17. New York Jets- The Jets were one of the teams hit hardest when the NFL decided to move the kickoff up to the 35. In 2010 they were one of the best teams in average starting field position, which was taken away from them. When an inept offense has bad field position, things typically don’t get better. Add in a defense that underperformed based on previous seasons and all of a sudden you’re on the outside looking in. In unclear how this whole Tebow thing will turn out, but if things don’t turn around quick Rex Ryan might be interviewing as a defensive coordinator for a different team next year.
18. Arizona Cardinals- A whole offseason to work with will really show if Kolb can be a starting NFL quarterback in this league. He has nice weapons so if things aren’t going well be week 5, expect a change to John Skelton. Coach Whisenhunt gets the most out of his players and always puts the best ones, no matter of contract on the field.
19. Kansas City Chiefs- They did a great job to come back and finish 7-9. Their schedule was brutal and they were decimated by injuries to 3 of their best players. Through all that they were the only team to beat the Packers in the regular season and were a week 16 missed field goal from being in the playoffs. Matt Cassel has to perform great this year or he might be walking the plank.
20. Tennessee Titans- Here’s the list of playoff teams the Titans had the same or better record than: Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, and the Denver Broncos. They weren’t as far off as people think and probably don’t deserve to be this low. They are in a winnable division, but they aren’t a team that had as much potential as the teams listed above.
21. Seattle Seahawks- Pete Carroll has this team going in the right direction. The NFC West will be a formidable division within 3 years and maybe sooner than that. They were heavily scrutinized for the drafting of Bruce Irvin in the first round (he had a second round grade). It did come out that after they made the pick the Jets had to scramble because that was their guy. The 49ers at the end of the round were also interested. You can’t blame them for getting arguably the best pass rusher in the middle of the first round, after all they did watch what Aldon Smith did last year and he was taken “too high”.
22. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton had arguably the best rookie season by a quarterback ever. Anything can happen in the NFC South and maybe they can sneak into the playoff picture. This team needs to add talent and find some consistency on defense. This team can be promising if they add some pieces over the next couple of off seasons.
23. Oakland Raiders- They put themselves in a whole when they gave up 2 high picks for a retired quarterback. Now they have to live with this mistake for the foreseeable future. I’m almost surprised they haven’t gone after Terrell Owens. He has played well with Palmer and what’s the point of going and getting a veteran player but not surrounding him with enough talent to be successful.
24. Washington Redskins- They gave up a lot in hopes of having their quarterback for the next 15 years. While it was a lot, it was a good move. Every other team in the division has a QB at least 31 years old and no eventual starter in waiting. They will surprise a few team this year, but they are still a couple of years away.
25. Buffalo Bills- I am friends with a family who has a cousin on this Bills team. Like all Buffalo fans, they believe this team in capable of going on a run. They believe they are close, and a lot of it is due to the fact they started out 5-0 last year and beat the Patriots. However that is their only victory against the Patriots in the last 8 years. Even with the addition of Mario Williams this team is not ready to challenge for the division. It shouldn’t even be in the conversation until after they finish with a .500 record.
26. Miami Dolphins- I’ll be the first to admit I thought the set themselves back by drafting Tannehill. He is a raw talent, but he lacks the decision making needed at the next level. For a team that was 6-10 taking a chance on a guy that wasn’t great in college seems like a dumb move. The Dolphins are in a bad situation and didn’t help their young quarterback when they traded away Brandon Marshall for less than market value.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- They landed 2 of the best free agents in Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson. 2 years ago they were a young team that found a way to win 10 games, now they have growing needs in the secondary and have to be doubting how far their quarterback can take them. Where they end up at the season is anyone’s guess. They are one of the few teams that could go 11-5 or 5-11. Greg Schiano could win Coach of the Year and is the best coach this team has had in years.
28. Cleveland Browns- They made a great pick by getting Trent Richardson, but I dislike the drafting of a quarterback that is older than some 7 year vets in the first round. This team in not a contender this year and still don’t have a good WR option. This is a team 3 years out and by then the window will be starting to close on their quarterback.
29. Indianapolis Colts- Even without Manning this team was better than 2-14. The few times I watched them play they didn’t seem to have their heads in the game. They should have gone 5-11, but when you don’t have a great coach it’s easy to lose focus after your leader goes out for the season. Andrew Luck will have some work to do with a franchise that decided to blow it up. Remember Peyton went 3-13 in his first season and has the NFL record with 28 interceptions.
30. St Louis Rams- This is a team that should be much improved from last season. Don’t be shocked if they end up 7-9. They have their QB, head coach, and added pieces to nearly every position group in the draft. They went into the offseason with the team needing the most amount of pieces in order to make a team. They have something building, and with the amount of early draft picks they have in the future, this could be a turnaround in the making.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars- The new ownership has one thing in mind… L.A. This team seems to be lacking direction. It’s uncertain whether or not Gabbert is the guy for the foreseeable future, and it’s something they need to find out pretty quickly. The Jaguars don’t have a big following and blackouts can be a problem. Their ceiling on the upcoming season is low. Drafting Blackmon was a big need, but he just got his second DUI and is 22 years old. He’s not a diva receiver, but this makes you question his decision making.
32. Minnesota Vikings- I don’t think they are the worst team in the league, but they aren’t going anywhere for a while. The health of Peterson is up in the air and Ponder needs work. With 6 games a year versus the Packers, Bears, and Lions they are a 4 win team at best.