Only four NFL teams have bounced back from a losing season to being world champions the following season, this years Eagles are one of those teams. The question is, will we see back to back seasons where this happens? And if so, which team will achieve this in the 2018 season? The only criteria for this list is to be an NFC team who had a losing record last year (sorry Cardinals, 8-8 doesn’t count) that is worthy of being considered a contender next year.
#3 The New York Giants: 2017 Record: 3-13
Wow. What happened to this team? The Giants seemed poised to take the NFC East last season after going 11-5 in their 2016 campaign, but they dropped the ball, which I suppose is easy to do when most of your pass catchers take on some horrible injuries. Some key factors of the Giant’s failure in 2017 are their suddenly shaky offensive line play, mediocrity from Eli Manning, drama in the defensive back room, and a gratuitous amount of injuries on the wide receiver position.
Wide receivers are an area that would have helped relieve some pressure from most of the aforementioned issues, and can be expected to be much improved in 2018, especially with the return of the great Odell Beckham Jr. All things considered, maybe the Giants have been the great team they were growing to be in 2016, and they lacked a shiny record due to the curse of Brandon Marshall, you know, the guy who’s never been on a playoff team and seems to always turn good teams into ones who sit out the playoffs (thoughts and prayers to Seattle).
With some minor improvements in Eli’s play, we could see Giants’ first and second-round picks Saquon Barkley and Will Hernandez elevate the Giants’ offense to the next level, and secure a fifth ring for their franchise.
#2 The San Francisco 49ers: 2017 Record: 6-10
Jimmy Garoppolo is a stud. The 49ers’ early season woes came to a quick end with Jimmy G at the helm, winning 5 straight games and placing tons of hope into the hearts of many Niner fans. There’s something about sitting under a well coached great student of the game that’s more beneficial than backing up a talented gunslinger of a quarterback, which is probably why Jimmy Garoppolo is a much better quarterback than Brett Hundley.
While I don’t want to make this team’s possible success too much about the quarterback, it’s so hard not to. Joining a team with a 1-10 record, he literally had nowhere to go but up, and up he went. Averaging 300 yards a game and being undefeated through his first five starts (including a start where he helped put up 44 points against the Jacksonville Jaguars), this cool California quarterback seems unstoppable going into his first season as an expected starter.
The 49ers may not have the defense of the Jim Harbaugh days, but they certainly have an elevated style of play when they have a competent quarterback running the show, Jimmy Garoppolo and the squad in Santa Clara can certainly secure a ring this year if they can catch a hot streak.
#1 The Green Bay Packers: 2017 Record: 7-9
In 20 years when people look back on this era of the Packers, they may think; “They had a losing record?” and yes, they did. Being frequent flyers in the festivities of the postseason, the Packers seem like an obvious choice for playoff contention each year, which is why after their star quarterback was injured, causing them to drop to a 7-9 record, it’s easy to blame their failures mostly on that, whether it be directly related to a QB production issue (it is) or if it’s directly related to a team morale issue (which it also is).
With Aaron Rodgers coming back it’s hard to imagine, barring injury of course, that the Packers won’t improve a lot from last year. With Dom Capers out of the building, two early draft picks spent on cornerbacks, and the addition of All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, the Packers are set to be one of the best teams in the NFC, not just one of the best on this list. With Davante Adams taking over the wide receiver number 1 role, they can drop down into their depth at receiver and potentially even find a diamond in the rough to replace Jordy Nelson.
The Packers will likely come back with a vengeance this year, and they can win it all if they play their cards right. If we’re talking about a team with a losing record who’s most likely to make the playoffs and then go from there, its this team. The Packers had a single season circumstance that caused them to fall to 7-9, and the expectation is that they bounce back and return to the normal playoff team they’ve been.