Let me begin by unfortunately breaking the news to you…yes YOU…that there is a 96.875% chance that your favorite team will not win the Super Bowl this year. There are 32 teams in the NFL all vying for the same prize: a 22 inch, 7-pound chunk of metal that we all call the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And yet only 1 will be able to capture that elusive, yet prestigious piece of silver and call themselves the true Super Bowl champions.
I’m here to tell you that this won’t be your favorite team.
I am the pessimist in this situation. My goal in writing this article is to expose the weaknesses of every NFL franchise and to effectively get all of my readers to collectively hate me in one fell swoop.
That being said, I hope you at least find some enjoyment in seeing your most hated team ripped to shreds along with the rest of the league.
As the old saying goes: Misery loves company.
*Note: This is the NFC Edition of this article series. If you would like to check out the AFC Edition please click here.*
How bout dem Cowboys?!
After a promising Week 1 in which Dallas beat the New York Giants handily in a sloppy, but commanding victory, the Cowboys got absolutely thrashed against the Broncos in a game that proved to be very concerning for a number of reasons.
Denver’s defense completely shut down Ezekiel Elliot and the Cowboys running game and an offensive line widely considered to be one the NFL’s finest looked overwhelmed by the Broncos front seven. Dak Prescott was asked to do more than he ever had in his first full NFL season and put together perhaps his worst start to date.
It was a bad day in D-Town.
The Cowboys defense looked shaky as well and it’s clear that their secondary is a shell of its former self after the offseason losses of Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Chruch and J.J. Wilcox, who just so happened to be their starting cornerbacks and safeties.
Stephen A. Smith is laughing his ass off while Skip Bayless is looking to get his hands on a Von Miller jersey all while the city of Dallas is reminiscent of an old-school wild west free-for-all.
Only this time the Cowboys are the town’s outlaws.
There are too many things that could go wrong to qualify the Cowboys as serious Super Bowl contenders and all of a sudden, Zeke’s potential suspension seems like the least of their worries!
New York Giants
If the Dallas Cowboys are in panic mode, the Giants have declared a state of emergency after their disastrous start to the season.
The team currently sits at 0-2 and has scored a combined 13 points in their two contests while their offense looks like one of the worst in football. Much of this can be blamed on the team’s offensive line, or seemingly lack thereof, as the Giants have allowed 8.0 sacks on the year thus far, although that doesn’t even tell the whole story.
Third-year pro Ereck Flowers is looking like the league’s worst starting left tackle and his fellow tackle Bobby Hart isn’t looking too much better. Despite the team’s glaring weakness at offensive tackle, General Manager Jerry Reese decided to sit on his hands and hope the issue would go away.
Unless you count the team’s signing of former draft bust D.J. Fluker as “addressing the problem”.
The Giants don’t have a dynamic enough running back between the likes of Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, and Wayne Gallman to be able to compensate for the O-Line’s deficiencies and it shows as through two weeks the G-Men have accumulated just 97 yards on the ground. In fact, New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown has more rushing yards than Perkins.
You read that correctly. 38-year old Josh McCown currently has more rushing yards at the time of this writing than the starting running back for the New York Giants.
The defense can only carry this team for so long before the offense’s shortcomings come back to bite them.
And unfortunately for the Giants, it’s already happening.
The Eagles are a step below a playoff team at the moment, but if all goes right they could sneak in with an NFC East crown in a very winnable division.
Carson Wentz showed improvement throughout last season, even if he did tail off following his ridiculously hot start. They have a good core at pass rusher complete with All-Pro Fletcher Cox and a propitious, young Derek Barnett. There’s some promise in the secondary too with 2017 draft picks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas leading the way.
But this team isn’t going to win the Super Bowl in 2017.
And they likely won’t be serious contenders next year either. There are some steps that the team can take to ensure that they are considered legitimate threats in the future but for now, it’s a waiting game.
They must wait until Carson Wentz develops further. They must wait for the young pieces of their defense to come together and fulfill their potential. And they must wait until the team can finally find out how to have a consistent running game.
But as it stands, 2017 will not be their year.
I feel like some of these are getting repetitive.
The Redskins are by no means a bad football team, but they’re certainly a step below a Super Bowl-caliber team.
After a tumultuous offseason headlined by ongoing contract disputes with quarterback Kirk Cousins and the firing of their GM Scot McCloughan due to substance abuse problems, the Redskins came into this season with one thing on their mind.
Their season didn’t get off to best of starts as the team fell to the Eagles 3017 in an ugly game before rebounding with a victory in a hard-fought battle with the Rams in Week 2.
