The preseason really sucks. Julian Edelman and Spencer Ware both look to be done for the year. Can you believe Blake Bortles was named the starter in Jacksonville?
Anyways, after wrapping up the AFC eye test predictions, we now move over to the NFC.
16. Chicago Bears
Mike Glennon has looked absolutely horrendous in the preseason. There is a real possibility that Mitchy Touchdowns (Trubisky) will be the starter week 1.
In March, Glennon signed a 3-year deal with Chicago, worth up to $45 million. This reminds me a lot of when Russell Wilson swooped in and stole the job from Matt Flynn after Flynn signed a hefty deal with Seattle. Let’s hope Trubisky can have a similar effect.
Is it already Mitchy Touchdowns time? (Photo from USA Today)
If you happen to accidentally flip the channel to a Bears game, at least look for Jordan Howard. As a rookie last year, Howard rushed for over 1,300 yards in 15 games. He could have another monster year if the quarterback can at least keep the defense honest.
Unfortunately, if Trubisky or Glennon have trouble moving the chains, then we could see what we saw last year with Todd Gurley and the Rams. Defenses knew the Rams couldn’t pass, so they would stack the box and make it nearly impossible for Gurley to be effective. Howard will be relying heavily on the passing game, in order to have another solid year.
Side note: the Bears offensive line is actually really good. Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long are quite the trio.
As far as targets, the Bears signed Victor Cruz, who is totally out of his prime. Kevin White looks to be their top option, and he is a major question mark. I am a believer in White, but let’s see if he can stay on the field for the entirety of the season. Did you know that Zach Miller and Cameron Meredith led all Chicago pass catchers with four touchdowns last year? Yeah, this will be one of the worst receiving teams in football, especially after Meredith’s injury.
If only Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman were still on the team. Fortunately, there are a few bright spots. Akiem Hicks is pretty reliable on the line. Leonard Floyd is coming off a nice seven-sack rookie season. Jerrell Freeman looked solid last year at inside linebacker.
Bringing in Quintin Demps is nice, but the secondary will continue to struggle. Did you know that the last time the Bears held opposing quarterbacks to a collective passer rating less than 93.5 for an entire season was back in 2013? That is terrible.
We know Glennon is awful, and we have no idea what to expect from Trubisky. There are no reliable targets, and anyone can pass all over this team. I’m rooting for Mitchy Touchdowns and Chicago, but this looks to be a 3-13 season.
15. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners may not be good, but they are at least headed in the right direction. Obviously if Brian Hoyer is your quarterback, you won’t win too many games, but they made some nice upgrades on the defense. After being the 32nd ranked defense a year ago, it made sense to beef up this side of the ball.
Carlos Hyde is solid at the running back position, but the offensive line is pretty pathetic. Pierre Garcon is a decent No. 1 receiver, and Marquise Goodwin is a pretty quick dude. Kyle Shanahan can maybe draw up some nice plays to utilize his speed.
Not only did the 49ers bring in a new coach, but also brought in Robert Saleh as the new defensive coordinator. The defensive line is young, but could blossom into something special. In the last three drafts, San Francisco has picked a defensive lineman with their top pick, including Solomon Thomas, who was the third pick in this year’s draft. Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead all have serious potential. Last season, the 49ers allowed over 150 rushing yards on 10 different occasions so let’s hope these young bucks can figure it out fast.
Reuben Foster could be the steal of the draft, after the Alabama linebacker fell to the 31th pick. He probably won’t start right away, as former Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith, will man the weakside. NaVorro Bowman is coming off another achilles tear, so let’s hope the 29-year-old can bounce back.
Not much to say about the secondary. Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward don’t play like former first-round players, and the corners are weak. Hopefully Saleh can turn this secondary around.
Shanahan has been in this league since 2008 and just took part in the Super Bowl. With that said, he knows how to win games. The defense is on the come up, and Brian Hoyer is decent enough to win a few games. This team won’t win more than five games, but they will continue to improve.
14. Los Angeles Rams
Thank the NFL gods that Mr. 8-8 (Jeff Fisher) is not running this team anymore. I don’t care what anyone says, that guy is a scrub. Yes, Sean McVay is only 31, but they got Wade Phillips controlling the defense, who has been in the NFL since 1976. I love the face lift for this squad, and it is time to believe in Jared Goff.
Goff looks like he will do just fine in the NFL. To help protect him, LA brought in Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan. These guys will also play major roles in making sure Todd Gurley has a bounce-back year. If you’re a fantasy guy, Gurley is a fantastic pick. He is slipping in drafts due to last year’s skid, but the new o-line will boost Gurley back to the top.
Expect a monster comeback season for Gurley. (Photo from Los Angeles Times)
If Sammy Watkins is healthy, he is a top talent in this league. He will immediately become Goff’s favorite target, mostly because there is no one else to throw to. Robert Woods is decent, but paying Tavon Austin was a horrible decision, as he is in the scrub category with Fisher.
The Rams need Aaron Donald to end his holdout, ASAP. Donald is one of the best players in the NFL, so they might want to figure this whole thing out. Donald carries the three-man front, but Michael Brockers is a nice nose tackle.
The names at linebacker should scare some teams. Connor Barwin will fit in nicely with Phillips’ scheme, but Robert Quinn needs to get back to his 2013 self when he recorded 19 sacks. Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree need to improve defending the run, but overall, both are solid.
