Here are 10 teams that should not be taken lightly this season. They have either re-vamped or have put pieces into place to compete in their divisions or even may find themselves in the playoffs. SNEAK PEAK*** The following teams will not be on this list; New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Chicago Bears.
If you are fan of any of those teams I listed above. It’s okay. I promise. You should still check out this article though. Enjoy..
10. New York Jets
Key Additions: RB, Le’Veon Bell, MLB C.J. Mosley
The New York Jets have found some key pieces that could possibly allow them to compete with the New England Patriots for the AFC East. Let’s face it, the AFC East Champions have resided in Foxboro for ten straight years and sixteen of the last eighteen years. Adam Gase is on a mission to figure that formula out.
Their schedule starts off pretty brutal.. From Week 2 through Weeks 8 in order; vs Cleveland, @ New England, BYE, @ Philadelphia, vs Dallas, vs New England, and then @ Jacksonville. That’s a harsh first half that could prepare them for the end of the season to make a push for the playoffs.
They are young but, talented. QB, Sam Darnold is the X-factor, if he plays well, limits his mistakes, and doesn’t let the pressure of being an NFL Quarterback in New York, the Jets are equipped to dethrone the New England Patriots as AFC East Champions.
9. Detroit Lions
Key Additions: WR, Jermaine Kearse, RB, C.J. Anderson, and 1st Rd draft pick TE, T.J. Hockensen.
The Detroit Lions as well have a
If Detroit can stay away from being one dimensional and utilize their now dual threat backfield with Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson’s running styles that will likely compliment the rifle that Matt Stafford has for an arm. That’s where T.J. Hockensen, the rookie Tight End will come in. If Detroit can stay healthy, the NFC North will be tough.
The Detroit Lions may have found a recipe to overcome the curse that been haunting them since the early 90’s. Detroit fans, you know what I’m talking about. The Detroit Lions are due. Although, the NFC North will be tough again in 2019. As the title states, don’t take this Lions team lightly or else you could find yourself in the Lions’ Den.
8. San Francisco 49ers
Key Additions: RB, Tevin Coleman, 1st Rd Draft Pick DE, Nick Bosa
Injuries are haunting this team. If everything can fall into place for this team, starting with Jimmy Garoppolo and work its way to the backfield and outside the tackle box. Do not go into a week playing against the 49ers and think it’s an easy win. You will get embarrassed. It was unfortunate to see Jimmy Garoppolo go down early last year. He brings a certain tenacity to the gridiron and can light the defense up. Don’t count the Niners’ out! This 49ers team has a hidden arsenal amongst them, and are being overlooked. Advice to Seattle, LA, and Arizona… Bring your “A” games.
7. Cleveland Browns
Key Additions: (You name em’) WR, Odell Beckem Jr., DT, Sheldon Richardson, DE, Olivier Vernon
Looking at this team on paper, your jaw drops. There is talent across the board. This team is dangerous. Very dangerous! BUT..they have yet to prove anything with the roster they have. Baker Mayfield is the sheriff of this high caliber football team. This year will prove whether he is a buy or a sell. Oh.. the negativity.. stop it. Cleveland looks very good. The success will rely on Head Coach, Freddie Kitchens. Watch out NFL, it’s kind of weird to say but the Cleveland Browns are going to be a force to
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
Key Additions: WR, Donte Moncrief, CB, Steven Nelson, 1st Rd Draft Pick MLB, Devin Bush
Uh oh. No Antonio Brown, No Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger is getting old. Everybody is counting the Pittsburgh Steelers out in 2019. There is no more drama in the locker room. The only team in the NFL that has sights of seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, are the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team is stacked.
Big Ben at the helm, 2 bruisers in the back field James Conner and the new rookie addition RB, Benny Snell Jr. and Jaylen Samuels to bring a balance to the backfield. Juju Smith-Shuster and Moncrief bring speed and length on the outside.
The defense has progressively gotten a
5. Carolina Panthers
Key Additions: DT, Gerald McCoy, WR, Chris Hogan, 1st Rd Draft Pick, DE, Brian Burns
A very quiet team indeed resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. 2018, was a very disappointing season for the Cats. Christian McCaffrey has been the grinder alongside Greg Olsen. If injuries can shy away from Charlotte, it could change the whole facet of the NFC South division. If the pain from the “No-Call” still hurt in New Orleans then the Carolina Panthers can take advantage of that and stir up the playoff picture come January.
Luke Kuechly leads this stingy Panthers defense. He calls out plays that offenses are about to run. He’s one of the best, if not the best Linebacker in the National Football League.