However, the team’s weaknesses are starting to show. Cousins doesn’t look like the 2016 version of himself. Perhaps that’s due to beginning-of-the-year rust or perhaps it’s because his offensive coordinator and well-known QB guru Sean McVay left to become the head coach of the Rams.
The team has also failed to establish a consistent running game and despite 3rd-down running back Chris Thompson’s success, it appears the team doesn’t view him as any more than a role player.
The defense is solid enough with notable players being Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan, but the team simply isn’t good enough to contend for a Super Bowl.
That may have been the most boring entry yet so here’s a funny Kirk Cousins GIF for your troubles.
Despite the Seahawks lack of offensive talent outside a couple of notable names, the team still remains odds-on favorites to win the NFC West. Perhaps some of this is due to the absence of perceived threat elsewhere in the weak division, but’s let’s be optimists before pessimists shall we.
The ‘Hawks defense remains one of the league’s best still containing many of the same faces that helped lead this team to back-to-back Super Bowls just a few years back. Players like Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Bobby Wagner remain a dominant force in the front seven. While the renowned “Legion of Doom” is still mostly intact with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor continuing to strike fear into opposing receivers and quarterbacks.
Here’s where the bad news kicks in.
The Seattle Seahawks have the worst offensive line in the NFL today.
I don’t usually like to make bold, potentially hyperbolic statements such as that one but there’s no way around it.
The team has a solid center in Justin Britt….but that’s it. Neither offensive guard in former first-round bust Luke Joeckel or 3rd-year veteran Mark Glowinski are capable NFL starting offensive linemen. The same could be said for Rees Odhiambo and Germain Ifedi at tackle who are both entering their sophomore seasons and clearly look to be overwhelmed.
They have some young talent there, but forcing them to play too early is proving to be a major detriment to their early development.
Their talent at receiver isn’t much better outside of Doug Baldwin while their running back situation remains a “who sucked less last week” committee.
Russell Wilson and the team’s defense can’t do it all which is why Seattle will fall short of another Super Bowl as their dominant defense just gets older.
Any and all chances the Cardinals had of making a serious push towards the Super Bowl in 2017 were halted when star running back David Johnson was put on the shelf for 8-12 weeks with a dislocated wrist following the team’s Week 1 game against the Lions.
The news was heartbreaking for Cardinals fans, and perhaps even more heartbreaking for fantasy owners who drafted him in their leagues.
In all seriousness, it truly was a shame that one of the game’s youngest and most exciting players was the victim of a substantial injury such as this one. But this can only mean one thing.
The Arizona Cardinals will not win the Super Bowl in 2017.
While their defense remains one of the best in the league, their offense, especially without Johnson, is subpar. Carson Palmer’s best days are behind him and he’s coming off a below-average 2016 campaign where he struggled with turnovers. It’s clear that his age is starting to show.
The rest of their offense lacks the star power and playmaking ability to compete with some of the league’s top teams. Larry Fitzgerald is beginning to slow down and there are question marks at the other receiver positions. Troy Niklas may be from “Tight End U“, but he’s failed to be anything more than an average receiving option in his 3 years in this league.
Despite their defense featuring star players such as Deone Bucannon, Patrick Peterson, and Tyrann Mathieu, not to mention exciting young rookies Budda Baker and Haason Reddick, the team’s lack of offensive firepower will prove to be their Achilles heel.
They might have had a chance with a healthy David Johnson but without the talented running back, they’re just another team that won’t win the Super Bowl.
Los Angeles Rams
Don’t look now but the Rams are 2-1 and are looking like a team that’s significantly improved from last season.
I mean, they still won’t win the Super Bowl….clearly…..but hey they’ve improved!
Jared Goff is looking like a much better quarterback this year as he seems a lot more comfortable in the pocket and his mechanics have undoubtedly looked smoother. A considerable amount of this development should be thanks to new head coach Sean McVay who did wonders for Kirk Cousins in Washington and is looking like a great hire for this new look Rams team.
Todd Gurley looks to be back on track and the offseason acquisitions of Andrew Whitworth, Sammy Watkins, and Robert Woods have allowed this offense to produce at a level the team hasn’t seen in a while.
Still, Goff is young and struggles with locking onto targets and other typical inexperienced QB problems, but the Goff of old seems to be drifting away before our very eyes.
Time for the pessimism.
While the team is no doubt better than they were last year, they’re still not at the level where they could be considered true contenders yet, and they likely won’t be for a couple years.
