14. Miami Dolphins
Tannehill going down puts an obvious hit on the Dolphins season. If he was healthy, they might have been higher on the list but that’s neither here nor there. Even without Tannehill this team is still very solid. If Cutler and or Moore can do just a mere average job this team shouldn’t be in bad shape.
The defense was shaky last year and they made it a priority to improve it by signing vets Lawrence Timmons and Nate Allen. The return of Pro Bowl free safety Reshad Jones who they lost midway through last season should help their shaky secondary. They got an athletic end in Charles Harris in the draft which should collectively make the D much better. They had a great value pick in Raekwon Mcmillan in the second round but heartbreak happened again for Miami when he tore his ACL on his first play of the pre-season.
If they can live with Cutler or Moore at QB the team still has a star back in Ajayi and good enough defense to make another playoff push.
13. Detroit Lions
Mathew Stafford has continued to throw for high yardage season after season. The problem was he rarely would get help. Ameer Abdullah’s season was cut short last year and having him back will be huge for the Lions.
In addition the Lions finally have a legit offensive line in front of Stafford and Abdullah. They added T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner so Stafford should have more time to throw.
In the draft they bolstered their defense adding Jarrad Davis and Jalen tabor, which I thought was a steal. They added more to the secondary with DJ Hayden and strengthened their D-line depth with Akeem Spence.
The Lions look much better than they have in recent years and in an already tough division they should be competing.
12. Baltimore Ravens
If Joe Flacco doesn’t go down then this team is much higher. As of right now I have little to no faith in backup Ryan Mallet. Of what we’ve seen of Mallet in the NFL it’s been utterly depressing.
This doesn’t mean that the season is over however. This team was extremely talented last year and got more talented over the offseason. They added Tony Jefferson and Chris Wormely in free agency and got a great CB with Marlon Humphrey in the draft.
It’s tough to tell how long Flacco will be out but if the team can get by at no worse than .500 then Flacco can come in and take this team to the playoffs.
11. Tennessee Titans
This team is very young and has the potential to be very special. Mariota is coming off the leg injury but I don’t expect that to slow him down coming into the year.
With a solid O-Line already, they added weapons for Mariota by taking Corey Davis in the first round and Erik Decker who they signed in free agency. This offense should thrive this season with Mariota going into his 3rd year and regardless of injury, has been able to progress very well. The backfield of Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry should serve to compliment Mariota and keep defenses on their heels
On the defensive side of the ball, they added some solid veterans while taking Adoree Jackson after trading up to get him. It’s tough to say if this team is a legit contender but Mariota should step up his game enough to take this team to the playoffs.
10. Washington Redskins
The incredible embarrassment of the Kirk Cousins contract situation has loomed this team all offseason and will most likely hover over them throughout the regular season
The most important part is seeing (for the third god damn season) if Cousins is worth the massive contract that has been offered to him. Going into the season it will be tough to find any excuses for Kirk if he doesn’t prevail.
The skins made two huge acquisitions in Terrelle Pryor and D.J. Swearinger. Both will provide a huge impact on their respective sides of the ball. Surprisingly they had a great draft by taking Jonathen Allen and Ryan Anderson to help out the weak defense. This along with veterans like Stacy Mcgee and Zach Brown.
The offense has great weapons with Pryor, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Josh Docston who lost all of last year with the Achilles injury. I’m not sure exactly what to expect from this team because Kirk hasn’t proved to us that he can win important games.