Each year, a handful of new teams fight their way into the NFL playoffs, exceeding expectations to shift the league’s power balance. In 2017, the Jaguars escaped from a nigh-perpetual state of awfulness to rally to the AFC title game, while the Eagles evolved from the periphery of the postseason to a Super Bowl title. The season before, the Cowboys went from 4-12 to 13-3 behind the rookie combination of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. That leads to an obvious question: What’s next? While the NFL’s salary cap makes it easier to engineer a sudden turnaround than in any other major American sport, the tough part is sustaining it. Even as teams like the Patriots and Steelers have remained postseason mainstays, the ones that earn surprising playoff berths each year come at the expense of former contenders. So how are 2017’s emerging franchises built for 2018? Can they build on the foundation they laid? Or will they backslide to a top-10 spot in next year’s … [Read more...] about Which surprising NFL teams are here to stay?
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0 of 32 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Across the NFL, free agents have been freed. Draftees have been, well, drafted. And apparently bad turns of phrases are running rampant. From coast to coast, scores of players have either changed teams or found the first of their NFL careers. Areas of need have been addressed. Holes have been filled. But there's only so much cap space to be spent. So many players in each draft class. For some teams, it's just a matter of numbers. There were more holes to fill than options to fill them with. Others still won't find out if their needs are met until players hit the field for training camp and games. And for a fortunate few, "need" is a relative concept—their biggest holes are still small. However, big or small, many or few, every NFL team has a need that looms above the rest. 1 of 32 Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press On one hand, the Arizona Cardinals have expressed a significant level of confidence in young tackle D.J. Humphries. … [Read more...] about Every NFL Team’s Biggest Remaining Offseason Need
0 of 32 Tom Pennington/Getty Images Being a rookie in the National Football League comes with many challenges. Rookies typically have to learn new systems, familiarize themselves with new playbooks, adjust to completely new training regimens, bond with new teammates and integrate themselves into new communities. Rookies are also responsible for bringing fans hope. Fair or not (it's not), rookie players are expected to make NFL teams better from Day 1. Many rookies, especially those drafted early, are asked to franchise saviors or the missing pieces of championship plans. These are lofty expectations for players who have yet to play a down of professional football. When rookies fall short of these expectations, they can be viewed as flops in the eyes of fans, and often the media. With this in mind, we're going to take a look ahead and predict which rookie on each team is most likely to be a first-year flop. We'll be focusing on factors like skill set, scheme fit, supporting … [Read more...] about Predicting Every NFL Team’s Biggest Rookie Flop
Breaking down the biggest possible problem for every single NFL team by Will Brinson @WillBrinson 2m ago • 21 min read Every single NFL team has finished its offseason makeover, having gone through free agency and now the draft -- we have a decent, albeit early, idea of what each team's identity is going to be for the 2018 NFL season. The picture is far from perfect, because injuries happen, players develop and four months is an eternity in the NFL. But you can look at the depth charts for these various teams and quickly come to some conclusions. You might even be able to identify a significant flaw in each team. Or, if you prefer your NFL content sprinkled with "Star Wars" analogies, perhaps you could identify the, uh -- *furiously Googles "flaw in the Death Star"* -- the thermal exhaust port for each of these teams. Yes, that.No NFL team is perfectly constructed, of course. Flaws are going to exist. But what flaw could potentially derail … [Read more...] about Patriots’ tensions, Chargers karma, 49ers expectations and more fatal flaws for NFL teams
0 of 32 Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press Aside from whoever winds up signing receiver Dez Bryant, running back C.J. Anderson or defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, most NFL teams already have their 2018 starting lineup in place. With the first few waves of free agency and the draft now over, it's safe to analyze how teams are projected to shake out on the field this coming season. After poring over rosters and schedules, we took a stab at predicting all 32 teams' records for the 2018 season. Schedule variance is as important as talent, but these prognostications generally reflect talent outside of a few extreme cases. How does your favorite team stack up? What about your division rivals? Take a look below. 1 of 32 Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press While the Arizona Cardinals just drafted Josh Rosen, who was once considered the top player in his draft class, it's rare for a rookie quarterback to make a significant impact right away. Even among first-round … [Read more...] about Win-Loss Predictions for Every NFL Team, Post-Draft