Trumaine Johnson is a nice talent at corner, but the rest of the secondary is a bit suspect. Overall, this defense has some nice names and should keep the Rams in a lot of games.
With a young head coach and a young quarterback, the Rams will be exciting to watch. Don’t be surprised if Goff takes a major leap, but this looks to be a six-win team.
13. Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins deserved a long-term deal, but nonetheless, here we are again with the franchise tag on the above average quarterback.
Even with the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Washington still has some nice weapons. Terrelle Pryor Sr. will have a monster year, you heard it here first. Jordan Reed will continue to do Jordan Reed things. Jamison Crowder is also a legit target and coming off a seven-touchdown season.
Washington has built a top-notch offensive line with Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses. Rob Kelley is coming off a decent rookie season, so you never know what to expect from him. Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine will also be playing key roles in the run game.
The defense is not too pretty. Drafting Jonathan Allen with the 17th pick was a great selection, but this is one of the worst defensive lines in football. Ryan Kerrigan is a force to be reckoned with, but Trent Murphy’s four-game suspension puts Washington in a tough spot.
In his first year with the Redskins, Josh Norman did not play up to his hefty contract. The addition of D.J. Swearinger will be interesting, and Su’a Cravens strictly playing safety could be something to keep an eye on.
Cousins and the Redskins are good, but they are the fourth-best team in their division. They lost some key pieces to the offense and have major question marks on the defensive line. You got to love anyone related to Jon Gruden, but Jay’s team will have a hard time rattling off more than six wins.
12. Detroit Lions
Detroit has won at least seven games in each of the past four years. They will keep this trend going in 2017. Did Calvin Johnson make Matt Stafford look better than he actually is? Perhaps, but Stafford is still a really solid quarterback.
The Lions rarely run the ball, but if they choose to up the carries, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are a stable duo. The additions of Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang will help with protection, but Taylor Decker’s injury hurts a lot.
Does Matt Stafford have enough support to win? (Photo from Sporting News)
After Golden Tate, the remainder of the weapons are questionable. Marvin Jones Jr. got off to a hot start last year, but was inconsistent the rest of the way. Eric Ebron is another player who cannot be depended on.
Detroit’s weak pass defense can be credited to their below-average defensive line. Ziggy Ansah was battling injures all of last year and will hopefully be ready to go to by week 1. Kerry Hyder had eight sacks last year, so maybe he will keep up his nice play.
The linebacker play has been extremely weak of recent, so the Lions took Jarrad Davis with their first pick. This is a young position for Detroit, so expect a few blunders.
It doesn’t get any prettier in the secondary, but hopefully Glover Quin and Darius Slay can be effective pass defenders for this Lions’ defense.
Somehow, this team manages to always float around .500. Stafford is good, and the offense has potential, but the defense will keep this team from postseason play. Just like in 2013 and 2015, Detroit will win seven games.
11. Philadelphia Eagles
This might irk some people, but let’s be honest. Ginger quarterbacks do not lead teams to titles. It just doesn’t happen.
The Carson Wentz hype train is completely full, but I am not riding it. The dude only threw 16 touchdowns last year, along with a hefty 14 interceptions. The Eagles were 22nd in total yards. Do we just expect these numbers to sky rocket all of a sudden? Absolutely not.
LaGarrette Blount thrived in New England, but so does everyone. No chance he does as well, even with their elite offensive line headlined by Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. Alshon Jeffery is good, not great. Torrey Smith is washed up. Nelson Agholor is nothing special. Zach Ertz is a decent tight end, but Wentz isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and turn into Donovan McNabb. This kid still has a lot of growing to do.
Like their offensive line, the Eagles defensive line is also very good. Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are problems at the end positions, and Fletcher Cox is one of the best defensive tackles in the game.
Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham man a pretty solid linebacker core, but other than Malcolm Jenkins, the secondary is abysmal.
Both offensive and defensive lines are elite, but lack of skill at quarterback and secondary positions is concerning. Just like last year, the Eagles will finish 7-9.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you’re watching Hard Knocks, then you know this isn’t a playoff team. In all honesty, Jameis Winston looks like the most lovable dude ever. I would legit run through a wall for him, but he’s not there yet. He needs to buy into football more instead of being such a clown. Less turnovers and more studying of the playbook.
DYNAMIC DUO. (Photo from Bleacher Report)
The Adderall Hamster, Doug Martin, is out the first three games, which leaves Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims in charge of running the football. Yeah, not too confident, especially with a bad offensive line.
Actually though, might as well show some love to this squad. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will eat, and O.J. Howard could have a nice rookie year. Let’s hope Winston can get them the ball.
Gerald McCoy and Chris Baker are not only stars of Hard Knocks, but also big-time NFL linemen. These two man a very solid defensive line, along with Robert Ayers and William Gholston.
Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander will hold down the linebacker position, and Brent Grimes will lead a younger secondary. Vernon Hargreaves III could turn into something after a decent rookie season.
Still, this team plays in a tough division. The targets on offense are nice, and their defensive line is special. But the offensive line is weak, and Jameis turns the ball over too much. This team has potential, but won’t win more than eight games.
Featured image by fanragsports.com
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