However, I would definitely consider them a dark horse team to win the NFC West.
Just not the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers
As I did for the Jets in the AFC Edition, the 49ers Super Bowl chances shall be summed up in one GIF.
Yup that’ll do.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers might be the single most talented QB in the NFL today. He has unprecedented arm power and his poise in the pocket combined with his ability to extend plays outside of it make him perhaps the most gifted quarterback of all time.
His team around him lacks that same distinction.
Don’t get me wrong, the Green Bay Packers have a good team. But if you take away Rodgers and replace him with a run-of-the-mill quarterback this team is nothing but average.Aaron Rodgers gives this team the chance to contend for a Super Bowl every single year.
They just won’t win in this year.
Their offense remains top notch with a solid offensive line and enough playmakers to get by when you have a QB like Rodgers. Jordy Nelson remains one of the better options at wide receiver in the league while Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Ty Montgomery make for an abundance of targets in the passing game. The team’s running game remains lacking, but that’s not the identity that this team is looking for so it doesn’t hold back the offense.
To be fair, their defense isn’t all to blame either. Their front seven remains solid enough with notable players being Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and the criminally underrated Mike Daniels. However, it’s the team’s secondary that has been holding the Packers back for years.
Last season, the Pack finished second-to-last in passing yards allowed and this weakness was taken full advantage of when the team got slaughtered in the NFC Championship Game by the Falcons and proceeded to get beaten handily again by the same team in Week 2 of this year.
If Green Bay’s secondary can’t keep up with some of the premier passing offenses in this league, then their Super Bowl chances seem slim despite the man they have under center.
There are two primary reasons as to why the Minnesota Vikings will not win Super Bowl this year.
One is a completely rational and logical explanation while the other is based purely on superstition and curse.
While it might be interesting to sit down and focus on all the weaknesses of this Vikings team, such as how their offense lacks depth at receiver and how they don’t have a quarterback capable of overcoming it, I feel like it’s time for a short entry as a way of taking a mental break from all this team analyzation.
The reason the Viking won’t win the Super Bowl in 2017?
No team has ever won the Super Bowl the year they hosted it.
Thus the Vikings were officially eliminated from contention before the season even started.
Game. Set. Match.
For as bad of a team as the Detroit Lions had been in the early part of the last decade, it’s nice to see them string together a couple of successful seasons. During this time they’ve finally found their franchise quarterback, who has since gone on to become the highest paid player in NFL history, they’ve gone on to make the playoffs a total of 3 times within that span, and they’ve established themselves as a good all-around organization that contends most years.
But you didn’t think they were going to win the Super Bowl this year, did you?
If you thought I was going to say that, then you’re about as delusional as someone who actually thinks the Lions are going all the way this year.
Unfortunately, Detroit has a knack for choking in big games and despite Stafford’s famed 4th quarter comebacks last year, the team remains 0-8 in their last 8 postseason games and 1-12 in their last 13. The Lions haven’t won a playoff game in 25 years which is the second longest active streak behind the Cincinnati Bengals whose inability to win a playoff game has essentially become a meme at this point.
The franchise’s weaknesses on the field are highlighted by an iffy offensive line with perhaps the worst starting left tackle in the league in former draft bust Greg Robinson (seriously watch some of his tape it’s awful) and a subpar defense which lacks any sort of depth.
To put it bluntly, the Lions should focus on winning a playoff game before they can consider the Super Bowl an attainable achievement.
Don’t expect a prolonged, verbose rationalization for this one.
In simpler words, let’s not overthink this.
The Chicago Bears starting quarterback is Mike Glennon. There’s a good chance that it won’t be Glennon by the end of the season as they might opt to go with rookie first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky instead, but if that’s the case the Bears probably won’t be in the best of situations by the point anyway.
There’s no way that Mike Glennon is leading any team to a Super Bowl. At least not now.
The Chicago Bears are clearly a team in rebuild mode and while they may have a couple of young building blocks to work with (e.g. Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd), building blocks don’t build championships overnight.
It takes years of construction to make a championship caliber team and the Bears simply aren’t there yet.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Glennon, Trubisky, or even Mark Sanchez at quarterback. The Chicago Bears aren’t winning a substantial amount of games this year.
And it isn’t like there’s some magical medicine to make it all go away. Sure there are some home remedies that have been passed down and there are things you could do to lessen the blow but once there, there’s no escaping the unstoppable annoyance that comes with a hangover.
Unless you’re the Atlanta Falcons who have seemingly developed the ultimate cure for a Super Bowl hangover.
