- Carolina Panthers
The Panthers had a horrendous super bowl hangover and seemed far from over the loss. They had huge O-line problems and Cam got beat up. They drafted Taylor Moton in the second round and he has a shot to make an impact for the team.
Cam is coming off his shoulder injury but he seems very close to 100%. Christian Mccaffery is a huge addition for the offense and provides a much-needed extra weapon. He has been getting a lot of hype in training camp and the team is very excited to use him.
What I’m looking for in this team is not only the defense to go back to its 2015 play, which might be hard after the loss of Mcdermott, but also for a talent like Kelvin Benjamin to prove to everyone he has the skill to be a top wide-out.
If Cam Newton can become super-cam once again, I see no reason for this team to not be a contender.
- Minnesota Vikings
If this team had a solid QB and solid offense in general, they would be much higher. Sam Bradford’s play must improve and as we saw in the second half of the season, he won’t be able to get away with mediocre play. It’s looking like regardless of Bridgewater’s status (which isn’t looking good) Bradford will be their guy.
It should be a bit easier for Bradford with the addition of Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff. The idea is he doesn’t get beat up as much. They signed Latavius Murray in free agency and drafted Dalvin Cook, who I thought was the steal of the draft. This should take the pressure on Bradford but it will be interesting to see if Murray or Cook has the explosive big play ability. The WR core seems week but don’t forget about 2016 first round pick Laquan Treadwell who was completely irrelevant last season.
The defense isn’t in question with talent at almost every position. If Mike Zimmer can get his offense going, they contend for the division.
- Houston Texans
Texans had somewhat of a quiet offseason, not making too many moves, Other than drafting Deshaun Watson. The defense is as good as it’s ever been, especially now that J.J. Watt will be coming 100%. Now that this team doesn’t have such a horrendous QB situation they should be a lot better. I mean c’mon, if Brock Osweiler can take that team to a playoff game, anyone can.
The one issue the Texans really have is the Offensive Line. It didn’t get much better over the offseason and It’s worrisome putting either Watson or Tom Savage behind it. Lamar Miller might also run into trouble (literally, ha!) with a poor offensive line and have a repeat of his disappointing season.
I don’t expect a lot from this team right now but let Watson progress and they’ll be an immediate contender.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers used their offseason to build one of the most talented offenses in the league. Already having a top five WR in Mike Evans, they signed Desean Jackson and drafted O.J. Howard (talk about speed killz) and the only significant lost they had was Mike Glennon. Jameis Winston will have a plethora of options to throw too and should have the best year of his career, and will continue getting better.
The problem with the Bucs, and a reason why they aren’t higher on the list, is the defense. It’s questionable with holes in the secondary and a lack of ability to stop the rush. Now with the addition of Christian Mccaffery and Adrian Peterson to the division it will be crucial for the defense to stop the run.
With the Falcons already projected to run away with the division it will be interesting to see if the Bucs can hang in the division.
- Denver Broncos
The biggest question for this team is clearly the QB. Paxton Lynch had high praise coming out of Memphis but we didn’t really see any of that last season. I would find it bizarre to start Siemian over Lynch when Lynch shows potential but I digress.
New head coach Vance Joseph and John Elway did a great job in the offseason signing positions of need. They drafted Garret Boles who shows great potential at O-line and Garret Walker to fill the need at Dline. If the O-line can improve than it will make life easier for whoever the starting QB is by week one.
With the best defense in football Lynch or Siemian won’t need to do an excessive amount for this team to win. It would be a huge boost if CJ Anderson can find his once great form. If it works out for the Broncos and they pick the right QB, this team will sky rocket into the Top 10 on the list.