati Bengals – Andy Dalton Is Falling Further Down The List of QBs
Bengals fans, be honest. If you could replace Andy Dalton (for one season) with the following QBs, would you? There’s the “obvious” ones; Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Big Ben, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, Derek Carr. Then there’s the “probably”; Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Jimmy G, Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Marcus Mariota. Then there’s the “by the end of the year, probably”; Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Patrick Mahomes. Then there’s the “well, maybe”; Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum. So… he’s better than Blake Bortles and whoever Buffalo is going to trot out? By the way, I think Andy Dalton is fine, this is more of a statement about how much QB play is going to improve soon.
New York Jets – Do They Have Elite Players?
As good as Sam Darnold is, who else can be considered a star on this team? Especially the offense? Jamal Williams and Leonard Williams have the potential. And I’m actually a big fan of Robby Anderson. But… this roster is still below average compared to the rest of the league.
Buffalo Bills – Have You Seen The Quarterback Competition?
Josh Allen might be a stud in the future. But right now, I’m not sure. The offensive line looks to be below average and their receiving corps is a mess. Lesean McCoy is no spring chicken either. I don’t trust a raw Josh Allen, AJ McCarron, or Nathan Peterman to lead this roster to the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins – This Is The Unseasoned, Boiled Chicken of Football Teams
They could easily win 9 or 10 games and make the playoffs. But that’s really their ceiling. I’m tired of the Ryan Tannehill project. Kenyan Drake is a fun player, but he isn’t enough to make me think “This team could contend”. I like Devante Parker, and I think Minkah Fitzpatrick is going to be a star. But… right now, this team is just mostly uninteresting to me. I don’t see championship potential.
New England Patriots – Please?
Indianapolis Colts – This Roster Is Still Average At Best
Which is still better than anything Andrew Luck has dealt with in the past. But the defense could be troublesome, and the offense is young and volatile.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Their Division Got A Whole Lot Better
Deshaun Watson could actually play for the whole season. Andrew Luck is back. The Titans added talent to their already balanced roster. The Jaguars will have a much tougher schedule. Can Blake Bortles keep up with Luck, Watson, and Mariota?
Houston Texans – Injuries, Injuries, And More Injuries
JJ Watt is injury prone. Deshaun Watson is injury prone. Deandre Hopkins isn’t necessarily injury prone, but his playstyle can lead to knee issues. Tyrann Mathieu is injury prone. This whole team is injury prone.
Tennessee Titans – Will This Offense Finally Reach Its Potential?
Last year, the Titans had a great offensive line and a very underrated defense. They made the playoffs, but it didn’t feel like an exciting team. This new coaching staff should benefit the Titans greatly, but what if it turns out that Mariota just isn’t that great? I think they’ll be fine, but it’s something to consider.