Each year there is one team that goes from the bottom of the pack to the division champion. Since the 2000 NFL season, this has happened all but two years. Here’s the eight teams we’re working with this year:
New York Jets (AFC East)
Cincinnati Bengals (AFC North)
Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South)
Denver Broncos (AFC West)
Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East)
Detroit Lions (NFC North)
Atlanta Falcons (NFC South)
San Francisco 49ers (NFC West)
The odds of some of these teams actually going from 4th to 1st is like me winning the lottery, but there are others that actually make sense with some creative thinking. The following rankings start from the team with the best odds all the way down to the one who will stay at the bottom:
#1 San Francisco 49ers
The Niners were injury-ravished last season and struggled the rest of the way with limited playmakers. It was a disappointing 6-10 season for the team, but the fans just wanted the season to end without anyone else getting injured. Stars like Dee Ford, Nick Bosa and George Kittle are just a few names to list that rode the bench. I expect a splash of a return for the Niners this season. It’s a division that is very competitive, but the West has been competitive in recent seasons. It shouldn’t be that much of a task for a fully healthy roster going up against the contender Rams, rising Cardinals and a slow downfall of the Seahawks. Expect San Francisco to pick up right where they left off from their Super Bowl appearance.
#2 Philadelphia Eagles
Shocked to see the Eagles listed so high? Yeah, so am I. The only reason they are up so high is because of the division they play in. Let’s remember that this division came down to Week 17 last season, sending a 7-win Washington team to the postseason. The NFC East is arguably the weakest division in football, but there is promise. The Giants and Football Team are on the rise and Dallas is also returning with a healthy roster. I’m not saying that the Eagles are the ones who will win the division, but anything is possible in the East.
#3 Denver Broncos
Denver should have a different identity rolling with Teddy Bridgewater, but to win the division? Not so sure about that. Unless Kansas City implodes from within, the Broncos have a very slim chance at claiming the crown. Los Angeles has also built up a lot of hype behind the arm of Justin Herbert. I’ll make the case for them though. If all goes right with Teddy and the offense compliments their solid defense, then they have the potential to make noise in the West. I’m expecting better than 4th though because I do not trust Las Vegas at all.
#4 Atlanta Falcons
I like the Falcons just a TAD better than the Jets, but it’s not by a lot. The Saints are going to be an interesting team to watch with Jameis Winston now under center and not the usual Drew Brees. The Carolina Panthers are one of my sleeper teams this year to make some noise in the Wild Card race. Not to mention that the Bucs are the defending champs. Not confident in the Falcons turning it around considering a lack of playmakers besides Calvin Ridley and Matt Ryan.
#5 New York Jets
The Jets are in a crowded AFC East. All three of their division counterparts are considered playoff contenders (depending on who you ask for the Patriots & Dolphins), so the odds for them to jump the first are very slim. Also, remember that they have to deal with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills who are coming off a really strong season. I wouldn’t risk any money betting on New York winning the East.
#6 Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is back! Next up on the Bengals to-do list: fix everything else. Please protect Burrow at all costs, he doesn’t deserve this. Cincinnati is in a top-heavy North with the Ravens and Browns leading the way. They should be competitive enough to keep games close, but not enough to win the division. Don’t be surprised if they go on a little win streak and pass the Steelers, you never know.
#7 Jacksonville Jaguars
Another team I am expecting to not finish last is Jacksonville. The Texans are a dumpster-fire of a team. The Jags are not good enough to make it to the top competing against a fringe Indianapolis team and a solid Titans roster. Still, one can hope, right?
#8 Detroit Lions
Yeah, sorry Lions fans…I don’t have anything positive to say.
Okay, maybe I do. Jared Goff, am i right?