Three Longshot NFL Teams to Watch For in 2017-2018
Like rooting for the underdog? Winning the lottery?
These are teams, that in our opinion, had disappointing seasons in 2016 and have some flaws that they must address in order to potentially make a deep playoff run in 2017. These are what these three teams need to improve in order to be more successful next year.
Indianapolis Colts: The Indianapolis Colts gave up an alarming 44 sacks last year which was 5th worst in the league and they play in the worst division in the NFL. They play the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans twice a year, which in theory means they dominate and win that division easily. This has not been the case, and while always said QB Andrew Luck is extremely overrated and not an elite QB, we cannot fault him for getting hit so often as his organization after years of the same problem has refused to give him offensive line help. They drafted C Ryan Kelly in the first round of last year’s draft but they need more help and depth in the trenches. If Cam Robinson or Ryan Ramcyzk fall to the Colts, they need to snag one of them to help solidify an atrocious offensive line and give Luck some time and protection. The Colts also should get help on the defensive side by drafting an edge rusher and a CB later in rounds 2 and 3. If Indianapolis can keep Luck healthy and improve on defense, they should win the AFC South and compete in the playoffs in 2017.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins have a decision to make this off-season, should they invest a long-term deal in QB Kirk Cousins or franchise tag him for a second consecutive year? Cousins, in our opinion, has proven he is the best option the Redskins have and so they should give him the contract because they will not get anyone that is better. The Redskins biggest needs are on defense, they need to sure up the middle of their defense as they allowed 117 rush yards a game and 4.5 yards a carry. The best middle LB in the draft is Reuben Foster, and if he is gone Zach Cunningham would most likely be available. The Redskins might also want to draft a DE as Chris Baker might not be retained, so if Taco Charlton is available they should draft him to help out the Redskins pass rush. Safety is also a need as DeAngelo Hall is aging fast and coming off a major injury. The RB class this year is deep and talented so maybe the Redskins also invest in one later in the draft, like a Samaje Perine or Wayne Gallman. Joe Mixon might also be available and the Redskins have proven they are not afraid to gamble on “risky” players such as Sean Taylor, DeSean Jackson and Albert Haynesworth. The Redskins could definitely make a wildcard berth if they sure up the defense and show confidence in Cousins. Wet hink if they improve and make the playoffs they could be dangerous.
Buffalo Bills: The Buffalo Bills experimented with Rex Ryan as their head coach, and never made the playoffs under him. Ryan’s specialty has always been defense, but the Bills struggled mightily on that side of the ball despite lots of talent.We do not understand why the Bills are not confident in QB Tyrod Taylor, in two full years as the starter he has thrown for 6,058 yards with 37 TDs and only 14 INTs. He has also rushed for 1,148 yards and 11 TDs. He has a great deep ball and most of his top weapons were never healthy together the past two years. The offense has talent and can score points, the defense must improve. The Bills were ranked 29th in rush defense, they drafted two defenders in the first two rounds last year but rookie Mike LB Reggie Ragland got hurt for the season in camp. He will return to help them but the Bills need help at LB and safety. Here’s an idea, the Bills draft versatile hybrid S/CB/LB in Jabrill Peppers to give them a player who can play multiple positions and is not afraid to play in the box against the run. The Bills might also want to give WR Sammy Watkins a solid complimentary receiver as Robert Woods may be gone next year. Some options would be JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is a big body with good speed and would be a great possession WR who could go well with the deep threat of Watkins. Another one might be Dede Westbrook, who projects as a speedy slot receiver who can burn LBs and safeties over the middle and deep downfield. The AFC East is New England and everybody else, the Bills were very close to making the playoffs the past two years. If they can improve on defense and get another WR for Taylor to throw to, they could be a surprise playoff team next year.