The NFL has seen this before, where a team misses the playoffs one year, then the next year, they win it all: most recently: the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. Multiple teams failed to reach the postseason last year that made various moves in the offseason where it could lead them to a possible Super Bowl run.
The Falcons were killed by injuries last season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, and Grady Jarrett -All key defensive starters that missed some time due to injury at some point in the season. Those guys are healthy now. Jones and Neal being more important starters on that defense, they should make an immediate impact being on the field. A key offensive piece they were missing last year was RB Devonta Freeman, a key loss despite the Falcons being able to put up points last year. Matt Ryan had the second-best statistical season of his career, but their running game was inconsistent at best. In 2019, these guys are healthy, the questionable play-calling of Steve Sarkisian is gone, and Matt Ryan is still the QB. The Falcons have all the tools to make a Super Bowl run in 2019.
There might not have been a team that improved more than the Cleveland Browns. When rookie QB Baker Mayfield was named the starter, the Browns had a 6-7 record. Improving from their 2017 0-16 season. In the offseason, the Browns acquired either through free agency or trade, Odell Beckham Jr, Morgan Burnett, Sheldon Richardson, Oliver Vernon, and Kareem Hunt. So much talent added to a team that already had a lot of rising young players. They also added CB Greedy Williams in the second round of the draft that a lot projected to be a top 15 pick. John Dorsey did a fantastic job of transforming this roster. From no playoff appearance to a Super Bowl run is a possibility for the Cleveland Browns.
Green Bay Packers
The main reason the Packers get to a possible Super Bowl is because of Aaron Rodgers. Yes, he struggled the last 2 seasons, but he was playing hurt. He suffered a significant leg injury in week 1 of the 2018 season and played with it throughout the year. In 2017, he battled a broken collarbone, so now people are starting to doubt Aaron Rodgers. Is he still great? Has he lost it? That could now put a chip on his shoulder and the Aaron Rodgers of old could come back in 2019. With new Head Coach Matt Lafleur, there is a lot of optimism in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers wants to “run the table” again and win his second ring.
This one might be a surprise, but the Titans had a roster full of talent that just always disappoints. Again, going into 2019, they have a roster full of talent. They already have one of the league’s best secondaries headlined by All-Pro safety Kevin Byard. Their front 7 is full of both young exciting players with potential, and proven veterans. They added to their offense as well; signing OG Rodger Saffold and WR Adam Humphries. They also drafted AJ Brown and still have the young and talented Corey Davis. This is the best supporting cast Mariota has ever had. He is also playing for a new contract and that could lead to him looking better than he’s ever been in his career. Under with the mindset that he wants to get paid, it could be scary for the rest of the AFC and that could lead the Titans to shock the world and making an unexpected Super Bowl run.
Wow, what a disappointing 2018 season for the Vikings. After a 13-3 season with Case Keenum leading them in 2017, the Vikings thought Kirk Cousins was the missing piece in 2018. This was evidently not the case. Cousins numbers look good but it was obvious he was not what the Vikings expected. He just disappeared in big-time games, including the Week 17 game, a win-and-in situation and he managed to only put up 10 points. The Vikings are still full of talent, with one of the best WR duos in the league featuring Diggs and Thielen. They also improved the offensive line during the offseason which was their biggest weakness. That extremely talented defense has remained intact as well, they have the talent to win the Super Bowl. Kirk Cousins needs to start showing up in big-time games for this to be the season he puts it all together.