Eight days until the first game of the NFL year, sort of. On August 8th, the Hall of Fame game will kick off a new year of football. A new year of hopes and dreams. A new year of 32 franchises thinking they have a chance of going all the way to hoist up the Lombardi trophy. There is nothing close to a perfect team this year. In fact, this might be one of the most wide open years in recent NFL history. By my watch there are at least eight teams that could claim the trophy this year.
However, 31 of them will not. Today you will find out why your favorite NFL team will fall short of winning the Super Bowl in something I will call, your team is no good. We shall begin with the local-ish teams and move on out from there.
Sorry Minnesota Vikings fans, you don't have a chance this year. Your offensive line is a little weak with one of your tackles retiring. Adrian Peterson is going to slow down soon. Oh, and the fact that Teddy Bridgewater hasn't shown a whole lot to be a franchise quarterback, rather he's better than the scrubs the Vikings have thrown out there the past few years which isn't saying much.
Sorry to all the Green Bay Packers fans, but actually, you do have a bit of a shot this year. Your offense, if it should remain healthy, will be back to form. The defense, however, has zero pass rush besides Clay Matthews. That's a bit of a soft spot. Oh, and yeah, your offensive line cannot stay healthy ever.
The Chicago Bears have no chance this year. I'll give you one reason and one reason only. Jay Cutler. I don't think anything more needs to be said.
The Kansas City Chiefs don't have too much a shot either. The defense has questions after their best pass rusher is still dealing with a torn ACL. Alex Smith isn't anything to write home about as a signal caller either. The good news is you play in an open division, but come playoff time, goodbye.
I think that covers it for the core area teams. So, instead of doing 28 more, we'll pick and choose some of the teams out there. Some of them top tier and others of a lower tier.
The Cleveland Browns, sorry, but you don't have a chance for the next five years. Too many bad moves in the draft and free agency have set this team back yet again. When you're forced to bring out Robert Griffin III as your quarterback who went from savior to zero in a year, that speaks volumes about the hope of your franchise. On the plus side you'd be able to win the Arena Bowl Title with the Browns.
The Denver Broncos are without Peyton Manning, but let's be honest for a moment. The way Peyton played last year he looked like a skeleton of himself. Denver rode their defense to the title and lost some key parts in the linebacking core. It's going to be tough for Denver to repeat let alone make the playoffs this year if they have Mark Sanchez under center for 16 games.
The New England Patriots will be without Tom Brady for the first four contests, but it ultimately doesn't matter. The Pats own the AFC East and will continue to do as such as long as the other teams make awful moves in the offseason. The Dolphins paid for more overpriced, overrated talent. The Jets, well, they gave out $12 million to a quarterback who will never get his team into the playoffs. The Bills at least have been making smart decisions, but even without Brady for four games, the Pats could still win the AFC Title.
The Houston Texans made some smart moves for their offense. They added a franchise running back in Lamar Miller and a better signal caller in Brock Osweiller. Still, no one knows how Brock will play over a full season. They have an underdog shot, but I don't see them beating New England. Sorry, Texans fans, another year of going back to the drawing board much like...
The Indianapolis Colts. Yeah, Andrew Luck is back and they improved the offensive line but that defense is still lacking in so many ways. No pass rush. The secondary is average. It'll be hard for them to beat elite quarterbacks in the playoffs without those two components. The shootouts should be an enjoyable watch at least.
The last AFC team we'll be looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers. I believe they are also known as Team Suspension. With star running back Le'Veon Bell looking at a four game suspension and number two wideout Martavis Bryant for the entire season, you'd think it would hurt the offense, but it won't. The defense, much like the Colts, have too many question marks to be a champion. The AFC is down this season, and it will open the door for the NFC.
The Carolina Panthers made a shocking, and somewhat awful move, when they took the franchise tag off of Josh Norman. Norman turned into an All-Pro with the Panthers, and he's gone. It'll be tough to replace what he brings on that defense. The offense should be about the same, with the same two tackles protecting Cam Newton. Those two weren't even bought dinner by the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
The Dallas Cowboys would have a chance but they too are suffering from suspensions. Two defensive ends are suspended for a while as well as a middle linebacker. They have no real secondary to speak of, Tony Romo's collarbone breaks as much as a house made of twigs, and they're just cursed since their 1990s run. Most in the media want you to think they'll rebound, but they won't.
The NFC West features two teams that have contenders. The Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. Both are popular and trendy picks for the Super Bowl. The Cardinals are reliant on Carson Palmer staying healthy and not choking in the playoffs. The Seahawks offensive line is still a mess and Russell Wilson will be running for his life most games. Still both teams have a defense to make up for the mistakes on offense.
And finally, what would this be without me making fun of my own team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We don't have a chance this year. Not enough at wideout, offensive line is a work in progress, questionable pass rush and inconsistent safety play. See, I might have a favorite team but I know well enough to know they're far from perfect and don't have a chance.
If I had to put a bet down today on the Super Bowl? Give me New England against Seattle II.