- Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks were in a bit of a flux this offseason with trade rumors flying and rumors about locker room tension as well. Now it looks as if Richard Sherman is here to stay and him and Russell Wilson are and have always been good.
Ignoring that, this team is still a contender. There’s no need to worry about the defense which has seemingly been a top five D for the past few years.
The issue last year was by far the offensive line. Wilson was pressured the most in the NFL and if he wasn’t so bleepin good at avoiding pressure he would’ve been sacked a lot more than he was. They signed Luke Joeckel, which is a little questionable considering the minimal impact he’s had in his young career. They drafted Ethan Pocic in the second round who shows potential to be a starting center.
If Rawls can avoid the injuries and the O-line can maintain solid play, Russell Wilson and the Hawks have a shot to go the distance.
- Kansas City Chiefs
This team should really be a lot higher on the list, the reason they are not is Alex Smith. I have no faith in Alex Smith’s ability to throw the football down the field nor do I believe he can win big games. It was a step in the right direction for the team to draft Patrick Mahomes but he won’t see the field in the near future.
This team is loaded on defense, I see no declining in sight, and they added Benny Logan to the mix. The offense possesses one of the best tight ends in the game of football along with much more electrifying weapons. Smith has to make a huge jump for this team to be a real super bowl contender.
- Oakland Raiders
This team was on track to make a push during the playoffs until the heartbreak of Derek Carr. The biggest question from last year is the defense and they did their best to improve it.
The team lost a couple veterans on the defensive side however replaced them with Gareon Conley to bolster the secondary. Khalil Mack is continuing to improve and should be a leader on an average defense for the year.
The addition of Marshawn Lynch could go either way. Having not played football in over a year it will be interesting to see how beast mode plays. They also added Jared Cook who gives them a usable tight end in the passing game.
If everything goes according to plan and they don’t lose Carr to a similar injury, this team could go far.
- Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys season is a bit up in the air right now. Aside from the other 15 (maybe an exaggeration) people that are suspended or could be suspended, the main one is Ezekiel Elliot’s six game suspension. Obviously Zeke was a huge piece in the offense last year and Darren Mcfadden won’t be able to put up the same numbers as Zeke
It will be interesting to see how the offense plays without Elliot. Dak Prescott will have his chance to prove how good of a QB he really is in those first six games.
Aside from the suspensions the O-line lost Ronald Leary but I don’t expect that to be a huge problem considering the depth they have. Another issue is the defense, this may be the biggest issue for the team. Last year the defense was already weak and now they lose Brandon Carr and Moris Claiborne. The teams approach to improve was in the draft with Chidobe Awuzie and Taco Charlton. I don’t believe two rookies are gonna make this defense elite but they’re slowly getting better nonetheless
It will be interesting to see the health of Jaylon Smith who has yet to see the field. If he comes back at 100% he could provide a much needed boost in the defense.
The Cowboys still remain contenders, it just might not be as easy as last year.
- Green Bay Packers
There are a lot of problems with this team but the reason I have them ranked so high is because of Aaron Rodgers. Without Rodgers this team is probably at the back end of the league.
Ted Thompson has done a bit of a disappointing job in recent years of building talent around Rodgers. They took a hit by losing T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter so it will crucial for the O-line not to decline too much. The weapons on offense are not in question with Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Bennet and Montgomery but the defense is a huge worry.
What was clearly a weak defense last year the team didn’t do much to improve it. Aside from taking Kevin King in the draft, the only other move was Ricky Jean-Francios who is no more than mediocre.
With Aaron Rodgers this team always has a chance to win the super bowl but still, the defense needs to improve for them to have a really good chance to win.