Former, Patriots WR, Chris Hogan was one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. If he can bring the same playmaking ability to Carolina, he can ease some of the workload for Christian McCaffrey and give secondaries fits. That week 17 game at home against New Orleans is going to be a BIG ONE.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Key Addition: WR, Randall Cobb
A 30-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams ended the Cowboy’s deep playoff run hopes. If Ezekiel Elliott’s poor decision making continues to keep him off the field, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense will struggle. On the other hand, the Dallas Cowboy’s defense is nasty. Led by DeMarcus Lawrence coming off the edge and Veteran Linebacker Sean Lee with his presence at outside linebacker. I would probably say if there were ranking for young linebackers in the NFL, #2 would Jaylon Smith and #3 would be Leighton Vander Esch.
The Cowboys defense will be the anchor for this team and this unit is only getting better. If Ezekiel Elliott can stay out of trouble and stay on the field, this Dallas Cowboys team could make up for that
3. Baltimore Ravens
Key Additions: RB, Mark Ingram II, FS, Earl Thomas, 1st Rd Draft pick WR, Marquis Brown
Maybe the most productive offseason by any team in the NFL based on filling their needs in their offensive scheme. Mark Ingram II will likely take the pressure off of QB, Lamar Jackson. Baltimore’s offense has gained some key asset like Willie Snead IV and 1st Rd draft pick WR, Marquis Brown. Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith, Safeties Earl Thomas, a former member of the “Legion of Boom” in Seattle, suiting up alongside SS, Tony Jefferson all combine to form the NFL’s best secondary hands down.
When it comes to stability as an organization, experts talk about New England but, forget Baltimore. This organization is very quiet, yet very productive with good coaching and great talent. Besides starting off the season at Miami and home against the Cardinals the following week, Baltimore’s schedule is tough but, it could prepare them for a deep playoff run. Can they defend their AFC North title in this gauntlet of an AFC North Division in 2019?
2. Seattle Seahawks
Key additions: LG, Mike Iupati, DE Ezekiel Ansah, WR, DK Metcalf
You might be thinking… “What?! Really?! The Seahawks?!”… Yes, The Seattle Seahawks are #2 on this list because Russell Wilson still has
Seattle had the best rush offense in the league led by RB, Chris Carson. Many believe DK Metcalf will be a bust, but this he is a freak of nature at 6’3 230 pounds, he can run a 4.3 40 yard dash. WR, Tyler Lockett had an impressive year in 2018 that provided Russell Wilson sort of a security blanket reeling in 10 Touchdown catches and looks to reel in plenty more in 2019.
This Seahawks team took the Los Angeles Rams down to the wire twice. They may have lost both but, it gives this team confidence they can compete with the best. This team will be dangerous and will be difficult for any team to beat. Looking at their schedule for the first half of the season, the 12th Man can be an advantage as they host some high caliber teams like the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, and the Baltimore Ravens.
If they find a way to squeal those wins out early on and find their rhythm, watch out NFC. Advice for the other 31 teams. You better bring you’re “A+” game and not just your “A” game.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Key Additions: DE, Justin Houston, WR, Devin Funchess, OLB, Ben Banogu
The Indianapolis Colts are right where they want to be! With Andrew Luck playing the way Andrew Luck should with the weapons he has around him; WR, T.Y. Hilton, RB, Marlon Mack, and TE’s Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle and with the fast and physical defensive unit led by the young phenom of a LB, Darius Leonard, are well equipped to make a run to Super Bowl LIV.
This team won 9 out the last 10 games of the season after start 1-5 to begin the year. The Indianapolis Colts are on a mission and are one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL. This team is very young and very talented and well coached.
One of the youngest teams in the NFL but, what keeps them from not being the youngest is their 1st ballot Hall of Fame Kicker, Adam Vinatieri, who is the actually oldest player in the NFL at the moment at 46 years old. Get em’ a cane!
The Indianapolis Colts are serious Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. Is 2019 a “Super Bowl or bust” type year? No, because this team is going to be good for a while. The Lombardi Trophy may find its way to Indianapolis again.
There’s a common theme among these 10 teams. They are young and talented. Some of these teams are even set up not just for the 2019 season but for 2020, 2021, 2022 and maybe more. Not all these will perform to the level I made them out to be in this article. That’s not the way it works. Some of these teams very well may outperform my prediction. Whether or not they do, it should be fun to watch and see how the 2019 season unfolds.
I hope you are as pumped as I am for this upcoming season. High school football, college football, and pro football are all right around the corner. It’s truly the best time of year. The smell of fresh cut grass, tailgating, touchdowns, and more. It’s time! Don’t Be late for kickoff!
Featured Image. Andrew Luck is a stud QB. Photo credit to Clutchpoints.com