As is typical for the offseason, there is a lot of hype around a lot of NFL teams. Hype for many of these teams is somewhat misguided and in some cases this hype gets out of hand to the point where the team will surely disappoint when the season comes around. Let’s take a look at five of these teams who are sure to disappoint in the upcoming season.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
I’ve seen many people trying to claim that the Steelers will be a sleeper team next year. Such people don’t comprehend how valuable an asset Antonio Brown was to this offense, despite his locker room issues. You can’t just lose an annual 10+ touchdowns and 1000+ yard receiver and expect to carry on as if nothing happened. And this is to a team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year. While Conner turned out to be a great fill-in, the team was noticeably different without Bell as the running back, as was showcased by their finishing nearly last in team rushing yards. Roethlisberger is another year older (remember he was considering retirement two years ago) and one has to wonder how much of his strength will remain as a 37-year-old. While the defense is improved through the drafting of Bush, the issues facing the offense are too great for the fanbase to expect a trip to the playoffs out of this squad.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Similarly to the Steelers, people are underestimating how much the loss of a big offensive piece will negatively impact the team. In this case, that player is Tyreek Hill, who is likely facing a suspension for a large portion of next season. Tyreek’s playing style meshes very well with the gunslinger Pat Mahomes, so his absence should have quite a large impact. The defense didn’t improve as much as it needed to. The Chiefs were one of the worst defenses in the league last season and are likely in the bottom 10 teams once again next season. Damien Williams has bee good in small bursts, but can he emerge as a true RB1? Not to mention that Mahomes will have quite a tall task playing as well as he did last season. Don’t be surprised to see the Chiefs second in the division at the end of next season (behind the Chargers).
3. Houston Texans
It’s crazy that this Texans team hasn’t had more success with all of the elite players they have in the starting lineup. This failure has almost all been the fault of the offensive line. Unfortunately for Deshaun Watson, the Texans did not address this issue well, reaching with their first pick in the draft and doing little else to help strengthen this unit. Despite all of the talent, Houston cannot expect to go anywhere with such a glaring weakness. This is especially true due to the fact that they are competing for the division with the Colts, one of the most complete teams heading into the season. Look for the Texans to end up around 8-8.
2. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are understandably getting a lot of love this offseason, with a team that looks greatly improved and loaded with talent. Cleveland is the consensus pick to win the AFC North and is attracting hoards of bandwagoners. And while I too love this Browns roster, all of these huge expectations may be a bit premature. It is always hard for a team who made big offseason moves to all cohere and get on the same page. The defense certainly has some holes that can be exploited and the team is full of egos that may end up self destructing (see 2018 Jaguars). I wouldn’t necessarily count on the browns for more than 9 wins and a playoff spot. They certainly have potential to do big things, but they cannot be counted on as a sure thing, especially with the history of this organisation.
1. Green Bay Packers
The Packers uncharacteristically made some offseason moves to improve their defense. This was much welcome in Title Town, but the Packers neglected to give Aaron Rodgers any true pieces to help him succeed. The Jimmy Graham experiment isn’t going well so far and the loss of Randall Cobb will hurt far more than people imagine. Aaron Rodgers is unlikely to yield control to the rookie head coach. I expect to see some tension this year as Rodgers continues to improve. The unhealthy locker room and lack of offensive talent will doom the Packers to their third straight losing season.