How Does the NFL Stack Up?
It’s another one of those posts where I go off-topic from Libertarianism and decide to have a bit of fun. Today, I’m continuing my little NFL sub-blog on My Freedom Flame.
How Does the NFL Stack Up?
I wait until Week Two of NFL Preseason for one reason: The starters play a series or two in Week One, some sit the whole game out. So, Week Two gives me better insight on the NFL Hierarchy. I’m going to give each team one pro and one con heading into the 2018 NFL Season.
1. New England Patriots
a. The G.O.A.T. is still on top of his game and as such, makes the entire team better around him.
b. The defense as a unit ranked 29th last season.
2. Minnesota Vikings
a. They finally have a legitimate Franchise Quarterback to pair with one of the best defensive units in football.
b. That same defensive unit collapsed over the last six quarters of their playoff run.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
a. The Super Bowl Champions return a King’s Ransom of players, making the team nearly identical to last season’s.
b. Carson Wentz has to return from a serious knee injury, and he has an injury-prone past dating back to college.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
a. The best defensive unit in football is combined with a smashmouth running game. Bonus pro: Their new uniforms are sick!
b. Their quarterback is Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns have departed.
5. Los Angeles Rams
a. They’ve among the youngest Triplets in football (Goff, Gurly, Cooks) and again, another strong defense in these rankings.
b. They collapsed in the playoffs and lack playoff experience.
6. Dallas Cowboys
a. Surprised? Don’t be, as the Ezekiel Elliott distraction is behind them. This team went 13-3 in 2016 without distraction.
b. Their receiving corps is a mystery, ditto for the tight-ends.
7. Green Bay Packers
a. Aaron Rodgers is back and they’re a different team with Rodgers.
b. If Rodgers goes down again, their backup quarterback is 0-15 in his NFL career.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
a. They still have the best Triplets in football and the most underrated defense.
b. Lev Bell’s contract situation is going to be the ultimate distraction.
9. Kansas City Chiefs
a. They’re arguably the most complete team in football.
b. Except their quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) is an unproven commodity.
10. New Orleans Saints
a. Like Rodgers and Brady, Drew Brees gives this team hope each season.
b. Their defense is improved but nowhere near championship caliber.
11. Atlanta Falcons
a. Matt Ryan is the most underrated quarterback in pro football and he has some hot receivers.
b. Like Bell in Pittsburgh, Julio Jones might bring this team down with his recent antics.
12. San Francisco 49ers
a. Jimmy Garoppolo single-handedly turned this team around (5-0 in his five starts).
b. Teams now have game film on the Garoppolo-led 49ers.
13. Detroit Lions
a. They have a Franchise Quarterback who can win games.
b. Who’s yet to win in the playoffs.
14. Los Angeles Chargers
a. Running game. Check. Passing game. Check. Defense. Check.
b. Consistency? Consistency? Consistency?
15. Carolina Panthers
a. They have all the talent in the world on both sides of the ball.
b. It’s an even-numbered season (2010: 2-14, 2012: 7-9, 2014: 7-8-1, 2016: 6-10).
16. Seattle Seahawks
a. Russell Wilson is another quarterback who can make a bad team halfway decent.
b. This team’s heyday is long forgotten.
17. Houston Texans
a. Their cornerstone players (DeShaun Watson, J.J. Watt) are back.
b. Can Watson return to form? Watt?
18. Tennessee Titans
a. Smashmouth football plus a grizzled D equals success.
b. Unless Marcus Mariota happens to be your quarterback.
19. Oakland Raiders
a. They have a proven Super Bowl Champion Coach in Jon Gruden.
b. Who’s been out of coaching since 2009.
20. Baltimore Ravens
a. Strong running game, strong defense, Super Bowl Champion quarterback.
b. Aging team. Hot commodity at backup quarterback. Potential controversy awaits.
21. Indianapolis Colts
a. Andrew Luck is returning, T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle are two of the best pass-catchers in football.
b. Can the offensive line finally hold? It’s been a while since the Colts have had a good line.
22. Chicago Bears
a. Mitchell Trubisky has some new weapons on the offense.
b. New coach, new system, new everything. It might be another year of learning.
23. Washington Redskins
a. Alex Smith is the kind of guy you want under center.
b. His offensive weapons closet is uncertain. Guice is gone for the season, Reed is injury prone, and Jamison Crowder might be the sole survivor.
24. Buffalo Bills
a. Many pieces from last season’s playoff team returns.
b. Josh Allen, Nate Peterman, and A.J. McCarron are your options at quarterback.
25. Denver Broncos
a. The defense is as strong as ever.
b. Case Keenum is NOT a Franchise Quarterback.
26. New York Giants
a. Saquon Barkley is the best athlete in football. Change my mind. OBJ is back. Eli can still play.
b. The talent is there, but the wins are hard to come by. Ditto for 2017.
27. Arizona Cardinals
a. Their offensive centerpiece, Larry Fitzgerald is still ticking and David Johnson returns.
b. This team is aging everywhere and their quarterback situation is unstable, especially if Josh Rosen struggles.
28. Cleveland Browns
a. The offense has life! The defense has life!
b. They’re the youngest team in football who went 0-16 last season.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
a. Familiar faces return.
b. They’re getting progressively worse each year.
30. Miami Dolphins
a. Ryan Tannehill returns and finally looks like a leader.
b. They’ve lost a lot, and I mean a lot, of players in the offseason.
31. New York Jets
a. They have a quarterback!
b. Their best receiver is Terrelle Pryor. Or Quincey Enuwa.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
a. Their defense has potential to be elite.
b. They’ve lost Winston for three games, they have a rookie running back. Their receives are going to have to bail out the offense.