Our man-about-town in the NFL Brett Vega is back with his last post highlighting the happenings around the NFL. Vega gives us his take on today’s big game and also gives us a rundown of each division heading into the offseason.
Color me excited, we get to watch Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles.
So many great story lines going into this game. I can’t think of any but, every television channel I turn on tells me that there are a lot of them. I think the game will be competitive but never in doubt for New England honestly.
Everyone keeps saying how the Eagles have no pressure going into this one. I couldn’t disagree more. The Pats have already achieved everything they wanted and then some, after last year everything is just icing on the cake. That is what makes for a no pressure situation. Every team they play is under immense pressure to dethrone the G.O.A.T. not the other way around. 30-20 PATRIOTS.
Now on to the actual around the league stuff.
The Bills will be struggling to score points once again. Add to that an aging defensive core and you have a recipe for a 4-6 win season. The Jets need to keep a Qb upright next season. They have shown flashes of good football under Bowles and next year could be a 10 win season with the right breaks. Miami……Miami…… needs a ton of help everywhere. Way to many question marks on a team with really good pieces. Pass rush is not an issue, wide receiver is not an issue, and if Tannehill can even be half of what he was 2 years ago QB is not an issue. Everything else needs to be upgraded. And I could go through all the reasons why we could see a decline in New England but what for? Honestly until Brady or Belichick call it quits there is no real reason to believe that a big drop-off in production is imminent.
Big Ben is coming back, Bell will get paid, Brown isn’t going away. Just like New England the Steelers aren’t going anywhere yet. I actually believe that this is their last shot with this core however. The young defense could shine next season and possibly get them homefield. As long as they can dodge another Jacksonville situation they are my AFC favorites next year. Baltimore is an offensive line and a healthy Yanda away from another superbowl run in my opinion. If they don’t draft all o-line this year they don’t want it. Poor Bengals fans. I legitimately feel bad for you. Another year of Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis and mediocrity. I refuse to fall into the Cleveland trap again. They are going to suck again period.
Tennessee will go nowhere as long as Marcus Mariota is the signal caller for their franchise. They will be competitive but fall short once again…..because…… Andrew Luck is coming back. The Colts will have a great offensive mind to finally allow luck to shine like he did in his rookie year with Arians. They still need a ton of help elsewhere but that is a good place to start….because….. Jacksonville isn’t going away. That defense is young and legit, the offense can only get better, and Bortles has his confidence back…..but….. Deshaun Watson will also be back. And that will give us an amazing race to the playoffs in this division next year.
Denver needs to rebuild the entire offense starting with o-line. The only bad part is that their championship level defense will be old or gone by the time the offense is up to speed. This not a 1 year fix type situation. Kansas City will make little to no changes and repeat their performances of the past. 9-11 win regular season followed by an early playoff exit. Oakland has a bright future this year I think. Upgrades on the d-line and having Chucky can push them into the 12+ win category. This is year of the Charger! I fully believe they finally get over the hump and give Rivers a much deserved run at a ring.
Washington is in so much trouble I don’t know where to start. Good luck guys. Philly could see the type of regression the Raiders and Cowboys saw this year. A loss in the superbowl could make that regression even worse. The Giants have the kind of defense that can win in the playoffs. They also have the type of o-line that can get your Qb murdered and cost you games. I don’t see this well run franchise not addressing their o-line however and they could be the sneak winners of the division next year. Unless of course Dallas goes bananas! Which is entirely possible, they will have none of the oddball distractions that they dealt with this offseason, and that young defense now has a year under their belt.
Aaron Rodgers will be back, and as long as he is they are the favorite to win this division, and they have a chance to win a superbowl. The Lions can’t really go anywhere without a few pieces on both sides of the ball. Minnesota will be interesting to watch. Until we have a clearer picture of the quaterback situation however I can’t really predict where they fall in the pecking order. I don’t see many ways for them to be better than they were this year, but I don’t see too much drop off either. Maybe 8-8 is their floor. The Bears are a few years from being really good.
We will not see 3 teams in the playoffs again. Atlanta could have some serious drop off. Dido for Carolina. Dido for New Orleans. I think injuries should derail 1 of them and poor play will derail another. Not to mention much tougher scheduling. Tampa Bay shouldn’t be in the competitive conversation as long as Winston is at the helm.
What do we make of Seattle? Russell Wilson is still going to be amazing. The defense is now injury prone and aging, the o-line is still not good anywhere but left tackle. Sounds like 7-9. But I wouldn’t be shocked if they won the division. The Rams will be in every game but just like Dallas and Oakland found out, winning a bunch of games one year means playing a bunch of tougher ones the next. Arizona is and should be in full rebuild mode. And all the stars seem to have aligned for the 49ers. That’s why I think they will struggle next year. They are going to be everyone’s trendy pick next year. Just like Oakland, Tennessee, and Dallas were this year. Only one of those made the playoffs.