While I think one could argue that this may be the most wide open season in quite some time, it is not THAT wide open. Our next group of cuts are going to be the longshots. These are the teams that will have an uphill battle just to make the playoffs, but will most likely not:
Kansas City Chiefs bring about a pretty new look with Andy Reid at the helm. I think they will win more than two games, but they will struggle vs. the NFC East this year.
San Diego Chargers are another AFC West team that will have a rough record after having to play the Broncos twice and a run through the NFC East Gauntlet. Phillip Rivers was the captain of this team for many years of success, but after everybody else has left, he is now going down with his ship.
The Buffalo Bills would be in a prime position to take the suddenly-weakening AFC East, but they do not simply have the talent. I think C.J. Spiller is finally turning into the RB that people thought he could be, but EJ Manuel will have a lot to prove when he gets behind center. I think this year will show a few positives, but they have to play the NFC South and AFC North. They will be lucky to have a record close to .500.
The same story can be said for the Miami Dolphins, while their division is not too strong this year, playing the NFC South and AFC North will beat down their record. The rest of the AFC is too strong. There will be positives, but ultimately disappointment. Jumping over to the NFC, I see a much tighter race.
Somebody has to go, so let’s start with the Detroit Lions. Detroit learned that you cannot pass your way to success. Detroit gave up 437 points last season, mainly because they could not run the ball and keep their defense off the field. I haven’t seen enough in this offseason to change my mind about this team. They have the fire power to hang with any team they play, but they do not have the tools to do is consistently.
Carolina Panthers are a live-and-die by Cam Newton team and unfortunately, he is not enough. He is easily rattled when things do not go his way and his offensive options are limited. 34 yr. old Steve smith is not getting any younger and he only managed 4 touchdowns last year.
The Philadelphia Eagles cannot really get any worse than they were last season. The implosion of the “Dream Team” has been well documented. In order for the Eagles to have a successful season, they need too many things to go right for them. Chip Kelly was a great college coach, but I think it will take him a few years to get his personnel in place.
What the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did last year against opponents RB’s, they completely squandered vs. the pass. I think the team will be more solid on offense this year, and they will obviously be better against the pass with the addition of Revise, but I do not think they are going to turn the page. A playoff berth in their division will be very tough. I think they will be in the race till the last week, but I think they will be just short.
This leaves us with 18 teams…