Oh were we not talking about Super Bowl hangovers?
In all seriousness, it’s an incredible testament the strength and will of this Falcons football team that after such a devastating loss in the Super Bowl last year that they were able to come back and not only look just as good, if not better than last year’s team. It truly is an admirable story.
But there’s no way in HELL they’re winning the Super Bowl.
And this isn’t because of any fictional hangover that the Falcons may or may not have found a cure for.
This is because of a real, genuine, gosh darn CURSE!
Only twice in history has the team that has lost the Super Bowl the previous year gone on to win it, the 1971 Cowboys and the 1972 Dolphins. This means that the losers of the previous year are 2-48 in winning the next year’s Super Bowl.
Beat those odds.
In reality, it’s hard to justify why the Atlanta Falcons shouldn’t be one of the favorites to win it all this year. In terms of on the field production, I’m still not entirely sold on their pass rush outside of Vic Beasley. I suppose that’s a weakness.
On second thought, I liked that whole curse idea better.
Through their first two games of the season, the Carolina Panthers have allowed a total of 6 points to the opposition.
In case there wasn’t already a mutual understanding, that’s pretty damn good.
The team’s defensive line continues to be one of the deepest and most talented in the league with standouts including Charles Johnson and Kawann Short. Their linebacker core consists of Luke Kuechly, who might be the best in the league at his position, and the ever-reliable Thomas Davis.
But perhaps the team’s biggest improvement comes in their secondary. Last season, the Panthers gave up the 4th most passing yards to opponents in the entire league and much of that had to do with the young and inexperienced players they had starting at cornerback. Given a year to develop, those cornerbacks have developed into capable starters at their position.
James Bradberry and Daryl Worley and taken major leaps into becoming solid all-around players and while they’re sure to experience some more growing pains as the season goes on, they’re clearly headed in the right direction.
The offense, on the other hand, hasn’t looked as dominant. Cam Newton still appears to be bothered by a shoulder injury that won’t seem to go away and the offensive line’s struggles have only compounded that issue. Rookie Christian McCaffrey has yet to emerge as the offensive game-changer he was in college although that is likely to change.
Still, issues with Newton’s shoulder coupled with a lack of production on offense will end up holding this team back.
This combined with expected regression from their defense and eventual struggles in the secondary will likely hold this team back from making any significant playoff runs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans franchises have seemed to mirror each other in recent years.
Both have young, exciting quarterbacks who have constantly been compared since they both came out in the same draft class back in 2015. Both teams have exciting young playmakers on offense with defenses that are still developing.
But the problem is that both teams are still a year or so away from being seen as credible threats.
Jameis Winston is quickly developing into one of the better passers in the league but he must learn to cut down on turnovers before he could take the next step. The Bucs have surrounded him with playmaking receiving targets such as Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and the recently drafted athletic freak O.J. Howard. The left side of their offensive line still remains a question mark as I’m not too sure if Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile can hold down the fort.
Their defense features some high-profile players such as Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander but their secondary remains suspect. Veteran Brent Grimes and last year’s 1st round pick Vernon Hargreaves are the two starting cornerbacks and neither has had all that much success during their time in Tampa.
The Bucs have an excellent core group of players to build around and this year is certainly the year to take the next big leap forward.
But of course, they’ll ultimately fall short of winning the big one.
New Orleans Saints
You’ve probably heard the age-old idiom that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
That must be how Saints fans feel.
Every year the Saints have one of the best passing offenses in football behind one of the premier passers in the league in Drew Brees. And yet every year this team continues to trot out an embarrassment of a defense and expects to contend. This year will be no different as despite the team’s aptitude for passing the football, the Saints’ utter lack of defensive talent will likely this team back from playing even .500 ball.
While much has been made of the Saints lack of a competent secondary in recent years, hence the drafting of Marshon Lattimore in the 1st round of this year’s draft), it’s really been the lack of a pass rush that has been the proverbial nail in the coffin for this Saints defense. Outside of Cameron Jordan, the team has failed to get any sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks which gives teams all day to pick apart a subpar secondary.
The team’s linebacker core is lacking as well as opponents are consistently gashing the Saints middle of the field for big gains because of missed assignments and poor tackling.
Call it bad luck or call it ineptitude, but whatever it is, Saints fans must be frustrated about the team’s inability to put together a functional defense year after year.
And until the Saints can learn to do so, this team will fail to make it to another Super Bowl and the franchise will continue to be stuck in football limbo for eternity.
Now that sounds like insanity to me.